Political commentator Charles Krauthammer spoke in his normal no-holds-barred manner on Thursday when addressing controversial actions taken by President Barack Obama during his final week in office, including Obama's handling of Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning's prison sentence.
Days before leaving office, Obama commuted former Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning's federal prison sentence. Manning, who lives as a transgender woman and whose given name is Bradley, was convicted of espionage and sentenced to 35 years in a military prison for stealing 750,000 pages of sensitive and classified government documents and distributing them to the website WikiLeaks.
The president used his executive power to commute all but four months of Manning's remaining sentence.
Obama defended his decision at a press conference this week, saying he didn't think Manning's sentence was fairly given. "The sentence she received was very disproportionate relative to what other leakers had received" he said yesterday.
Krauthammer spoke about the matter on Fox News Thursday and didn't hold back in his analysis of Obama's controversial move.
"I’m just hoping that in the next 48 hours, Obama doesn’t return Alaska to the Russians," Krauthammer said, tongue-in-cheek. "After all, it was an unfair deal." The United States acquired Alaska from Russia in 1867 for a total purchase price of $7.2 million, a sum that has been repaid many times over in revenue from Alaska's vast store of national resources, including gold and oil. Historians generally regard Russia's sale of Alaska to the United States to have been an enormous blunder.
Krauthammer went on to express the worldwide effect of Manning's release of the documents. "We know... that there was a Taliban killing spree after the release when they went after people who fit the description of those helping us. This was deadly. This is murder, this is treason."
"A generation ago, someone who did that on that scale would have been hanged. Thirty-five years was an act of mercy and restraint," Krauthammer said, referring to Obama's assertion that the original 35-year sentence was too harsh.
After reasoning that Obama has sent the rest of the world the wrong message, he said, "Anyone who hears about this — how lenient we are with someone who betrays this country and betrays them — is going to think twice about ever helping us."