There hasn’t been a whole lot for libertarians to celebrate over the last 8 years of an Obama presidency. It’s not that there was a lot to celebrate prior to Obama either, but there was at least a glimpse of hope in 2008 that maybe Obama would follow through on some of his campaign promises of less war and greater civil liberties.
The few good things I can say about Obama are things that he didn’t do. He didn’t start a war with Iran. He didn’t impose martial law. He didn’t aggressively go after states that legalized marijuana.
Obama also opened up some trade with Cuba, although even here you could argue that he just stopped enforcing the embargoes.
Most everything Obama did do was wrong and anti-liberty. I already pointed out 6 of his biggest lies.
Well, Obama may have done something at least somewhat right, just as he is leaving office. It was reported today that Obama has commuted most of the rest of the prison sentence for Chelsea Manning. Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison, but will be set free on May 17 of this year.
I don’t fully know the reasoning that Obama did this. I know it was not out of pure principle and the goodness of his heart because Obama is a liar and has helped kill tens of thousands of people overseas. In 2017 alone, Obama’s military dropped over 26,000 bombs.
There must have been some pressure from certain groups to free Chelsea Manning.
Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley Manning) is in jail for exposing the criminality of government workers. Manning exposed some of the many atrocities of the Iraq War, including abuse of detainees. A video was also released showing a helicopter attack on people on the ground in Iraq, as the American murderers in the helicopter casually comment on the death.
This is the world of the Obama presidency. He campaigned to have a transparent administration, with protection for whistleblowers. But I guess he meant he would only protect whistleblowers from private corporations. If you expose the criminality of government, then you yourself become the criminal.
It is the same with Edward Snowden, who exposed the top-level liars at the NSA. He exposed the criminal spying of the NSA, only to become one of the most-wanted men in the world by the U.S. government.
I don’t know if it was the pressure of anti-war groups, transgender groups, civil liberty groups, or a bunch of groups combining forces. But for some reason, Obama decided to commute Chelsea Manning’s long sentence. Of course, he should have issued a full pardon and immediate release, but it is still a small shining light.
This obviously does not change my opinion of Obama in any way. He still holds much responsibility for all of the death and destruction that has rained down on the Middle East over the last 8 years. Still, we can celebrate this one minor victory for the cause of liberty and justice.