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Obama agrees with Manning Treatment
March 12, 2011 7:00 AM   Subscribe

Despite Amnesty's recent denouncement of his treatment and a State Department official's comment that it is "stupid" among other things, Obama apparently stands by the current conditions under which Bradley Manning is being held.

Glenn Greenwald has written a comprehensive post with updates on the latest developments.
posted by Glinn (281 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
> “I can't go into details about some of their concerns, but some of this has to do with Private Manning's safety as well,” Obama said.

Yeah, because after the treatment they're subjecting him to drives him functionally insane he might try to commit suicide!
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:08 AM on March 12, 2011 [9 favorites]


I don't want to forget about Bradley Manning. I don't want to stop being shocked about it. But I do find this particularly, over-the-top shocking. That Obama would say "I asked, they said he was fine, so that's that." He must be seriously afraid of the military. That can't be good.
posted by Glinn at 7:15 AM on March 12, 2011 [11 favorites]


...to which Obama replied, "Yes we can!"
posted by iamck at 7:18 AM on March 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


How's that hopey changey thing workin' out for ya?
posted by clarknova at 7:21 AM on March 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm sure there's some completely logical or politically expedient reason for Obama's position on this.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:25 AM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


s/logical/spineless/
posted by Godspeed.You!Black.Emperor.Penguin at 7:26 AM on March 12, 2011 [8 favorites]


But Republicans are worse so it's okay.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:27 AM on March 12, 2011 [21 favorites]


The President should 100% be fucking around with whether people who make comments about suicide go on suicide watch.
posted by Artw at 7:30 AM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]



The President should 100% be fucking around with whether people who make comments about suicide go on suicide watch.


Yeah, his psych doctors should be doing that. They say he shouldn't be on it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:34 AM on March 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


obama is not a miracle worker, y'all
posted by Legomancer at 7:36 AM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know what's going to be fucking awesome? When he doesn't end the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. I can't wait for those threads.
posted by clarknova at 7:36 AM on March 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


I just have to join the pile-on and say how disgusted I am with the President in this matter. This is a man who campaigned on protecting whistleblowers.
posted by PigAlien at 7:41 AM on March 12, 2011 [15 favorites]


I just read the AI letter, and what they describe sounds an awful lot like ... jail.

I would not be surprised in the least if he DoD mistreated him, but that's not what it sounds like.

What is the verifiability of the reports of his mistreatment?
posted by gjc at 7:41 AM on March 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


The very act of becoming president signals an individual's overwhelming commitment to the status quo, regardless of political affiliation. Think of how many years Obama spent learning to make friends and influence people - to move and work effectively in the world as it is, not in the world as some would wish it to be. The idea that he would come into office as some sort of avenging angel focused on rolling back all of the abuses and circumscriptions of freedom of the Bush years, well, I think that's hopelessly naive.
posted by killdevil at 7:42 AM on March 12, 2011 [17 favorites]


Hindsight is 20/20, eh killdevil?
posted by msittig at 7:44 AM on March 12, 2011


> The President should 100% be fucking around with whether people who make comments about suicide go on suicide watch.

No, we're talking about the man being deprived of all his clothing and being forced to stand to attention naked outside his jail cell every morning in front of male and female guards.

We're talking about someone being punished if he speaks to guards, but being forced to reply every few minutes when the guards talk to him.

We are talking about deliberate torture. It is nothing, nothing, nothing to do with "suicide watch" and in fact, I'd say that the actions the US government is taking toward Bradley Manning would push any man to kill themselves.

Mr. Obama should be ashamed of himself.

> [Mr. Obama] must be seriously afraid of the military. That can't be good.

Wrong. He LOVES the military. This is the man who made drone attacks into a household word. This is the man who expanded the war in Afghanistan. This is the man who proposed a freeze on all domestic spending except the military.

Mr. Obama's another big man who likes to shoot off those guns. I'm so ashamed and embarrassed to have supported him.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:45 AM on March 12, 2011 [38 favorites]


Gobama is turning into a nobama
posted by growabrain at 7:45 AM on March 12, 2011


> obama is not a miracle worker, y'all

What in God's name are you talking about?

Is this just the standard response hauled out into every thread - the all-purpose excuse for when Mr. Obama does something horrible?

It would take him one damned second to order Bradley Manning to be treated according to the Geneva Convention - to allow him to wear clothing - to allow him the standard privileges that we allow child molesters and murderers in jail.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:47 AM on March 12, 2011 [55 favorites]


(Not implying that Bradley Manning is a child molester or a murderer, but that we treat Bradley Manning, who from his own writings appears to be a patriot who wished to expose a great deal of criminal activity, far, far worse than we treat psychopathic criminals...)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:49 AM on March 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


I can only continue to hope that Dennis Kucinich will eventually come around to my way of thinking re. the eyebrows issue.
posted by flabdablet at 7:50 AM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


> The idea that he would come into office as some sort of avenging angel focused on rolling back all of the abuses and circumscriptions of freedom of the Bush years, well, I think that's hopelessly naive.

Sure it is...but campaigning as the anti-Bush* is what got him elected. You can't make promises about Hope and Change and then expect people to not be angry and disappointed when you don't deliver, or even make much of an effort.

* albeit in a vague, "we'll sort out the details later" kind of way
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:51 AM on March 12, 2011 [11 favorites]


Is this just the standard response hauled out into every thread - the all-purpose excuse for when Mr. Obama does something horrible?

It is. And I'm just as sick of hearing it as you are. It was intended to be a parody of this stock phrase that turns up several dozen times in any thread talking about the latest awful thing Obama is supporting.

Apparently, the President of the United States is simply powerless to do ANYTHING, except when something good happens, in which case it was ALL HIS DOING. Oh and despite his not being a miracle worker and being able to just ram through his agenda (which is supposedly a Progressive one), it would have been worse if McCain won because he would be able to do just that.
posted by Legomancer at 7:52 AM on March 12, 2011 [14 favorites]


> What is the verifiability of the reports of his mistreatment?

Most of the reports come from the very people who are holding him - as you could easily have found out if you'd taken even one single second to search Google.

From the very first link I found:
Pfc. Bradley E. Manning, the Army intelligence analyst accused of leaking government files to WikiLeaks, will be stripped of his clothing every night as a “precautionary measure” to prevent him from injuring himself, an official at the Marine brig at Quantico, Va., said on Friday.

Private Manning will also be required to stand outside his cell naked during a morning inspection, after which his clothing will be returned to him, said a Marine spokesman, First Lt. Brian Villiard.
Instead of asking us questions that you could find answers to instantly, why not take a few moments and become a little educated on the issue?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:52 AM on March 12, 2011 [10 favorites]


I hope he doesn't get sent to Gitmo, because Gitmo is going to be closed. Or not.

Manning? Probably sought out and messed with every day of his enlistment for being goofy and so young, and maybe a little too 'out' with his sexuality. Golly gee; what could have possibly sent him over the edge into teh removal of classified material zone? Hmmm.

Because I am picturing NCOs going out of their way to mess with this kid. And then one day, he snapped too far; and actually did something he knew beforehand was over the line.

Front page news of his treatment and front page CINC not being proactive = FAIL.
posted by buzzman at 7:52 AM on March 12, 2011


Can we cut the cognitive dissonance here? The point is to make an example of Manning. To show that if you try some conscience-driven stunt like he did you will be ratfucked from the top to your toes and no one will save you.

