President Obama Endorses Abusive Treatment Of Bradley Manning

For once, the accusation that President Obama is like President Bush rings true:

[ABC's Jake] TAPPER: State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the treatment of Bradley Manning by the Pentagon is “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.” And I'm wondering if you agree with that. Thank you, sir.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: With respect [. . .] to Private Manning, I have actually asked the Pentagon whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards. They assure me that they are. I can't go into details about some of their concerns, but some of this has to do with Private Manning's safety as well.

Perhaps the most disgraceful moment of Obama's Presidency.

Speaking for me only

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    It's (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by lentinel on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 01:38:03 PM EST
    about time that the realization that Obama is little more than a continuation of the Bush presidency sank in.

    I disagree with your comment (none / 0) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 01:43:50 PM EST
    But this episode is definitely an Obama=Bush moment.

    The Deal that you continually remind (none / 0) (#126)
    by Buckeye on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 09:05:11 PM EST
    us was a terrible mistake is essentially continuation of Bush fiscal policies.

    'They assure me that they are' (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by ruffian on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 01:48:02 PM EST
    Well then, that settles it.

    Just recalled what that reminds me of - (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by ruffian on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 02:01:35 PM EST
    Bush's reliance on the 'torture memos'. Get someone lower in the command chain to assure you everything is all legal and good. Don't use your own judgement of right and wrong.

    Just speaking for yourself, eh? (none / 0) (#69)
    by getoffamycloud10 on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:15:18 PM EST
    I hope your duties don't involve schmoozing and fundraising, Tent.

    If they do, don't go schmoozing any strange sheiks who look more like they're from Belfast than Baghdad or it's gonna take more than that to get ya off the hook with the likes of breitbart and faux.


    Given the way my stomach dropped when (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Anne on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 01:57:06 PM EST
    I read your post, I think "disgraceful" might be letting Obama off easy.

    I really am just sick about this.  And maybe it's worse because I don't see someone who goes along with the Manning treatment (among other things) as being committed to a justice system that endeavors to uphold and strengthen democratic principles.

    Glenn's reaction says it well:

    Oh, that's very reassuring -- and such a very thorough and diligent effort by the President to ensure that detainees under his command aren't being abused.  He asked the Pentagon and they said everything was great -- what more is there to know?  Everyone knows that on questions of whether the military is abusing detainees, the authoritative source is . . . the military.  You just ask them if they're doing anything improper, and once they tell you that they're not, that's the end of the matter.  

    I have no doubt that George Bush asked the DoD whether everything was being run professionally at Guantanamo and they assured him that they were.  Perhaps the reason there haven't been any Wall Street prosecutions is because Obama asked Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein if there was any fraud and those banking executives assured the President that there wasn't.


    Exactly my point above (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by ruffian on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 02:06:57 PM EST
    though of course Glenn said it better. The plaque on Obama's desk probably says 'The buck never gets here'.

    Actually, (none / 0) (#20)
    by getoffamycloud10 on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 02:13:59 PM EST
    given the rate of gop senate filibusters and holds since taking office, that's pretty accurate.

    Commander-In-Chief (5.00 / 5) (#25)
    by Dadler on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 02:34:09 PM EST
    Obama has all the power to end this treatment but instead he is willingly and fully, with enough information to know better, enabling it.  What a puny soul our president possesses.

    Obama just being Obama (5.00 / 3) (#58)
    by Sweet Sue on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:48:49 PM EST
    Perhaps the most disgraceful moment of Obama's Presidency

    With such an embarrassment of riches, how can you pick one?

    It's a helluva lot tougher (none / 0) (#91)
    by getoffamycloud10 on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:37:21 PM EST
    than it used to be with the incompetent schmuck he replaced.

    The true nature of the Democratic Party (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by Andreas on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:08:29 PM EST
    The treatment of Bradley Manning characterises Barack Obama and Obama represents the true nature of the Democratic Party.

    Everytime I read SOP (5.00 / 1) (#141)
    by blogtopus on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 10:41:39 PM EST
    in reference to Manning, I cringe. That's too close to 'Just following Orders' for comfort.

    Threads like this always end up (5.00 / 2) (#202)
    by Anne on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 08:07:53 PM EST
    making me wonder what we've become, and how it was so easy to make it happen.

    My position is pretty simple, really: we can't be a nation of do as I say, not as I do.  The stirring speeches, the invocation of democracy and patriotism, the lectures to other nations for their treatment of citizens - it all rings hollow if we aren't acting in accordance with our words.

    I don't hate the military; I respect the service of those who have volunteered to do what our nation asks in service to this democracy.  I acknowledge and respect the experience of service, am willing to learn what that experience has entailed, the culture that surrounds the military.

    I'm not willing to set my own beliefs and principles aside just because someone tells me, "well, that's just the way it is."  I'm not willing to blindly accept much of anything without some sort of independent supporting information.  I'm not in the military - I don't have to speak only when spoken to, or march in lock-step at someone's command.  I can and will question, I will ask for accountability, I will speak up when something doesn't make sense to me.

    That doesn't make me a hater, doesn't mean I don't respect those who serve - but when the military betrays the trust of those willing to die in service to their country, they should not get anyone's respect.

    It's clear that we see this situation with Manning differently, and it may be that those differences will never be resolved; I'm still willing to listen, to learn, but I am not willing to have my opinions be dismissed just because I don't have the same experiences as someone else.  


    Crowley's (5.00 / 1) (#203)
    by the capstan on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 04:47:58 PM EST

    As Matt Yglesias just put it: (5.00 / 3) (#204)
    by NYShooter on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 05:18:21 PM EST
    "So protecting those who are abusing Manning, while firing Crowley for condemning the abuse, is perfectly consistent with the President's sense of justice."

    I was actually going to give Obama (1.00 / 4) (#63)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:04:52 PM EST
    crap for this stance, but decided to look into exactly what constitutes torturing Manning.

    And realized that he's being treated like your average repeat offender in a maximum facility prison who gets in trouble for fighting or exhibits suicidal tendencies.

    I mean let me get this straight: the torture he is enduring is that he has to strip down to nothing each night, show the guards he has no way of hurting himself and then sleep under a blanket. I mean I know people who have been to jail and had to do that.  

    That's pretty standard procedure.  Am I missing something?

    Ignorant comment (5.00 / 4) (#70)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:19:40 PM EST
    But let's face it. You really do not want to know the truth about this.

    Oh there's irony in that (1.00 / 3) (#161)
    by Rojas on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 09:05:36 AM EST
    So thick you could roller skate on it.
    Here we have a guy who has blasted out a few hundred megabytes making the case that BC was the most progressive president evah because he raised marginal tax rates on the rich, but totally ignores the fact that he used that cash to build the most extensive network of prisons the free and most of the third world has ever seen.

    Yea, I know CDS... I wonder who's got it.
    Send 'em your cash.


    You are a teller of false tales (none / 0) (#168)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 09:59:25 AM EST
    And frankly, I do not need you in my threads. Your obsession with ME is unhealthy for both of us.

    I suggest you confine yourself to Jeralyn's threads.


    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by sj on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:19:47 PM EST
    You're missing something.  

    Are you mising something? (5.00 / 2) (#110)
    by Anne on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 05:33:40 PM EST
    Are you kidding me?

    You "looked into it" and all you found was

    the torture he is enduring is that he has to strip down to nothing each night, show the guards he has no way of hurting himself and then sleep under a blanket.

    Not only can I point you to information and links that are as hard to find as simply reading through this thread, but the most elementary of Google searches will return a wealth of information that details the protocol under which Manning is being held.

    There is a reason solitary confinement, of the type Manning is enduring, meets the UN's definition of torture - regardless of whether you think it's no big deal.

    The problem here is, of course, that if you have to acknowledge the inhumanity of Manning's detention, you have to acknowledge who is allowing it to continue, who has the power to end it.

    And the other thing that's missing from the equation is that Manning has been convicted of nothing.  Nothing.  He hasn't had a trial.  

    So, even if solitary confinement and forced nakedness and constant interruptions to sleep are being imposed on convicted felons who reside in civilian prisons, the operative word here is "convicted," which says that these people have had due process - which Manning has not.

    Somehow, I can't imagine you tossing all of this off as no big deal if it were happening under a Republican president - and if you were one of those who objected to the Bush/Cheney approach to treatment of detainees, if you thought Abu Ghraib was an abomination, you should be just as disturbed by what is happening with Manning.

    The hypocrisy in service to a personality at the expense of principle is, frankly, repugnant.


    There is no (5.00 / 0) (#123)
    by BackFromOhio on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 07:23:42 PM EST
    evidence that Manning is suicidal, although I can easily see how his continued mistreatment might lead there.  Please check your facts.  

    Torture: The Movie (5.00 / 1) (#172)
    by MO Blue on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 10:21:02 AM EST
    by Lynn Parramore

    Why is it so hard time to call this treatment what it actually is? Torture.

    Plain and simple.

    Maybe it's because if we did, we would have to acknowledge truths too painful to bear. We would know that what had once happened to "foreign combatants" is now happening to Americans soldiers, and maybe it will soon happen to civilians, too. So we continue the doublespeak.

    "Political language," wrote George Orwell, "is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind." ("Politics and the English Language", 1946.)
    We wait and we watch as the U.S. government defends itself from whistle blowers by torturing them in plain view. What stronger evidence that there is much to blow the whistle on?

    Powerful article. Suggest taking the time to read the whole thing.


    You are missing a lot. (none / 0) (#194)
    by lentinel on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 03:37:39 PM EST
    You identify yourself as angry.
    Yet this does not make you angry.
    If this doesn't make you angry, what would?

    Well then (none / 0) (#4)
    by jbindc on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 01:48:41 PM EST
    Someone needs to get on the right page:

    PJ Crowley:

    PJ Crowley, the assistant secretary of state for public affairs at the US state department, has said Manning is being "mistreated" in the military brig at Quantico, Virginia. "What is being done to Bradley Manning is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid on the part of the department of defence."

    Crowley's comments are the first sign of a crack within the Obama administration over the handling of the WikiLeaks saga in which hundreds of thousands of confidential documents were handed to the website.

    It is the first time anyone within the administration has expressed concern about Manning's treatment, which has included being held for 23 hours in solitary confinement in his cell and being stripped naked every night. Until now the US government had presented a united front, promising to aggressively pursue anyone involved in leaking state secrets. Clinton herself described the WikiLeaks material as "an attack on America" and said "we are taking aggressive steps" to hold those who leaked it to account.

    Crowley, speaking at an MIT seminar in Boston, did say he believed Manning was "in the right place". He was presumably referring to Quantico, where the intelligence specialist has been held pending a court martial since July last year when he was arrested while serving in Iraq.

