Bradley Manning and the Ones Who Walk Away From Obama

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

Glenn Greenwald scolds Obama supporters still sitting on their hands over the treatment of Bradley Manning. He also describes that treatment in detail:

Let’s review Manning’s detention over the last nine straight months:  23-hour/day solitary confinement; barred even from exercising in his cell; one hour total outside his cell per day where he’s allowed to walk around in circles in a room alone while shackled, and is returned to his cell the minute he stops walking; forced to respond to guards’ inquiries literally every 5 minutes, all day, everyday; and awakened at night each time he is curled up in the corner of his bed or otherwise outside the guards’ full view.  Is there anyone who doubts that these measures — and especially this prolonged forced nudity — are punitive and designed to further erode his mental health, physical health and will?  As The Guardian reported last year, forced nudity is almost certainly a breach of the Geneva Conventions; the Conventions do not technically apply to Manning, as he is not a prisoner of war, but they certainly establish the minimal protections to which all detainees — let alone citizens convicted of nothing — are entitled.

Manning is getting far worse treatment than Timothy McVeigh, Jared Loughner, or your run-of-the-mill serial killer. It’s important to remember here that Manning didn’t covertly leak classified information to a foreign enemy. He leaked classified information to a website knowing that all of it would eventually be published. That’s an important difference. Manning  knew that the U.S. government would know what information was leaked, and that it would know who would have access to the leaked information (everyone). The U.S. government has also conceded that it’s unlikely Manning’s leaks did any substantial harm.

That’s a much less serious offense than that of, say, Aldrich Ames, who secretly turned classified information over to a hostile nation, and whose treachery resulted in the deaths of CIA assets. Moreover, the government didn’t know the extent of the information Ames had sold, making the actual harm quite a bit worse. Yet Manning is also getting far worse treatment than Ames ever got.

So why is that? Here’s my guess: McVeigh, Loughner, and Ames merely killed people, or caused people to be killed. Their transgressions were despicable, but they didn’t splash any embarrassment back on the government itself (although you could argue that Ames embarrassed the government to some degree, at least in that it took so long for him to be discovered). Manning, on the other hand, embarrassed the government. In the community of people who believe government to be the noblest, most honorable, most vaunted possible calling, that’s a far worse offense. It’s probably the worst offense.

Manning embarrassed the Pentagon by revealing how easily a relatively low-ranking soldier could steal and pass off reams and reams of classified information. He embarrassed the State Department because the documents he leaked showed just how petty, vindictive, and underhanded U.S. diplomacy can be—for example, they showed that our Secretary of State ordered U.S. diplomats to spy on and collect DNA samples from leaders of other countries, including our allies. Manning also showed just how manipulative, back-stabbing, and ugly diplomacy can be in general. He exposed the personal peccadilloes and private lives of foreign leaders, and revealed that our own diplomats frequently gossiped about all of that. In short, Manning pierced the veil of high-minded sanctity in which high-ranking diplomats and heads of state tend to cloak themselves.

I don’t think Manning is the hero some have made him out to be. If he had leaked information to blow the whistle on some specific government wrongdoing, I’d be right there with the people celebrating him. But this seems more like a vindictive, reckless act undertaken by a guy who by all appearances had a grudge to bear—not to mention some likely psychiatric problems. He did break the law, and because what he did was more of a petulant information dump than genuine whistle-blowing, I’m fine with him being prosecuted for the laws he broke.

That said, he should only be prosecuted for the laws he broke, not the trumped up charges the military is now piling upon him. The government’s treatment of Manning is absolutely shameful. But it’s also revealing. Murder a government official, bomb a federal building with the aim of starting a violent revolution, covertly sell off national security secrets to America’s primary global enemy—for all of these acts you’ll be treated like a conventional criminal. Which is to say mostly humanely, with the same constitutional protections as those accused of less heinous crimes. (Unless they tag you as a terrorist.)

But make the wrong, self-important government officials look foolish, and boy will there be hell to pay.

Headline explanation here.

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112 Responses to “Bradley Manning and the Ones Who Walk Away From Obama”

  1. #1 |  André | 

    You have “Aimes” two places in the text instead of “Ames”.

  2. #2 |  André | 

    Part of me views Manning as a Kevin Mitnick case of someone who did commit a crime and then was so severely fucked over so hard and so much that the original crime is really trivial in comparison. The question is, who has done the greater evil?

    I don’t think it’s fair to criticize him for leaking documents en masse instead of targeting certain areas of corruption. It’s taking teams of newspaper reporters in multiple countries to work on the cables, and there’s still so much more to be sifted through. He is not an investigative journalist, nor would he have the time to do this while working his day job. His complaint as a whistleblower was of the pervasive corruption and deception practiced by the USG, and I think what was leaked shows how on-target he was.

    Lots of whistleblowers leak information because they have a grudge or are vindictive, and I don’t think that appreciably cheapens the value of the truth that eventually comes out. Holding governments accountable would be a lot harder if we only used information leaked by altruistic whistleblowers. If you leak documents pertaining to your superiors’ embezzlement, I think it’s really secondary whether you hated your boss’s guts or not.

  3. #3 |  Dave Krueger | 

    There are certain crimes where the population largely condones whatever tortures the accused is subjected to. Any sex crime involving a child is a good example. You could string him up without a trial and most people would cheer. This is, of course, the reason so many innocent people were persecuted and locked up during the 80s and 90s (and are still being locked up).

    If the question is, “How can the government do this?”, the answer is simply, “Because they can”.

  4. #4 |  Dave Krueger | 

    I should have said “during the 80s and 90s day care abuse hysteria”.

  5. #5 |  Len | 

    Why hasn’t the case been brought to trial… because they can’t?

  6. #6 |  Trey Givens » Blog Archive » You’d be Better Off as a Terrorist | 

    [...] there is a discussion about the situation over at The Agitator that I find very thought-provoking. So why is that? Here’s my guess: McVeigh, Loughner, and Ames merely killed people, or caused [...]

  7. #7 |  MIkeS | 

    I think you have a point, Radley, but the harsh treatment, IMHO, has more to do with him being confined in a military prison, as opposed to a civilian one. I think the military tend to judge these things much more harshly and respond with more harsh treatment. As they see it, Manning betrayed *them*. It’s similar to the way cops respond to a cop who tries to expose corruption and abuse within the system.

  8. #8 |  Kelly Taylor | 

    Re:”If he had leaked information to blow the whistle on some specific government wrongdoing, I’d be right there with the people celebrating him. But this seems more like a vindictive, reckless act ”
    Spoken like a true chickenshit fakeass punk, Badly.
    Any soldier who sees a video of American troops murdering civilians, including children, from a helicopter and doesn’t understand that under USMJ and the Geneva Conventions he is obligated to report these crimes is a hopeless case.

  9. #9 |  Helmut O' Hooligan's Ghost | 

    “But you make the wrong self-important government officials look foolish, and boy will there be hell to pay.”

    This was an excellent, fair analysis of the Manning case. And referring to a Glen Greenwald piece is almost always a good start these days. This is what keeps me coming back to The Agitator!

    Whistle blowing is important if we are ever going to gain more control over our goverment and make it more transparent. However, whistleblowers are not always going to be worthy of canonization. The Left and Right always seem to be looking for heroes. Libertarians tend to be wary of heroes, which makes me respect libertarian analysis, even though I disagree with some aspect of libertarianism. Alas, even tainted sources of information can provide us with necessary insight in to the underbelly of American foreign policy.

  10. #10 |  sigh | 

    “I don’t think Manning is the hero some have made him out to be. ”

    Given some of his apparent attempts to intentionally mischaracterize some of that information, no, he wouldn’t be. From the military’s standpoint, this guy is screwed… there is little doubt about the intentions with the leaks.

    But that still doesn’t mean the government should have the power to do this to people.

    Your average man on the street still has a strong belief in the whole notion of “it can’t happen here”, but it’s obviously happening already. Cross the government and they will crush you.

  11. #11 |  nwerner | 

    Not to split hairs but shouldn’t the word ‘allegedly’ be employed?

  12. #12 |  WAR ON WHISTLEBLOWERS · Hammer of Truth | 

    [...] WAR ON WHISTLEBLOWERS: Manning is getting far worse treatment than Timothy McVeigh, Jared Loughner, … [...]

  13. #13 |  Episiarch | 

    A LeGuin reference, Radley? Nice.

    What I don’t understand is how Manning hasn’t been brought to trial yet. Is there no judge that will say “this is wrong, and a violation of his civil rights, he has a right to a speedy trial”? How can they get away with this?

    I guess the answer is what Dave said above: because they can.

  14. #14 |  Serena | 

    It still boggles my mind that Hillary spying on the UN hasn’t had more traction in the media, and therefore no pressure on her to resign.

  15. #15 |  freebob | 

    I agree, one reason for Manning’s treatment is he made the government look bad, in their eyes a far worse offense than killing civilians; but I also have to believe this is an attempt by the government to get him to flip on(or make stuff up about) Assange and Wikileaks.

  16. #16 |  Whim | 

    The U.S. military dishonors itself by such inhumane conduct against Pfc. Manning.

    The U.S. Marine Corps has joined the despicable list of all U.S. law enforcement agencies that have become not our protectors, but rather our jailers……

  17. #17 |  Mattocracy | 

    I agree with Serena. Why aren’t our leaders screaming about our state department engaging in behavior that we would denounce if Iran had it’s own Bradley Manning?

    Oh wait, I know. Because it’s more important to be vindictive shits rather than show any remorse for being dishonorable, hypocritical assholes that shitted all over the values our country was founded on.

    Therefore Manning and Assange get crucified.

  18. #18 |  Mattocracy | 

    Although a lot of Obama supporters seem to be touting the party line here, there are plenty of liberals who are completely appalled by this. They just don’t seem to be loud enough or given much press.