Quit trying to decipher what's in Obama's heart. He's not a cup of tea leaves and it doesn't fucking matter.
posted by clarknova at 7:55 AM on March 12, 2011 [37 favorites]


> The idea that he would come into office as some sort of avenging angel focused on rolling back all of the abuses and circumscriptions of freedom of the Bush years, well, I think that's hopelessly naive.

Um... Roosevelt? Reagan? Bush Jr., even? Plenty of Presidents came into power and shook things up. Why would Obama NOT be any different? I'm sorry, but this argument holds no weight in light of history.
posted by PigAlien at 7:57 AM on March 12, 2011 [9 favorites]


We already know exactly what the behavior was that "pushed them over the edge".

They'd removed pretty well every single thing in his cell, leaving him sitting in his shorts with a single book that he gets for a few hours a day, even though he has repeatedly denied being suicidal and an independent psychiatrist has verified this.

When they got him down to his shorts, he said, "If I really wanted to kill myself, I could always strangle myself with my underwear, couldn't I?"

Oh, how I wish I could help that poor man.

> Quit trying to decipher what's in Obama's heart. He's not a cup of tea leaves and it doesn't fucking matter.

WRONG. It absolutely does matter. He's finally responsible for this. The buck stops there. He's the decider. He's the one who takes responsibility for these things. We didn't elect this man for him to pass the moral responsibility for war crimes to "no one in particular" - we elected him to be The Man In Charge and as such this IS on his watch, it IS his moral responsibility.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:58 AM on March 12, 2011 [11 favorites]


If you want an actual thing in that Q&A to be pissed at Obama over, rather than a short answer to a stupid question, I would suggest looking at him big words regarding the Libyian rebels, stopping just short of "we are 100% behind those guys!", and backed by precicisly nothing in an area where it would be both appropriate and possible for him to take some action.
posted by Artw at 7:58 AM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Walker in Wisconsin, Kasich in Ohio... There are plenty of examples of politicians who work their way up the ladder and learn to work the system and then try to turn things upside-down when they're finally in power. Why would you hold Obama to another standard?
posted by PigAlien at 7:59 AM on March 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


The politics of failure have failed! We must make them work again!

posted by blue_beetle at 8:01 AM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


He's finally responsible for this.

Exactly my point. It doesn't matter what the answer to his riddle is. He's betrayed you. He betrayed his country. He's responsible. What his motivations are doesn't matter.

The politics of failure have failed! We must make them work again!

They're working just fine if you're a stockholder in a MilSpec corporation, or taking contributions from one.
posted by clarknova at 8:04 AM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's the thing, Artw, I can believe that enacting health care change is tough. I imagine reigning in Wall Street takes some time. I realize that the situation in Libya may be complex and not easy to navigate.

Telling Bradley Manning's captors to put some clothes on him would take two seconds. And he's not even willing to do that.

Fuck him.
posted by Legomancer at 8:04 AM on March 12, 2011 [37 favorites]


> The idea that he would come into office as some sort of avenging angel focused on rolling back all of the abuses and circumscriptions of freedom of the Bush years, well, I think that's hopelessly naive.

It's not just that he promised us exactly this, but that he's gone in exactly the reverse direction and expanded those abuses and circumscriptions of freedom.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:05 AM on March 12, 2011 [11 favorites]


Sorry, clarknova, I misunderstood, and I agree with you now I realize what you were saying...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:07 AM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


[Mr. Obama] must be seriously afraid of the military. That can't be good.

Wrong. He LOVES the military. This is the man who made drone attacks into a household word. This is the man who expanded the war in Afghanistan. This is the man who proposed a freeze on all domestic spending except the military.


I don't know if I can extrapolate that he loves the military. I agree that all these things are heinous things. He has turned into quite a shithole, but I think he is more of a coward than a person in love with the military. He is likely far less powerful, despite his title as "Commander-in-Chief", in regards to the military than anyone might like to think.

Apologies that it seems like just another "Bad Obama" post. As I said, I don't want to forget Bradley Manning. I would even hope that if he heard about the fact that we haven't forgotten about him, that it might bring him some small shred of comfort in hell.
posted by Glinn at 8:08 AM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Isn't don't ask don't tell currently still in force? What happens if people start coming forward claiming they've had homosexual relationships with Chief Warrant Officer Denise Barnes and Base Commander Colonel Daniel J. Choike.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:08 AM on March 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Bradley Manning's semi-outsider status inside the military actually suggests he wasn't the leaker. We've absolutely zero evidence he carried out the leak aside the trivially forgeable chat logs provided by a world class bullshit artists. If he's the natural "first to blame", that simply increases the chances that Lamo's chat logs were forged by people who knew they'd never catch the leaker but needed a scape goat to advance their careers.

If there's one fucking thing we've learned recently, it's that law enforcement types are god awful fucking gullible when they think they're listening to their own kind. We've hard proof that the Egyptian secret police carried out two major terrorists attacks inside Egypt and blamed their own country. And western intelligence services just blindly believed their lies. We understand how the evidence for chemical weapons in Iraq was entirely & purely focally fabricated by Iraqi ex-pat living in Germany. We obviously cannot trust our law enforcement and intelligence services without serious judicial oversight.

I never quite bought them torturing Bradley Manning trying to get to Assange, more likely they're torturing Manning because they know he's reasonable odds of walking, given their trumped up evidence, and they want to do as much damage as possible first.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:12 AM on March 12, 2011 [16 favorites]


If nothing else, it's going to be interesting to see how Obama campaigns in 2012. He can't really go all in on HOPE and CHANGE like he did the first time, so it'll probably be a combination of "Give me another chance to *really* get things done!" and "The other guys are worse," neither of which are particularly compelling messages. Fortunately for him, the Republican field is looking pretty fallow at this point.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:14 AM on March 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


> He has turned into quite a shithole, but I think he is more of a coward than a person in love with the military.

This is a "being hung vs lethal injection" sort of thing, but I don't think you're right.

He started the drone attacks in the first week of his Presidency. One of the very first things he did was aggressively pushing to expand the Afghanistan war (by which I mean threatening the political careers of progressive Democrats who wanted to block it).

He's a serious hawk and there's zero evidence against this. Even now I look back on his campaign, I see signs of it (for example, "All options are on the table" for dealing with Iran - i.e. we'd drop a nuke on them, because as Senator Gravel made clear in the debates, that's exactly what that means).
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:14 AM on March 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


jeffburdges: yes, that's an important point that's needs reinforcing. Manning's being tortured and yet has has yet to be convicted of even one crime. This is all dependent on one man's word, that man being the utterly contemptible Adrian Lamo, a man of proven mendacity and of documented mental illness.

If Manning got a fair trial, it might well be that he'd walk. However, I seriously doubt he ever will.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:17 AM on March 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


You are better off committing war crimes than exposing them.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:19 AM on March 12, 2011 [28 favorites]


He's a serious hawk and there's zero evidence against this.

You're probably right. It's just that in the coward scenario, there is an infinitesimal chance he might do the right thing, even once. In your scenario, well. What is left besides despair?
posted by Glinn at 8:28 AM on March 12, 2011


> What is left besides despair?

:-(

My best hopeful scenarios involves Mr. Obama being defeated in the next election, having a Republican administration cause a major but survivable collapse, and having a new progressive party win the 2016 election.

Pathetic, isn't it?