    Crowley said: "There is sometimes a need for secrets for diplomatic progress to be made."

    But when asked by one of the audience what he thought about the "elephant in the room" - the US "torturing a prisoner in a military brig", as the questioner put it - he replied without pausing that he thought the Pentagon's actions were "ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid".

    Gotta read closer (none / 0) (#5)
    by jbindc on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 01:49:48 PM EST
    How long do we think PJ Crowley keeps his job?

    As long as he wants (none / 0) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 01:57:01 PM EST
    No way he is dismissed on this issue.

    Obama is the one who will have to walk it back imo.


    I am thinking that Obama was not (none / 0) (#6)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 01:51:37 PM EST
    prepared for the question and maybe didn't even know that Crowley had said anything.

    Not that that makes his answer better, but he was quite dismissive and seemed to be caught off guard.


    Of course (none / 0) (#10)
    by jbindc on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 01:57:38 PM EST
    What we would expect him to say?  I don't mean just Obama - but any president asked that?

    He has two possible responses:

    1) "It's a disgrace and I will immediately fire anyone if it is proven that torture is going on. Bradley Manning deserves his day in court and will immediately order that he be pulled out of solitary confinement."


    2) "You are all full of it. The only people that say they "know" Manning is being tortured are liberal bloggers who think they know what's going on and  his defense attorney, who is running around giving media interviews as if he was being paid by the word.  Of course his attorney is going to say such things - as a defense attorney, it's his job to zealously advocate for his client, and to be a spin meister.  His attorney is not bound by any truth, as he is trying to get his client to be viewed in the most positive light going into his trial and to plant the idea of torture in any potential jury member's mind."

    Do you really think he'd say either of these?  Or that it would be appropriate?


    Simple (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 01:58:57 PM EST
    We are looking into it and will assure that human standards of decency are followed.

    Sure he could have said that (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by sj on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:36:31 PM EST
    In fact, he did respond similarly to the next question:

    TAPPER:  let me get one more quick question. On the coolant, how did that happen?  Why -- you know, what's the --

    PRESIDENT OBAMA:  I -- I -- I don't yet have all the details, Jake, so I'm going to have to defer that question until we get more.

    If he didn't respond similarly to the question of Private Manning, it was because he feels he has sufficient details.


    But what if turns out (none / 0) (#16)
    by jbindc on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 02:06:58 PM EST
    That despite the one side we are hearing, it is determined that he is not being "tortured".

    Will anyone in the liberal blogosphere actually believe him? Everyone has their narrative already written in their heads, but the truth is, none of us actually know what is the truth in this case.


    The military's own statements (5.00 / 0) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 02:09:11 PM EST
    on the matter demonstrate they are torturing him, as the term is defined under the UN Convention on Torture.

    Maybe the president could tell us what is (none / 0) (#19)
    by ruffian on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 02:11:12 PM EST
    happening. I would believe him. At this point maybe it is his job to investigate and answer the charges point by point, and not just give a blanket "I'm assured it's all legal". I don't see the need for the secrecy.

    The question is (none / 0) (#21)
    by jbindc on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 02:14:35 PM EST
    What would you like to hear?  Specifically - I'm just curious.

    What would you accept?  Would you accept it if he said - "I was there myself, I talked to Manning, and I can assure you it's all within the purviews of the law."  Would you accept that answer?


    Obama's painted himself into a corner, (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Anne on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 02:57:18 PM EST
    once again.  Bradley Manning has been detained for almost a year now, and the concerns and questions about his treatment started very soon thereafter.  If Obama did not agree with what the military's decisions were on Manning's treatment, he could have changed it in a heartbeat.  He didn't, so make of that what you will.  Did they convince him it was humane?  Did he decide he was okay with it?

    So, here we are, ten months later and he finally gets a question he can't avoid - which probably would not have come if not for Crowley's comments - and just like when Bush was put on the spot, the only thing he can say is that he's been assured that everything is just peachy.  By the same people who are responsible for the treatment.

    Contrary to what you seem to be suggesting, we really do know - because the military has confirmed it - how Manning is being treated.  There is no dispute about the conditions and protocols he is being subjected to, only whether it is humane.  As BTD has pointed out, the treatment falls within the UN Convention on Torture's definition of torture.

    But, since we don't torture, and the military has said "nothing to see here - move along," there's no need to worry.


    "we're looking into it" (none / 0) (#22)
    by CST on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 02:16:06 PM EST
    You're answer is not acceptable, because it's not true.

    I'd like to see M formally charged (none / 0) (#24)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 02:33:22 PM EST
    if they have a case against him - that would be a really good first step towards a more normal and lawful approach to meting out justice in our country.  Assurances from Obama that that is in the works might have been good - and not particularly politically damaging on either side of the proverbial aisle.  Civil Liberties folks want due process and the others want him to be tried and convicted.  A promise to get the show on the road wouldn't hurt the president.

    Manning has been formally charged (none / 0) (#28)
    by jbindc on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 02:38:02 PM EST
    When? (none / 0) (#29)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 02:52:22 PM EST
    I missed that somewhere along the way.  Last I read he had not yet been charged.

    He was originally charged (none / 0) (#31)
    by jbindc on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 02:58:54 PM EST
    Last July

    Pfc. Bradley Manning, 22, was charged with two counts under the Uniform Code of Military Justice: one encompassing the eight alleged criminal offenses, and a second detailing four noncriminal violations of Army regulations governing the handling of classified information and computers.

    And then, they added 22 more charges on March 2, 2011

    The charges, filed Tuesday but not disclosed until Wednesday, are one count of aiding the enemy, five counts of theft of public property or records, two counts of computer fraud, eight counts of transmitting defense information in violation of the Espionage Act, and one count of wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the internet knowing it would be accessible to the enemy. The aiding-the-enemy charge is a capital offense, potentially carrying the death penalty. Five additional charges are for violating Army computer-security regulations.

    I think they are still investigating.


    It was obvious that they (none / 0) (#35)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:05:03 PM EST
    were still investigating; looking for all kinds of ways to over-charge him; and clearly trying to squeeze him to get to Assange.  They've made that all too clear.

    I had not seen the March update.


    I'd accept that. I'd accept anything (none / 0) (#34)
    by ruffian on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:04:04 PM EST
    in the ball park of 'I personally sent my representative down there to fact find, and here is what he/she found. Manning is being held: where, by who, in what condition, why.'  

    I think when so many questions have been raised about it, it warrants that much attention.


    Methinks he has forgotten who he works for (none / 0) (#38)
    by ruffian on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:10:07 PM EST
    He works for me. I hired him to run the organization called the US Executive Branch. Except in rare circumstances of national security, he has a duty to tell me what is going on, and how he is treating my fellow citizens.

    Just the facts, m'am. (none / 0) (#74)
    by getoffamycloud10 on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:21:26 PM EST
    Their liberal bias may not do you gops any favors, but I'll take my chances with 'em.

    It's not a binary world (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by sj on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:34:01 PM EST
    There's a whole spectrum of possible comments.  It's not limited by your imagination.  Or mine.

    I'd expect him to be prepared (none / 0) (#23)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 02:17:14 PM EST
    if he was prepared and not if he was not.  My comment went solely to the question of whether or not he had heard what Crowley had said before he was asked about it.

    I thought he appeared awkward and that he was caught off guard.  That he tossed in at the end there the part about it being for Manning's safety seemed like a tip off.

    And, I'm guessing that Crowley is going to be "retiring" in the very near future.


    Hey, (none / 0) (#52)
    by sj on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:36:21 PM EST
    he has actually asked the Pentagon.  What more do you want?  He is as prepared as he intends be.

    LOL - (none / 0) (#101)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 05:07:42 PM EST
    I get the impression that he thinks that nobody cares that much about Manning.  

    Manning is not a popular cause (none / 0) (#145)
    by KeysDan on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 11:30:34 PM EST
    ...an openly gay soldier demonized and disliked by the military, and a "traitor" in the eyes of republican tea party people is not going to have this president in his corner. It would just be a distraction from winning the future, not to mention winning re-election.

    Really? (none / 0) (#64)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:05:26 PM EST
    His attorney is not bound by any truth,

    Nah, (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by getoffamycloud10 on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:23:50 PM EST
    you're confusin' him with shrub.

    Big difference.


    President Bush (none / 0) (#164)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 09:33:45 AM EST
    was not an attorney.

    So who is confused?


    Manning was foolish (none / 0) (#7)
    by MKS on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 01:53:47 PM EST
    adn apparently manipulated by others....but treating him like Charlie Manson makes no sense....

    It's a violation (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 01:57:50 PM EST
    of the Un Convention on Torture, and US law, codified by Congress and signed by Ronald Reagan.

    What's a treaty? (none / 0) (#45)
    by mmc9431 on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:23:46 PM EST
    That doesn't seem to apply anymore. We've had ten years of ignoring the law or treaties in regard to prisoners.

    We've entered an era where Presidents even brag about their role in torture.

    The bar has definitely been lowered. Future administrations will continue to lower it even further until the American people quit glorifying and justifying it.          


    What's a law (none / 0) (#84)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:27:37 PM EST
    that applies to no one?

    what is a law that applies to no one? (none / 0) (#120)
    by dandelion on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 06:54:45 PM EST
    Ask the bankers.

    Seems to more and more that the legal system in the US is really just a set of suggestions that may or may not apply, depending.


    Granted,... (none / 0) (#14)
    by getoffamycloud10 on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 02:03:46 PM EST
    he's got more pressing matters on the front burner, but he shouldn't have been caught off guard by the question.

    His answer was weak.

    Given a credibility choice between State and Defense, I easily filled out my bracket.


    methinks he has his finger in the wind (none / 0) (#17)
    by pcpablo on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 02:08:43 PM EST
    Ask common 'mericans, and they think they are treating Manning kindly.  No one seems to under stand that loss of freedom IS the punishment,at least once you are found guilty.

    What I think a conversation between POTUS and Bradley would look like.

    It's called passing the buck! (none / 0) (#26)
    by the capstan on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 02:35:13 PM EST
    Haven't read comments yet--today was my first morning back on my feet after bout with myasthenia gravis.  But didn't he get away with passing the buck all thru campaign: 'what she said'?

    So glad I did not vote in 2010, but so very sorry for our country.  Back when we worried about Hirohito riding his white horse down Penn. Ave., or watched Hitler's legions oppressing Europe, I never dreamed the US of A would become one of the 'bad guys.'

    OT-- how is my favorite island (none / 0) (#27)
    by the capstan on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 02:36:35 PM EST
    of Maui?  Saw report on webcam that the Tsunami really was not much.

