“Mentally Fragile” Bradley Manning “Should Never Have Been Sent to Iraq”

Bradley Manning, the US soldier accused of passing on some 720,000 diplomatic and military documents to the whistle-blower site Wikileaks, “should never have been sent to Iraq.” An investigative film by the Guardian says that Manning was so “mentally fragile” prior to his deployment to Iraq that he urinated on himself, routinely shouted at officers, displayed violent behavior and had regular psychiatric evaluations.

Manning was arrested just over a year ago on May 26, 2010, after he was found to have leaked thousands of US diplomatic cables spanning five decades, along with top secret documents about the Iraq War and the war in Afghanistan. Wikileaks has continued to publish materials including 759 classified military documents that provide new details about the men held at the Guantánamo Bay prison in Cuba, as well as evidence against the 172 men who are still detained there. After being held on a military brig in Quantico, Virginia, in solitary confinement, Manning was transferred to a military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas last month. United Nations special rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez, 250 of the US’s most eminent legal scholars and others had protested that Manning’s treatment was harsh and inhumane.

The Guardian‘s investigation describes Manning as a “mess of a child.” Said an officer from the Fort Leonard Wood military base in Missouri, where Manning trained in 2007:

The officer’s words reinforce a leaked confidential military report that reveals that other senior officers thought he was unfit to go to Iraq. “He was harassed so much that he once pissed in his sweatpants,” the officer said.

“I escorted Manning a couple of times to his ‘psych’ evaluations after his outbursts. They never should have trapped him in and recycled him in [to Iraq]. Never. Not that mess of a child I saw with my own two eyes. No one has mentioned the army’s failure here – and the discharge unit who agreed to send him out there,” said the officer, who asked not to be identified because of the hostility towards Manning in the military.

“I live in an area where I would be persecuted if I said anything against the army or helped Manning,” the officer said.

Despite several violent outbursts and a diagnosis of adjustment disorder, a condition that meant he was showing difficulty adjusting to military life, Manning was eventually sent to Iraq, where it is alleged he illegally downloaded thousands of sensitive military and diplomatic documents and passed them on to the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

In Iraq, Manning received security clearance to work as an intelligence specialist. He continued to work in this capacity even though, as his lawyer David Coombs confirms, “the bolt was removed from his rifle because he was thought to be a danger” two months after he arrived in Iraq.

Further, security was “so lax” at his station in Iraq, Forward Operating Base Hammer, that not only did many of the 300 soldiers on base have access to the computer room where Manning worked — passwords to access the intelligence computers were written on Post-it type notes stuck on computer screens. According to eyewitnesses, Manning was “increasingly unstable and at times violent.”

The US Defence Security Service is investigating why the young soldier, who had received psychiatric counseling before being deployed to Iraq, was not screened more extensively before being assigned to work in intelligence.

Manning has been charged with “aiding the enemy,” a capital offense. He has denied all the charges against him and faces up to 55 years in prison.



Previous Care2 Coverage

Bradley Manning No Longer Held in Solitary Confinement

Leaked Files Reveal Secrets About Guantánamo, Flaws Made By Analysts

Eminent US Legal Scholars Protest Torture of Bradley Manning

Army Failed to Follow Warnings About Manning’s Mental Health

The Case of Pfc Bradley Manning




Photo by Takver


Shawn S.
Shawn S6 years ago

Thank you Ameer T. I couldn't have said it better myself!
Now, back to Bradley Manning: It was a serious misjudgement by his superiors to send a mentally unstable soldier to Iraq.
I am completely at a loss for words on this matter.
As a Veteran of the Armed services that went to numerous psychological evaluations I am shocked that he was sent overseas in such a fragile andor dangerous condition.
The persons responsible for this gross oversite should be immediately relieved for not doing their duty.

john k.
john k6 years ago

i spent my memorial day reflecting on our soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice.....its unfortunate that manning wasnt one of them

Parvez Z.
Parvez Zuberi6 years ago

Why you people are scared of the truth this soldier has just exposed of the war crimes committed by your Govt he should be released he did as he could not bear the atrocities committed by the American forces which were similar to what Hitler did to JEWS thats why I keep asking you Americans that BUSH and his cronies are war criminals and should be tried and punished every thing is documented with proves, if you people believe in Justice then get up hold people responsible of war crimes this soldier did a right thing he should be released if you are afraid of truth then you are a coward nation

Doug G.
Doug G6 years ago

This story gives further insight into how pathetic this government operates (as if anyone needed further proof).

