As one of his last acts in office, President Obama commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning, a government whistleblower who leaked documents that exposed atrocities committed by the United States military. Manning called these leaks “the most significant documents of our time, removing the fog of war and revealing the true nature of 21st century asymmetric warfare.”

One of the most disturbing of the leaks was a video filmed on July 17th in Baghdad that revealed the gunning down of eight “armed” men who were, in reality, carrying only cameras. Moreover, in the video an official codenamed “Crazyhorse One-Eight” can be heard remarking, “Look at those dead bastards.” Even the officers tasked with collecting the dead and wounded bodies opened fire at the crowd of men, aiming to kill anyone still alive. And when ground soldiers discovered two civilian children in the van, one sneered, “Well, it’s their fault for bringing their kids into a battle.”

Manning peeled the curtain back on the military and unveiled the disgusting apathy among some military men and women concerning foreign life. Information about the barbarities committed by the U.S. should be available to the public, and the culprits must be held accountable.

The documents Manning leaked regarding the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars shed light on unreported civilian casualties, psychological warfare tactics, and child-prostitution rings supported by government contractors. Chelsea Manning did justice for her country, but for her act of bravery, she was convicted with a 35 year prison sentence, despite little evidence that her leaks put anyone in danger.

On top of the unprecedentedly long sentence, Manning suffers from gender dysphoria; she has struggled to win her basic civil rights in prison. As a transgender woman who has been forced to stay in an all-male prison, she is constantly vulnerable to sexual harassment and assault. In the past few years, she has fought to change her legal name, to correct her pronoun in government documents, and to receive hormone therapy. In fact, she starved herself for five days in order to receive gender transition surgery.

Manning faces significant backlash following the government’s decision to support her transition surgery; many people thought it as a waste of public money. However, one must question why the government could not afford $20,000 for a medical procedure but does have funds for the barbaric, multi-trillion dollar wars that put her in jail in the first place.

Manning upheld American values when her country failed to; her commutation should be celebrated. Like Edward Snowden in more recent years, Manning revealed the truth about enormities that the government tried to cover up. It is nonsensical that she has been jailed for uncovering the truth about the U.S. government and that she needed to fight for her rights as a transgender woman from her jail cell. Chelsea Manning should be hailed as a hero for protecting our right to information.