Was he secretly appalled by the treatment Manning received in both pre-trial confinement and then later, after she was convicted? (He did, after all, condemn solitary confinement in the Washington Post last year.) Was he worried about what type of retribution the Trump administration would take once in office? Or did he just realize that Manning's sentence was orders of magnitude higher than any other leaker in history and fundamentally unjust?
Only the president knows why. But we do know this: he made the right decision, one that he didn't have to. It won't erase his tragic legacy of cracking down on leakers and journalists' sources, but he should be commended for it. So: thanks, Obama. Seriously.