he 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
- Why are so many elderly Asians killing themselves?
- Why ABC threw its Bachelor under the bus
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like
- Why I'm sick and tired of seeing naked women on HBO
- Driverless cars may be an environmental disaster
- Why Ted Cruz is the real-life Frank Underwood
- Here's proof that Justin Bieber is just as spoiled as you always thought
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Repealing ObamaCare would now mean kicking 4.2 million people off their new insurance plans
- Watch Zach Galifianakis get annoyed at President Obama on Between Two Ferns
Subscribe to the Week