Obama: Just Another Establishment Hack

19:42 Sun 13 Mar 2011
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I’ve 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 have assured me that they are.

Obama was referring to Bradley Manning, who is being held in Quantico, in 23-hour-a-day isolation, who’s deliberately being deprived of sleep, and who has recently had even his boxer shorts taken away from him.

Details of his treatment are freely available in the press. Little is disputed regarding those details, except for a very thin veneer of justification where it’s claimed that all of these measures are somehow for Manning’s own benefit. Yet Obama thinks it makes sense to ask the torturers if what they’re doing is appropriate, and then takes their word for it when they shockingly say it is.

Manning hasn’t been convicted; even if he had been, that kind of treatment is still illegal, and more importantly inhumane. His guilt or innocence are irrelevant in that guilt would not justify this treatment even if it could be proven. It should be clear that torturing him to induce a confession that is then used to justify the initial torture as well as further punishment is not only inhumane but—not a word I use lightly—evil.

As for Barack Obama, I’m not surprised by his response, or that a State Department official who criticized Manning’s treatment was forced to resign. But it absolutely leaves nowhere to hide; this situation wasn’t left to him by the Bush regime, it’s not forced upon him by Republicans, it’s not that getting involved would require massive commitment of resources, it’s not a compromise necessary to pass some other piece of important legislation, and it’s not even an issue where he’d be risking popular wrath by doing the right thing. No, it is clear indication either that he doesn’t care about the torture of an American citizen (and soldier) by the US military, or that he deems it better to torture Manning so as to appease the Pentagon and/or to ensure that other potential troublemakers know what’s coming to them—or, more likely, both.

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