By the way, I do consider a 2012 victory for Mr. Obama to be very far-fetched unless there's a sudden surprising boom in the economy. But I don't think there's any boom left in this economy for your average guy, who has been rendered permanently redundant due to the actions of W. and to a lesser extent Mr. Obama.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:38 AM on March 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Think of how many years Obama spent learning to make friends and influence people - to move and work effectively in the world as it is, not in the world as some would wish it to be.

Shorter Obama: "As you know, ah, you torture the prisoners you have — not the prisoners you might want or wish to have at a later time."
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:47 AM on March 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


If nothing else, it's going to be interesting to see how Obama campaigns in 2012. He can't really go all in on HOPE and CHANGE like he did the first time

Given the support he keeps getting, I wouldn't count on it. People are pretty dumb, that way.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:49 AM on March 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


My best hopeful scenarios involves Mr. Obama being defeated in the next election, having a Republican administration cause a major but survivable collapse, and having a new progressive party win the 2016 election.

Well then, why don't you get a head start on that new progressive party by starting one now? Bonus points for starting a serious campaign to get a member of your party elected to the House before you start blowing all your cash and goodwill on a "consciousness-raising" White House bid, like the Greens do every year.

It's fine to complain all the day long, but understand that politics is punishing and depressing and no one is going to want to put aside a relatively comfortable life so they can ride to your rescue on a white horse. You have to do it yourself, and if you're angry and frustrated enough, maybe you will.

(End derail.)
posted by phooky at 8:52 AM on March 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


Wow, this many replies and no one has mentioned the fact that this is all a part of Obama's master chess strategy to _______?

Well thank god for that, anyway.
posted by paisley henosis at 8:52 AM on March 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


I do consider a 2012 victory for Mr. Obama to be very far-fetched

Nah, the tea-baggers are scary enough to let Obama campaign and win on a sanity ticket. There is essentially no hope. The decline will continue for a couple of generations, then maybe there will be some spilled tyrant and patriot blood. After that who knows?

As you can see, this thread has depressed me.
posted by Trochanter at 8:53 AM on March 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


Also: of course Obama supports the way they are treating Manning! He is literally the boss of the people who are treating Manning this way IF HE DIDN'T APPROVE OF IT HE COULD STOP IT WITH A PHONE CALL. It's like saying he approves of what he had for lunch yesterday, of-fucking-course he does. Fucking damn.
posted by paisley henosis at 8:54 AM on March 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


It would take him one damned second to order Bradley Manning to be treated according to the Geneva Convention - to allow him to wear clothing - to allow him the standard privileges that we allow child molesters and murderers in jail.

ad hominem, every bad ad hominem

He's a serious hawk and there's zero evidence against this. Even now I look back on his campaign, I see signs of it...

wow, are you thinking that through because you are so wrong, why?, take an empirical test, take a poll of solders. I know, I know, not sqeaky clean like no blanket= torture but you will find your answer.


My best hopeful scenarios involves Mr. Obama being defeated in the next election, having a Republican administration cause a major but survivable collapse, and having a new progressive party win the 2016 election.

tin-foil. Defeated Obama = republicans gremlins collapsing the system then what, "then we take Berlin."
posted by clavdivs at 8:56 AM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


lupus_yonderboy: My best hopeful scenarios involves Mr. Obama being defeated in the next election, having a Republican administration cause a major but survivable collapse, and having a new progressive party win the 2016 election.

Have you seen how things are going in Wisconsin? I wouldn't gamble my life on 4 years of a "Tea Party supported" Republican being survivable, in the sense of 'what is left is easily recognizable as what was there before.'

My personal most rosy-colored outlook is Obama not running for a second term, using his last year in office to set up some other Dem to look good, and that Dem winning the next election. Not because I think That Dem would be better/less evil/whatever than Obama, but because I live here and a Tea Party president would seriously keep me up at night.
posted by paisley henosis at 8:58 AM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


He is literally the boss of the people who are treating Manning this way

Well, he is literally the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:58 AM on March 12, 2011


Maybe the Egyptians and the Libyans have a message for us.
posted by Obscure Reference at 9:00 AM on March 12, 2011



Maybe the Egyptians and the Libyans have a message for us.


This message being: Things have to get way, way, way, way worse in America before people will rise up and do anything about it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:03 AM on March 12, 2011 [9 favorites]


State Dept. Spokesman: Treatment Of Bradley Manning Is ‘Ridiculous And Counterproductive And Stupid’
posted by Room 641-A at 9:03 AM on March 12, 2011


As a european I wonder how broad the support for these decisions (detention without trial, torture like practices) are.
Obama wouldn't do this surely if the general electorate wouldn't support this?

I'm glad though that I read metafilter and as a result I know first hand that not all US Americans think this is normal.

I do wonder though how this detoriation of the judicial system happened. I thought that the right to a fail trial was embedded on a fundamental level in all democracies of repute. Especially to defend the individual from the government. Trias politica and all. And it seems that that has eroded permanently within a decade.
Aren't high civil servants, judges etc up in arms about this? Wouldn't they have studied political science or public administration and have a more judicious moral stance on this than then the vengeful man in the street?
posted by joost de vries at 9:08 AM on March 12, 2011


Going by what I'd heard from other sources, it sounded like Manning was being treated inhumanly, outright tortured. But I just read through that Amnesty letter and didn't find anything to be horrified by.

He's in a habitable cell, with a bed and a toilet. He gets adequate food. He gets reading material. He gets to write letters. He gets television. He gets to exercise. He gets to see his family. He has regular contact with the guards.

I mean, it's not all peaches and roses. The personal restrictions allegedly made to prevent suicide are a little unseemly -- spartan bedding, minimized contact with other prisoners, having to strip (to his boxers) for periodic inspections.

But this doesn't strike me as torture. From earlier reports, I was imagining Arpaio's hotboxes in the Arizona desert, or Abu Ghraib's beatings and sexual violations, or even something subtler yet insidious, like days-long denial of sleep or an all-Nutraloaf diet or the kind of incredibly strict solitary confinement that drives inmates mad from the complete lack of stimulation. But that's not what's happening here by a long shot. It's unpleasant, and it's not something I'd ever want to go through with. But it *is* military prison we're talking about.

Maybe there's stuff going on that the Amnesty letter didn't mention. But IMHO, calling "having to strip to your boxers every so often" and "not having a table and chair" torture devalues actual torture -- not just the medieval stuff but the cruel and awful treatment that is too often allowed here.
posted by Rhaomi at 9:12 AM on March 12, 2011 [12 favorites]


joost, I think that your key phrase which needs expanding on here is democracies of repute.
posted by adamvasco at 9:15 AM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


@joost:

Obama has broad support for these decisions in a "silence = consent" kind of way. Most Americans don't follow important US or world news closely enough to know or care.

This is not a civilian judicial matter; this is a military judicial matter. And while the military judicial system has rules about fair trials, I don't believe they are as broad as the civilian rules.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:15 AM on March 12, 2011


Yay, another "Obama sucks" thread.

Still, I'm curious whether Obama knows exactly what Manning is being subject to. Him just asking the Pentago is kinda silly, as of course they'll probably say "What, oh yeah, he's fine". Another source or two would be good.

Going by what I'd heard from other sources, it sounded like Manning was being treated inhumanly, outright tortured. But I just read through that Amnesty letter and didn't find anything to be horrified by.

Yeah. The Amensty letter comes off as shrill a times, with the complaining that he doesn't have a window and can only see down a corridor and can only watch tv certain hours in a day. The sleeping with no pillow or blanket and only in shorts, seems like overkill, especially with him the chafing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:21 AM on March 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


You're probably right. It's just that in the coward scenario, there is an infinitesimal chance he might do the right thing, even once. In your scenario, well. What is left besides despair?

