Escalating the WikiLeaks controversy, Salon's Glenn Greenwald reported this week that the U.S. military is holding Bradley Manning, the Army private accused of feeding classified documents to WikiLeaks, in "inhumane" conditions. According to Greenwald, Manning has been a model prisoner since his May arrest, but is being held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day: Forbidden to exercise, watched around the clock, drugged to prevent his mind from "snapping." By the standards of many nations, says Greenwald, such "personality-erasing, soul-destroying, insanity-inducing conditions" constitute "torture." Is that an exaggeration? (Watch an MSNBC discussion about Manning's treatment)
Yes, such treatment is nothing short of torture: "This is, frankly, horrifying," says Mike Masnick in Tech Dirt. Manning hasn't even been convicted of a crime, yet he has been caged with next to no human contact for far longer than most "modern civilizations" would allow — and, for good measure, his jailers won't even give him a pillow. Such prolonged solitary confinement is known to cause psychological damage; it's torture, plain and simple.
"U.S. is apparently torturing Bradley Manning, despite no trial and no conviction"
Compared to stealing and selling state secrets, this is nothing: What a "prissy and hyperventilating" complaint, says blogger Lexington Concord in RedState. Manning stands accused of doing "everything in his power to see that American soldiers were killed and that Islamic terrorists were given access to our operational details." And we're supposed to be outraged because the warden won't give him "his pillow and blankie"?
"Give Bradley Manning his pillow and blankie back"
No matter what Manning did, this is wrong: Some people view Bradley Manning as a traitor; others think he's a patriotic whistleblower, says Henry Blodget in Business Insider. If he's a traitor, maybe he deserves to be "taken out and shot," but the Army accomplishes nothing by "depriving Manning of exercise, sheets, and a pillow." If this is really happening — the Pentagon hasn't confirmed Salon's story — it's a disgrace, to the military and to every American. "As was demonstrated in spades at Abu Ghraib, how we treat our prisoners matters."
"The U.S. Army's treatment of alleged WikiLeaker Bradley Manning is a disgrace"