  19. #19 |  Andrew Roth | 

    If Bradley Manning did what he is accused of doing, he is one of the most courageous Americans alive today. Regardless of one’s motives, it takes immense courage for a soldier to collect and pass on such a large trove of classified documents.

    One reason that Americans don’t recognize that sort of courage is that we lost all understanding of courage and cowardice as a nation on 9/11. It’s not the only reason–obviously, soldiers who subvert orders are widely considered at least suspect, and we had been debasing the definition of heroism for decades–but on 9/11 we wholeheartedly adopted a warped, childish, Orwellian conception of courage and cowardice. It was pretty simplistic: those who are killed or injured fighting for our side are heroes, and those killed or injured fighting for our enemies are cowards.

    Bill Maher was absolutely right: it takes courage to fly kamikaze missions into skyscrapers. It doesn’t matter that the 9/11 hijackers were our enemies and had evil motives; piloting a 767 into an office tower requires tremendous physical courage, and it is delusional to call someone who does that a coward.

    Was Manning’s data dump “petulant,” as Radley claims? Maybe. I don’t doubt that Manning was imbalanced (and he’s probably a lot worse now under the torture regimen to which he is being subjected in the brig). But let’s not lose sight of the specific data that he dumped. The recent revolutions, revolts and protests in the Middle East can be attributed in large part to diplomatic cables published by Wikileaks. Cables about the decadence of the Ben Ali family were some of the last straws for the Tunisian revolutionaries, and Tunisia was the obvious catalyst of the other uprisings, which are arguably spreading as far as China (the Chinese authorities are scared to death about this, if no one else is convinced).

    If the new government in Egypt and the provisional Libyan government in Benghazi are triumphs of human freedom over tyranny and brutality, as even President Obama and his administration have belatedly made clear, and if Bradley Manning catalyzed these revolutions with his data dump, then Manning was an agent of democratic reform in the Middle East. Only with arbitrary, false Orwellian designations can this be denied.

    There’s another group of cables that I think are much more disturbing from an American perspective than the Ben Ali cables, ones that should have gotten much more press in the US than they did. These are the “cut off the head of the snake” cables about secret diplomatic pressure that Arab rulers, including the Saudis, put on American officials to attack Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. These royals were scared by Ahmadinejad but too duplicitous and cowardly to even publicly rebuke him. The solution that these Sunni leaders had in mind was for the US to do their bidding by assassinating the world’s most prominent Shiite politician and singlehandedly absorbing all military fallout, because they didn’t want to be the ones embroiled in a war with Iran.

    The thought of American diplomats entertaining such a proposal for one second is truly frightening. American military engagement in Iran, covert or overt, real or perceived, would turn Iranian popular opinion squarely against the US, endanger countless American lives, and have a very high likelihood of being militarily ruinous. It is hard to overstate just how dangerous that proposal was to American national security or how coldly calculating it was on the part of our supposed allies.

    Americans deserve to know when their diplomats are entertaining duplicitous proposals to push the US into a foreign war, especially one with a nation as powerful as Iran. Iran would put up one hell of a fight, and its despotic neighbors have no business secretly telling us to attack so that we can be their proxy in the mother of all sectarian wars.

    Dangerous schemes like that need to be promptly exposed. Intentionally or not, Manning did an incalculable service to American national security by exposing them. That’s patriotism in my book.

  20. #20 |  Nick | 

    In general I agree here… but I wonder…

    Had McVeigh or or Ames taken place after 9/11, do you not think they would have been treated differently?

  21. #21 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    USG has nothing to gain by torturing Manning. But they do it anyway. Tells you all you need to know about the USG.

  22. #22 |  croaker | 

    Threadjack:

    Child Concentration Camp overreacts, missing the point yet again.

    http://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2011/03/05/Student-grilled-over-suspicious-T-shirt/UPI-21511299355691/

  23. #23 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    BTW, any idea how hard core libs would be acting if Manning had come out during Bush’s first term? I suspect they’d be howling and calling Bush Hitler.

  24. #24 |  EH | 

    With civil disobedience, the government probably just assumes he asked for whatever they give him.

  25. #25 |  Fred Mangels | 

    Andrew wrote, piloting a 767 into an office tower requires tremendous physical courage, and it is delusional to call someone who does that a coward.

    Not if you think you don’t think you’re really dying and will end up in heaven with 70(?) virgins. Real courage would be doing something like that, knowing you’ll lose your life without a heaven to go to, but do it anyway.

    I wouldn’t go so far as to call the hijackers cowardly, but courageous hardly applies, as far as I’m concerned.

  26. #26 |  Phelps | 

    From what I have read, it’s likely that Manning isn’t being singled out, but is being treated like any other prisoner in military custody who has the circumstances that he does (unrelated to his alleged crime.) The solitary confinement is almost certainly protective rather than punitive, and I’m guessing that it’s a combination of protecting him from attack for his accusations and because homosexuals are particularly targeted for sexual assault in general population.

    As for having to respond every five minutes to guards and not being allowed off camera, combined with the latest reports of them taking his clothes, add up to a classic case of how prisons deal with suicide attempts. (And if that’s the case, they can’t tell us for medical privacy reasons.)

    Again, I’m not trying to justify what they are doing — just to say that all of these are the normal responses in prison. If they are a problem, we should be worrying less about Manning individually (who really does look to be a nihilist menace) than our overall prison policy.

  27. #27 |  cApitalist | 

    “He did break the law, and because what he did was more of a petulant information dump than genuine whistle-blowing, I’m fine with him being prosecuted for the laws he broke.”

    Mr. Balko, your position is extremely disappointing. Many of history’s greatest acts of rebellion were considered “petulant” by the state and its supporters.

    Once one realizes the state is by its very nature illegitimate and immoral, one realizes the impossibility of committing a crime against it. Even if we pretend momentarily that the state’s existence is in any way defensible, one is under no obligation to obey unjust laws or keep quite about the state’s crimes. If libertarians don’t defend Manning’s actions, he won’t be defended, and a horrifying precedent is set: if you expose the state’s true nature, you will be caged and/or killed.

  28. #28 |  derfel cadarn | 

    The present state of the USG is shameful it no longer represents the values that this country was founded upon, the PEOPLE can no longer condone this duplicity. The US military has lost ALL sense of integrity and honor their roll in this shows just how petty and deceitful they have become. How in America has it become a crime to tell the truth. If our military leaders were so embarrassed by these truths then perhaps the code of bushido will allow them to retain what little honor they can muster. Seppuku is the only way to save face for your shame is great,but I doubt a single one of you have the courage and conviction required to salvage what is left of your pitiful souls.

  29. #29 |  CTD | 

    I occasionally ask my “progressive” friends in what significant ways they think Obama is better than Bush, especially in the realm of foreign entanglements and civil liberties (the two biggest reasons they proffered for hating W). They usually just get angry/annoyed at being asked the question, as if the answer should be self-evident to any thinking human. They virtually never offer any logically consistent reason, instead it’s usually some version of “Obama is nicer.”

  30. #30 |  Nick | 

    If he had leaked information to blow the whistle on some specific government wrongdoing, I’d be right there with the people celebrating him.

    I’m not sure what you consider “specific government wrongdoing” but here is a sample of some “specific government wrongdoing” that was revealed because of leaks attributed to Manning….

    * Video showing U.S. helicopter pilots gunning down 12 civilians in Baghdad
    * Pentagon lied about not tracking civilian deaths in Iraq, leaks reveal 15,000 previously unlisted civilian deaths
    * Fragmentary Order 242 which ordered coalition troops in Iraq to ignore beatings, burning, electrocution and rape of helpless prisoners by Iraqi security forces
    * Obama and GOP worked together to kill Bush torture probe
    * U.S. and Yemeni governments lied about U.S. airstrikes in Yemen
    * The existence of Task Force 373, a secret assassination squad operating in Afghanistan
    * Secret CIA paramilitaries’ role in civilian deaths in Afganistan….
    * The U.S. attempted to prevent German authorities from acting on arrest warrants against 13 CIA officers who were instrumental in the abduction and subsequent torture of a German citizen
    * U.S. pushed Ethiopia to invade Somalia, providing military aid and training
    * Rumsfeld, American leaders knowingly lied to the American public and troops about specific events in Iraq

    This is nowhere near an exhaustive list and 97% of the cables have yet to be released (not that I agree with that).

    But this seems more like a vindictive, reckless act undertaken by a guy who by all appearances had a grudge to bear – not to mention some psychiatric problems.

    Is this just a gut feeling or have you come across some information that formed this opinion (vindictive, grudge, psychiatric problems)? If the latter, could you share it with your readers (maybe make that text a hyperlink)?

    I have not seen any credible information that would lead me to believe that Manning should not be considered a whistleblower. In fact, in the partial chat logs released (from the chat that led to his arrest), when Lamo asks Manning why he didn’t sell the information…

    Manning: because it’s public data

    Lamo: i mean, the cables

    Manning: it belongs in the public domain – information should be free – it belongs in the public domain – because another state would just take advantage of the information… try and get some edge – if its out in the open… it should be a public good.

    A little later…

    Lamo: what’s your endgame plan, then?…

    Manning: well, it was forwarded to [WikiLeaks] – and god knows what happens now – hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms – if not, than [sic] we’re doomed – as a species – i will officially give up on the society we have if nothing happens – the reaction to the [Baghdad Apache attack] video gave me immense hope; CNN’s iReport was overwhelmed; Twitter exploded – people who saw, knew there was something wrong… Washington Post sat on the video… David Finkel acquired a copy while embedded out here… – i want people to see the truth… regardless of who they are… because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.