False comforts aren't comfortable.  Delusions never help. That's why they're in the DSM.
posted by clarknova at 9:21 AM on March 12, 2011


And Metafilter liberals, in desperate attempt to defend Obama, descend into the same sort of spin as Republicans discussing the amazing dinner menu at Guantanamo.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:23 AM on March 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


Don't blame Obama. He knows how it would play in the press if he made any move regarding Manning's treatment.

Blame ourselves. Half of us are idiots. Another, overlapping half, are sadistic, vindictive monsters who love to see maltreatment of others for its own sake.
posted by Xoebe at 9:26 AM on March 12, 2011


But IMHO, calling "having to strip to your boxers every so often" and "not having a table and chair" torture devalues actual torture -- not just the medieval stuff but the cruel and awful treatment that is too often allowed here.

He was stripped naked and not given a bed, forced to sleep on a bare floor.

But maybe quibbling about the minutiae of whether torturous acts are torture — acts by people in power, which are intended to humiliate, denigrate and coerce — devalues us, as much as the freedoms we take for granted.

What is happening to Manning is torture, and we're all worse off when we let leaders off the hook for doing it. Including someone as charismatic and charming as Obama.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:26 AM on March 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


unless our guns, our imagined freedoms, or our paychecks are threatened, we americans are a bunch of lazy gutless fucks unable to turn outrage into action. this is why the word "change" is reserved for political slogans and fast food advertising.
posted by kitchenrat at 9:28 AM on March 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh crap, how did I miss that the link I posted was in the original FPP?

This is why I can't have nice FPP comments.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:29 AM on March 12, 2011


I don't have words for how dismayed I am that this is going on under a president I worked to elect. Yes, I'll vote to re-elect him, because he's light-years better than anybody the Republicans will put up. But I'm pretty pissed that I didn't get the change I was promised.
posted by EarBucket at 9:31 AM on March 12, 2011


What is happening to Manning is torture

The point, I think, is whether or not his treatment is humane which it seems obviously not, but you know budget cuts and all.
posted by three blind mice at 9:31 AM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Don't blame Obama. He knows how it would play in the press if he made any move regarding Manning's treatment.

Quit defending him. He's not supposed to care. That's not why you voted for him.
posted by clarknova at 9:32 AM on March 12, 2011 [7 favorites]


...and not given a bed, forced to sleep on a bare floor.

Huh? The Amnesty report said he has a bed and indicated he sleeps on it, albeit without sheets or pillow, just blankets.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:35 AM on March 12, 2011


This is a man who campaigned on protecting whistleblowers.

What, exactly, was Bradley Manning blowing the whistle on? Dumping thousands of secret documents whose contents you don't know into the public realm does not constitute whistleblowing. Bradley Manning's actions cost people their lives. They revealed the names of Afghans who has worked with ISAF, and, IIRC, the names Chinese sources who provided information on the Communist party to the U.S. government. He's not a hero - he's a disgrace, a callow, self-impressed fantasist who betrayed his oath because it made him feel like a big, important person. Good people have paid with their lives for his vanity.
posted by Dasein at 9:40 AM on March 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


He's not a hero - he's a disgrace, a callow, self-impressed fantasist who betrayed his oath because it made him feel like a big, important person.

Human rights aren't just for heroes.
posted by EarBucket at 9:43 AM on March 12, 2011 [26 favorites]


Maybe you guys could could explain why he is in permanent solitary confinement and on Prevention of Injury watch when his doctors say he is fine and he has been perfectly well behaved?

Just by itself, the type of prolonged solitary confinement to which Manning has been subjected for many months is widely viewed around the world as highly injurious, inhumane, punitive, and arguably even a form of torture. In his widely praised March, 2009 New Yorker article -- entitled "Is Long-Term Solitary Confinement Torture?" -- the surgeon and journalist Atul Gawande assembled expert opinion and personal anecdotes to demonstrate that, as he put it, "all human beings experience isolation as torture." By itself, prolonged solitary confinement routinely destroys a person’s mind and drives them into insanity. A March, 2010 article in The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law explains that "solitary confinement is recognized as difficult to withstand; indeed, psychological stressors such as isolation can be as clinically distressing as physical torture."
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:44 AM on March 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Bradley Manning's actions cost people their lives.

In every WL thread, someone invariably says that the cable release cost lives. WikiLeaks killed people. etc. Every time, we ask to name one person who is dead as a direct result of the cables or WL, and no one has a legitimate, verifiable answer.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:44 AM on March 12, 2011 [27 favorites]


That may be true, Dasein, but do you really want our country to continue down the path of government-sponsored vigilante justice?

But at least he's only getting Torture Lite for White Guys®.
posted by Mooseli at 9:45 AM on March 12, 2011


Good people have paid with their lives for his vanity.

You sir, are a god damned liar.
posted by Trochanter at 9:47 AM on March 12, 2011 [11 favorites]


I'm trying to process this from a European perspective. Where I live (in the Netherlands) the prime minister would have to answer questions about this from the opposition.
I don't get the sense Obama is being questioned formally on this. That he has to defend this lapse against judicial principles.
Is that true?
posted by joost de vries at 9:49 AM on March 12, 2011


Enforcing the law is bad politics, same reason Bush didn't have to answer for his crimes even after leaving office. The press reports on the sport of politics, not the reality of it, and so people fall in to that sort of thinking.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:54 AM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't get the sense Obama is being questioned formally on this. That he has to defend this lapse against judicial principles.

Ideally, the president would face at least some pushback on something like this from both the judiciary and the opposition in Congress. However, Republicans have no interest in fighting executive overreach on national security, because their base of voters sees any concession to liberty when security is at stake as a sign of weakness. There may very well be a case filed in court to challenge his treatment (I don't know much about the specifics of his legal representation; it's quite possible such a suit has already been filed), but the courts tend to be fairly deferential to executive authority in cases like this, as long as the executive branch at least makes some gestures in the direction of due process.
posted by EarBucket at 9:58 AM on March 12, 2011


I do agree with dasein that Mannings actions seem to have been not in agreement with the laws that were in effect at that moment.
So it seems reasonable to let a judge weigh his individual rights against the national security.

But that's not what's happening right now. It seems that the military has created a momentum through Guantanamo and 'unlawful combatants' where they can claim people for their petty revenge.

I always thought that in a democracy the military is by necessity subservient to the democratic process.
posted by joost de vries at 9:59 AM on March 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


joost de vries, are you playing a Socratic game where you doggedly lead us to conclude that the system is broken?

'Cause we can skip to the end.
posted by Trochanter at 9:59 AM on March 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


And honestly, not to dump on Joost, but Northern Europe isn't exactly known for its fair treatment of people deemed "dangerous to security" (i.e. not-white people), and their governments seem mostly fine with that...
posted by Mooseli at 10:02 AM on March 12, 2011


I'm not playing a game trochanter. It's just that I still feel wonder at how a country that I thought was part of the 'democracies of repute' seems to be slipping on such fundamental matters.
It's not so much that I want to point out that a system is broken. Or even gloat about it.
I just would think that a democracy like the US has systems in place to mend its brokenness.

posted by joost de vries at 10:05 AM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


a country that I thought was part of the 'democracies of repute' seems to be slipping on such fundamental matters.

Yup. Pretty astonishing.

