The Defense Department's treatment of accused WikiLeaks secret-spiller Pfc. Bradley Manning has caused outrage, mostly among liberals, and led to the forced resignation of State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley. Now, in an editorial, The New York Times accuses the Obama Pentagon of "treating [Manning] abusively." In fact, his "abuse" at the Marine brig "conjures creepy memories of how the Bush administration used to treat terror suspects," The Times says. But are the reports of his detention accurate? And if so, do they really amount to prisoner abuse?
Yes, this is abuse: "Kudos to The New York Times" for calling it like it is, says Yochai Benkler at Talking Points Memo. Holding someone in solitary confinement for nine months, "permitting" him to walk in circles, and subjecting him to constant hectoring from guards (who force Manning to answer the question "Are you OK?" every five minutes), not to mention "forced nudity," surely constitutes "inhumane and degrading treatment."
"Bradley Manning abuse"
Don't believe these lies: Enough with the "hysteria over the alleged 'abuse' Manning has been forced to endure," says Alana Goodman in Commentary. If you look at his real "prison life" — TV, newspapers, letters, phone calls, exercise — Manning actually has it "pretty good" for an accused traitor. As for all the misinformation about his treatment, that's just a "pose" by supporters who "don't believe he should be in detention in the first place."
"How is prison life actually going for Bradley Manning?"
The burden of proof is on the Pentagon: Manning isn't being kept in "the 'hole' from Shawshank Redemption," says Robert Verbruggen in National Review. But even with all the "conflicting reports," it's clear his keepers are "inflicting arbitrary and pointless miseries," and that's wrong. If anything warrants Manning's being treated like he's a risk to himself and others, the Pentagon owes us an explanation. If not, there's "no excuse for subjecting him to harsh conditions."
"Abusing the WikiLeaker?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- This judge is the reason we're still fighting over net neutrality
- The latent sexism of the male marriage proposal
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Why the poor can't catch a break on Thanksgiving
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- How to adopt the perfect rescue dog
- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
Subscribe to the Week