    He did break the law, and because what he did was more of a petulant information dump than genuine whistle-blowing, I’m fine with him being prosecuted for the laws he broke.

    I read this blog enough to know that you don’t want to see people punished based only on the fact that they “broke the law“. And, since your 2nd reason in support of his prosecution is that what Manning did “was more of a petulant information dump than genuine whistle-blowing”, I have to assume that had Manning leaked the documents in a way that met your classification of “genuine whistle-blowing” (whatever that may be), you would not support his prosecution. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    From what I know, I’m more inclined to believe that Manning’s purpose wasn’t all that different from Wikileaks’ purpose which, as Arthur Silber summed up nicely

    …is to make information available to everyone …to challenge any and every authority of this kind. For Wikileaks, the only authority that matters — the only person who is ultimately entitled to all available information and who properly should judge it — is you. In this sense… Wikileaks is a genuine “leveller.” It seeks to make each and every individual the ultimate judge of the truth…

    But, even if I’m wrong about his purpose, it wouldn’t change my opinion since his prosecution (like the existence of the state) can not be squared with the principle of non-aggression.

  31. #31 |  Nick | 

    From what I have read, it’s likely that Manning isn’t being singled out, but is being treated like any other prisoner in military custody who has the circumstances that he does (unrelated to his alleged crime.)

    According to Lt. Col. David Coombs what you’ve read is not true.

  32. #32 |  Paul | 

    Loved the “Omelas” reference in the headline. That short story has resonated with me, ever since I read it in 7th grade. Kudos.

  33. #33 |  The Crime of Making the Government Look Foolish — The League of Ordinary Gentlemen | 

    [...] Jason Kuznicki on March 6, 2011 Radley Balko writes: [Bradley] Manning is getting far worse treatment than Timothy McVeigh, Jared Loughner, or your [...]

  34. #34 |  albatross | 

    Fred #25:

    A large fraction of American soldiers are religious, and believe in an afterlife. And yet, when someone sacrifices themselves to save someone else, or to achieve some military objective of great importance, we give them a posthumous medal, because that’s rare as hell, even among people who go to church every Sunday (or Saturday, or Friday, or whenever) and pray every night before bed.

    If the Christian soldier who runs into near-certain death to save a friend is showing amazing bravery (he is), then the Muslim terrorist who steers the plane into the skyscraper is, too. The difference is only in the value of their respective causes.

  35. #35 |  albatross | 

    Mattocracy #18:

    In fact, I’d say that this is much the same situation we saw a few years back with the Bush administration. The loudest partisans on the right (and much of the respectable media) first denied any abuses and smeared anyone who claimed they were happening, then characterized them as a few isolated incidents, and then proclaimed that they were good and necessary. And many decent Republicans felt damned uneasy, even said this wasn’t right, but didn’t quite feel comfortable opposing their guy, who was, after all, still better on many issues than Kerry would be. A few rare voices on the right seriously challenged this, and they were overwhelmingly smeared, silenced, or defined out of the broad conservative movement.

    You can see that same process happening now, in a slightly less centralized (and somewhat less crazy) way, on the left. A hell of a lot of decent liberals have found that abuse of prisoners, death squads, secret wars, domestic propaganda campaigns, illegal domestic spying, and all the rest are just, you know, less *upsetting* when done by someone with a (D) after his name.

  36. #36 |  Z | 

    #29- Obama is a disappointment- Jon Stewart summed it up as campaigning like a rock star and governing like an old white man dancing at a wedding- but lets stroll down Bush memory lane:

    Was put in office thanks for a Supreme Court decision handed down by 3 men and women appointed by his father’s boss, 1 man promoted by his father’s boss and 1 man who was appointed by his father

    Spent the first few months of his presidency in an indolent haze including blowing numerous leads that could have prevented 9/11 [I am being kind: Considering that 9/11 and its aftermath made his presidency and made Dick Cheney wealthy-ier]

    Promptly went to war, strong arming congress by lying about Hussein and calling anyone who disagreed a traitor- a hallmark of his entire administration by the way

    Found time to add to the national debt with unsustainable tax cuts while lying (hey it worked before), this time about how tax cuts create jobs. (It worked so well during the Reagan years!)

    Turned a blind eye (again, being kind and assuming indolence instead of malice) to freelance torture chambers in Cuba and eastern Europe while mouthing platitudes about fighting for freedom in the middle east

    Found time for another round of tax cuts, including cuts to ensure that wealthy kids stayed wealthy off their dead parents estates, possibly thinking ahead to a time when Pops and his Supreme Court homies couldn’t line up jobs for him any more

    Added trillions to the national debt without even the pretense that he cared about/wanted to help ordinary people (we can argue about Obama and his stimulus package but let it never be said that Obama stood up before oligarchs at a dinner and said “Some people call you the elite. I call you my base.” Guess who did?)

    Attempted to pack the federal courts with an outstanding collection of fuckwits and reprobates such as Claude Allen of North Carolina, whose nomination failed and who was subsequently arrested for repeatedly shoplifting from retail stores and engineering false personal refund requests, all while employed in a federal job paying him $161,000 a year.

    Found time to win irony points with “Free nations are peaceful nations. Free nations don’t attack each other.”

    Embarked on a foreign policy that was basically a P.C. version of the crusades (“I believe that God has planted in every heart the desire to live in freedom.”) When a general of his was asked, when, during all of Afghan history, there has ever been a free, multiparty democracy, the response was “Never.”

    Spent nearly 3 trillion dollars on the aforementioned foreign policy.

    That’d be 3 trillion dollars we didn’t have.

    Did I mention the freelance torture chambers in Cuba?

    Handed out giant sums of government moolah to corporations that treated their customer’s money like a drunk treats casino chips.

    Attempted to ram through congress an “emergency” bill to accomplish said bailout. (Revealing quote. “I had to abandon free market principles in order to save the free market system.”)

    Granted, the man was cognizant of his limitations: (”
    I have written a book. This will come as quite a shock to some. They didn’t think I could read, much less write.”)

    Left office by cheerfully telling a foreign delegation “goodbye from the world’s largest polluter!” and laughing about it.

  37. #37 |  Adam Turetzky | 

    I’m sure this hasn’t escaped Greenwald and while I certainly am not happy with Manning’s treatment the comparison to McVeigh and Loughner is ridiculous.

    Bradley Manning is a US Government asset and piece of property. Until he is discharged from duty he does not have the same rights as a citizen and is beholden to US military law.

  38. #38 |  Les | 

    Until he is discharged from duty he does not have the same rights as a citizen and is beholden to US military law.

    This is a fact, but it doesn’t make it right.

  39. #39 |  Les | 

    #36, It’s a huge mistake to react to Obama’s terrible actions with, “But Bush was worse!”

    For instance, if one of these people…

    http://www.rawa.org/temp/runews/rawagallery.php?mghash=a69ba84843a6c778938bd59b65a08f63&mggal=6

    …were in your immediate family, would it matter who did it? Would you be comforted in knowing that the guy who did it is less stupid and more responsible for his success than the guy who was doing it before 2009?

    Obama is smarter than Bush, but every bit as guilty of terrible acts. Obama’s policies are destroying lives right now. That’s what deserves our attention, not the low points of an obviously terrible administration.

  40. #40 |  GreginOz | 

    And as an asside (sic); the Bitch Momma of Australia (Julia Gillard) is to visit the US soon & give $3 mill to a Vietnam monument (you know the war we … lost together?). She has publicly lambasted Julian Assange & called his actions illegal…until OUR legal eagles pointed out that…ummm… he ain’t broken any Aussie laws! She is a lapdog to Obama Torquemada.

  41. #41 |  demize! | 

    Im gonna have to go with #8 on this one! And to Manning mischaracterizing something he did, that would be most interesting since he has been held incommunicado.

  42. #42 |  Rick H. | 

    To prevent a captive person from ever sleeping or exercising is torture. It would be torture even if Manning had been convicted of a crime, which he hasn’t.

    Also, gotta agree with Nick @ #30. The cables that Wikileaks released to the major news organizations have proved incredibly important, quite apart from the minor fact that they’ve embarrassed a few scumbags who currently hold office.

    The revelations in these documents are the reason our State-fellating media wants to make the story about the personalities of Assange or Manning. In this way, it becomes entertainment news, and safely irrelevant.

  43. #43 |  Rob in CT | 

    Largely because I read Greenwald, I’m aware that Obama has been terrible on civil liberties issues. This is even more galling for me than when Bush did it, because Obama specifically promised to be a whole lot better. He’s supposed to be better, damnit. And he knows it. Therefore it’s worse.

    I don’t donate money to politicians, so there’s nothing to be done there. I could write a letter, like I once did to Bush, but… yeah, sure, like that’s gonna do a damned thing. I can give my vote to a 3rd party (the GOP is dead to me), which I very well may do, but even that is highly unlikely to do anything (CT is very “blue”). If it *was* likely to do something (if CT was in play), I might not dare to do it, since there is the tiny chance of it helping to elect, say, Sarah Palin.

    Picking the lesser of two evils is an awful game to play, but as far as I can see it’s the only game in town.

  44. #44 |  albatross | 

    Adam #37:

    True, but usually, we expect countries to treat their own soldiers *better* than they treat convicted mass-murderers. Presumably, Manning is being mistreated at the limits of what the authorities think they can get away with, in hopes of getting his cooperation in exchange for an improvement of conditions. Sign this confession that implicates Assange and Wikileaks, and we’ll move you into a much gentler and more pleasant level of confinement.

    But it may also be simply that someone with some power, somewhere, has decided to see this guy broken, in retaliation for the unforgivable sin of embarrassing the powerful. That seems to have happened with some of the Guantanamo detainees, including that kid who was tried for war crimes because he threw a grenade at a US soldier while not wearing a uniform. I’ve always assumed that the dead soldier had some powerful grandfather or uncle or someone who decided to wreak horrible vengance on the killer.

