During the last week of March, more than 30,000 people signed a petition urging the Norwegian Nobel Committee to award the Nobel Peace Prize to Bradley Manning. While the numbers continue to mount on the petition website, so do the comments from individual signers.
Thousands have already written personal notes to explain their support for the petition. I hope the Nobel committee reads the comments carefully when the petition arrives in Oslo later this spring.
As a U.S. Army private -- seeing massive evidence of official deception, human rights abuses and flagrant killing of civilians -- Bradley Manning did not just follow orders. Instead, he became a whistleblower, supplying vast troves of documents to WikiLeaks, exposing duplicity that had enormous impacts from Iraq and Afghanistan to Egypt and Tunisia.
Manning, now 25 years old, could be in prison for the rest of his life. But while the U.S. government tries to crush him, it's clear that many Americans love him -- and would be thrilled to see him win the Nobel Peace Prize. The following samples of comments from petition signers begin to explain why:
"Bradley Manning knowingly risked his freedom in order to bring the true facts of war to the public. The courage and insight of such a young person is worthy of the highest recognition."
Sheila C., Kings Park, NY
"Manning is a U.S. political prisoner being persecuted for blowing the whistle on war crimes by the powerful, including his own corrupt government. He should be given the Nobel Peace Prize."
Ruth K., Greenbelt, MD
"If you are looking to regain your reputation after giving the award to a warmongering president, I can think of no more important or honorable figure than this political prisoner."
Catherine C., Santa Monica, CA
"This poor, incredibly brave person has been scapegoated nearly to death for his extraordinary heroism in revealing just a bit of the truth behind the ideological gloss of war and politics. Please give him the support and recognition he deserves -- you may save his life and you will certainly support a higher consciousness in many if you do so."
Cathy C., Boulder, CO
"Wall Street bankers who looted our nations go scot free. Petro chemical companies who poison millions go free. A young man who releases truth in a democracy is terrorized endlessly by his government. We must stand up for truth tellers."
W.D., Overland Park, KS
"Manning has done more for peace in our time than any other individual. He risked his freedom to inform the world of war crimes and other wrongdoing by his country."
William P., Prescott Valley, AZ
"He has done more than anyone to challenge the hubris of a government's foreign policy that is based on belligerence and aggression."
Myles H., Baltimore, MD
"Please give the peace prize to those who truly merit it, like Manning, not to politicians who further militarism and war."
Albert R., Naperville, IL
"The Norwegian Nobel Committee will need courage even to consider awarding Bradley Manning the Peace Prize."
Robert B., Honolulu, HI
"Bradley Manning is a hero in the deepest and truest meaning of that word."
Jennifer A., Dickson, TN
"This young man risked everything to reveal war crimes being committed by his government."
Joanne H., Columbia, MD
"I feel Manning was acting in the spirit of the Nuremberg trials in taking individual responsibility for illegal activities that he was witnessing."
Nick W., Point Reyes, CA
"I've personally been inspired by Bradley Manning's courage and moral dignity. His actions and character give me hope that the world can be a safer and more just place for everyone."
Brock D., Pittsburgh, PA
"The modern version of Daniel Ellsberg deserves the honor his efforts warrant!"
Doug W., Reno, NV
"Information is the lifeblood of democracy. Bradley Manning is a patriot and a hero."
William C., Sherman Oaks, CA
"People who expose atrocities for the sake of humanity deserve to be publicly honored."
Veda S., Camano Island, WA
"Giving Bradley the peace prize would send a strong message against the kind of secrecy that is associated with violence that Gandhi spoke so strongly about."
Leo S., Chesterfield, NH
"He is definitely deserving! He did an extremely courageous thing. It's wrong that he is detained and tortured. Awarding him this prize is the least we can do."
Patricia M., Denver, CO
"As clear a choice as Jesus Christ. (And I'm not religious.)"
Kenneth K., Highland Park, IL
"This man is a hero for exposing the evil practices of our Government. We're guaranteed a transparent Government, but what we get is shadowy deals, evil bargains, and more. We need to get back to basic principles of doing what's right."
Raymond P., Cathedral City, CA
"What an appropriate and great idea the Nobel Peace Prize for Bradley Manning!"
Lesley S., Santa Monica, CA
"Bradley Manning's 'crime' was to bring the truth out into the open, to shine a light on evil policies our government wants to hide. He is a hero, and should be rewarded for his integrity."
Patricia F., Ashburnham, MA
"The people of the United States and the world should be grateful to Bradley Manning for exposing the folly of U.S. wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has made a great sacrifice for peace."
Laurence R., Highland Park, NJ
"I believe him to be one of the heroes of this country. Unfortunately The Media is owned by vested interests in this country, so the rank and file Americans only believe what they are told to believe, so because he and Julian Assange embarrassed the powers that be his heroics will never be widely known or appreciated."
