Former President Barack Obama may have spared intelligence leaker Chelsea Manning more than a quarter-century of jail time, but the disgraced Army private sounds less than grateful.
In her first published column since Obama commuted her 35-year sentence, Manning slammed him as a weak leader with ‘few permanent accomplishments,’ calling on liberals to strike a more militant posture as Republican Donald Trump takes power in the White House.
‘The one simple lesson to draw from President Obama’s legacy: do not start off with a compromise,’ Manning wrote for The Guardian.
‘They won’t meet you in the middle. Instead, what we need is an unapologetic progressive leader.’
Intriguingly, Manning also described where she was on the day of Obama’s 2009 inauguration: in New York’s Fort Drum as part of the active duty Army unit tasked to deploy to Washington, D.C. in the event of an emergency.
Manning, a transgender woman then known as Bradley Manning, watched the inauguration from a military headquarters office surrounded by senior staff.
‘The seething vitriol and hatred simmered quietly in that room. In retrospect, it was an ominous foreshadowing of things to come,’ she writes.
The scene was different four years later, when Obama won reelection in November of 2012, and Manning was locked in a civilian jail cell in Baltimore awaiting a court martial hearing.
‘Surrounded by a different crowd of people, the excitement and elation of his re-election was genuine,’ Manning wrote of the fellow prisoners.
Manning, a transgender woman, also criticized Obama’s attitude towards the LGBT community in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on a gay club in Orlando.
She complained that once again, the former president ‘attempted to comprise with opponents who were uninterested and unwilling to meet him halfway.’
‘In the aftermath of the deadly shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando that took the lives of nearly 50 queer and brown people, it took Obama over 300 words of his speech to acknowledge the queer community, and even then, as an abstract acronym,’ she added.
Manning predicts that the next four years will be ‘darker times’ for the LGBT community and minorities, as she called for those groups to rally around a ‘strong and unapologetic progressive to lead us.’
Manning was convicted in a 2013 military trial for violating the Espionage Act and sentenced to 35 years in prison for giving hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks.
She is set to be released in May after serving seven years.
Source: Daily Mail UK