In the case of PFC Bradley Manning, who has been incarcerated for almost two years while waiting to be tried for allegedly “aiding the enemy,” President Obama has not only made his opinion unequivocally clear, he has done so in violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which prohibits “undue command influence” on cases to be tried by military tribunal or court martial. Responding to a Manning supporter at a San Francisco fundraiser last year, the president proclaimed: “We’re a nation of laws! We don’t let individuals make their own decisions about how the laws operate. He broke the law.”
ART. 37. UNLAWFULLY INFLUENCING ACTION OF COURT
(a) No authority convening a general, special, or summary court-martial, nor any other commanding officer… may attempt to coerce or, by any unauthorized means, influence the action of a court-martial or any other military tribunal…”
In the case of George Zimmerman, who stalked, shot, and killed an unarmed teenager in Florida and then claimed he did so in self-defense, the president has urged restraint and careful examination of all the evidence before judgment is rendered about the guilt or innocence of the shooter.
At a White House press conference yesterday, this is how he weighed in: “I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans take this with the seriousness that it deserves, and we’re going to get to the bottom of what happened.”
“Every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this and everybody pulls together, federal state and local, to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened.”