    Everyone keeps telling me that (none / 0) (#32)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 02:59:38 PM EST
    how Manning is being treated is not SOP for soldiers who are accused and incarcerated, but it is.  Soldiers who were jailed for refusing to deploy to Iraq were forced to shower and be nude at different times in front of females guards too, they've complained too and nobody heard and nobody cared.  That is still going on to this day.  I think it is decent that people notice what is taking place with Manning but none of it out of the ordinary for jailed soldiers.

    That still doesn't make it okay. (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Anne on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:21:07 PM EST
    From Manning's lawyer:

    PFC Manning is held in his cell for approximately 23 hours a day.

    The guards are required to check on PFC Manning every five minutes by asking him if he is okay. PFC Manning is required to respond in some affirmative manner. At night, if the guards cannot see PFC Manning clearly, because he has a blanket over his head or is curled up towards the wall, they will wake him in order to ensure he is okay.

    He receives each of his meals in his cell.

    He is not allowed to have a pillow or sheets. However, he is given access to two blankets and has recently been given a new mattress that has a built-in pillow.

    He is not allowed to have any personal items in his cell.

    He is only allowed to have one book or one magazine at any given time to read in his cell. The book or magazine is taken away from him at the end of the day before he goes to sleep.

    He is prevented from exercising in his cell. If he attempts to do push-ups, sit-ups, or any other form of exercise he will be forced to stop.

    He does receive one hour of "exercise" outside of his cell daily. He is taken to an empty room and only allowed to walk. PFC Manning normally just walks figure eights in the room for the entire hour. If he indicates that he no long feels like walking, he is immediately returned to his cell.

    When PFC Manning goes to sleep, he is required to strip down to his boxer shorts and surrender his clothing to the guards. His clothing is returned to him the next morning.

    From Glenn, from December, 2010:

    In sum, Manning has been subjected for many months without pause to inhumane, personality-erasing, soul-destroying, insanity-inducing conditions of isolation similar to those perfected at America's Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado:  all without so much as having been convicted of anything.  And as is true of many prisoners subjected to warped treatment of this sort, the brig's medical personnel now administer regular doses of anti-depressants to Manning to prevent his brain from snapping from the effects of this isolation.

    Just by itself, the type of prolonged solitary confinement to which Manning has been subjected for many months is widely viewed around the world as highly injurious, inhumane, punitive, and arguably even a form of torture.  In his widely praised March, 2009 New Yorker article -- entitled "Is Long-Term Solitary Confinement Torture?" -- the surgeon and journalist Atul Gawande assembled expert opinion and personal anecdotes to demonstrate that, as he put it, "all human beings experience isolation as torture."  By itself, prolonged solitary confinement routinely destroys a person's mind and drives them into insanity.  A March, 2010 article in The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law explains that "solitary confinement is recognized as difficult to withstand; indeed, psychological stressors such as isolation can be as clinically distressing as physical torture."

    For that reason, many Western nations -- and even some non-Western nations notorious for human rights abuses -- refuse to employ prolonged solitary confinement except in the most extreme cases of prisoner violence.  

    I can't speak for anyone else, but even if this is SOP (which I still question), I would find it unacceptable.

    And I'd really like my president to find it unnacceptable, as well; it is less than comforting to know that he doesn't.


    Do you know (2.00 / 1) (#47)
    by jbindc on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:26:56 PM EST
    for a fact if he "finds it acceptable" or not?  No - he gave a measured non-answer, as any president would do.  Any public comments he gave one way or at this point could also be considered injecting himself into the judicial process.

    Remember - the future jury works for him.  If he said "I think it's absolutely ok and great what they're doing," they might take their cues from that.  On the other hand, if he came out and said, "This is pure torture and I can't believe they're doing this," it could also influence a jury - from hearing the facts of the case.

    You know I'm no Obama apologist.  But we have no idea what is being said behind the scenes. And no one should be surprised that he was not going to publicly comment one way or the other about it.


    I know it's been going on for (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by Anne on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:40:29 PM EST
    almost a year.  I know we've known about it for almost that long.  I know the fact that it continues means Obama has done nothing to stop it.
    I know that it's reasonable to believe that he's able to justify it - which is some level of acceptability that, even if it falls short of outright pushing for it, is still acceptability.

    As Commander-in-Chief, he isn't required to stand on the sidelines; he can - and should - inject himself into that process if the people under his command are engaging in activity he claims to be opposed to, especially since Manning has been held for 10 months without any trial, or any date for a trial.

    If he had to say anything, it should have been, "I'm not going to comment.  Period."  Saying he checked with the Pentagon and everything's okey-dokey is, if you will pardon the expression, Bush-league.


    Trial date (none / 0) (#57)
    by jbindc on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:42:49 PM EST
    A trial date has yet to be set for Manning and the army said Wednesday that proceedings have been delayed since July 12, 2010 pending the outcome of an inquiry into the soldier's "mental capacity" requested by defense lawyers, the army statement said.



    Did he attempt suicide? (none / 0) (#60)
    by MKS on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:56:28 PM EST
    I am not particularly shocked by by Manning's treatment.  SOP for many in prison.

    If this changes how people view prisons, so much the better.  But no one will particularly care because Manning is so hated....wrongfully in my view.....


    Not only has he not attempted (5.00 / 2) (#62)
    by Anne on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:00:50 PM EST
    suicide, the brig psychiatrists have determined that he is not a danger to himself, and did not recommend the protocol under which he is being held.

    Again (none / 0) (#88)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:31:26 PM EST
    The conviction part, even if what you say is true, is missing from your analysis.

    True, (none / 0) (#93)
    by MKS on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:43:56 PM EST
    Here is an article about an inmate who has spent 27 years in solitary at Supermax in Colorado.

    I don't disagree with your assessment--but this practice is a lot more common than perhaps thought.

    And I agree that he should not be treated this way.  But whether he has been convicted or not does not bare on whether he is being tortured.  Even the convicted should not be tortured.

    I would have Manning on Home Confinement and closely watched.  It would be cheaper.  And monitoring his communications might lead to others more quilty than he imo.


    23 hour a day solitary confinement (5.00 / 1) (#155)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 08:43:55 AM EST
    Again, the specifics of the incarceration of death row inmates in California is not explained in detail is your excerpts.

    I do wonder why all this rationalization of Manning's treatment.


    Good lord, Counselor (none / 0) (#153)
    by Rojas on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 08:30:52 AM EST
    What bearing does "The conviction part" have on whether this form of treatment is torture?

    Solitary Confinement, and Selective Outrage

    Frequently, writers and readers make the point that Manning is being subjected to these condition while he is merely accused , rather than convicted, of a crime. Perhaps they need to be introduced to the 15-year-old boy who, along with several dozen other juveniles, is being held is solitary in a jail in Harris County, Texas, while he awaits trial on a robbery charge. He is one of hundreds-if not thousands-of prisoners being held in pre-trial solitary confinement, for one reason or another, on any given day in America. Most of them lack decent legal representation, or are simply too poor to make bail.

    Good lord Rojas (5.00 / 1) (#154)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 08:42:16 AM EST
    It actually has a legal and moral bearing.

    If Harris County is violating the UN Convention on torture, and your excerpt does not say the conditions, is not to the point.

    Yet again, folk seem ignorant of the UN Convention on Torture, codified as Us law signed by Ronald Reagan.

    What is wrong you people? Why in God's name are you defending this? Just sick.


    I'm not defending it (none / 0) (#162)
    by Rojas on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 09:12:35 AM EST
    And I'm not late to the party.
    Did you even bother with the link?

    "Appropirate" (none / 0) (#76)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:22:30 PM EST
    Inmates on Death Row in California (none / 0) (#65)
    by MKS on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:05:48 PM EST
    at San Quentin are confined to their cells by themselves and allowed to go a small exercise yard by themselves for one hour a day.  That is SOP.  For years.

    The other treament not so much.

    But there is a horrid Supermax for the hardest to deal with offenders that treats its inmates much like Manning.....Many of them are mentally ill, and so what do they do?  They push tehm even further into mental illness....

    The studies on solitary confiment mean that there is such a practice.  And that practice exists in our own prisons.....


    Again a link please (none / 0) (#87)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:30:47 PM EST
    But also, convictions are also a part of the system no?

    Not exact.ly (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by sj on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:36:46 PM EST
    What every one is telling you is that he is being tortured.  

    If, as you say, that is SOP for soldiers who are accused and incarcerated then they are all being tortured.

    It. Is. Not. OK.


    Not just soldiers (5.00 / 0) (#61)
    by MKS on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:58:37 PM EST
    But many others in U.S. prisons who are considered incorrgible and sent to Supermax type prisons.  Although Manning's treatment seems to be even beyond that.

    It is not Manning's treatment that you object to--you object to an entire system.....


    Well sort of (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by sj on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:19:41 PM EST
    It is Manning's treatment that I object to.  And to this sort of treatment as SOP.

    the 23 hour a day solitary confinement may be [inhumane] SOP for those on death row, but he hasn't even had his day in court.

    And please no one respond to me as if the solitary confinement is the only thing being done.  Also please don't respond if you don't know that solitary confinement is

    banned under Common Article Three of the Geneva Conventions as it amounts to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

    Well, then, attorneys for inmates (none / 0) (#109)
    by MKS on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 05:31:23 PM EST
    on Death Row should use the Geneva Convention to get their clients out of solitary....

    True, Manning has had more done to him than the average inmate in Solitary at San Quentin.



    The Geneva Conventions apply to POWs (none / 0) (#170)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 10:03:46 AM EST
    The cite would be to the UN Convention on Torture.

    thank you (none / 0) (#171)
    by sj on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 10:11:18 AM EST
    for the clarification.  I'll remember it.

    SuperMax (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:21:45 PM EST
    may be all you say, but let's consider how you get there first.

    A trial. A conviction. A sentencing hearing. You know. The due process thing.


    Sure (5.00 / 1) (#111)
    by MKS on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 05:34:41 PM EST
    But your argument thus becomes in essence that Manning's treatment is unjust, not torture.

    If it is torture, then it would violate the Eighth Amendment, even after due process.

    I think the whole thing is wretched.  And Supermax overdone....


    Not it doesn't (none / 0) (#169)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 10:03:02 AM EST
    As I said, the specifics of the solitary you state is used at San Quentin is not there.

    It could be that San Quentin is engaged in torture.

    I feel confident that what5 is being done to Manning is torture under the UN Convention.


    That's not (2.00 / 2) (#33)
    by jbindc on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:01:03 PM EST
    as sexy a story as one with the dashing Julian potentially involved.

    That comment is truly beneath you. (3.50 / 2) (#46)
    by Anne on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:25:26 PM EST
    And I have to say that I find it more and more disturbing to see the flippancy with which you treat this entire issue of Manning's treatment - trying as hard as you can, every time it comes up, to make light of it.

