Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) would like to extend our congratulations to Chelsea Manning, as we anxiously await her release from military prison on May 17, 2017. We appreciate that President Obama chose to commute the unreasonably harsh 35-year sentence that had been handed down to Ms. Manning though we believe a pardon would have been more appropriate.
We believe that the lengthy sentence was disproportionately severe and politically motivated, considering Ms. Manning’s willingness to be honest with the military investigation about what she exposed and why. Ms. Manning made the noble choice to accept the consequences of her actions, which resulted in the tortuous treatment she has received while incarcerated. That she received a sentence that was significantly more severe than what other military member have received for similar charges in the past is a clear indicator of this.
As fellow Veterans and Service Members, we are deeply concerned with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) involvement in the Dakota Access Pipeline Project and its planned construction under the Missouri River. Not only does the proposed pipeline violate the 1851 and 1868 Fort Laramie Treaties with The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Oceti Sakowin (Great Sioux Nation) but it also contradicts the stated mission of the USACE, which outlines “environmental sustainability as a guiding principle”.