For a moment set aside the question of what happens to Bradley Manning. Let us put aside the fact that he was denied the right to a speedy trial, denied use of the defense that he was uncovering war crimes. Forget the months of solitary confinement, being stripped naked and being deprived of sleep as a form of punishment. Forget all that.

For a moment, ask the question why our nation has done nothing about the war crimes he uncovered. When civilians are gunned down by a military helicopter and the government covers it up, when that government’s only response is to arrest the person who made the revelation and tighten security, can that nation make any kind of claim of being moral? Doesn’t that nation have a duty to seek out and correct it’s own misdeeds?

Some have argued that Manning’s crime was not to go through proper channels. But what is the point of reporting a crime to the ones who have done it? Because the crimes Manning discovered were an assault upon democracy, he went to the people with the information of what was being done in our name. So far, we have gone into denial about what we discovered, but this story is not over. Set aside the question of what happens to Bradley Manning, and ask how are we as citizens of the American Empire to respond to the war crimes that have been committed in our name?

Every nation errs. That nation alone is great who will look courageously upon its own crimes and repent. Woe to that nation who would rather pluck out its own eyes than see what it has become.