By Rick Rogers
Welcome to August, everybody.
As always, a lot of ground to cover today, from Pfc. Bradley Manning’s pending sentencing to rebuilding Afghanistan to allegations of undue command influence by President Barack Obama.
His defense team seems just a tad too full of themselves over sidestepping the aiding the enemy charge against their client, an overreach by government prosecutors to begin with.
Some read into the decision by Army Col. Denise Lind a solid victory for freedom speech. Balderdash.
Fact is the 25-year-old is facing 136 years in prison come sentencing time. If Manning escapes with a slap on the wrist, then I’ll put attorney David Coombs on speed dial and consider the case a watershed moment in free speech.
I’ll stand by my prediction of an over and under of 22.5 years with the actual time served checking in at about 7 years.
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Here’s a point that’s worth considering:
There’s no way that Manning could’ve known the full content of those 750,000 cables he leaked. The fact that he apparently didn’t get anyone killed is a saint-making miracle.
Unfortunately, what he sees in Afghanistan are spectacularly ineffective projects that are wasting billions of taxpayer money while achieving nothing but lining the pockets of crooks or benefitting our enemies.
Almost weekly Sopko’s office releases another report detailing just how bad things are there.
The latest outlines the inherent problems of overseeing building effort when there’s no credible force to do the overseeing.
“There appears to be a growing gap between the policy objectives of Washington and the reality of achieving them in Afghanistan, especially when the government must hire and oversee contractors to perform its mission,” Sopko said in his most recent report.
Rick Rogers is a defense reporter based in San Diego.