Teri H.
Teri H6 years ago

I am in no way defending what Mr.Manning did. It is very wrong to betray your country like that, but the army was wrong too. I beleive that they probably send a good number of soilders to war that don't need to go. I really think letting an 18 year old join the military is so wrong. They are too young. I mean hell you aren't old enough to buy a beer or gamble in this country until you are 21, but they think 18 year olds can make the decision to go to war and get killed. How does that make sense? So right there kind of shows the military only cares about what they need not what the soilders need.

pam wilkerson
pam wilkerson6 years ago

Yeah, they should not send this poor kid there. Whoever sent him there is his/her or they
fault!!! Fired that person for good

Lindsey DTSW
.6 years ago

Ameer, when you omit the qualifiers to any comment, then you misrepersent the meaning of the comment. Backtracking won't help you here, I'm afraid. Since the words are clearly stated in my comment.

"Do recall that it wasn't the ordinary German soldier or officer in the field who was put on trial there. THEY WEREN'T GUILTY OF ANY CRIME BY FOLLOWING ORDERS IN THE WAGING OF WAR AGAINST THE ALLIES. It was some in the upper echelons of the German military/goverment and THOSE WHO PARTICIPATED IN SPECIFIC KINDS OF CRIMES (SUCH AS MURDERING CONCENTRATION CAMP INMATES) WHO WERE PUT ON TRIAL AT NUREMBURG."

Ameer T.
Ameer T6 years ago

i double checked and re-read the comments you made and i am sorry but you specifically said that lower ranking soldiers were not tried at Nuremberg. your later clarification is additional to your original statment. No soldier or even officer is tried for war itself because post-war sanctions are imopsed over the country in most cases and made to pay damages to the victim country. Nuremberg trials were about war crimes not the act of war and yes the lower ranking soldiers were tried and convicted there as well as higher ranking officers.

And any amount of insanity has a bearing on legal issues. A person need not be a raving, frothing at the mouth insane to be considered legally incompetant. The degree of insanity determines the degree of responsibility for the actions commited. So any amount of mental fragility will have to be considered in any case.

Lindsey DTSW
.6 years ago

Ameer, you seem to not be reading my posts very carefully. Because I didn't say that Bradley's mental health should not have a bearing on the case. I clearly and unequivocally stated that it shouldn't UNLESS he was found to have been at the time of his actions mentally incompetent/insane. Which would decidedly mean that he wasn't responsible for his actions legally.

Nor did I say that ordinary soldiers weren't tried at Nuremburg - without qualifying it by stating I was speaking of those ordinary soldiers not being prosecuted merely for waging war against the Allies. And stating that those who participated in specific kinds of crimes (such as the crimes against humanity you mention) were prosecuted.

Do read someone's comments more carefully before disagreeing with them.

Ameer T.
Ameer T6 years ago


I dont believe that his mental health should not have a bearing on the case as Lindsey DTSW says. Lots of criminals get off after pleading insanity. and furthermore if this kid was so mentally instable, why was he working for the intelligence where he had access to thousands of military papers?

Also as Lindsey DTSW says above that ordinary soldiers were not tried at the Nuremberg trials is false as well. These trials represented a large-scale prosecution of Nazis, many of whom pleaded the defence of superior orders. In previous war trials, after previous wars, this defence was generally held to be available to subordinate soldiers. Before World War II, prosecutions for war crimes were limited to heads of State, and to high-ranking military commanders. The defence of superior orders was an accepted general principle of law recognised by the community of nations. In convicting lower-ranking soldiers the Nuremberg trials were, in a sense, applying international law retrospectively. Before the trials, lower-ranking soldiers could claim that in following orders from their superiors they were not breaking any law. At the trials they were told that their actions were crimes against humanity: that their actions were criminal even though they were not in breach of international law as settled at the time that their acts were committed.