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
- After Ferguson, we don't need another dialogue on race
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- The government is getting into the fact-checking business. Be very, very afraid.
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- The world is on fire and neither Democrats or Republicans have a clue
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- In defense of Obama's golfing
- How Democrats might goad the GOP into shutting down the government
- A trick for better lunch sandwiches
- Wait a minute, Mr. Postman: Why postal banking won't work
Subscribe to the Week