  45. #45 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    piloting a 767 into an office tower requires tremendous physical courage, and it is delusional to call someone who does that a coward.

    “Delusional” is what it takes. Bill Maher is an idiot for thinking otherwise. Violence as a means to winning anything is delusional. Now if only something non-violent could bring about great change in the Middle East as an example…

  46. #46 |  albatross | 

    Rob:

    Yep, I wasn’t expecting great things, but I voted for Obama as the lesser evil. And I’m still not sure he wasn’t, given the path the GOP has taken these last couple years.

    But I won’t vote for him again. From telecom immunity forward, he’s completely betrayed me on the issues I thought were most important–about the only thing good there is that he seems to have kept the US torture program shut down for now. (Nobody faced charges, neither for torturing prisoners nor for making up bullshit legal justifications for doing it, nor for destroying evidence of it. So the torturers are still there, on staff, with operational experience and presumably files and equipment waiting around to be used the next time someone needs a little torturing.) And then we get to consequence-free coverups of domestic spying, an assassination program that involves killing US citizens on one man’s say-so, a secret war in Yemen, and all the rest. Let him seek his votes and donations from the torture supporters next time around, and see how that works out for him.

  47. #47 |  albatross | 

    Boyd:

    Violence isn’t a great way of achieving good moral goals, but it’s demonstrably a pretty effective way of silencing your domestic political opposition, crushing your trade rivals, wiping out the annoying ethnic group that resists assimilation, etc. As the old line from Starship Troopers goes, go ask the city fathers of Carthage whether violence ever solves anything.

  48. #48 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Thank you, Z (@36), for that reminder of how bad Bush was. Because everyone here knows that if you criticize Obama you must be pro-Bush.

    albatross,
    Using the reference about Carthage…as we all know we are today ruled by Romans…I mean Hannibal…I mean the Greeks…I mean Muslims…I mean Vandals. The US is no different in their continual delusional use of violence against their own people and the people of the world as a means to a particular end which can never be achieved via violence. Neither real peace nor prosperity is gained thru a gun. Short term? Sure. Enjoy the few hours of booty. Maybe explode some things in the background while walking slowly toward a camera and have Michael Bay film it.

  49. #49 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Nick = awesome. Nicely done.

  50. #50 |  Nick T. | 

    Good post Radley. I like the Loughner comparison and I’ll be stealing that.

  51. #51 |  RobZ | 

    When the DLC called last week asking me to donate, I declined, mentioning that I was very unhappy with Obama’s record on civil liberties. I named Bradley Manning as the prime example of why I was unhappy. I’m pretty sure I came off as extremely irate.

    I’m not a member of the Democratic party but Obama/Biden got a very substantial donation from me. (McCain/Palin scared the bejesus out of me.)

  52. #52 |  Z | 

    #48

    I never said not implied as such. However in life we work with what we have. Question for the forum: Do you prefer Obama McCain-Palin? These were the choices offered in 2008. Notice I did not say that these were the best possible choices.

    Bonus question: W. or Obama?

  53. #53 |  Les | 

    #58,

    I’ll ask you again. If one of these people was a close relative:

    http://www.rawa.org/temp/runews/rawagallery.php?mghash=a69ba84843a6c778938bd59b65a08f63&mggal=6

    …would you care if it was done by Obama or McCain? If you had to gather your son’s body parts from a field after he was blown to pieces by a U.S. helicopter…

    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/closeread/2011/03/nine-boys-and-a-war.html

    …would it matter one bit if the man behind the policies responsible for the atrocity was an angry old Republican or a hopeful young Democrat?

    However in life we work with what we have.

    The reason we have “what we have” is that people continue to vote for dishonest, amoral candidates.

  54. #54 |  Nick T. | 

    The comment at #26 is the ultimate “i will believe anything officials say, and use their own pinky-swears as evidence in support thereof” authoritarian mindset. Nicely done!

    For those people who say “well, the UCMJ/military justice is different, it’s just, ya know, different.” You should be clear about how and why it’s different rather than thinking you’ve already made a point.

    Without clarifying further or examining the specific ways in which it is different, you end up making a really lazy argument whose logic would also support all the worst forms of imagineable and known torture (like the screw, and electroshock). The UCMJ has language that talks about detention, and it doens’t seem to allow for psychological torture.

    Most importantly, an arbitrary claim of “its different” based on a man-made code of conduct or rules (that’s assuming this held water by its own terms), doesn’t even speak to the moral and political decision to treat a soldier, who has never been violent, with unfounded claims of mental health issues, FAR WORSE than a man with verifiable, severe mental health problems who put a gun to the back of a woman’s head and pulled the trigger and then fired upon old people and children.

  55. #55 |  CyniCAl | 

    Room 101.

  56. #56 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Z,
    You gotta get out of their game. Of course they aren’t going to give you an option on a silver platter that would change anything.

    I’ve always said two things:
    1. If a man says you have to either blow-up a bus full of people or let 1,000 people die, shoot the man asking you that question.*

    2. Never quote yourself.

    *Not a promotion of violence.

  57. #57 |  Phelps | 

    According to Lt. Col. David Coombs what you’ve read is not true.

    LTC Coombs was my primary source. I know the way he characterizes it; he’s obligated to argue it that way as Manning’s counsel. I’m saying that given the facts Coombs has recounted, it looks like Manning is in protective custody solitary to protect him from attack and rape, and that he’s made suicide attempts or threats using his clothes.

  58. #58 |  Bretigne | 

    ‎”…because what he did was more of a petulant information dump than genuine whistle-blowing…”

    That sure doesn’t jibe with the reports I’ve read indicating that he seemed genuinely troubled by the information he had seen (see Nick’s post #30, above). So I’m just curious why you think this.

  59. #59 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    @54,
    I get you. I am not sure I would’ve included Loughner in the post like Radley did. “…verifiable, severe mental health problems…” demands a different treatment completely. By the way, torturing Loughner does nothing if he is mentally ill. It’s like hanging an “I eat cat shit” sign* around your dog’s neck while staking him in the hot sun all day. What the fuck for?

    *Sure, I’ve done this but only because I was baked.

  60. #60 |  Nick T. | 

    59
    Well I of course would never be on board with treating Loughner anything less than typically, and, above all, humanely. But unless you buy the government line hook line and sinker like Phelps here, then the treatment of Mannning is either punitive or it is being done for the purpose of “breaking” him and getting him to confess or rat out accomplices.

    Either way this is immoral and illegal, and if it’s the first reason then the comparison to Loughner becomes very telling and relevant.

    Radley’s point was that embarrassing the government is the ultimate crime. A Loughner comparison is very strong evidence of that.

  61. #61 |  Nick T. | 

    #57
    Why isn’t manning on suicide watch then? Why is it that his forced, routine nudity was not recommended by psychiatric experts but by officers at the brig?

    What evidence do you have that the purposes you claim for Manning’s treatment are a) actually and honestly held by higher-ups at the brig b) based on legitimate concerns and necessity?

    You’re an authoritarian because you take what the government is doing (facts) and conclude it must be based on noble/appropriate/legal reasons (no facts). I mean when you saw Radley’s link about the home broken into 50 times by SWAT teams did you just say to yourself “oh well, must be a pretty serious drug lair.” What’s the difference?

  62. #62 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    First,
    Outlawing an afternoon nap helps Manning how?

    Next,
    I never understood the “breaking” angle.
    Them: Tell us Assange did X and we’ll stop beating you!
    Me: HE DID THAT SHIT, MAN, ASSANGE DID THAT SHIT!

    I know that would mean something to some people, but big deal. I understand much of our vaunted legal system (note I didn’t say “Justice System” which doesn’t exist) is based on such testimony. Did someone want to defend the USG as not using coerced testimony?

    IMO Manning’s terrible treatment is mostly because the USG and military wants to send a message to others about what to expect if they do something that threatens their mighty racket. He’s an example. I just disagree with the embarrassment angle as much of a factor.

  63. #63 |  CyniCAl | 

    Bretigne Shaffer? Butler is one of my favorite writers.

  64. #64 |  When the whistle is too big « Psychopolitik | 

    [...] Radley Balko recently noted the big fat Does-Not-Compute of Bradley Manning’s treatment while being held under non-violent charges (which the movement built up to support him is arguing shouldn’t be considered a crime at all), when compared to that of serial killers.  The problem there is obvious, and Balko is completely correct to point it out.  But then he says this: I don’t think Manning is the hero some have made him out to be. If he had leaked information to blow the whistle on some specific government wrongdoing, I’d be right there with the people celebrating him. But this seems more like a vindictive, reckless act undertaken by a guy who by all appearances had a grudge to bear—not to mention some likely psychiatric problems. He did break the law, and because what he did was more of a petulant information dump than genuine whistle-blowing, I’m fine with him being prosecuted for the laws he broke. [...]

  65. #65 |  Z | 

    #56

    The game is rigged. If your options are sitting it out or advocating for the best of a bad lot, take option two. Remember, Hillary coulda been a contender.

  66. #66 |  James J.B. | 

    19 A. Roth
    Bill Maher was absolutely right: it takes courage to fly kamikaze missions into skyscrapers. It doesn’t matter that the 9/11 hijackers were our enemies and had evil motives; piloting a 767 into an office tower requires tremendous physical courage, and it is delusional to call someone who does that a coward.

    I am so weary of this argument. I swear people say it so they are perceived as “shocking”. So I’ll bite… here goes…

    Um. Wrong. Maher is a moron in a suit. Cowards attack weak targets. The Columbine killers, the 911 killers, abortion clinic bombers, Oswald, James Earl Ray, and all other killers like them, are not brave. A brave man risks his life to save others, not to kill.