Thomas C., Albuquerque, NM
"Bringing covert actions and diplomatic operations out into the open helps make all governments and corporations better actors on the world stage."
Greg C., Austin, TX
"You might also request President Obama to return his."
Reginald S., San Francisco, CA
"One person deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize is Bradley Manning for bravery despite the risk to his personal safety. The criminals go unpunished, while the messenger is condemned."
Helga G., St. Louis, MO
"This young man has put his entire future on the line to bring us information that he felt every American should be aware of. We have treated him terribly. If we cannot get the information that is concerning the behavior of our country, we are dooming our democracy to failure. Protect this young man for his courage and award him the Nobel."
Laurie B., North Hollywood, CA
"You gave the prize to Barack Obama hoping for peace which was not delivered. Manning has ALREADY delivered. And is very much in need of international support."
Peter B., Brooklyn, NY
"And free him too."
Keith P., Boulder, CO
"Just as Daniel Ellsberg's release of the Pentagon Papers exposed much of the ugly truth about the conflict in Vietnam, Manning has spoken truth to power and the masses. We can argue about justifications for military intervention more appropriately when some of the less savory realities are known."
Edward & Pamela B., Baton Rouge, LA
"As a Sgt USMC Vietnam 1966/67, I urge you to not only award Bradley Manning the Nobel Peace Prize, but to rescind President Obama's award."
Robert B., Orange, TX
"We should have a law against criminalizing whistleblowers. The government will continue to make stupid mistakes and the citizens have a right to know the truth."
Sylvia D., Tulsa, OK
"Thanks Bradley. The truth will make us free."
Blase B., Los Angeles, CA
"Bradley's in prison while those responsible for these heinous acts of cowardice are free. It's so easy to condone war when isolated from reality."
Daria R., San Jose, CA
"He acted out of social consciousness. His actions were not treasonous and he was not aiding the enemy. It has been criminal how he has been treated since his arrest."
Gregg D., Chattanooga, TN
"If anyone ever really earned the peace price, it is Bradley Manning. Please give the world a favor by electing him for this award."
Liza F., Chapel Hill, NC
"Bradley Manning is the bravest, strongest and most righteous man in our military today. His treatment by our 'government' has been nothing less than criminal. This needs to be brought to the attention of everyone on Earth."
Susan W., Pilot Hill, CA
"Someone in my family died on 9/11. How do we address the underlying causes that might drive someone to commit an act of terrorism in the first place? Might the information allegedly leaked by Manning galvanize people to hold their political leaders more accountable? And so we might be able to enact meaningful changes in the realm of foreign policy? Our current policies will only end in more blowback. Thank you, Bradley Manning."
Rick C., New Milford, NJ
"Indeed, this young man DOES walk in the shoes of Dr. King."
A.J. A., Potsdam, NY
"Bradley Manning knew what he was risking in taking his stand against the U.S. government and it was an act of inspiring selflessness. Please recognize his willingness to stand up against what has become a monstrous self preserving beast of a government."
Robert B., Charlotte, NC
"Bradley Manning is a hero willing to put his life on the line to speak out about war crimes that are not acceptable in a civilized world."
Linda L., Trinidad, CA
"This man has sacrificed a great deal for all of us who believe in honest government and genuine democracy."
Kaye F., Longmont, CO
"Let's walk the walk!"
Richard R., Albuquerque, NM
"My beloved country, the USA, is spending too much money and lives on militarism. We have invaded other countries on the basis of lies. I believe this young man will be seen as a hero some day. That he is in prison says much about the USA and its military."
Marcie B., Flagstaff, AZ
"It is the hawks who are threatened by Manning and want to nip this kind of behavior in the bud."
Shelley D., Issaquah, WA
"Wow, what it would do for the world to honor someone who actually acted for peace with courage and self-less-ness. Having that reference would give enormous hope for people around the world and for humankind!"
Connie S., Santa Barbara, CA
"This is a wonderful idea! Bradley Manning certainly deserves it, and if he receives it, it would have to shame the U.S. government into releasing him."
Rose B., Austin, TX
"Rarely have I felt so strongly about a Nobel nominee's qualification for the honor. PFC Manning has given a significant part of his life, night and day, to bring truth to light and reduce human suffering. History will judge him a hero. History starts here, now."
John K., Laurel, MD
"Bradley Manning is a hero of the people. He should be freed and given the Nobel Peace Prize AND a ticker-tape parade in NYC."
Leonard M., San Marcos, CA
"Give peace and Bradley Manning a chance."
Martha L., Dixon, CA
"I am Proud of Bradley Manning and how he took action to expose the treachery of my government to stop it. Bradley Manning deserves the Nobel Peace Prize along with Julian Assange!"
