Obama registered his approval of Manning’s torture in characteristically vague and noncommittal terms: “I’ve actually asked the Pentagon whether or not the procedures … are appropriate. They assured me they are.”He's been in solitary confinement for about a year now. You should ask yourself this question: can you imagine living in solitary confinement for a year? You sure as hell can't. Like the distance between stars, I think it is simply beyond the power of the human imagination. Maybe if you've been in solitary for a couple months you could start to imagine it. But normal people cannot.
To be sure, I wouldn't call for his release. If he did what he is accused of doing then it's probably very illegal and some sort of punishment is to be expected. But what his captors have done is worse: inflicting an unconstitutionally harsh punishment on an individual who has not even had a trial yet. It's a clear case of "setting an example". They know the punishment is unreasonable and illegal, but they do it to send a message to anyone else who would consider leaking confidential documents to the public.
Their message is this: You will suffer a fate worse than death. Being an American citizen offers no protection. We don't need enough evidence for a trial. And no amount of protestors can help you.