    Put it this way, I walk into a bar and hit a 5’7 woman – am I brave? No. If I hit a 6’7 man slapping a woman, am I brave? In that case, I’d say yes. What if I blow up the bar, because I believe it immoral to drink, am I brave?
    I am not courageous, nor am I a hero.

    Recently, I watched a movie with my boys – one of the new Batman cartoon movies – it had a good lesson – in it Batman was presented with the “false choice” of killing Robin (who had become more vigilante) or the Joker. Batman chose neither. He wouldn’t kill. Because had he killed the Joker, Batman stated that there would be no difference between the Joker and him.

    Simply, the brave hero is the one who stands up to the bad guys when the odds are not in his favor. Your flaw, like Maher’s, is to confuse bravery with delusion.

  67. #67 |  Robert V | 

    “Why hasn’t the case been brought to trial… because they can’t?”

    The case hasn’t been brought to trial yet because Manning has not yet given the Administration what it needs to hear: that Assange coerced him into doing what he did. Thus, we get the massive head games played with him until he finally breaks. If that takes 12 months, 15, 18, so be it. Hey, we’re the beacon of moarilty and freedom so cut us some slack!

  68. #68 |  albatross | 

    James:

    Maher’s original quote said, IIRC, that it took more courage to pilot a plane into a building than to launch a cruise missile from some secure place far away. I don’t see how that can be false. The guy launching the cruise missile is not only attacking someone weaker, he’s facing zero danger himself. The terrorist flying the plane into the building is attacking someone locally weaker (but globally, incredibly stronger than his side) in a way that involves going knowingly to his death.

    Don’t confuse courage with morality. The terrorists showed incredible courage on 9/11, in service of an evil cause. In much the same way, plenty of Confederate soldiers fought bravely for the evil cause of slavery (though surely with all sorts of other personal reasons and loyalties complicating matters), and plenty of German soldiers fought bravely for the evil cause of Nazism (though surely with a similar set of personal reasons and loyalties).

  69. #69 |  Nick | 

    LTC Coombs was my primary source… I’m saying that given the facts Coombs has recounted, it looks like Manning is in protective custody solitary to protect him from attack and rape, and that he’s made suicide attempts or threats using his clothes.

    You probably shouldn’t use someone as your “primary source” if you don’t find them to be a credible source of information. I can say this because your comments imply that you don’t believe — or find irrelevant — most of what he has written. Other than his conclusion (that Manning is being treated differently for punitive reasons), nothing else he has written on the subject is being disputed.

    For instance, you don’t believe — or find irrelevant — Coombs’ explanation of what you call “threats using his clothes”

    “On Wednesday March 2, 2011, PFC Manning was told that his Article 138 complaint requesting that he be removed from Maximum custody and Prevention of Injury (POI) Watch had been denied by the Quantico commander, Colonel Daniel J. Choike. Understandably frustrated by this decision after enduring over seven months of unduly harsh confinement conditions, PFC Manning inquired of the Brig operations officer what he needed to do in order to be downgraded from Maximum custody and POI. As even Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell has stated, PFC Manning has been nothing short of “exemplary” as a detainee. Additionally, Brig forensic psychiatrists have consistently maintained that there is no mental health justification for the POI Watch imposed on PFC Manning. In response to PFC Manning’s question, he was told that there was nothing he could do to downgrade his detainee status and that the Brig simply considered him a risk of self-harm. PFC Manning then remarked that the POI restrictions were “absurd” and sarcastically stated that if he wanted to harm himself, he could conceivably do so with the elastic waistband of his underwear or with his flip-flops.

    Without consulting any Brig mental health provider, Chief Warrant Officer Denise Barnes used PFC’s Manning’s sarcastic quip as justification to increase the restrictions imposed upon him under the guise of being concerned that PFC Manning was a suicide risk.”

    But he wasn’t placed on “Suicide Risk Watch”. Why?…

    “This is because Suicide Risk Watch would have required a Brig mental health provider’s recommendation, which the Brig commander did not have. In response to this specific incident, the Brig psychiatrist assessed PFC Manning as ‘low risk and requiring only routine outpatient followup [with] no need for… closer clinical observation.’ In particular, he indicated that PFC Manning’s statement about the waist band of his underwear was in no way prompted by ‘a psychiatric condition.’”

    I also noticed you said “he’s made suicide attempts or threats using his clothes” even though he has never made a suicide attempt nor has anyone (that I know of) made that claim. There are 3 possible reasons for this wording that I can think of. (1) You have a secondary source that you find more credible than your “primary source” (if so, please share); (2) You’re just making stuff up (doubtful) or; (3) You’re using words in a purposely misleading way. Sort of like me saying, “Phelps raped a girl or tried a cheesy pick-up line”.

  70. #70 |  Deoxy | 

    As has been mentioned, this is really being trumped up a bit. The reason this can be done (and is done to other people, though admittedly not this, uh, “thoroughly”, usually) because he is in the military. To compare his treatment to any of the others you mentioned simply does not work.

    SHOULD it be so? You can make a case against it, but you’d be going against the entire military Code of Justice, etc., where your rights are checked at the door when you join the military.

    Is he being singled out for mistreatment? Possibly, but the facts given can also be easily explained (as shown above), so, unfortunately, that puts us back in the “should it be so?” part above…

    Because had he killed the Joker, Batman stated that there would be no difference between the Joker and him.

    And because of that, the Joker will escape again, and kill many more people, just as he has done, by his own admission, countless times, and will do as many more times as he can, as long as he lives. The final bodycount will be 1000s lower if you kill the Joker, and everyone knows it. That’s a STUPID, EVIL morality (just like Superman’s, though at least his “slippery slope” is quite a bit more extreme, due to his amazing powers, and might warrant much greater caution).

    Simply, the brave hero is the one who stands up to the bad guys when the odds are not in his favor.

    You mean like 19 guys taking on the United States and killing several thousand of their own proclaimed enemies, at the known-beforehand cost of their own lives? Yes, by any standard, performing an action that WILL kill you to perform some objective* requires bravery. Why is that so hard to understand? The objective is irrelevant to the claim of bravery.

    *Even the objective of SUICIDE requires some bravery, especially the more gruesome ones – very suicidal people often fail to go through with suicide because they are too afraid to do it, even though they really want to die. “Suicide by cop” is the way some people get through that, since they aren’t brave enough to actually kill themselves (yes, I sincerely doubt that really explains ALL those cases – I do read this site, eh?).

  71. #71 |  Deoxy | 

    On the issue of how much zeal they are showing in their anti-suicide measures, and the thought that they might be singling him out for that… what if he DID commit suicide? Can you imagine how much WORSE that would make them look?

    “Oh, yeah, how CONVENIENT that he commits “suicide” while in US prison, eh?”

    I don’t claim that is actually DOES explain it, but it is a legitimate point to remember.

  72. #72 |  Eric Seymour | 

    Why isn’t manning on suicide watch then?

    If he were, that information probably wouldn’t be publicly available due to HIPAA restrictions. I think the only way that sort of information about a prisoner could be released nowadays would be if the prisoner himself released a statement to that effect. And I don’t think the military is allowing Manning to communicate with the press.

  73. #73 |  Nick | 

    Picking the lesser of two evils is an awful game to play, but as far as I can see it’s the only game in town.

    It may be the only game in town but you don’t have to play it.

  74. #74 |  Eric Seymour | 

    By the way, apparently Manning isn’t being held in complete nudity. He is required to strip down to his underwear before going to sleep. Which further implies he’s allowed to wear normal prison clothing during the day. The use of the phrase “prolonged forced nudity” gave me a much different impression.

    Nevertheless, I do get the impression that the military is giving him the harshest treatment they can get away with as retribution for his actions. He’s probably about as popular in the brig as a child rapist is in a civilian prison.

  75. #75 |  Nick | 

    …the only thing good there is that he seems to have kept the US torture program shut down for now.

    I guess that depends on what you mean by US torture program.

    Nobody faced charges,… So the torturers are still there…

    Not only did no one face charges, the Obama admin went out of their way to protect those responsible.

  76. #76 |  James J.B. | 

    Ok Albatross, time for a good ol’ Fashioned bravery quiz, and here we go!

    Remember the answer is brave or not – real easy
    1. Hugh Thompson

    2. Jared Loughner

    3. Abortion Clinic bombers

    4. James Earl Ray

    5. Charles Carl Roberts IV.
    -As opposed to The Amish community’s response to #5.

    Ok. I guess all the named people are self help, direct action types – so all are brave – Would you look another human in the eye and say 2,3,4,5 are brave? If all it takes is dedication and the desire to do the act yourself, then 1-5 are all brave. I disagree that is what it takes to be brave.

    Brave – Hugh Thompson was a brave man. One of the few people that I would attach the word hero. I read article about him in high school – read his story on wikipedia – he stood up to save the defenseless against his own members of his army. By all accounts, he was an ordinary man that did something extrordinary.

    The Amish after the school shooting. So many people joke about the Amish – yet after #5 shot up their school, their leaders prayed for the killer – because he had a wife and family – and in their belief, he was now before God.

    Bravery. I reserve that term for those courageous few that do good – It is easy to kill, saving people is far tougher. Killers aren’t brave.

  77. #77 |  Les | 

    #64

    If your options are sitting it out or advocating for the best of a bad lot, take option two. Remember, Hillary coulda been a contender.

    By taking “option two,” by choosing the less evil candidate, you send a clear message. The message is that you can lie and fight against civil rights while killing foreign civilians and you will still get elected.

    There are people who believe that if Republicans hate you, you must be good, therefore Obama is good, Hillary Clinton is good. We know that Obama is doing terrible things at home and overseas and we know that Clinton supports those things. And unlike Obama, Hillary never even pretended to be a decent person.