    It's disgusting.


    I'd like to wait (none / 0) (#48)
    by jbindc on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:28:20 PM EST
    for all the facts to come out.

    Apparently you have made up your mind.


    Your comment had nothing to do (5.00 / 0) (#50)
    by Anne on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:33:25 PM EST
    with "waiting for all the facts," jb - it was just a snide and gratuitous jab.

    We ALL want to know more, but even if I knew everything there was to know, I can't find a way to justify inhumane treatment.

    And I'm not interested in being someone who can.


    I'm sorry I don't have your approval on this (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by jbindc on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:40:01 PM EST
    But I'll have to learn to live with your disappointment.

    i'm not familiar (none / 0) (#86)
    by The Addams Family on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:29:51 PM EST
    with what you say is jb's flippancy wrt Manning

    but i think i read this comment by jb a little differently

    i thought jb's barb was directed at the media & at the man crush that many in the media seem to have on Assange

    i did not take her words as flippancy toward Manning regardless of what you see as her history of same


    I am very familiar with it (5.00 / 0) (#89)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:32:27 PM EST
    IT has been a staple of her commentary on Assange on Manning.

    I watched Obama answer that particular (none / 0) (#37)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:08:03 PM EST
    question this morning.  I noticed he basically deferred authority to the treatment of Manning to the Pentagon.  All soldiers know that being incarcerated as a soldier is hell though, and I assume it is meant to be that way and perceived that way because God forbid someone refuse an order thinking that they were cold and hungry and ready for some down time and three hots and a cot.  I don't know for a fact that is why incarceration is made to super suck so much for soldiers, that is only my arrived at assumption after 14 years of military life exposure.

    Obama seemed to say (5.00 / 0) (#59)
    by MKS on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:49:06 PM EST
    that Manning is on a suicide watch or being segregated from other prisoners for his own protection.

    I think most incaceration is wrong and abusive. But the solitary confinement for 23 hours a day is what they do to many in Supermax.  

    The constant waking up and stripping of clothing sounds like a suicide prevention program that has gone awry....

    It seems like torture to me, but it is not so out of the ordinary for how inmates are treated in many facilities....


    MKS (1.00 / 3) (#68)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:11:09 PM EST
    is exactly right. 23 in/1 out is standard in max facilities. Regular strip searches, with or without cause are typical. Requiring him to stay awake is normal suicide watch practice.

    I always assumed there was more to it than this, but it looks like all he's being subject to is typical super-max treatment.

    Now if I were him, I'd see it as torture too, but let's be real here. They are treating him like a hardened criminal. That may be unfair but it isn't torture.


    No it isn't (5.00 / 0) (#83)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:26:52 PM EST
    for persons not convicted of crimes.

    For some reason, I knew where you would come out on this one.


    For some reason, (none / 0) (#92)
    by Zorba on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:43:27 PM EST
    so did I.  Anything that Obama does is apparently excusable according to him.

    Plant from OFA (none / 0) (#113)
    by shoephone on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 05:44:29 PM EST
    Phony blog handle -- He's not "angry" about anything. He's getting paid.

    The Republicans do that (none / 0) (#117)
    by MKS on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 06:29:09 PM EST
    I haven't heard of OFA doing that....

    I'm not necessarily (none / 0) (#118)
    by Zorba on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 06:41:41 PM EST
    convinced that he's paid- he may just be a really, really "true believer."  There are more than a few of those- go on over to Booman Tribune or even DailyKos.  

    I am a true believer (none / 0) (#119)
    by MKS on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 06:48:24 PM EST
    but then again my expectation level was different than many.....

    Liberals are at bottom idealists....and even the fashionably bitter cynics come from a place of frustrated idealism....

    The opposite is Nixon-like Scott Walker.   They laugh at liberal idealism as the foolishness of naive children.  And thus they have no problem lying or playing the "game" without regret.


    Well, yes (none / 0) (#121)
    by Zorba on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 06:59:51 PM EST
    I am a "true believer," too, in the ideals of liberalism, humanitarianism, equality for all, and so on.  I just do not have blinders on about any individual politician, as some do (not you, MKS).  I judge politicians on their actual deeds, not on their words.  And I am not inclined to give any individual, up to and including Obama, a "pass" because he's "better than the alternative!"  That's a pretty low standard, IMHO.

    I marvel at the sucker punch (none / 0) (#122)
    by MKS on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 07:15:31 PM EST
    that Scott Walker landed.  Everyone, including moi, thought he would play fair on the union busting bill and only try to pass it as a budgetary matter.....But just that possibility had been discussed, and yet the Dems didn't think Walker would go there....

    I did think it odd that Walker released those emails the day before he shoved the bill through that showed he was willing to compromise on some (teeny, tiny) provisions in the bill.  It was all a set-up.  He wanted to show that he "tried," and then shove the undigested and anamended bill through.

    I digress.

    To your point, I agree and disagree.  It would be good to have a Left flank that could hold Obama's feet to the fire.  But too often the discussion becomes exclusively how bad Obama is without any attempt to do anything at all.  I disagree about the alternative being worse.  Nader.  2000.  Tweety voted for Bush in 2000.

    It can always get worse....  


    There hasn't been a viable (none / 0) (#189)
    by jondee on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 01:51:28 PM EST
    traditional Left in this country since McCarthy and the bi-partisan union busting that went into high gear beginning in the fifties..

    Now, when Rush says people like Obama and the Clintons are "the Left" even the people at this site buy into the narrative..



    translation (none / 0) (#77)
    by The Addams Family on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:23:26 PM EST

    it's ok if Obama says the Pentagon says it's OK


    Are they in solitary 23 hrs a day? (none / 0) (#36)
    by ruffian on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:06:42 PM EST
    Yes, some of them are sometimes (none / 0) (#39)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:10:26 PM EST
    And in the very recent past when they mouthed off some of them were strapped in a "stress" position all night long too....just like they did to prisoners at Abu Ghraib.  This has been a known fact too, but nobody complained about or showed any concern for what happened to those guys.  Only Manning gets consideration.

    It was not a known fact to me (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by ruffian on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:13:43 PM EST
    That is equally reprehensible. Maybe some good will come to them too from publicizing Manning's situation.

    About two years AFTER Abu Ghraib (none / 0) (#43)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:19:52 PM EST
    it was discovered that Fort Lewis had been strapping the military imprisoned into what they called a stress chair overnight.  One guy ended up in it because he was angry about having to be nude in front of female guards and he clogged up the toilet in his cell as a form of protest.  It was never considered important enough to make it onto CNN though.

    Sounds awful (none / 0) (#81)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:25:22 PM EST
    Not sure what is has to do with 23 hours of solitary.

    Torture is tortore (none / 0) (#96)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:49:58 PM EST
    It just gets to me that everyone worries about Manning being tortured but nobody prior to Manning cared if other incarcerated soldiers were or are tortured.

    In that case (5.00 / 2) (#100)
    by sj on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 05:05:42 PM EST
    If I were you, I think I would be grateful to Manning instead of letting it "get to you".  Because we didn't know before.  At last I didn't.  

    Because what he is being subjected to is TORTURE!!!

    If I would were you, I would be  thanking my lucky stars that there is finally someone high profile enough to limn this travesty.

    Because if I were you, I wouldn't use that SOP argument as a justification for TORTURE!!!

    I believe I would add my voice to those who want to take this behavior out from under a rock and subject it to the warm light of day.


    How can I feel that way about it (none / 0) (#127)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 09:05:55 PM EST
    when you inform people that this is SOP procedure for the military incarcerated and they insist without actually knowing what happens to many soldiers during military incarceration that what is happening isn't SOP.  It is!  But too many people so concerned about Manning refuse to understand this.  It is almost as if they don't want to understand this.  Manning is a special soldier to them, but all the rest of them are scum and deserve such treatment.

    I can't speak for anyone else (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by sj on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 09:55:49 PM EST
    but speaking for myself, my reaction to your information is not doubt, but pure disbelief.  And there is a huge difference.  I can't believe that this goes on and this is the first semi-national discussion about it.

    It's wrong, MT.  Whether it's one, some or all, it's wrong.  And I would hope the families of all those others suffering would add their voices.


    Today I went a fund raiser where our (none / 0) (#139)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 10:32:23 PM EST
    clubfoot son ran laps.  He did it without my permission last year, but this year he had my blessing.  I was freaked out last year by that one foot doctor...but Josh wasn't.  Joshua has his dad with him this year though too.  He was insanely happy.

    Before the run started though they played the National Anthem.  I stood with my hand on my heart, most of the kids were milling about and not really paying attention and that is okay because it is all about the allowing of choices in the Democracy of the United States of America.  My husband was on my right though and he was so snapped to attention it seems almost painful and he was saluting the flag like that for the whole National Anthem.  A full bird Colonel in uniform stood on my left side and you could have played his whole body like a violin string.  He was there to watch his child too (and I had to ask my husband if when you have an eagle on your beret if you are what they call a full bird Colonel and he told me yes while shaking his head at me because how can I not know that?  But it is optional for me....NOT HIM.)  I do understand other things though.  I understand that the military IS ALL ABOUT following orders. If I'm not ready to take that reality on I guess I can divorce, but I have come to respect it because military missions within the military aren't exercises in Democracy and they can't be to actually function at the level that they must function on.  The military isn't a Democracy, it is only the military serving a Democracy.

    I don't expect as far as the military goes for my husband to get to break the rules and betray the people serving next to him though and then be forgiven or get a pass or simply be unfriended.  People are dying for these missions.  Most families of soldiers who wind up in military prisons already feel like the treatment is to be expected, and so does the left in its overall dislike of people who choose military service, and so do the right in its need for pefect soldiers they can put on that pedestal.  So somehow I'm pretty sure that the horrible treatment of incarcerated soldiers will always be one of those things everyone easily overlooks or chooses to look the other way on.


    You're right (none / 0) (#146)
    by sj on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 11:41:06 PM EST
    We can't have this conversation.  When it degenerates into this:

    the left in its overall dislike of people who choose military service

    which is pure nonsense, it's clear that this really isn't a conversation at all.

    But I can say without any overtones whatsoever that it's lovely that Joshua had a day like today.


