Despite his youth and inexperience, Private First Class Bradley Manning had access to hundreds of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents. This included video footage that showed battlefield mistakes.
Rather than take up whatever objections he had with his superiors, Manning gave 700,000 documents to a foreign agent, who in turn posted this secret
information online, effectively giving al-Qaida and other enemies of the United States our secrets.
In the old days, this was called spying. This week he was court-martialed and sentenced to 35 years in prison at age 25.
The sentence is appropriate for the severity of his crimes against his fellow soldiers and his nation.
Now some people who opposed the war in Iraq are calling this whistle-blowing and they are wrongly comparing it to the release of the Pentagon papers.
But whereas the Pentagon papers were memos from commanders privately casting doubts on the war in Vietnam even as they publicly promoted the war, Manning's leaks were secret documents.
That a few of the secrets he wrongly divulged made the United States look bad does not make his treachery whistle-blowing.
Sadly, opponents of the liberation of Iraq and the deposing of Saddam Hussein are trying to make Manning into something he is not.
"When a soldier who shared information with the press and public is punished far more harshly than others who tortured prisoners and killed civilians, something is seriously wrong with our justice