    The reason these were the choices is because Democrats know that people like you will vote for them, whatever they’ve said or done in the past, because they’re not Republicans. So, in “advocating for the best of a bad lot,” you are, in fact, advocating this:

    http://www.rawa.org/temp/runews/rawagallery.php?mghash=a69ba84843a6c778938bd59b65a08f63&mggal=6

    Please stop advocating that. Their relatives would greatly appreciate it.

  78. #78 |  James J.B. | 

    Deoxy

    And because of that, the Joker will escape again, and kill many more people, just as he has done, by his own admission, countless times, and will do as many more times as he can, as long as he lives. The final bodycount will be 1000s lower if you kill the Joker, and everyone knows it. That’s a STUPID, EVIL morality (just like Superman’s, though at least his “slippery slope” is quite a bit more extreme, due to his amazing powers, and might warrant much greater caution).

    That is exactly what the Red Hood said too. So should we stoop to their level. Is that what we are? Do we abandon the rule of law because it becomes inconvenient? Why not a trial and executuion – by the rules of course!!!- that will make it all ok. Or, is it wrong to kill and those that do aren’t brave.

    Is self action enough. Is dedication to a cause enough. What if the cause is killing children? Can you ever say that a child killer is brave? Really?

  79. #79 |  Andrew Roth | 

    Re: #25 and #65:

    I still agree with Maher’s premise on the bravery of the 9/11 hijackers. Religious conviction certainly helped them overcome the normal fear of injury and death–the religiously and politically ambivalent don’t carry out suicide missions–but they were still brave. Fighting for an evil cause, which theirs most certainly was, didn’t negate the physical courage required to carry out their mission. Bravery on behalf of evil or delusion is still bravery, and cowardice in a just mission is still cowardice.

    An argument can be made that the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were weak targets compared to, say, a combat-ready infantry unit. One logical problem with such an argument is that the hijackers meant to die. Whether they faced death in a hail of infantry gunfire or in a jet fuel explosion, they faced a certain, gruesome death. Timothy McVeigh was concerned about his physical safety, which he showed by blowing up his target with an unattended truck; people who pick fights only with smaller, weaker people are concerned about their physical safety; the 9/11 hijackers didn’t care.

    The other logical problem with the “weak target” argument is that the 9/11 hijackers and their superiors in al-Qaeda were masterful military strategists. They didn’t remotely have the manpower to launch a conventional military offensive against the US. For that matter, they weren’t even able to carry out their entire mission, as Zacarias Moussaoui was arrested beforehand and the hijackers of Flight 93 avoided a passenger takeover by ditching into a rural field rather than hitting their target in Washington, DC.

    As a tactical military offensive, 9/11 was a failure for al-Qaeda. It was a one-off attack that put Americans on alert for future attacks (see Reid and Abdulmutallab), it was partially foiled by civilian air passengers, it caused minimal disruption to US Military operations despite hitting the national military headquarters (a testament to the resiliency of the US Military and its redundant command and operational infrastructure, as well as to the ineffectiveness of the attack), and it resulted in al-Qaeda’s only avowed state sponsor, the Taliban, being driven from power in most of Afghanistan.

    As a Pyrrhic defeat, however, 9/11 was brilliant. Al-Qaeda was able to scare the hell out of Americans and draw the US into a lengthy, costly guerrilla war in Afghanistan, its home turf. It was able to provoke a wholesale assault on the Bill of Rights from within the United States and brazenly illegal but unpunished activities on the part of US officials at home and abroad, including routine torture. It was able to force the US into an alliance with the reviled, ineffectual band of crooks that make up the Karzai regime.

    Yes, al-Qaeda is a truly evil organization, and many people don’t like attributing virtues like bravery to a vicious bunch of sectarian mass murderers. But putting our heads in the sand and calling al-Qaeda names is extremely counterproductive. Evil absolutely does not preclude savvy. Al-Qaeda knows its enemy like the back of its hand; we hardly know ours. The most pathetic part is that al-Qaeda may know us better than we know ourselves.

  80. #80 |  Nick T. | 

    Deoxy,

    You can’t just say that the UCMJ is “different” and think you have made a point. The UCMJ is an actual code with lots of words and rules and they have details and specifics. It’s not just a 1 page document that says “it’s different here so there are basically no rules and the rules your used to don’t apply.”

    Here’s a rule from the UCMJ, and I’d like you to tell me, whether, after reading this rule, you think there’s any case to be made that Manning’s treatment actually STILL violates the UCMJ even though said UCMJ is “different” than other laws. Here we go:

    ‎”No person, while being held for trial, may be subjected to punishment or penalty other than arrest or confinement upon the charges pending against him, nor shall the arrest or confinement imposed upon him be any more rigorous than the circumstances required to insure his presence, but he may be subjected to minor punishment during that period for infractions of discipline.” Article 13, UCMJ (Title 10, section 813 of US Code).

    Ok go.

  81. #81 |  Chad Olsen | 

    A comment from a friend of mine who is still in the service.

    “While I agree with the overall message of concern I do have to bring up the safety concerns that arise with a detainee of that status.

    If (and all evidence points to this) the member said that he was a threat to himself, the military MUST …make sure that he is safe. Usually on short term watches we have the individual with a suicide watch (proximity for low threat/eyes on for higher threat).

    Once the person is kept for extended durations a 1:1 watch is no longer a realistic option. In brig settings a “skivvy” (underwear) watch may be needed, however if the member makes comments (again, evidence suggests this) that (s)he is STILL a danger to themselves with their own clothes, we are obliged to remove them.

    The focus is not to humiliate or punish. It’s to ensure the safety of one who had shown they were not safe with themselves (implicitly or explicitly).

    Now for those who say “What if he were joking?” What if you joke about a bomb on a plane? Fire in a crowded movie theater? A “joke” note to a bank teller saying that you were robbing the place? All those same “jokes” are treated as legitimate threats.

    If the other criminals had said they were continuously suicidal, despite treatment and sources of support, perhaps we would have heard about similar treatment.

    Just a point to ponder…”

    “A suicide watch is 1:1, suicide precautions are what he is under. As crazy as it sounds, the verbiage IS important. Also, in assisting in a number of brig evaluations, I see that some prisoners do not realize the ramifications that a joke… can play in their treatment. Still others count on the treatment they intentionally bring about. I don’t defend intentional abuse, but the behavior that is being described reminds me of a number of prisoners that I have been privy to.

    Just look at the Manchester document. A guidebook to intentional misleading for the purpose of making the guards look bad.”

  82. #82 |  Whim | 

    Several commentors have remarked about PFC Bradley Manning being under “Suicide Watch”.

    He is NOT under Suicide Watch. His medical minders have repeatedly opined that Manning was not a suicide risk, so the military cannot readily claim he needs to be under a Suicide Watch.

    The previous Brig Commander CWO4 Averhart unilaterally put Manning under a Suicide Watch as punishment for a few days; Averhart was shortly thereafter replaced by CWO2 Denise Barnes.

    Instead, Manning is held under Maximum Custody and Prevention of Injury (POI) Watch. Which means among other things that every FIVE minutes he must affirmatively respond to his jailers that he is “Okay”.

    When Manning is asleep, now in his total nakedness, under the pretext that they cannot verify he is “Okay”, he is awakened by his jailers if the blanket covers any of his face, or if he turns over and his face is not fully visible.

    The purpose is obviously to administer Sleep Deprivation, to prevent deep REM sleep. Severe mental problems invariably ensue.

    Other jail rules: NO Sleeping allowed from 5:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. NO Exercise allowed in the cell.

    Bottom line, when you’re trying to torture someone, you can make up any damn “rules” you want as a pretext.

    That is being done to break down the will of PFC Manning……

    Why is the USMC involved in such dishonorable behavior? Why don’t they just let the U.S. Army suffer the dishonor of torturing their own soldier?

  83. #83 |  James J.B. | 

    82

    Why is the USMC involved in such dishonorable behavior? Why don’t they just let the U.S. Army suffer the dishonor of torturing their own soldier?

    Maybe they are just being brave. ;)

  84. #84 |  zendingo | 

    @52
    i guess i would have to take bush…..
    obama has continued the worst aspects and, i didn’t think it was possible; he has intensified the criminality started under bush.

    at least with bush the lines were clearer……

    you have to really ask yourself, what happened to the anti war movement? when i go to rallies these days they are no where near the size they once were, one thing obama did great was neutralize opposition to the illegal wars.

  85. #85 |  Radley Balko Say It Ain’t So « Stump Lane | 

    [...] Balko wrote yesterday in a post about Bradley Manning: He did break the law, and because what he did was more of a petulant information dump than genuine whistle-blowing, I’m fine with him being prosecuted for the laws he broke. [Balko] [...]

  86. #86 |  Joe | 

    This guy is likely not a hero, but he is also presumed innocent.

    But there is probable cause to charge him with a crime, which means the cell is probably okay. I assume they say he is naked so he does not hang himself (nice excuse), but those supermax cells are designed so you cannot hang yourself.

    So message to those holding him: Cut the rest of the bullshit before you end up blowing this case dickheads. Give him some clothes. Monitor him reasonably. And go prove your case.

  87. #87 |  Joe | 

    And to you leftists who are not holding Obama’s feet to the fire (metaphorically of course)–fuck you.

    Because I did complain about Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld when they did bad things when they were in office. But a lot of you on the left are surprisingly not too vocal about Team Obama on subjects like this. Why is that.

  88. #88 |  Z | 

    #77- Oh okay. We’ll sit at home and complain on the internet instead.