    They could run a max of 35 laps (none / 0) (#147)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 11:53:57 PM EST
    Last year he ran 18 laps.  We were all going by this number last year when deciding how much to sponsor him for.  I now owe him $290 for his school.  Everyone sponsored him thinking that that is what he would come close to again and he ran 29 laps.  He was the head of his class for fundraising per lap and he may be #1 in the school, but you have to collect first before they will calculate that.  In any case he will get to be "teacher for a day".  What would you tell the clubfoot kid though when he came to ask you to sponsor him in running laps :)? And also knowing Alabama schools no longer get any funds for classroom supplies.  This fundraiser started last year because of that, they perfected it a lot this year....And so did Josh.  His sister asked me tonight if I was bummed about how much I have to pay.  My God NO!  My sister-in-law got into the Air Force Academy because of her long distance running, and my husband was the same level of competitive athlete but he had a lot more competition and he's really short :)  Joshua has that drive too.  I wish I had to spend a few thousand a year while he took part in the traveling baseball team that some of his friends are a part of.  But he will have to be happy with this (and he was insanely happy tonight flipping everyone out with his final lap count) and I'm getting off so cheap......and getting school supplies to boot.

    Hey, I would have sponsored him (5.00 / 1) (#148)
    by sj on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 11:59:43 PM EST
    I'm a total sucker for kids who do fundraising.  I even buy all kinds of candy (that I don't eat) from the kids who go door to door because at least they're trying to do something.

    Is it too late?


    Congratulations to Joshua. (5.00 / 1) (#149)
    by caseyOR on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 12:04:08 AM EST
    Way to run a race!

    MT, I don't think that most people ... (none / 0) (#160)
    by Yman on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 08:55:43 AM EST
    ... on the left actually dislike he military.  I think many liberals disagree with the amount of money spent on defense spending and the way the military has been used, but generally respect the military and those who serve.

    I think there is a small (but vocal) anti-authoritarian element on the far left who dislike the military or otherwise have a disdainful attitude toward them, but I think most liberals recognize that those in the military serve a necessary function and most do so with professionalism and honor.  I think that the treatment of military prisoners is something that, apart from Manning's situation and the attention it's receiving, is just something that isn't spoken about in the military community and therefore never draws much attention from the civilians outside who might otherwise advocate for reforms.

    Wish I could find poll numbers on the issue of liberals/progressives and general attitude toward the military, but it doesn't appear to be something that is polled.  I know it's only anectdotal, but I have many liberal friends who hold the military in high regard, despite a general agreement on using it much less and lowering defense spending.



    I have to say that I have (none / 0) (#173)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 10:32:43 AM EST
    managed to find many liberal voices that do not have a knee jerk hatred of all persons who would consider serving the United States within the military.  But I don't see liberal voices ever seriously lobbying for how incarcerated soldiers are treated.  BTD would because it is the principle of the matter but most blogging liberal voices are not that principled.  Dahr Jamail has addressed abuse of the incarcerated military in the past but that's about it.

    And as for military families, I am potentially in trouble for everything on post.  If the speed limit is posted 45 mph they mean exactly that, I can't run around 6 mph over fairly certain that I'm breaking the rules in an exceptable fashion like I can outside the gates.  I'm one of those horrible personalities who works to figure such things out so I know how much I can break the rules by and get away with it.  But there is no such cushion on post.  None of my children can be unattended until they are twelve either I believe, and if my children are caught outside playing all alone and they are under twelve.....here come the MPs.  If my dog gets out of the yard accidentally I will be ticketed.  You don't get to have many accidents on post within military culture.  Where the military bumps into my life there is no tolerance for breaking any rules.  Therefore when soldiers become incarcerated for doing things that are illegal, all of us I suppose have become institutionalized about expecting the worst to happen and nothing to be able to be done about it because if you endangering the mission you are the worst soldier imaginable.  The military is an institution, it is a socialist system, and even has some identifiable aspects of cultish behavior.  In order for the military to function at an optimum level at all times and be able to have an immediate response to danger or acts of aggression we all sort of volunteer to participate in all of this.  We don't volunteer to torture each other but in Mannings case I honestly don't know what you can be done differently.  Should they allow him to be placed in harms way when every eye in the world is focused on him?  The scandal surrounding Manning is so thick you can barely cut through it, if he is harmed that is more scandal and if he is held in solitary that is scandal too...if he ends up dead though the military will be accused of letting it happen on purpose because he is so hated.  There really isn't any way to win for those of us in the military and those who are directly responsible for his well being at all times during his incarceration which will be for the rest of his lifetime.


    This is not restricted to the military (5.00 / 1) (#180)
    by sj on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 11:17:35 AM EST
    But I don't see liberal voices ever seriously lobbying for how incarcerated soldiers are treated.

    One of my issues has long been the treatment of the incarcerated.  For so long prisoners' rights has been such a hopeless cause that more of my energies were directed elsewhere.  Lord knows I have plenty of issues.

    But right now, front and center, there is a very high profile case that can call much needed attention to this despicable situation.  And it is absolutely despicable.  Whether carried out by the military or civilian officials it is despicable.

    It. Is. Not. OK.

    There really isn't any way to win for those of us in the military

    There may be no way to "win" (whatever that means) but there are plenty of ways to lose.  Abrogation of human rights is a major lose.  Loss of respect, loss of humanity, loss of a free and civil society.  What do officials "lose" in granting Manning -- and any other prisoner -- the simple act of physical exercise?  Of warmth, of sleep, of suitable clothing?  They lose nothing by granting those things except some sort of unholy and supercilious glee in their power over another.  To justify it is to give a stamp of approval to the most base part of human nature.

    I don't have a flying hoot what soldiers expect when they enlist.  I expect better of the "greatest nation in the world".  I expect better.  And I know I'm not alone in that.  And I hope as more and more people become aware of this travesty, this abomination, that more and more pressure is brought to bear to finally bring it to an end.


    I don't disagree with you (none / 0) (#185)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 11:53:29 AM EST
    that how we choose to incarcerate all the way around his horrible and probably creates more personality disorder for those experiencing it, and probably actually increases criminal behavior when anyone is finally released.  I am ashamed of my country in this respect.

    I look at the system of incarceration in other first world countries and it becomes very clear to me that America has a problem and it is huge.  Our standard operating procedures all the way around are despicable.

    The avoiding of scandal by any leader is vitally important too because Americans love a good scandal to the point that we are now our own worst enemies.  If a criminal is treated with respect and strikes again, those who treated him/her well are blamed to the point that nobody can afford to be wrong even once.  If Bradley Manning is killed by a fellow inmate the scandal surrounding him becomes even deeper and will take out people dealing with his situation too.  We love feeding the power of a scandal to the point that at times it consumes any possibility of being reasonable.


    I flat out had other posters here (none / 0) (#128)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 09:07:49 PM EST
    insist that what Manning is going through isn't SOP, yes it is.

    You have not convinced me it is (none / 0) (#159)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 08:49:18 AM EST
    How do you know (none / 0) (#158)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 08:48:51 AM EST
    nobody cared?

    I can say I never heard what you are describing as being accepted policy.

    Frankly, and no offense intended, I doubt it is official policy.


    When Fort Lewis was exposed (none / 0) (#174)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 10:36:30 AM EST
    flat out torturing soldiers who refused to deploy to Iraq nothing was done other than they claim they put their chair away.  No heads rolled though.  Nobody was charged for what they did to those guys, and to this day male soldiers have to be nude in front of female guards in many military facilities of incarceration even if it is degrading and inappropriate....which I think it is, but tough $hit.

    But nobody saidit was (none / 0) (#186)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 12:06:18 PM EST
    "appropriate" did they?

    Really? Who's handlin' trainin', (5.00 / 0) (#90)
    by getoffamycloud10 on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:33:23 PM EST
    Lindy England?

    For nearly a year? (none / 0) (#49)
    by Anne on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:29:46 PM EST

    Is the reason we haven't heard about this because of the reaction it might get?

    And, if you don't mind my asking, how do you "know" this is SOP?

    And if it is SOP, is this treatment reserved only for those convicted, or is it used with those still awaiting adjudication?


    See, here's Anne (none / 0) (#129)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 09:10:31 PM EST
    Insisting that Manning is being especially tortured.  He isn't.  She could find out differently if she would google.  Hell, she probably has, but she doesn't want to know that everything happening to Manning is SOP given what he is accused of and what he has said.  And other soldiers accused of other things are treated just as badly and tortured too under the definition of torture.

    I don't know what you read in this (none / 0) (#132)
    by sj on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 09:56:56 PM EST
    but I'm reading a sincere question.  Nowhere does she insist that Manning is being "especially" tortured.  The consensus here is that he is being tortured.  And he is.  That it is SOP is not a mitigation.  It is a horror.

    The man is in extreme danger (none / 0) (#133)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 10:04:23 PM EST
    where he is.  I don't think any of you understand this.  He has done the worst thing anyone could do to fellow soldiers.  Understand that there are soldiers in the facility who were busted for downloading songs illegally in a war zone on a military network.  When the military tells you not to do that they aren't effing around.  If you get caught doing it you will be discharged and you will do time in a military prison.  These soldiers were most likely excellent soldiers though and believe to the core of their being about fighting for the guy next to you.  Some of them even watched their best friends blown to bits in front of them.  Manning was Military Intelligence, you are supposed to be able to trust Manning as much as the guy standing next to you and then just a little bit more.  Manning is not safe around other soldiers and he never will be, not for the rest of his life and never around any soldiers who actually saw the combat that he betrayed all of them in the middle of.

    His danger from his fellow soldiers (none / 0) (#136)
    by sj on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 10:15:05 PM EST
    is a pi$$ poor excuse for how he is being treated.  It appears to me that you are defending the indefensible.  At best you are excusing it.

    It lowers my respect for the military as an institution.  This treatment given to anyone is simply sanctioned sadism.  Torquemada would be proud.


    I can't even have this discussion with you (none / 0) (#140)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 10:39:34 PM EST
    It isn't an excuse.  It is reality. Who have you buried that died in these missions that Manning completely betrayed in?  You have no idea of what you speak....ZERO

    And I don't think that Manning should suffer, but he was a soldier and he deeply deeply deeply betrayed the whole United States military.  My husband is a very centered and level headed soldier.  He thinks extremely clearly under the worst war stresses.  When he tells you that he can't even think about Manning without breaking into a rage of thought, you should probably understand that less level headed soldiers would just as soon kill him as look at him.


    If the military had proof that (5.00 / 1) (#143)
    by Anne on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 11:05:16 PM EST
    Manning's actions resulted in deaths, or betrayals of missions, we would know about it, so for you to ask the "who have you buried that died?" question must mean that I was asleep the day that news broke and the media did its usual wall-to-wall, breathless coverage of Manning and  the tragedies he was responsible for.

    It's interesting to me, Tracy, that when asked to explain their treatment of Manning, the military has never said that Manning is in danger from his fellow soldiers - which would be a valid reason if, in fact, there had been a cascade of death and busted missions - they have always maintained that they are protecting him from himself.

    It just doesn't jibe.