L. L., San Diego, CA
"Bravery and altruism are what stands between us and the power and greed of unscrupulous might which has no conscience."
Caroline T., Ann Arbor, MI
"Bring the trial into the light of day. Don't let Manning be 'disappeared.' This is America."
Jeffrey G., San Carlos, CA
"Bradley is a political prisoner in our country that preaches freedom and democracy on the outside but does so many illegal things behind our backs without transparency!"
Steve & Sharon B., Oxnard, CA
"Bradley Manning has done more than anyone in the world to let all people know the deplorable state of U.S. militarism."
Gail O., Portland, OR
"In 2001, the world began a steep descent into terrible, ethical unknown. We are now in free fall, thanks to the unbridled and abetted preemptive strikes on two countries Afghanistan and Iraq. The most pressing issues on the planet -- inequality and climate collapse -- have effectively been negated and conflict is escalating daily based on new and old rivalries throughout the world. Soon, much of the world's species will inevitably be condemned [to] death-struggles over food, water, air and brute force. Bradley Manning will go down -- if we live to write the history of the world in 2200 -- as one of great souls of our age. He deserves recognition now by all those concerned with the crises we now face and must solve together as a planet and a human society."
Ari M., Lennox, MA
"Peace is unattainable without sacrificial lambs, apparently."
William T., Ellicott City, MD
"No peace possible without freedom of information!"
John K., Elizabeth, CO
"Let this kid go. As a Vietnam vet I say put Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bush in jail. They actually got people killed -- for nothing. And I mean nothing."
Ken L., Pinehurst, NC
"I thought we would learn from Vietnam, but we did not. Exporting war for profit has to end, and Manning's courage must not be forgotten."
Roger S., York, PA
"The public has a right to information. That is the basis of democracy. Bradley Manning has the courage to give us the truth. I cannot think of a more deserving individual."
Trish S., Sparks, NV
"The selection of Bradley Manning would put 'Peace' back into the Nobel Peace Prize."
Gail H., Mesa, AZ
"Although I'm an Obama supporter, I'm ashamed that he is still allowing the military to persecute Bradley Manning."
Cathy L., Grayling, MI
"He deserves it. Obama did not, though I supported it at the time."
Burton C., New Castle, NH
"He is a hero to the whole world!"
Phoebe S., Berkeley, CA
"Manning is a sterling example of the power of one individual sacrificing himself for the good of humanity."
Encke K., New York, NY
"The media silence is deafening."
Daniel S., Manchester, NH
"He did break the law but he's serving time for that. Sometimes to serve the greater good laws need to be broken."
Rachel D., Seattle, WA
"He has done so much to expose the criminal behavior of some leaders of the American empire."
Frederick C., Montclair, NJ
"Whistleblowers are the true heroes! And he really needs this."
Carol Anne F., Berkeley, CA
"Give the Nobel Peace Prize to a true hero of the human race, a man who transcends borders and has placed his own self a distant second to the needs of others. Brad Manning is a great human being. Give him the Nobel, please!"
Eric W., Austin, TX
"According to U.S. military brass, it is ok to commit war crimes but it is not ok to expose them. Giving Bradley Manning the Nobel Peace Prize will give hope to millions of peace loving people around the world. Please consider it."
Ali M., Princeton, NJ
"I suppose this enters me into a database somewhere, but this man deserves our thanks for revealing the lurid backstory of diplomacy and the hypocrisy of our 'leaders' (and I use that term loosely). This country needs the truth."
Arthur G., Chamblee, GA
"Those who blow the whistle on the evil actions of government need to be applauded and rewarded, not imprisoned."
Kenneth E., Ormond Beach, FL
"This is a moral imperative. Bradley Manning has already spent too much time incarcerated for supporting our right to know how our leaders betrayed us with war for profit. Do the right thing!"
Josephine P., Brooklyn, NY
"Bradley Manning has endured terrible conditions in a U.S. military prison because he thinks that citizens of a democracy should know what their government and military are doing in their names; that transparency rather than secrecy nurtures democracy and peace."
Edith M., Milwaukee, WI
"Bradley Manning has been jailed and tortured. He has been denied his constitutional rights. He has sacrificed himself to prove war crimes and to help bring peace to Iraq. He is the Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King of this century. He should be awarded The Noble Peace Prize."
Deb B., Pittsburgh, PA
"With all due respect, try giving the Peace Prize to a REAL champion of peace, for a change."
Lionel S., Pahoa, HI
To read more comments from supporters of a Nobel Peace Prize for Bradley Manning, or to join them in signing the RootsAction.org petition urging the Norwegian Nobel Committee to award him the prize, click here.