When faced with a moral dilemma of exposing crimes against humanity or remaining loyal to a country (and I won't get into the problematic terminology of serving a "country"), I respect that Manning chose justice over militaristic brainwashing of just following orders. Human rights trump nationalism. There's hardly any legitimate evidence that Manning endangered lives. You could also argue that he saved lives both directly and indirectly through bringing awareness to certain issues. It takes courage to take a stand against the U.S. Government. The war crimes likely would not have been exposed otherwise.
Bradley Manning did what he believed in his heart to be his duty in a democratic society. He exposed the war crimes of the U.S. Army and Government to the U.S. People. This is yet again another debate about security versus freedom. For me, freedom rules every time. Manning deserves thanks and praise, not punishment.
Whether or not his intentions were good, he leaked information that seriously hurt our nation and foreign interests. His information has gotten an unknown number of people or their friends or family members killed, tortured, raped since he Taliban and Al-queda swore revenge on those who took part (obviously all their information was in the files) and those they loved. Now, there was also that video with the drone in which the army killed two reporters, and although it was tragic, it still doesn't make what he did any better. I don't believe the war in Iraq or Afghanistan was acceptable, however Bradley Manning is far from a hero in my eyes.
He sold 250,000 cables of information to a FOREIGN entity. He released classified government intel some of which contained information that hurt our security. There is no way shape or form that you can put that that does not translate to traitor. Even if his intentions were pure, which based on his defense is questionable, it was STILL. A violation of the law. Furthermore. The argument that he "reveled to the American public the evil atrocities commuted by our armies in Iraq" is complete bogus. Out if the 250,000 cables of classified material he released ONE video that is completely questionable and while it is understandable how the less informed or less intelligent might have seen that as an act of murder, further investigation reveled to anyone of competence the legit amici of the engaging. So even with that argument you still fail. Fact is he broke the law. Regardless of how you feel about the law the law is still the law. Just as its punishments. And he will suffer them just as any other criminal. Which he most certainly is.