And I wasn't really getting on your case. Just saying that your questions are based on the design of the system, and the system is not currently working as it was designed.
posted by Trochanter at 10:09 AM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ah, mooseli, now we're talking. I was wondering when the tu quoque would come.

First I want to state that the tu quoque is a fallacy; a distraction from the issue at hand.

But I'm willing to address that. There are a lot of frictions in Europe at the moment around the collective social benefits and wether all social groups are chipping in equally.
But that's at the political level. I have heard no information that the judicial level is compromised. F.i. the right wing politician Geert Wilders is in court to defend his statements on muslims.

And to me equality before the law is what will save us.
posted by joost de vries at 10:12 AM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am as upset, angry as the next person about the treatment accorded Manning. However, to think that the president of the United States is on top personally of every thing that interests, annoys, angers, excites each citizen is assuming too much. If he is not to trust those in charge of Manning (the military), than what is one person as president to do?

We have Libya, health care recall, union busting, earthquakes in Japan, flooding in New Jersey, Somali pirates, deficit planning, and so on just to name a few things on the plate for Obama.

Cut him some slack. That does not mean you can not write your congressional reps, or the White House etc.
posted by Postroad at 10:16 AM on March 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


At least Dasein is consistent. This is the nth time he's made the identical point about Manning. Maybe people just aren't listening hard enough?
posted by sneebler at 10:17 AM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


If he is not to trust those in charge of Manning (the military), than what is one person as president to do?

"Trusting the military" doesn't have to mean calling the Pentagon and saying "So, are you guys treating that Manning guy okay? You are? Great, sounds good! Sorry to bother you."
posted by EarBucket at 10:18 AM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Every time, we ask to name one person who is dead as a direct result of the cables or WL, and no one has a legitimate, verifiable answer.

You're right - because the people that got killed live in inaccessible, closed societies. The Taliban murder people every day who they think have collaborated with ISAF; those names don't make it into the paper, because any Western journalist showing up in a small Afghan village to document it would end up just as dead. So instead we draw reasonable inferences: when you publish the names of Afghan informants on the web, and the Taliban say they have downloaded these publicly-available documents, it it reasonable to infer that they have killed anyone who is revealed as having worked against them, because that is what they do, every day.
posted by Dasein at 10:20 AM on March 12, 2011


At least Dasein is consistent. This is the nth time he's made the identical point about Manning. Maybe people just aren't listening hard enough?

Maybe if someone listens to Dasein hard enough, their head would explode. That would be a verifiable death as a result of Manning's whistleblowing.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:20 AM on March 12, 2011 [8 favorites]


I think the real problem is that there's nobody, absolutely nobody with any power in the system who has any incentive to make sure things like this don't happen. The president's main incentive is making sure a terrorist attack doesn't happen on his watch. Congress's main incentive is to look tough, and strong on defense. The Supreme Court's motivation seems to be to vote blindly in the direction of whichever president appointed them to their seat, except for Kennedy, who apparently just flips a coin when it's time to put in his two cents.

There's nobody whose job it is to make sure the government does the right thing even when it's unpopular, and it's hard to imagine how you'd design such a position or create incentives to make it work.
posted by EarBucket at 10:22 AM on March 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


If he is not to trust those in charge of Manning (the military), than what is one person as president to do?


Yeah, and when it comes to the financial crisis you just gotta trust the Goldman Sachs guy you put in charge, and when it comes to the drug war you just gotta trust the DEA, who better to trust on energy than an energy company?

Maybe Obama could take a second, as a guy looking at a high profile case, and figure out why Manning is on prevention of injury watch when his doctors say he is fine. He could figure out, and explain to us, the reasoning the military has given him.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:22 AM on March 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Dasein; just a couple of questions: Do you believe Manning should have a trial to decide if he is guilty or innocent? and on the lead up to said trial should he not be held in humane conditions?
posted by adamvasco at 10:23 AM on March 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


He could figure out, and explain to us, the reasoning the military has given him.

Exactly. If he'd intelligently discussed the measures being taken, and why, in his judgement, they're necessary, that'd be one thing. I wouldn't like it, but it wouldn't rankle the same way that "the Pentagon says he's all good, so he must be!" does.
posted by EarBucket at 10:24 AM on March 12, 2011


What, exactly, was Bradley Manning blowing the whistle on? Dumping thousands of secret documents whose contents you don't know into the public realm does not constitute whistleblowing. Bradley Manning's actions cost people their lives.

I'd agree that Manning's actions are questionable; I can't point to any specific deaths and I haven't seen anything that does so, but I think it's plausible there may have been real consequences that go beyond embarrassment.

The part I have a hard time with is the conflict with fundamental American values about process and justice. Innocence and guilt are supposed to be determined at some kind of trial or hearing where a case is made and evaluated. Any consequences for the guilty are supposed to be determined and carried out after the conclusion of that event and a formal sentence has been reached.

I can make some allowance for the idea that the military system may be more authoritarian than the civilian system. I also see that by some standards, Manning is being treated relatively well-- I think it is indeed arguable that his conditions aren't torture per se, just poor. At least we're not arguing over whether waterboarding him is A-OK.

But to the extent that his conditions constitute pre-trial punishment -- and I think they do, as they're quite clearly overkill, the level of security being described seems better matched to a criminal mastermind or utter psychopath -- I'm still bothered. Because that says to me that those in power are happy to sacrifice the ostensible American principles I described above for whatever reason... in this case, apparently to make a point about upsetting those in power.

I expect better from American institutions and officeholders.
posted by weston at 10:24 AM on March 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


To me, wikileaks exposed the intel community as much as a gossiply clique in a junior high. If the States looked bad; wikileaks merely made a great deal of electronic idiocy easily viewable by those outside of the field.

Manning, having been counseled for improper security practices (blogging about waht he learned in classified training, what is inside the classified building, etc) is a product of an 'outcome based' school system that now extends to the military. Everybody graduating is not success. Manning should have gotten the boot before he was able to be exposed to as much classified as he did; but good heavens; can't harm those graduation percentages!

A computer system that allows downloading of thousands of classified files, and in Gb bulk quantities? That is where a real 'loss of security' charge could be leveled.
posted by buzzman at 10:33 AM on March 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


joost de vries: "As a european I wonder how broad the support for these decisions (detention without trial, torture like practices) are.
Obama wouldn't do this surely if the general electorate wouldn't support this?
"

I'm not one for trotting out the Declaration of Independence (those days are far behind me... I shudder to think I would have become a Tea Party member if I hadn't changed my paradigm.

But. I think one of the quotes in there is a very astute statement.
"...all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed."
You would think it's despicable to a majority. You may or may not be right. But even if it were a majority (and part of Obama's campaign seemed to be on civil liberties (even if not a radical civil libertarian) so those who got him elected would probably have been against this kind of thing), if the majority isn't suffering enough, if the evils are sufferable, then we will suffer under them.

Which I think is the point of Paisley Henosis. We just keep dragging it out.

Watching Walker play his hand so fast and hard and incite a counter-reaction makes me wonder that if we got a Tea Party Fascist in power... Would America *really* wake the fuck up then? Bush was bad, but these Tea Party guys are 10x worse than the neocons. Oh, maybe the truly principled ones might work to end torture and war. But the majority just are brutes addicted to corporate power and will use any excuse to get more of that power. They aren't truly Libertarians despite their heavy protestations to the contrary.

None of us know. These are scary times we're living in. But the attack on unions has really awakened a LOT of people, even more, I think, than the anti-war shit a few years ago.

