Obama on Thursday was recorded stating Bradley Manning’s guilt. “Innocent until proven guilty,” a phrase scarcely used by government officials in connection with Manning’s case, does not seem to apply here. Though there is extremely damning evidence against Manning, there has not yet been a trial.
Obama has continuously failed to properly address the Manning dilemma. While state secrets must be taken very seriously by the president and the government as a whole, so must the judicial process. So far, Manning seems to have been both punished and pronounced guilty with no trial whatsoever.
Obviously Obama didn’t make this statement in a written speech, but this is a point of even further concern because it seems that he was speaking from personal belief. If the president of the United States has pronounced Manning guilty, what hope does he have in court?
There is a very good chance that, given a fair trial, Manning would be pronounced guilty. But in that case, his rights as an American citizen would have been respected. As it currently stands, Barack Obama himself is participating in an already vicious attack on the premise of a fair trial and on Manning’s chance of receiving one.
While the information allegedly released by WikiLeaks via Manning has not dealt a very severe blow to Obama’s presidency, Obama’s handling of Manning is of increasing concern, especially for a president who stood on a platform against torture and for transparency.