ACCOUNTABILITY

1. It’s Wednesday, January 18, 2017. It’s the birthday of Daniel Webster and Martin O’Malley.

President Obama leaves office with a 60% approval rating, according to a CNN poll out this morning. 

He’s probably rolling his eyes at the news, thinking where were you when I needed you?

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that a lot of people don’t like your successor. But people who haven’t completely bought into the Obama-hating crowd of the past eight years take a look at the record. And on net, they feel pretty good.

I’ll talk more about this in the next few days.

3. Obama did manage to piss some folks off yesterday.

He did it by commuting the 35-year prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, a former Army intelligence specialist who divulged documents about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to WikiLeaks. Instead of being released in 2045, Manning will get out of prison in four months.

Republicans are crying hypocrisy. They wonder how those who advocate leniency for Manning can turn around and complain about WikiLeaks’ publication of the e-mails of the Democratic National Committee and former Hillary Clinton campaign chief John Podesta.

Somehow, this seems really simple to me.

Chelsea Manning isn’t being pardoned. She is having her sentence commuted. She has served about seven years in a military prison.

Manning has been held to account. She has admitted wrongdoing. She has apologized for her actions.

She didn’t run away to Moscow (see Snowden, Edward). She didn’t hide in a Bolivian embassy (see Assange, Julian). She didn’t order the hacking of American citizens for nefarious purposes (see Putin, Vladimir).

And she didn’t attempt to capitalize on the material leaked and brag how important it was (see Trump)

I’m not excited about Manning’s release. She did something terrible, and she’s no hero to me. As Snowden is no hero, either.

But here’s the thing: At least Chelsea Manning accepted the consequences of her actions. Her beef was with the severity of the sentence and the rough treatment she received, largely because she was also transgender.

So I also don’t have a problem with her pending release. I can understand if you feel more needed to be extracted. But I don’t.

And I admit to being glad to know the information she revealed – confirming, as I always believed, the war in Iraq was bogus and stupid.

By the way, there’s been no accountability for the travesty that was Iraq. It left more than 4,000 Americans dead, thousands more crippled physically and emotionally, spurred the rise of ISIS and destabilized the Middle East.

That seems a lot more heinous than anything Chelsea Manning did.

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