    #84- Interesting- how exactly has Obama been worse than Bush? I could buy the argument that we expected better from Obama and the fact that he was supposed to do better and be better and has failed in so many ways makes him worse if that’s what you’re getting at. But how has he been objectively worse? Lets look at his record and this goes beyond Gitmo and terrorism:

    relaxing marijuana enforcement laws
    making public the “torture memos” Bush concealed
    transferred more than half of the Guantanamo detainees onto U.S. soil
    Began civilian trials
    Enacted (not perfect) health care reform
    Signed a U.N. statement urging the decriminalization of homosexuality which Bush refused to do.
    Got DADT overturned
    Overturned the ban on embryonic stem cell research
    Signed a mandate that interrogators adhere to the army field manual- i.e. no torture
    Handed over 44 photos of torture in Af’an and Iraq to the ACLU
    Lifted the uniform ban on media photographs of the caskets of returning soldiers

  89. #89 |  zendingo | 

    #87
    how has obama relaxed our nations war on drugs? raids on medical marijuana dispensaries by the DEA have not stopped, just because holder says that the war on drugs isn’t a priority doesn’t mean marijuana enforcement has been relaxed.

    he transferred half the people held at gitmo? could you please provide a source for that? as far as i know gitmo is still open and one of the many places we still torture people.

    health care reform is joke, all it did was make it a crime to not buy from a private insurance company.

    the exact reason obama is worse than bush is because he has no intention of ending the wars, neither in iraq or in afganistan.
    obama wants war and more of it, his lies about wanting to end war convince a lot of people, maybe you.

    at least bush was honest about his war mongering, that’s all.

  90. #90 |  Z | 

    Marijuana: http://www.ucimc.org/content/huge-news-obama-administration-ends-medical-marijuana-raids-13-states

    Gitmo (one link of many): http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/21/obama-50-guantanamo-detai_n_206496.html

    Notice, I never said he closed Gitmo. Don’t twist my words.

    “All it did was make it a crime to not buy from a private insurance company”? REALLY? REALLY?

    Let’s see “Ends denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. And dependent children under the age of 26 would be allowed to remain on their parents’ policies if they cannot get health insurance elsewhere. Adults with pre-existing conditions would also be able to buy coverage through expanded high-risk pools.

    Beginning in 2014, more far-reaching measures will begin to take effect. States would be required to set up new “exchanges,” or insurance marketplaces, that would offer a variety of health care plans for small businesses and individuals who do not get coverage from their employers. Government subsidies would be available to those earning up to 400% of poverty.”

    http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1973989,00.html

    “the exact reason obama is worse than bush is because he has no intention of ending the wars, neither in iraq or in afganistan.
    obama wants war and more of it, his lies about wanting to end war convince a lot of people, maybe you. ”

    What he wants doesn’t matter. What Obama understands but doesn’t dare say is the we used to be the top dog and now we’ll be fourth banana after China, India and probably Brazil. The days of playing dictator will end whether he or we like it or not.

  91. #91 |  Les | 

    #88, So you believe it’s better to help to elect guys who kill innocent civilians than it is to complain about it on the internet? Really? Are you high?

    Your link regarding marijuana is a 17-month-old joke. Here’s what things really look like. Today.

    http://safeaccessnow.org/blog/?p=1228

    So much for that. Here’s another list for you, Z.

    Obama has stated clearly that he believes in indefinite detentions without a trial.
    Obama increased the prosecution of whistle-blowers beyond what Bush did while, at the same time, refusing to even investigate the torture ordered by the Bush administration.
    Even after smoking pot himself, Obama hypocritically opposes decriminalization.
    Obama has clearly stated that he’s against gay marriage (what a fucking bigot, huh?).
    Obama is solidly behind policies in Afghanistan that are killing innocent civilians on a regular basis.

    Did you even bother to click on the links I provided? I know, they’re not YOUR relatives, right? They’re not even American, so why should you care about them?

    If you’re going to ignore all the negative things about Obama, then you’re really no different at all from Republicans who defend Bush.

  92. #92 |  cApitalist | 

    Can’t we just concede their both complete shit bags? People often gripe about “the two party system.” If only there were second party…

  93. #93 |  albatross | 

    James JB:

    Your examples are all very heavily tangled up in moral issues, which muddies the question of what counts for bravery. However, they do raise two interesting points:

    a. In order to consider someone brave, you have to think they’re basically playing with a full deck. They may have stupid, evil, even ultimately crazy ideas, but they need to seem to understand what they’re doing. Nobody thinks you’re brave if you run into a burning building under the influence of a halucination, imagining you’re running into a funhouse.

    b. People who are actively seeking death don’t seem especially brave when they bring it on themselves. It’s hard to see jumping off a bridge as an act of bravery, when dying is what the person was trying to do when he jumped.

    I think the 9/11 suicide attackers don’t fit either of those categories–I see no reason to think they particularly wanted to die. They seem to me to fit the same category as any soldier who goes off on a suicide mission that seems like it will strike a heavy blow at their enemy. Those happen in wars from time to time. They demand a great deal of courage.

    Here’s the money quote from your post, which seems to me to summarize where we disagree:
    Bravery. I reserve that term for those courageous few that do good – It is easy to kill, saving people is far tougher. Killers aren’t brave.

    I think you’re inventing a rather different definition of bravery than most people have. I’d say, for example, that the special ops guys we have wandering around in Afghanistan are surely extremely brave men, since they’re knowingly going into danger again and again in pursuit of their mission. Yet, their job is mainly going off and kidnapping or killing people. And I’d say that the Taliban guys fighting our soldiers, who are massively outgunned but keep on fighting, are overwhelmingly very brave men. They’re serving a pretty evil cause, but they’re doing it bravely.

    I see no contradiction between bravery and evil, anymore than between intelligence and evil, order and evil, prudence and evil, beauty and evil, etc. Evil people serving an evil cause can have any number of virtures (good-looking, smart, hard-working, disciplined, courageous). Presumably any number of SS soldiers and KGB agents fit all those descriptions, while serving terribly evil causes.

  94. #94 |  Chad Olsen | 

    http://www.navytimes.com/news/2011/03/ap-wikileaks-manning-lawyer-says-suicide-joke-led-to-stripping-030511/

    The lawyer for a jailed soldier suspected of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks wrote Saturday that his client was stripped of his clothing at night because he had made sarcastic comments about using underwear to commit suicide.

    I think we need to realize that the truth is probably somewhere in between

  95. #95 |  Nick T. | 

    @Les and Z,

    Let’s not forget the secret wars in Pakistan and Yemen and lying about them to the American people. Obama did that.

    Healthcare is part of a separate argument to me. There are certain issues that are, and should be left to the political whims and judgments of elected pols, and that is one of them. I don’t liek the bill, and I think the mandate is unconstitutional, but it’s still within the “political” realm of choices, unlike civil liberties issues, which, pretty much by definition, must be considered outside of political popularity contests if they are to be preserved and protected (and are hence laid out in that Bill of rights thingy).

    So I leave issues like healthcare out of the discussion. DADT is a major accomplishment for Obama, but to my mind it’s his only real departure from Bush on issues that can’t be chalked up to standard Republican v. Democrat policy differences. (I mean, we could find alot of similarities and analogues between HCRA and medicare part D, if we wanted to).

    Because Obama has, on the whole, not been *better* than Bush on issues of war and especially civil liberties, there is an argument to be made that he is worse in his eventual effect, which is to normalize these practices and narorw the window of debate. Unfortunately, it is an absolute certainty that when the next Republican enters the White House and takes steps inconsistent with the BoR, his/her defenders will immediately point and say “Obama did it.” That matters.

  96. #96 |  Nick T. | 

    No, Chad, you don’t just get to throw out stupid cliches and think you make sense.

    is he on suicide watch? No. Was this maneuver signed off on by a mental health expert? No.

    The question, as with any time the government significantly interferes with someone’s life is: was this justified? The answer is absolutely no. If the government’s own explanations lie in mental health reasons and yet are not signed off on by mental health professionals then it’s not even complicated.

    It’s amazing how people will just defend what the government does without any evidence of anything, just blind faith that government people can’t be mean, wanton or arbitrary.

  97. #97 |  James J.B. | 

    Albatross

    Ok. Let’s simplify it.
    Ex no 1
    One of our soldiers decides that to stop terrorism from Islamic countries, he, personally, burns a village to the ground.

    Example no2

    After 911, bush decides to nuke Mecca. Is that brave? What if he sent someone in w/ a suitcase nuke, is that person brave?

    If you say no to either, kindly explain how suitcase bomber or village burner are different than the 911 terrorists.

    Have at it!

  98. #98 |  Deoxy | 

    You can’t just say that the UCMJ is “different” and think you have made a point.

    I didn’t claim they are FOLLOWING the UCMJ, I was pointing out that a) comparing treatment under the UCMJ to treatment under normal civilian laws is apples to oranges, and b) the UCMJ is very much the stricter/harsher of the two. Could they still be violating the UCMJ? Sure… but the vast majority of posters here (including myself) don’t know enough about it to really know, and the at least most of those who appear to know seem to think his treatment is within normal bounds (assuming the suicide watch issue).

    Bravery. I reserve that term for those courageous few that do good – It is easy to kill, saving people is far tougher. Killers aren’t brave.

    So, you are defining “bravery” as “the normal definition of bravery PLUS being on the right side of my personal moral code”. That’s why you are disagreeing with us.

    Obama vs Bush

    They both stink, but I would actually view Obama as worse on all the serious fronts I can think of:

    1) International Relations – screwing your friends, conceding to your enemies for nothing, lowering the status of your office and country, etc, etc. It’s not about disagreeing with him on how to relate to other countries (though I do that), it’s that, even if I take his declared values regarding international relations, he’s still doing an amazingly bad job. I honestly haven’t seen any American interest put forward that he has done a good job on. From the UNs standpoint, there are a few, but his job is to represent the US and its interests, which he is doing amazingly badly at.