And if we work towards building that movement we might be able to fight off the plutocrats

And... Phooky, we already have a mefite (dejah420) in this thread who is doing precisely that, planning to run, that's how inspired they are) I admit, I should be doing more, I'm part of the echo chamber right now. But plenty of us are doing things.
posted by symbioid at 10:42 AM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dasein; just a couple of questions: Do you believe Manning should have a trial to decide if he is guilty or innocent? and on the lead up to said trial should he not be held in humane conditions?

Yeah, in case you hadn't noticed, my comment had nothing to do with defending the conditions Manning was being held in. It had a lot to do with this ridiculous notion that he's some kind of whistleblower. Whistleblowers find out about a wrong being committed, and release information related to that wrong. Manning decided it would be fun to reveal as much classified information as possible, with absolutely no regard for who he hurt.

As far as I'm concerned, he's a criminal and a traitor who provided classified information to the Taliban, to say nothing of jeopardizing some of the most important US military missions by revealing foreign government collaboration in drone strikes, but, absolutely, give him a fair trial. It doesn't matter what I think, and he's entitled to the presumption of innocence. And there's no excuse for holding him in solitary - it's clearly just the military treating him badly because they hate him so much. He's clearly not a dangerous prisoner, only a dangerous soldier.
posted by Dasein at 10:44 AM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


My best hopeful scenarios involves Mr. Obama being defeated in the next election, having a Republican administration cause a major but survivable collapse, and having a new progressive party win the 2016 election.

History says you are wrong. The idea of electing bad presidents to teach people how bad things can get so they see the light doesn't work.

In 1968 they said that about LBJ and we got back-to-back terms of Richard Nixon. He was more popular in his second election than his first.

In 1980 they said that about Jimmy Carter and we got back-to-back terms of Ronald Reagan. He was more popular in his second election than his first.

In 2000 they said that about Al Gore and we got back-to-back terms of George W. Bush. He was more popular in his second election than his first.

Do what you've got to do, but don't use the excuse of a five-year-old who says he'll hold his breath until he dies and then they'll all be sorry. It doesn't work and there are consequences.
posted by JackFlash at 10:46 AM on March 12, 2011 [10 favorites]


As far as the whistleblowing "debate" goes, there's less room for debate as more of the material is released and discussed in the public sphere.

To wit, Mefi's jeffburdges posted a link to WL Central's overview of a hundred significant cables in the hundred days since Cablegate started.

Some of the choice cuts among them, which would otherwise concern a fair number of pro-civil-rights, anti-corruption Mefites, are quoted here:

100. Murdered Ugandan gay rights activist was mocked by Uganda politicians at UN-backed debate http://bit.ly/fEiSh8 #cablegate
...
96. Obama pushed Spain to implement law to crack down on illegal Internet downloads http://bit.ly/iflhWB #cablegate
...
89. Saudi Arabia asked US to halt lawsuit against state company being sued for oil price fixing http://reut.rs/f6cCxq #cablegate
...
81. China used US debt to pressure US on Taiwan http://bit.ly/gorONi #cablegate
...
52. Saudi Arabia can't pump enough oil to keep prices down, reserves 40% overstated http://bit.ly/e9774n #cablegate
...
42. Egyptian torturers trained by the FBI http://bit.ly/fY8eHO #cablegate
...
8. Secret collusion between Swedish and US military and civilian intelligence http://bit.ly/dVFxX2 #cablegate
...
1. Monsanto fought off environmentalists/farmers in Argentina, got USG to represent interests http://bit.ly/hqKYrS #cablegate


The more cables I hear about, the less I take seriously the notion that Manning wasn't whistleblowing. He released information about activities that by their nature were hurting Americans as well as hurting people around the world, while covertly enriching and empowering a select few powerful interests.

Exposing this kind of corruption is the very definition of whistleblowing.

If anything, that these activities are kept under cover by the very media entrusted to expose this means we cannot rely on those propaganda outfits to "infer" for us that Manning's actions directly lead to anyone being killed.

Traitor, my ass. Manning is an American hero. He should be getting a ticker-tape parade around the country, instead of slack-jawed Americans defending a policy of torture on basis of whether a particular method technically meets the definition of torture.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:00 AM on March 12, 2011 [39 favorites]


when you publish the names of Afghan informants on the web

See, I don't even think this has happened. Any of the documents that have actually come to the public have been released through major media outlets who scrutinized them to prevent exactly that.

I think you're just making shit up.
posted by Trochanter at 11:01 AM on March 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


Any of the documents that have actually come to the public have been released through major media outlets who scrutinized them to prevent exactly that.

That's simply untrue. The media were given advance rights to look at the files, and write reports about the most significant ones. Then everything was released online.

I think you're just making shit up.

Given your foregoing statement, I would note the irony. But don't take it from me:

Unpublished Iraq War Logs Trigger Internal WikiLeaks Revolt

“The release date which was established was completely unrealistic,” says 25-year-old Herbert Snorrason, an Icelandic university student who until recently helped manage WikiLeaks’ secure chat room. “We found out that the level of redactions performed on the Afghanistan documents was not sufficient. I announced that if the next batch did not receive full attention, I would not be willing to cooperate.”
posted by Dasein at 11:06 AM on March 12, 2011


I think overall it is/will be a good thing that the information was leaked. If Manning is the one that did it, then I am sympathetic towards him. I also think the conditions under which he is being held sound bad, unnecessarily bad, even.

Based on what I've read, though, I think claiming that it is torture is hyperbole. I also think it is unfair to think that Obama should protect him as a whistleblower. As president he has numerous obligations, and national security is a big one. Even if the impact of the leak is a net positive, he should receive a fair trial and, if guilty, punished as indicated by the law. If I were king of the world, then everyone who leaked dirt about armies and corporations would get a special medal, but I'm not and there are rules that people, including Manning and Obama, agreed to play by.

I also think that if Manning did kill himself, shit would be fucked up and a lot of people wouldn't believe it was a suicide. I would think that the persons responsible for the conditions of his incarceration are being particularly cautious because of this. And hopefully also out of concern for his well-being.
posted by snofoam at 11:08 AM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


As of December 9, 2010:

Only a fraction of the reported 250,000 documents in the organization's possession has been released and published - less than one percent. In an online session last week on the website of the Guardian , a British newspaper that is collaborating with the group,WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said that his website posts documents after they have first been published by what he called "mainstream media partners."
posted by Trochanter at 11:16 AM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whistleblowers find out about a wrong being committed, and release information related to that wrong.

Whistleblowers often come out with a massive pile of documents because they're in a hurry and don't know what might be important. Assuming Manning was the source, that's what he did, and he should be given a medal and $100K and the option of which prison guard he'd like to take a shit on as an apology for his treatment.
posted by cmonkey at 11:17 AM on March 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Then everything was released online

The cables have been released at a steady rate. So far they are at 5440 of the 251K cables.

You really don't know what you're talking about, do you?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:18 AM on March 12, 2011 [6 favorites]



I gave Obama the benefit of the doubt when he failed to try Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld as war criminals.
His treatmentg of Manning?
Just another in a litany of treasonous betrayals of his supporters.
I now wish only the worst for Obama. At least with McCain/ Palin I knew I would be getting slugs.
posted by notreally at 11:23 AM on March 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon, we were talking about the Afghan War documents. The vast majority of those - about 75,000 - were released at once. The current process for leaking the diplomatic cables bit by bit is a reaction to the fact that even the Wikileaks people realized that dumping all that information after the papers had sorted through for the best bits but without doing careful redaction almost certainly got people killed.
posted by Dasein at 11:35 AM on March 12, 2011


Manning didn't schedule the general release.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:36 AM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


His treatmentg of Manning?
Just another in a litany of treasonous betrayals of his supporters.


