Obama censors a critic of torture

I’m sure you all are aquainted with the story of Bradley Manning, the Army Private First Class who is suspected of leaking (among other things) a classified video depicting US Soldiers slaughtering Iraqi civilians. Despite having been convicted of nothing,  Manning is being held in solitary confinement 23 hours a day, denied basic sleeping amentities such as a sheet and pillow, and forced to sleep in the nude. To my eye,  this is torture, plain and simple (incidentally, the President apparently agrees, having previously characterized “forced nudity” as torture).

Recently, a high-level government official publicly admonished the conditions of Manning’s detention as “ridiculous, counterproductive, and stupid.” As noted by Glenn Greenwald, the White House responded in a predictably hypocritical fashion:

On Friday, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley denounced the conditions of Bradley Manning’s detention as “ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid,” forcing President Obama to address those comments in a Press Conference and defend the treatment of Manning. Today, CNN reports, Crowley has “abruptly resigned” under “pressure from White House officials because of controversial comments he made last week about the Bradley Manning case.” In other words, he was forced to “resign” — i.e., fired.

What breathtaking, brazen hypocrisy! Consider:  This is a president who, as a candidate, took pains not only to condemn  torture, but to champion whistle-blowing.

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