    And, quite honestly, if other members of the military are being subjected to Manning-type treatment or worse, that needs to come out - but in months and months of coverage of this thing, there has not been a single leak, hint, suggestion, anonymous source, buried-on-page-16-story about this that would blow the lid off what would be, I believe, a HUGE scandal.

    You say I can google it, but I've tried all kinds of combinations of terms and phrases, and I'm getting nothing.

    If it was as SOP as you claim, surely it would be easier to find information about.


    Before my husband turned in his (2.00 / 1) (#144)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 11:25:38 PM EST
    packet to fly, he started out in military intelligence.  He had very good test scores and that was what he was originally recruited for and where he originally ended up. Since becoming an aviator and getting old he has now come to overlap the two.  He teaches and oversees all the teaching of military intelligence classes on Fort Rucker when he is stateside and not deployed.  Soldiers serving within military intelligence understand from the very beginning that revealing anything classified is treason and a betrayal of the entire military and all missions being performed.  You go into it with this instruction and there is EXTENSIVE instruction on what is breaking the law, what is considered treason and espionage.  Any revealing of classified military information in a war zone puts ALL LIVES AT RISK......ALL LIVES, THIS IS NON-NEGOTIABLE.  IT WASN'T NEGOTIABLE YESTERDAY, TODAY, OR TOMORROW.  And to all serving soldiers Bradley Manning is the worst sort of traitor that anyone can ever be in the military.  Hell, he didn't even FRAG some commander he disagreed with....he tried to FRAG ALL OF THEM.  Doesn't matter how successful he was, that was what he attempted to do, that was what he hoped to do.  He had access to information that most people only dream of and he used it to betray every single soldier serving in uniform and place all of their lives in even more jeopardy.  No soldier does this....except he did. Doesn't matter whether you like that fact or not, that is a fact.

    Code Red? (5.00 / 1) (#157)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 08:47:24 AM EST
    That is a terrible comment on the military Tracy. I do not accept it.

    How is it terrible? (none / 0) (#176)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 10:51:36 AM EST
    That is the reality within the military of what he did....to all of them.  Military intelligence holds every soldiers life in the palm of their hands these days.  Your chances of surviving today's war zones without M.I. are pretty slim.  I know you can't understand how furious committed soldiers are at Manning but they are.  What he did is the worst crime any soldier can do and it is unforgiveable.

    Think about it.  You are in and out of war zones for over eight years.  The military now consists of deeply committed individuals who now go into ALL OF THIS with their eyes wide open.  The dangers and the commitment that will be required is not sprung on anyone anymore, this isn't 2003 anymore.

    The two war zones are classified as counterinsurgency operations and soldiers have never in military history functioned so hand in hand with M.I.  Military intelligence is the life blood of everything they do, and even in death their death will be investigated and pulled apart and accessed for how to keep the next soldier alive and that will be fed into the military intelligence network and will become part of the next intelligence briefing you will receive.  Our soldiers daily and hourly do all they can to study how their enemy conducts their operations, they constantly seek information that will expose areas of weakness that they will then exploit.

    Now....think about what Manning did to all of them.


    you don't get it MT (1.00 / 1) (#196)
    by The Addams Family on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 04:48:08 PM EST
    BTD doubts that what you say is true

    Anne & others can't believe it or don't accept it or assume that if it were true we would all know

    so that settles it

    because of course they are in a better position than you are to know about these things, given your mere 14 years of exposure to & involvement in military realities


    What a gross (none / 0) (#197)
    by sj on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 05:00:48 PM EST
    misrepresentation of what has been said here.

    i don't think so (none / 0) (#198)
    by The Addams Family on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 05:43:11 PM EST
    i see MT reporting on the truth of her experience, & others denying her experience -- quite arrogantly, imo

    i see no indication that MT thinks Manning's treatment is "appropriate" (as President Obama characterized it)

    she is pointing out (1) that it is not exceptional and (2) that it is not exceptional because of the way the military views behavior like Manning's as well as other kinds of misconduct -  she is not arguing in favor of this kind of treatment for anyone

    she is also saying that she is upset b/c people make a big deal of Manning's treatment (as they should) but say nothing about the same treatment as suffered by others in the military

    i think it is possible both to grant BTD's original point (that Obama's endorsement of Manning's treatment is disgraceful) & to grant MT the validity of her experience

    why do some people here think they know more about the military than Militarytracy does?

    i don't know the answer to that question but i suspect (maybe i'm wrong) that heads are exploding b/c this whole issue touches on a sacred cow for some of you: Julian Assange

    but i think it is possible to support Julian Assange & his actions w/o arrogantly denying MT the reality of her (imo, pretty well informed) experience - the fact that some people don't want to believe it does not disprove it


    Most who have commented (none / 0) (#199)
    by sj on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 06:18:36 PM EST
    here -- including MT -- have a far more complex and nuanced perspective than this caricature that you're describing.  

    Maybe some will take the time to tell you where your caricature falls short, but it seems to me that you need to actually read what people have written.  And there's a lot of stuff here, no doubt about it.  

    But when you re-read, make a distinction in your mind between SOP and official policy.  Because there is a world of difference.  And remember that this post is about torture and not about Assange.  So yes, you're wrong.  You're very, very wrong.

    As for this:

    she is upset b/c people make a big deal of Manning's treatment (as they should) but say nothing about the same treatment as suffered by others in the military

    Well, I had a whole long paragraph about that comment but it was amounting to repeating what has already been said about it.   And just because she's upset about it, it doesn't mean that her take on the views of others is accurate.  

    In any case, very little of her commentary has been about those other military prisoners who are also suffering.  Nor has she really advocated for them.  Far more words have been devoted to her belief in the damage Manning has done to every other soldier.  And how soldiers give over their lives to the military and have to take what's given. I happen be believe -- strongly -- that they should not have to agree to accept torture -- or the threat of torture -- as either official policy or SOP.  


    me too (1.50 / 2) (#200)
    by The Addams Family on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 06:25:53 PM EST
    I happen be believe -- strongly -- that they should not have to agree to accept torture -- or the threat of torture -- as either official policy or SOP

    emphasis added, to thank you for making my point - namely, that your beliefs are not identical to what MT has observed at close hand in her actual experience of the military


    That is also a mischaractarization (1.50 / 2) (#201)
    by sj on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 06:52:06 PM EST
    of what I wrote -- not to mention everything else I've written here -- and I find I'm quite offended by that.  I'm sure I'll get over it, but it's really irksome.

    And I think about how many (none / 0) (#177)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 10:55:57 AM EST
    people who have served with my husband that have been buried.  The number is profound, and he was never able to attend a single funeral either.  And he isn't an infantry soldier, think about the number of soldiers those guys have served with that were buried.  What Manning did to soldiers and their code of ethics is unconscionable.

    Unconscionable ? (5.00 / 1) (#188)
    by Andreas on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 12:44:52 PM EST
    Whoever did it, it was an extremely honorable act to make this video available to the world population: www.collateralmurder.com

    For personal reasons (none / 0) (#192)
    by sj on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 03:01:06 PM EST
    I haven't been able to watch that until now.  I lost family members in a car accident and it is a continuing source of pain to imagine evidence of their last moments being open to the eyes of the curious.  For that reason, I never, ever gawk and stare when encountering an accident of any sort.  To me, it is respecting their privacy, their fear and their pain.

    So watching this video has me all tied up in knots on so many levels.  The voyeuristic aspect of watching it is rekindling my own devastation, and I cry as I type this.  I cry for those children, those adults and for myself.

    And yet, I do see a fundamental difference here.  This is not really voyeurism.  This is bearing witness.  And it is an honorable act to bear witness.  This evidence should not be stashed away and hidden.

    Anyway, I've said more than I planned, and I'm not sure yet if I'll even hit "Post".  I have to think about it.


    Bradley Manning is not responsible for (5.00 / 5) (#193)
    by Anne on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 03:02:49 PM EST
    the deaths of people with whom your husband served, and I really wish you would stop conflating these things; it's dishonest.

    But I suppose it is less painful than accepting that people in power in our government and our military sent thousands of soldiers off to fight an illegal war; as far as I'm concerned, the blood is on their hands, not Manning's.  He's 22 for heaven's sake - 10 years ago when we were attacked and the drumbeats of war started sounding, he was 12 years old.  

    Manning didn't lie to the people.  He didn't lie to the UN.  He didn't manufacture "evidence" to ratchet up support for war.  He wasn't devising tests for people's patriotism.  

    He was in middle school, Tracy.

    YOU think about all the soldiers who have been buried because our leaders lied to us; they took advantage of people's love of country and love of freedom to send them off to die for their own selfish reasons.

    It makes me sick.  And it makes me sicker, still, that you would rather point the finger outward, and grossly inflate the alleged "damage" Manning has done, and play on people's emotions, than face the truth of why so many good Americans died, and admit the incredible damage that has been done to our freedoms, and our rights, by people who had a consitutional duty to safeguard them, and who will, apparently, never be held accountable for the crimes they have committed.

    Where is your outrage for that, Tracy?


    At what point (5.00 / 1) (#195)
    by jondee on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 03:56:02 PM EST
    in the context of a country's involvement in a war, does following the dictates of one's conscience on the part of personnel, along with possible insubordination and mutiny, become morally justifiable?

    Never? Because it invariably always risks damaging morale and putting other personnel more at risk?

    That's pretty much been the official position of every 'surrounded by enemies' totalitarian regime in history..



    He confessed? (none / 0) (#181)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 11:19:59 AM EST
    What Manning did to soldiers and their code of ethics is unconscionable.

    So much of what was said early on was that by virtue of his low rank and the number of hours/months it would have taken to download the gigantic volume of highly confidential data that was given to wikileaks indicated he couldn't possibly have done this without much higher ups giving him access, orders and lots of undisturbed time to do this.

    Admittedly, something could have been released to inform the world that he confessed to all of it, and acted alone.


    The changes made within the intelligence (none / 0) (#184)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 11:34:55 AM EST
    community after 9/11 made it possible for Manning to do all of this alone.  Because information was not easily shared it was believed this enabled the attack.  I think working in a combat zone is an important factor too.  Access to intel changes dramatically for everyone from peaceful stateside to combat zone.  He was an intel analyst.  It has been established now that he singularly had full access to what was provided.

    And he isn't a civilian (none / 0) (#187)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 12:37:12 PM EST
    He doesn't have civilian rights.  He is owned by the military.  If he is any sort of danger to any mission he will be immediately incarcerated, if he is found innocent he will be released later.  The mission is first and anyone who is a danger to the mission will be immediately contained.  The military is not the civilian world and it never will be.

    No, Tracy, Manning hasn't used the (5.00 / 6) (#163)
    by Anne on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 09:26:35 AM EST
    information to betray every single soldier serving in uniform; there has been little, if any, information released that has put anyone - or any mission - in jeopardy.

