A Letter Too Late

The President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500

To President Barack Obama,

Hello Mr. President, I wanted to take the chance to write to you while you are still in office. I have not previously found myself compelled to do such. I also fear that this letter will find you too late as you are already on holiday before Christmas and that you will return to Washington only to complete a peaceful transfer of power. I thank you for your service. I just kissed my wife goodnight in a country you made more safe and more prosperous. By every measure, I would call that a job well done.
The reason I am up and out of my bed and writing to you in a way my wife finds charming but slightly annoying is to ask you, even beg you to seek the release of your soldier and United States Service Member, Private Manning. I have little business reminding you of your duty to protect your soldiers, I can not presume to lecture or council you on the way in which you lead, you have succeeded against insurmountable odds. But speaking as a citizen in the country you have so gracefully cared for, I request respectfully for you to find a way to let Manning go. We need service members who see  questionable un-American acts to speak up and saying something. Whether that be a sergeant stealing fuel for his personal vehicle on the weekend or a high level official overreaching their mandate to provide surveillance. Whomever identifies the problem and takes action to get it fixed, even if that action causes harm, should be evaluated based on the intent of the action. I believe the intent was to help the American people. The results of Private Manning’s actions were problematic for sure, but there is no chance of re-offense, which means currently we are punitively punishing a person for trying to help. A service member at very least should be acknowledged for the valuable attempt to right a wrong. Private Manning may not have followed the rules, but neither did the institution we have all pledged allegiance to.
I am a proud American, I love my country, I respect my government, and I believe in you as a leader and as a father. I ask you to reflect on the potential good Manning could do outside a prison cell instead of fearing the acts that put her there. Thank you for your attention to this I look forward to your action. If we are all lucky, you have been biding your time to make a big splash on your last day. I have my fingers crossed.
If you find yourself in retirement anywhere near Santa Barbara and hungry for tacos we have printed a map with our recommendations for the 18 best tacos in town. Swing by sometime and we will go to the beach. All our best to your family.

Respectfully yours,

Patrick Melroy
Santa Barbara Ca


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