Honestly, I don't know if that was intentional or not. You do understand what the word 'treason' means, right? Because what Manning did is very literally an act of treason.

What Obama has been doing may not be precisely what the extreme left (and I don't mean that to be an insult, since I'm pretty close on most issues) had expected. But it is absolutely nothing near treason.

On the other hand: treason is: "a crime that undermines the offender's government". Whether you think Manning's behavior was morally justifiable or not, I don't see how anyone could possibly see what he did as anything other than treason. It literally fits the dictionary definition. Obama might be disappointing. Very, very big difference between the two.

Honestly, I thought that Metafilter was supposed to be a place where smart people went to discuss things rationally and avoid the hyperbole and emotional reactions of the hoi polloi. But this thread is very over-the-top and lacking in any measured sense of reality.
posted by graphnerd at 11:37 AM on March 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


See, I don't even think this has happened. Any of the documents that have actually come to the public have been released through major media outlets who scrutinized them to prevent exactly that.

I think you're just making shit up.


Googling around, I'm not sure it's being made up:

Taliban Murders Afghan Elder, Thanks Wikileaks for Revealing "Spies"

Taliban Use Wikileaks to Hunt, Murder Named Afghans

Taliban in Afghanistan says they will target informants outed by WikiLeaks for working with U.S.

Secretary Gates, however, doesn't seem to think there's a major threat in that area, at this point but thinks damage from WikiLeaks could be significant.

I'd have a lot more support for Manning, if he had worked to carefully link the important stuff, like fuckups or coverups by governments. The wholesale copying and gifting to wikileaks seems incredibly irresponsible.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:39 AM on March 12, 2011


I feel very sad for my progressive friends who devoted incredible time and effort to elect a man who's agenda is counter to their ideals of social justice.
posted by fuq at 11:40 AM on March 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.


Neither committed treason. Manning undermined the government, his treatment undermines the constitution and is a greater crime.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:41 AM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


To me, the attitude that you're pissed at obama because of this and a few other things that are horrible means you are done with him and will apparently support the republicans, who would have had Manning dead without even the thought of a care - well that's just dumb.

Unless someone better comes along, assuming he runs, I'll vote for Obama again. Man people are just stupid. That or privileged enough that you can just vote for whomever and it has no affect on your life because of your social status.

Sorry but a bunch of us out here are on the margins and we can not just vote for some republicans (who if you haven't not noticed wish to regress [b]majorly[/b]) whenever the fuck we feel like it because 40 of 1000 things obama did repulsed us.

This is why it is so much fun to be the bad guy in many situations. If this were a republican, republican followers would say "Must be a reason for it" and keep stepping. You've seen his taxes, heard his back story and people will go to all available lengths to dig up any thing they can, including where he was born for goodness sake.

The point being, you know he's not some evil dictator who secretly loves doing horrible things to people. So why be a dick and as Jessamyn says, take the worst possible read on the situation?

It's awful, it really is. But don't get so worked up you do something stupid like vote fucking Palin and company into office, where 5,000 worse things will happen. Maybe for the people who debate things in the philosophical realm where there aren't real world consequences for the differences between decisions Obama would make and Palin would make, things are just fine. But for a bunch of us, we knocked on doors and talked to people and made rational arguments detailing things not only because its obvious there are huge policy differences, but also because for a lot of us these policy differences have real life consequences.

Say what you want, but I can simultaneously hate this situation while still being proud as fuck for what I did for Barack Obama.
posted by cashman at 11:43 AM on March 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher, I didn't say he was the only one making things up.

Jesus Christ. Look at the three pictures in the Daily Tech piece. Bloody Hands!!
posted by Trochanter at 11:44 AM on March 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


To me, the attitude that you're pissed at obama because of this and a few other things that are horrible means you are done with him and will apparently support the republicans,

Literally no one has said that.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:45 AM on March 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


So if we want change, are we going to be voting Obama in the next election?
Because while 'm not voting Republican, but I'll be damned if I vote Obama.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:45 AM on March 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Literally no one has said that.

You may have missed it.

I now wish only the worst for Obama. At least with McCain/ Palin I knew I would be getting slugs.
posted by cashman at 11:47 AM on March 12, 2011


That does not say that the slugs would get the vote. Drop the strawman and move on.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:49 AM on March 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


He's not a hero - he's a disgrace, a callow, self-impressed fantasist who betrayed his oath because it made him feel like a big, important person.

Just another in a litany of treasonous betrayals of his supporters.

Enjoy your new Republican overlords in 2012. You're going to get a president who does for the whole country what Scott Walker is doing in Wisconsin. Or what the Republican governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, is doing: essentially disbanding elected municipal governments and appointing corporations to run the cities instead. If that's what you want for the rest of the country, then by all means, continue to equate Obama with the devil, and actively campaign against him and for Dennis Kucinich or whoever.

Have you ever thought about what would happen if Obama did stick his neck into this? One prisoner, MAYBE being mistreated, somewhere in the country? He'd have to spend every waking minute of the remainder of his presidency addressing pleas from inmates everywhere, most of them complete bullshit, about their 'mistreatment.' Obama had no substantial comment because the issue of Manning's treatment is just not anywhere close to a presidential-level issue. It would be like if your iPad broke and you demanded that Steve Jobs personally express his sincerest apologies, and buy you a new one.

Your idealism probably feels really great and noble and all, but by denying the world as it is and pretending that it even can come close to the one you want, you're cutting off chances at a better life for millions of Americans.
posted by notswedish at 11:49 AM on March 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yes, it would be a huge tragedy if Obama addressed the humanitarian crisis that is our prison system.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:51 AM on March 12, 2011 [10 favorites]


That does not say that the slugs would get the vote. Drop the strawman and move on.

That's how it read to me - "I wish Obama the worst, at least I knew what I would be getting with McCain Palin".

A lot of us don't have the luxury of thinking that way.
posted by cashman at 11:52 AM on March 12, 2011


Yes, it would be a huge tragedy if Obama addressed the humanitarian crisis that is our prison system.

How is that going to help the economy and create jobs?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:54 AM on March 12, 2011


How is that going to help the economy and create jobs?

For real?

That's how it read to me

I'm glad I could correct your mis-reading.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:57 AM on March 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Also, to the six or seven people who have made this thread (and most any about Manning/WL, really) so very shrill, do you have any idea what the conditions are like for the million-plus prisoners in the United States?

Granted many (probably most) of them are better off than Manning -- but not by much. And many of them actually live in very similar circumstances. Manning's situation is not all that different than civilian prisons, let alone being in the custody of the US Armed Forces.

That doesn't make it right. But it does make it seem like you all have an axe to grind and want to focus on one single person who you ideologically agree with, rather than think of larger systemic problems. I agree with most of you to a large degree. But your 'Obama Sucks! This Isn't the Change That I Voted For!' act is quite old.

Things aren't perfect. Obama is not a perfect president. You have very legitimate gripes. But the tone that super liberals take on this is so dreadfully annoying it makes me want to disagree with you.... Even though our views are so very similar on other topics.