    It was not, as I understand it, Manning's mission to put his fellow soldiers in harm's way, but to bring some much-needed transparency to a segment of the government that has been more or less leading us down the garden path for years - to the point where we don't know anymore if anything we are being told is even remotely close to being the truth.

    The process of publishing the information has been undertaken with, as I understand it, an extraordinary effort not to reveal things that would put people's lives at risk.

    I do have to say, though, that given the hundreds of thousands of people killed in the Iraq/Afghanistan war, and the millions displaced, lives ruined, as a result of lie upon lie upon lie told to the entire world in service to the thirst for power of those who engineered it, in our names, for God's sake, that the people deserve to have the lid taken off this fetid cesspool so they can see for themselves what's really going on.

    And how many American military lives were lost in service to those lies, Tracy?  How many of them were betrayed by their commanders, by their president - none of whom have been held accountable, none of whom have been sitting in a cell for almost a year, all of whom have been given a stay-out-of-jail card, and how much of it continues even as we speak?

    The people who ran this whole thing treated people like your husband, and thousands of others serving their country for the right reasons, like cannon fodder, for God's sake, which just sickens me.

    This isn't about "the left" not respecting military service, Tracy; that's an accusation that does not serve you well.  It's about respecting military service enough to care whether the people whose lives are offered up with trust in their chain of command and their commander in chief are being accorded the same respect by the people who are sending them into harm's way.

    I'm sorry you don't see that.


    Yes he did Anne (none / 0) (#178)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 10:56:19 AM EST
    Tracy, you are absolutely (3.67 / 3) (#165)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 09:45:18 AM EST

    But many people, on the Left, Right and Middle are incapable of understanding the absolute requirement that military people have on depending on each other doing their job and following the rules.


    It is hard sometimes (none / 0) (#182)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 11:27:59 AM EST
    We need a military, and being a part of that military requires certain commitments...even from a lefty like me.  And then you start burying people, lots of people by the standards of an average American life, and the rules and the lines become bold and sharp.  Nothing is blurry within the military concerning what Manning did.  

    My husband says that what Manning did is the equivalent of someone stealing your house keys and having copies made and then giving those keys to the worst criminals to include people who mean to and have been trying to kill your family.  And by the way, we may not be able to change some of these locks.  We will try to change all of them that we can but we may not be able to change all of them right away and maybe never.


    You acquit yourself well, MT (5.00 / 2) (#191)
    by christinep on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 02:48:56 PM EST
    Sometimes we do not agree, and I cannot say that I agree fully with your position here on the Manning/detention conditions situation. (Since my earliest full legal position partially entailed reading & drafting responses on civilian prisoner complaints and then preparing draft per curia opinions for the 10th Circuit on same, the process taught me a lot about civilian detention conditions and related then section 2255 federal habeas equivalent. As you might well imagine, it was an eye-opener. While things have changed--thankfully--somewhat since then in view of a more rigorous examination of the 8th Amendment, I imagine that, even in the civilian detentions, there are some sad remaining practices.)

     Yet, after reading through this thread this afternoon, my respect for you has grown.  You have written with your whole person on the line, and you have done so determinedly...with integrity and with spirit.  Your explanations have helped me understand the cohesion of the military family so much more.  All I can do is wholeheartedly give you one of my highest compliments: Lady, you are truly one tough
    and honorable cookie!


    Your husband is correct. (3.67 / 3) (#190)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 02:10:25 PM EST
    You and I must be reading two different (none / 0) (#134)
    by Anne on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 10:04:50 PM EST
    comments, because all I see - all I remember writing - are questions.

    You were the one who made the claim that Manning's treatment is SOP, so I think it is incumbent upon you to provide support for that claim - and with all due respect, I think that's going to take more than you telling us what your husband is telling you.


    I was remembering another discussion about (none / 0) (#135)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 10:06:50 PM EST
    Manning, and you insisted that what is happening to him isn't SOP.  But is Anne

    Fine Anne (none / 0) (#183)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 11:29:25 AM EST
    We will go with your claim and evidence then that what he is experiencing isn't.  The military doesn't really have a publicly open justice system.  So we will just say you win and call it good.

    What's a known fact? (none / 0) (#80)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:24:35 PM EST
    People are routinely thrown in the brig awaiting charges and HELD IN SOLITARY FOR 23 HOURS A DAY?

    Got a link?


    You probably have more access (none / 0) (#130)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 09:31:53 PM EST
    Through your legal privileges of record searching coming up with the facts and such cases.  I do happen to know that lawyers have special access to records that I don't but I don't know if that would extend to anything military.  That is a very closed world.  I want you to know that these next words come directly from my husband right now sitting across from me though.  What Manning did, the way that he chose to commit treason and place other soldiers lives in danger by informing their enemies of how they operate and function, by placing military contacts in danger too, he is the civilian equivalent of a child molester in prison.

    I don't think you understand that you and I may find what he did to only be another crime, but soldiers in uniform laying their lives on the line everyday hate him like you can't believe. And so does anyone who took that seriously before they were incarcerated in that prison.  He is in huge danger from other military inmates.


    I must have missed the trial that (5.00 / 2) (#137)
    by Anne on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 10:23:19 PM EST
    convicted Manning of treason - heck, I may have even missed that he's been charged with treason.

    Look, I get that with your military background, you think you have some special right to judge what Manning is accused of, but you don't.  And based on the assessments of those who presumably have more knowledge than I, lives have not been endangered.  People have been embarrassed, but that's about it.

    He's still entitled to due process and he's still entitled to humane treatment; and according to those close to the situation, he is being treated differently than other detainees.

    It's wrong, and frankly, given that it's the military that's at the heart of all of this, you're just going to have to pardon me if I don't see the military's explanations and assurances as entirely trustworthy.


    I've discussed this with you too Anne (none / 0) (#142)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 10:50:56 PM EST
    An Active Duty soldier is owned by the United States Military.  My husband can't travel if his Commander tells him he can't.  He must seek permission and provide distances, means of travel and dates to his command and wait for approval. h
    He can't have dangerous hobbies because the Army owns his body, he can't ride a motorcycle if the On Post Commander says that soldiers can't ride them because they are too dangerous to their person that the military owns.  The current commander only requires that you take a special safety course on post and pass it, and you must wear special reflective clothing that the military will sell to you.

    So when you are in uniform and you are accused of treason and espionage you aren't some civilian and you have none of the rights that civilians have.  Your person is owned and nobody jeopardizing any military mission will be allowed to jeopardize one second longer when discovered.  The mission is the most important thing in the military and after that comes troop cohesion and respect for authority and nobody undermining any of those things will be anything other than incarcerated.  He was and is a soldier, he isn't a civilian.  And such people will be held exactly how they see fit until you are tried or released because it would somehow seem they have come to be certain you are innocent.  They will not commit to publicly apologizing to you either in such circumstances though they may choose to (they may also choose to do so in private), they thought the mission was in jeopardy and every soldier willingly sacrifices however they must for the mission.


    UN Conventiuon on Torture (none / 0) (#156)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 08:45:55 AM EST
    signed by the US and codified into law, does not exempt the military.

    I wonder if (none / 0) (#138)
    by KeysDan on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 10:24:22 PM EST
    Manning being gay has contributed to the military's reaction to the allegations.

    I take huge offense to this KeysDan (none / 0) (#151)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 01:31:45 AM EST
    And I take this as one more example of Lefty attempts to demonize the military inspite of facts.  Nice shot but you completely missed.  I feel like I ought to tell you too that gay soldiers equally committed as straight soldiers are just as furious with Mannings treason, espionage, and betrayal as straight soldiers.  That is why the military is just as fine with the gays that serve with all of us as the straights that serve with all of us, they don't ask to be treated special...they only ask to be soldiers like all the rest of the soldiers and follow the EXACT SAME RULES, UNDERSTAND FULLY THE EXACT SAME PHILOSOPHIES OF WHAT MILITARY SERVICE ENTAILS and HOLD THE EXACT SAME VALUES AS MOST DEAR THAT EVERY OTHER SOLDIER DOES.  Remember that survey that many gay people thought was a horror to send to military families asking them how they felt about gays serving.....and then ask yourself how the majority of us answered that survey that gays outside of the military insisted we wouldn't be able to answer as decent human beings. And shame on you!!!!

    Offense that i apparently caused (none / 0) (#175)
    by KeysDan on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 10:49:52 AM EST
    is regretted and for that I accept your shaming.  However, I do believe you unintentionally demean the military by judgments and conclusions about the accused that merit their fury with Manning's "treason, espionage, and betrayal..".  Moreover, the explanation, if not excuse, for his treatment as SOP that should seemingly just be recognized as your basic cruel and usual military punishment is unpersuasive.  Of course, military and civilians have different judicial procedures, but both are subject to the constitution with right to due process and speedy trial in a fair court.

    As to the wonderment of my original question, I meant to imply the qualifier of "some"military. But, we do know that the military as an institution is not an entirely friendly place for gay men and women.   Indeed, DADT was instituted and sustained over 17 years with a partnership of military leadership (from General Powell through Generals Conway and Amos) and many politicians.

    And, the Dec 2010 repeal has not yet been effected, contingent upon certification to Congress by the president, secretary of defense and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff that such repeal will not harm military readiness, effectiveness, unit cohesion, recruiting and retention. And, then there is a 60 day waiting period.

    From my perspective the real shame goes to those DC buildings that talk to each other (The Pentagon assured the White House that Manning's treatment is "appropriate and meets basic standards.)


    I know it is hard to understand the (none / 0) (#179)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 10:58:24 AM EST
    socialist cult that must survive on the battlefield :)  It is a strange bunch.  They dare to be responsible for things that most of us refuse to entertain responsibility for.  

    Really? (none / 0) (#41)
    by sj on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:16:02 PM EST
    I'm willing to learn more.  Links, please.

    Manning doesn't sleep nude (none / 0) (#42)
    by jbindc on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:17:54 PM EST
    OK (1.00 / 0) (#66)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:08:10 PM EST
    "He says the bulky smock is uncomfortable."

    All I am saying is that when we use the word torture, we shouldn't throw it around on a guy angry because his cover chafes him (no lie, that was one of his claims) and he doesn't like his smock.

    Welcome to prison man.  There are thousands of men and women wearing and undergoing the same thing he is. I am still waiting for someone to give me an example of an experience not otherwise endured by any other inmate in prison.


    I suggest (5.00 / 5) (#78)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:23:29 PM EST
    you read the Convention on Torture before you decide to reflexively defend Obama again.

    Solitary confinement 23 hours a day (none / 0) (#73)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:20:37 PM EST
    is SOP? I do not believe it Tracy.

