Bradley Manning’s conviction of almost all charges, save aiding the enemy, speaks volumes as to the state of the escalating cold war between the American people and their government.
The conviction of young Manning for leaking information of war crimes sends a strong, nuanced, two-part message. The first is that whistle-blowing will absolutely not be tolerated. That’s why they threw the book at Manning, ensuring he’ll be behind bars for a very, very long time. The clear message from the U.S. government: we are the law, so don’t you dare oppose us.
But the second, more subtle point is that all-out war has been avoided. By dropping the charge of aiding the enemy, the government avoided implying that the American people are said enemy. The overall posturing signaled by the verdict still communicated a tough, hostile tone, but intentionally stopped short of an actual declaration of war.
And so the cold war between the U.S. government and its citizens continues. Will it ever flare up into actual war? Only time will tell.