    2) Domestic policies
    a) Civil Liberties – at best, a mixed bag. While I agree with DADT (not going into it here) and DOMA, there is a case that getting rid of them is pro-civil liberties, but even then, his handling of them has been schizophrenic at best. ObamaCare (whatever else you may think of it) is certainly NOT pro-civil liberties AT ALL. His war on whistle-blowers, complete continuation of war on Drugs, etc. Basically, pluses in a few areas that play well to his liberal base, and that’s about it.
    b) Budget: he makes Bush look like Sam Walton (the billionaire founder of Walmart who still drove his beat up old pickup for years and years, etc). Seriously, this month’s deficit is bigger than all of 2007′s deficit by a good margin. And don’t even get me started on the ridiculous budget-buster that is ObamaCare.Winning The Future?!?
    c) Justice and fostering respect for law: Even here, an area where Bush had some serious weaknesses (even for him), with Eric Holder and racial law enforcement, Obama is making Bush look GOOD.
    d) Healthcare – If you didn’t like something about the Bush Medicare prescription drug thing (too expensive, benefited special interests, pushed through with questionable methods), you have something worse in ObamaCare (all three of those, but more so). Not to mention that it inherently becomes single-payer in short order (make sure the rates are guaranteed to not pay all the expenses, and all the private companies go out of business – the power to do this is in ObamaCare). ObamaCare claims to do some good things… basically, it makes all the claims usually made about full socialized medicine. Yeah, because that has worked out so well everywhere… :-/
    e) Gitmo: umm, civilian trials for those guys is ridiculous. They were captured on the field of war. If they were non-combatants, they don’t need any kind of trial AT ALL – let them go right now. If they were combatants, then they don’t belong in civilian court AT ALL. Either way, civilian trials are inappropriate and stupid. And something like Gitmo will exist, whether the public knows about it or not. Compared to putting them in a prison in Iraq (look how well Abu Gharabe (sp) turned out, under our watch or the Iraqis) or other availabilities, it’s pretty good.
    f) Torture: for this comparison, it doesn’t matter if it is right or wrong, only if one of them is better than the other… and Obama seems to have changed nothing.

    With very few exceptions, all the complaints about Bush apply to Obama, usually more so, PLUS new ones.

    OK, this is just stupidly long now…

  99. #99 |  Rob in CT | 

    Thank you for the right-wing talking points, Deoxy. As angry and frustrated as I get with the Dems, it’s useful to be reminded that there is an alternative reality out there wherein Bush the Younger was a better diplomat than, well, anybody, there is “racial law enforcement” going on under Obama, the socialized healthcare systems in other Western nations (a wide variety, btw) don’t work and Gitmo is “pretty good.”

    Yes, WTF indeed.

  100. #100 |  JOR | 

    “lowering the status of your office and country, etc, etc.”

    If Obama were really doing that, he’d be my hero.

  101. #101 |  Julian | 

    Your explanation for his treatment is flat-out wrong. I realize that, as a libertarian, you would love more than anything for government service itself to be responsible for this vile behavior, but it simply isn’t. He’s receiving the treatment he is for a few reasons.

    1) He’s an army guy being held by the Marines and the Marines, being perhaps the purest example of a secret little boys’ club ever to exist, can get real vindictive towards anyone they see as having broken the “rules” of being part of their club, even a part they consider an inferior branch. That Marines are trained to despise members of every other service makes his chances for decent treatment even less likely.

    2) Manning is a means to an end. The gov, and the Pentagon particularly, has made it plain for years now that their real target is Wikileaks ans its founder, Assange. If they can get Manning to say Wikileaks put him up to this and provided him with tools to effect the leak, then they can go after them for conspiracy. What we are seeing here is not “punishment” (he hasn’t even been convicted, afterall); it is an attempt to break a potential witness using techniques pioneered by Stalin(I wish that were an exaggeration). It is torture for the sake of show-trial testimony.

    3) They don’t actually have much of a case against Manning. They’ve been holding the guy for almost a year now without trial; not exactly what I’d call “speedy”. When prosecutors feel they have a solid case, they rush it; when they don’t, they stall for time. From everything that has been said publicly about his case one would think it open-and-shut, but that’s just your typical trial-by-media propaganda; the simple fact that they have delayed so long leads me to suspect that, like with the Guantanamo detainees, the government prosecutors have a real fear that they can’t make the charges stick. All they really have is the word of a felon/informant with a history of mental illness (Adrian Lamo), some easily fakeable chat logs, and the assurances of 1) another felon/informant (Lamo’s handler at Wired), and 2) an ex-FBI vigilante NSA contractor who happens to be the guy who busted and flipped Lamo’s handler, and has a personal interest (his salary) in ginning up digital spying fears. Given the treatment he has received, any confession Manning has made is likely suspect, and given the nature of the crime physical evidence is likely scant. His defense attorney need only ask that the prosecution prove that the person calling himself Manning in the chat logs is Manning to show how weak this case is.

    So while the treatment he has received is undeniably despicable, the idea that he is receiving it because his tormentors love and respect government service so much is simply laughable. There are real and obvious reasons for the illegal treatment he has received; one’s that do not further your political agenda.

  102. #102 |  witless chum | 

    After 911, bush decides to nuke Mecca. Is that brave? What if he sent someone in w/ a suitcase nuke, is that person brave?

    Bush is not brave.

    The guy who walks into Mecca with a suitcase nuke, says his prayers, and presses the button, obliterating himself along with his target damn well is.

    I don’t understand the objection to this. Brave does not equal praiseworthy. Plenty of brave Nazis and cowardly Jews were around in the 1940s, after all.

    You can respect bravery, like you respect honesty, IMO, but they’re empty of moral content.

  103. #103 |  James J.B. | 

    102

    You didn’t answer the first – soldier burns village.

    As to the first – why is he brave – because he followed orders? Aren’t all of the SWAT officers brave by that definition? IsnT storming a home at 4 am a scary prospect?

    More to tge point – Would he be more brave if he publicized the plan as an immoral act by his state, instead of just killing millions b/c someone said so.

    Yes. There is a certain level of resolve that both killers and honorable soldiers possess. The difference is how they used that resolve. Bravery has a positive honorable component to it. If not, why aren’t ordinary killers brave? They “break the rules” challenge the status quo and risk it all for their goal.

    Hugh Thompson – brave. The men he stopped were US soldiers who were killing civilians in war. Those men were not brave. But, I imagine those men were doing it all, putting their lives on the line to fight a war- yet I say that they were not brave.

  104. #104 |  albatross | 

    Julian:

    Hey, I object to the idea that someone we’ve been reliably told by government and media sources is guilty might be innocent. Why, next you’ll be telling me that Steve Hatfill didn’t mail the anthrax letters, Richard Jewel didn’t set off that bomb at the Atlanta Olympics, and Wen Ho Lee didn’t really sell secrets to the Chinese.

  105. #105 |  Justthisguy | 

    As someone who used to have a security clearance, and promised not to tell anybody what I knew by virtue of that, I think he is guilty of violating that promise.

    Aside from that, I think he really was acting from his conscience, though not having thought through all of the consequences. If he’d said something like, “This is what I must do, though I hang for it!” I’d have thought better of him. His Oath to the Constitution is senior to all of his other obligations.

  106. #106 |  witless chum | 

    “You didn’t answer the first – soldier burns village.”

    If uses himself as the match, a la the 9-11 hijackers, I’d say yes. Otherwise, not especially.

    I think you’re using your own esoteric definition for bravery. And Hugh Thompson was brave in both the usual sense of physical courage and in the definition you’re using.

  107. #107 |  Deoxy | 

    Rob in CT,

    Yes, “Bush the Younger” was a terrible diplomat, I completely agree. Obama still manages to be significantly worse. That was pretty much my point, actually.

    It’s pretty sad when saying “they both stink”, but then pointing out that Obama manages to stink worse (his most impressive accomplishment, really) is a “right wing talking point”. Heck, Bush only won re-election because the idiot Dems put up an even bigger loser then him – Bush had low approval ratings because the RIGHT didn’t like him, either, OK?

    Gitmo is indeed, a bad place. Only compared to the known alternatives is is “pretty good” (which is what I was pointing out).

    And no, the socialized healthcare systems in most Western countries do NOT work as well as the US (I’ve been to several of them)… unless you have “connections”, of course. The very best are about as good as ours, unless you need some really cutting edge stuff, then the US is still better. This isn’t a “right-wing talking point”, it’s simply the truth as I’ve experienced it in extensive travels.

  108. #108 |  The Liberty Papers »Blog Archive » Duh, Winning! | 

    [...] this special agent Dodson won’t receive the “Manning Treatment” for being brave enough to expose this to the media and the American [...]

  109. #109 |  When the whistle is too big | The Blog Farm - A Growing Blog Community | 

    [...] Know Your “True Self” »When the whistle is too bigB Psycho has contributed 18 articles.Radley Balko recently noted the big fat Does-Not-Compute of Bradley Manning’s treatment while being held under [...]

  110. #110 |  Morning Links | The Agitator | 

    [...] Obama administration. Meanwhile, Bradley Manning rots in a cell, still without so much as a trial. I’ve written this before, but I think Manning’s real crime was that he embarrassed politicians. Digg [...]

  111. #111 |  30 year lawyer | 

    Is he in military or civilian custody? If military, the FM governing confinement facilities appears to be violated.

  112. #112 |  When the whistle is too big « The Jefferson Tree | 

    [...] the whistle is too big March 7th, 2011 | B Psycho – Psychopolitik has contributed 128 articles. Radley Balko recently noted the big fat Does-Not-Compute of Bradley Manning’s treatment while being held [...]

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