    That is torture.


    SOP at San Quentin on Death Row (none / 0) (#82)
    by MKS on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:25:43 PM EST
    The fact that is may be (5.00 / 2) (#98)
    by Zorba on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:57:03 PM EST
    SOP for Super-Max prisons for convicted felons (or for convicted military, for that matter) does not make it right.  It's torture for them, even if convicted, and it's torture for Bradley Manning.  When I was much younger, I had thought that my country was better than that.  Over and over again, I have been proven wrong.  Truly, I weep for America.  America, I hardly knew you.  

    I'd like a link for that (none / 0) (#85)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:29:51 PM EST
    but even if true, we're talking about convicted persons.

    Okay--I am recalling (none / 0) (#94)
    by MKS on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:45:28 PM EST
    one of those shows that come on here after the MSNBC folks on Fridays.....

    Will check.


    Solitary on Texas Death Row (none / 0) (#95)
    by MKS on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:49:54 PM EST


    Hunger strikes sometimes occur on the death row in Texas, which leads the nation in executions. Death row inmates spend 23 hours a day in solitary confinement and have no television or work program to occupy their time.

    Same question as above (none / 0) (#104)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 05:13:18 PM EST
    Yes, all have been convicted (none / 0) (#107)
    by MKS on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 05:18:17 PM EST
    Stanley Tookie Williams (none / 0) (#97)
    by MKS on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:53:41 PM EST
    spent more than six years in Solitary at San Quentin before he was executed:

    1987 -- Williams is placed in solitary confinement for 6 1/2 years after committing a string of violent incidents behind bars, including assaults on guards and other inmates

    Same question as above (none / 0) (#103)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 05:12:56 PM EST
    If someone is on Death Row, they have (none / 0) (#114)
    by MKS on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 06:13:27 PM EST
    been convicted.

    As to whether they have been placed there after Due Process, well.......


    Another reference to San Quentin (none / 0) (#99)
    by MKS on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:59:00 PM EST
    Link to Mother Jones article:  

    California currently has more than 700 prisoners on death row, dwarfing the condemned populations of all other state. What the state of California is effectively building, at the cost of $500,000 is the largest and most expensive long-term solitary confinement facility in the world, where prisoners will live out their lives in locked-down isolation with a death sentence hanging over their heads. In other words, California taxpayers are funding a half-billion-dollar torture ward

    All of them? (none / 0) (#102)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 05:12:40 PM EST
    Are there some type of special findings, beyond of course conviction for a crime that carries a death sentence, that occurs?

    Apparently not in California (5.00 / 0) (#108)
    by MKS on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 05:21:06 PM EST
    But many in Death Row are in solitary confinement.

    If we are to label solitary confinement as torture, a conviction should not allow that type of treatment, either.

    But Manning's solitary confinement seems like the Supermax extreme version.  


    I think it is SOP in (none / 0) (#105)
    by MKS on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 05:17:00 PM EST
    San Quentin's Adjustment Center:

    Here is a general Wikipedia description of the Adjustment Center:

    The death row at San Quentin is divided into three sections: the quiet "North-Segregation" or "North-Seg," built in 1934, for prisoners who "don't cause trouble"; the "East Block," a "crumbling, leaky maze of a place built in 1927"; and the "Adjustment Center" for the "worst of the worst."

    An article about life on Death Row in San Quentin:

    "I've found that living a life of inactivity and non-productivity makes some inmates desire the sweet taste of death," Crittendon said. "I've talked with several who have said they would not appeal their death sentences."


    The prison code exists even in the Adjustment Center, where the "worst of the worst" are held under heavy guard and in isolation. These inmates get their exercise in 8-by-10-foot cages watched over by gun-wielding guards.

    There seems to be lot of misguided concern. (none / 0) (#106)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 05:17:58 PM EST
    I agree with many of the aims and thoughts on this blog, but I got to say that sometimes people just decide to really freak out with concern over small details that are in the normal course of life.  (Now I will make a better point on that later, but now lets deal with with those concerns.)

    First about "Command!"
    The General directly in "command" of Abu Ghraib and the other associated officers didn't do their "due diligence" and inspect their facilities personally, regularly and as they like to say in the ground forces with "boots on the ground."  They should have walked the facilities and checked with the prisoners directly with the guards standing back away from the separating bars to allow privacy.
    They should gone beyond the normal orders of the day, SOPs, and such, and have posted something like this in their office or wherever all the people could see it "every man and woman in this prison is under my personal charge whether they are guards or prisoners and all must be treated properly and fairly, otherwise someone will answer to me."
    That said, Obama can't put his personal "boots" on the ground of every US facility in the world, but he should have said to the questioner "I hear you and I realize there is a lot of concern and I have in fact already had a man (or woman) look into it, and they are regularly scheduled to visit Bradley at the end of each month.  They are not available to talk to the press, but I have access to them at all times, and they are always available to Bradley's lawyers within a few hours notice.  Saying the "Pentagon," the "DOD" the "DOJ" is just too vague.
    Personally I would make these people personally available to Bradley's parents on a regular basis too.
    In fact there should be a Chaplin assigned to that unit that the parents can talk to.  That is SOP.

    Personally I treated "my" ships and "my" power plants, etc., and every man and woman associated with those items that way.  The buck didn't stop with me because I went down to where the bucks were issued and paid out and laid hands on the equipment and the people.  Yes I might be lied to or deceived, and I still regret that $10,000 welder that was  stolen out from under my very own nose but I do grant that perfection is hard to obtain in this life. The Officer club, the Links and the Racquet Courts are great places to be but only after the work was done!

    Now Anne, above, has some good details about Bradley's confinement but I would like to add a few more.  First Bradley is not in what is generally considered to be solitary confinement.  The cell he is in, is in a U shaped bank of cells and I can't remember from what I was told whether the whole bank is 7 cells or just one leg is seven cells and the whole bank is 14.  
    The cells are arranged so that a prisoner can't get direct line of eye contact with another prisoner.  He can talk to a prisoner that is in the next cell, but there aren't any next door right now, and in fact the last two other prisoners that were in the unit had been shipped out the other day.  It is true that Bradley couldn't yell out to the prisoners when they were down the line for that might have been considered "disturbing."
    Bradley has always had two blankets and to answer a comment Jeralyn made about why were blankets ok, but not underwear, these blankets are made of special non shred-able material.

    I admit I don't understand the prohibition about exercising but chances are that they aren't just doing it to Bradley or maybe it relates to his status.  I will see if I can find out.

    Then I would like to speak about the "freaked out" concern  I have a nephew in a state facility and I guarantee you that the "lockup" and treatment in that lockup in that prison is far worse than what people have thought Bradley was being tortured by being kept in.
    My nephew is in good standing in that prison, and leaves every weekday to work collecting trash in a nearby city, but while inside that prison he is treated worse sometimes than Bradley is supposed to have been treated.  For example, he has been to that lockup simply because a guard f***ed up or because he respectfully asked a question "Is there another choice here?"

    How very sad (5.00 / 1) (#112)
    by sj on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 05:35:11 PM EST
    that you just consider this SOP.  Even when it is your own nephew (who incidentally, leaves every weekday to work, as opposed to solitiary confinement) who suffers.

    It. Is. Not. OK.


    sj, that was the point. (5.00 / 1) (#150)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 12:41:54 AM EST
    My nephew is a "good prisoner" in many ways and is considered a superior worker by the city where he works, yet he has been to lockup at least twice and I think three times.  Further, there is no phone, no visitors, no books, etc., though they can send 3 letters a month and receive any number of letters.  The food is bad too, just sandwiches, mostly baloney, some hard boiled eggs, and I am not sure if there is anything else.
    One other thing interesting, he shaves using the stainless steel toilet for a mirror.

    And for others statements here, I second the assertion that Bradley Manning would be in extreme danger in the general population.  He would be considered worse than a pedophile by the soldiers.

    Some soldiers would lie in order to get to him.  If a man is trained or just strong and knows what to do, Bradley could be killed in less than 2 seconds.  There are other ways that take less skill, but would take a few minutes to bring about death, after one blow is struck unless there was a man with medic training and equipment to intervene.

    I will repeat and this is what Obama said, Bradley's confinement is as much for his own safety as for any punitive purpose.


    It is, indeed, sad (none / 0) (#115)
    by Zorba on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 06:21:37 PM EST
    And I agree with you, sj.  I really don't care if it is someone who has been convicted, or someone who has just been charged, whether that person is under military or civilian "justice."  Treatment such as this is wrong, immoral, heinous.....choose a descriptor.  

    I agree (none / 0) (#116)
    by MKS on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 06:24:04 PM EST
    That makes you, me and a couple of others......

    Thanks for this. Your description of what (none / 0) (#124)
    by ruffian on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 08:28:27 PM EST
    you would say and do is exactly what I wish Obama would have said and done.

    I just think all of these institutions of incarceration are answerable to all of us. I realize prison is not a garden party, but if there are reasons beyond sheer sadistic cruelty for the way some of these people are treated I sure would like to hear them.


    Thank you for this (none / 0) (#125)
    by oculus on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 08:39:39 PM EST
    unequivocal post. Query: what remedy does an enlisted member of U.S. military, a U.S. citizen, who the U.S. government does not deem an "enemy combatant," jave regarding conditions of pre-trial confinement?

    Too many obama disgraces to pick No. 1 (none / 0) (#152)
    by pluege2 on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 04:54:18 AM EST
    Perhaps the most disgraceful moment of Obama's Presidency.

    obama has so many 'serious disgraces', its really hard to single any out as the most disgraceful, there is:

    • the order to assassinate an American citizen
    • the cave on civilian trials for those still at Guantanimo
    • the continued torture and rendition
    • the abusive use of state's secrets to hide information from the public and obstruct justice
    • protection of bush criminal and the numerous criminals 0f the bush administration from justice
    • the undermining of universal healthcare, and protection and boost of insurance companies and pharmaceuticals
    • embrace of indefinite detention without any due process
    • "The Deal" robbing from Americans to give more of America's wealth to the already obscenely wealth and undermines the finances of social security
    • creating an issue of social security finances when no problem exists.
    • having a lying and dissembling Wall Street insiders for his economic team
    • accepting a Nobel Prize for peace
    • soooooo very many it goes on and on. its not possible to pick a most disgraceful

    Why I'm not a Dem (5.00 / 1) (#166)
    by waldenpond on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 09:48:12 AM EST
    I still cringe every time there is a new disgrace.  I always know what the outcome will be (loss of rights or effin' over the people on behalf of the billionaires) but still cringe when it happens.  I became repelled by the Repub party... I am now repelled by the Dem party.  Ugh.