That’s well short of the 60 years the prosecution had asked for. As USA Today points out, “He would probably be eligible for parole after he served one-third or 10 years of his sentence, whichever is longer.”
It’s about all Manning and his defense could realistically have hoped for. (His attorneys asked for 25 years.) What Manning needs now is another Warren G. Harding, who commuted the prison sentence Woodrow Wilson inflicted on antiwar socialist Eugene V. Debs for urging resistance to the draft during wartime. Harding, who subsequently invited Debs to the White House, didn’t sympathize with the dissenter’s views—”He is a man of much personal charm and impressive personality, which qualifications make him a dangerous man calculated to mislead the unthinking and affording excuse for those with criminal intent,” the president said—but he had a sense of proportion and the courage to act on it, virtues our leaders today tend to eschew in favor of Wilsonian intransigence.