Criticize issues. But try to have a modicum of perspective here. If you're a liberal, Obama is definitely the least-disagreeable president we've had in at least an entire generation. Do you not remember W. Bush? Or Clinton's Triangulation? Or Bush I's slightly-less-batshit conservative presidency, as compared to his son? Or the Reagan Years? Do you remember how miserably Carter failed after his first term?

Can you really not see that this has been an extremely conservative country for forty years? That Obama is a leader of an modern democracy where a majority of citizens still believe that the death penalty is a good idea? Or whose rates of religiosity are through the roof, relative to the rest of the world?

Don't you understand that he is a politician, which means that he does have to remain electable in a country where you are, quite frankly, a fringe minority? Ideologically, I'm with you. But for Christ's sake, please get out of whatever echo chamber you live in and recognize that he's been as progressive as it's fair to expect, given the actual constraints of the system.
posted by graphnerd at 11:58 AM on March 12, 2011 [15 favorites]


Ahh, Graph, it's so sad that the "YOU ONLY CARE ABOUT MANNING!" whine was being typed up while the "shrill" side complained about general prisoner treatment and the sensible Obama loving side explained why we can't do it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:01 PM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


> Or what the Republican governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, is doing: essentially disbanding elected municipal governments and appointing corporations to run the cities instead.

Meanwhile, if you're "far left" or "progressive" and there's something you want? Well...geez, it's a complex situation. Our hands are tied. We'll have implement it slowly, or later. We don't have enough money. If we try people will get angry and vote for Republicans. It could be worse, you know.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:01 PM on March 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


For real?

Yeah.

Americans tend not to be in the "let's fix human rights abuses" mood when they can't find steady jobs. Focusing on the abuses of the US prison system is a noble cause, but I think America needs to be a better position for most people to give a damn. I personally may not like that, but it seems to be case.

The previous statement should not be construed as unilaterally supporting Obama, his administration.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:03 PM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm glad I could correct your mis-reading.

This isn't cute.

Ideologically, I'm with you. But for Christ's sake, please get out of whatever echo chamber you live in and recognize that he's been as progressive as it's fair to expect, given the actual constraints of the system.

Well said.
posted by cashman at 12:03 PM on March 12, 2011



Americans tend not to be in the "let's fix human rights abuses" mood when they can't find steady jobs.


Well, I guess if it's bad politics some people will just have to keep gettin' raped.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:05 PM on March 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: "Americans tend not to be in the "let's fix human rights abuses" mood when they can't find steady jobs."

Strangely, that seems to be exactly the mood Egyptians, Tunisians and Libyans get into when they don't have enough jobs.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:06 PM on March 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


So if we want change, are we going to be voting Obama in the next election?
Because while 'm not voting Republican, but I'll be damned if I vote Obama.


Wait till you see who the other guys nominate before you make these kinds of pronouncements.
posted by empath at 12:10 PM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Meanwhile, if you're "far left" or "progressive" and there's something you want? Well...geez, it's a complex situation. Our hands are tied. We'll have implement it slowly, or later. We don't have enough money. If we try people will get angry and vote for Republicans. It could be worse, you know."

Actually, it's: Organize yourselves and fight for it. Realize that local battles will always be easier to win than national battles. Build yourself an effective coalition, start winning races and keep fighting.

It's not like the Republican establishment likes the Tea Party, but they were totally willing to coopt them. Guess what? On the left, that means that you're going to have to have a comparable movement that both captures popular support and takes down a few established Dems, then you'll have your messages coopted and you'll get a third of what you want (yeah, the Tea Party is pretty much just as mad as you are right now (over Obama), only at Republicans for not doing everything the Tea Party wants.

But the left has been terrible (recently) at giving Dems that popular pressure. I hope Wisconsin can change that somewhat, but frankly, Metafilter leftists tend toward naive, shrill and divisive, and that means that the organizational hurdles are bigger.
posted by klangklangston at 12:12 PM on March 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


…just to name a few things on the plate for Obama.

Seriously, everyone expects the president to magically fix everything, when being the president is quite possibly the most difficult job in the world.
posted by reductiondesign at 12:13 PM on March 12, 2011


"Well, I guess if it's bad politics some people will just have to keep gettin' raped."

Has this rhetorical tactic ever worked for you?
posted by klangklangston at 12:14 PM on March 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think it's gotten to the point where the United States no longer has any common interest to keep it together. The "United States of America/Jesusland" map has some truth to it.

We've got right-wing nuts and then we've got a bunch of center-wing weenies who go "vote for us because otherwise the nuts get in!". Meanwhile the nuts keep slowly consolidating their gains- installing people like LePage up here in Maine, may he choke on his own vomit.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:20 PM on March 12, 2011


Has this rhetorical tactic ever worked for you?

The truth? Well, it depends how much someone is invested in their cognitive dissonance.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:22 PM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Actually, it's: Organize yourselves and fight for it. Realize that local battles will always be easier to win than national battles. Build yourself an effective coalition, start winning races and keep fighting.

Curious, is there a national group that's attempting to do this on the left?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:24 PM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mainstreaming Brutality
posted by homunculus at 12:28 PM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Playing God with Bradley Manning
posted by homunculus at 12:30 PM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


You can't build a leftist coalition in the mold of the tea party if you aren't willing to lose races to prop up Angle over Reid or O'Donnell over Coons. Liberals will not do that, by percentage they voted and supported Democrats in 2010 in the same numbers as they did in 2008. They spend all their time telling each other never to vote 3rd party or the scary Republicans win.

Moderates are the problem, and they won't be scared of Republicans because they agree with them on more issues than liberals do.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:30 PM on March 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


scary Republicans win

Yep
posted by josher71 at 12:32 PM on March 12, 2011


Curious, is there a national group that's attempting to do this on the left?

I hope you don't mean the Democrats. If there really is a national group of this sort though, let me know.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:33 PM on March 12, 2011


You can't build a leftist coalition in the mold of the tea party if you aren't willing to lose races to prop up Angle over Reid or O'Donnell over Coons. Liberals will not do that, by percentage they voted and supported Democrats in 2010 in the same numbers as they did in 2008. They spend all their time telling each other never to vote 3rd party or the scary Republicans win.

Moderates are the problem, and they won't be scared of Republicans because they agree with them on more issues than liberals do.


Angle lost. O Donnell lost. The tea party was a temporary blip and will be a non entity in 2012 when the GOP actually has to win a national election.
posted by empath at 12:38 PM on March 12, 2011


some sort of avenging angel focused on rolling back all of the abuses and circumscriptions of freedom of the Bush years, well, I think that's hopelessly naive.

Translation: your belief that America should: a) be governed by the rule of law and with respect for the basic civil liberties enshrined in our Constitution, and b) should be based around a functioning democratic process of genuine participatory representation and checks and balances, is...

hopelessly naive.
posted by The Emperor of Ice Cream at 12:42 PM on March 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Angle lost. O Donnell lost.

I do believe I stated that. However, if you want to create a movement in the mold of the tea party (I don't) you have to be willing to nominate the candidates that base wants.

Nationally the Republicans rode the wave to victory. This was not because of hippy liberals, it was because the moderates Obama and friends are desperate to appease (still, and going forward) didn't like his policies. It turns out that doing what centrist senators will allow to be politically feasible is not the same thing as doing what America actually wants.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:44 PM on March 12, 2011


To be fair, I don't think the extremely conservative folks necessarily get what they want from the Republicans, either. We haven't stopped all immigration, outlawed abortion or replaced our currency with gold yet. It's mostly corporations that get what they want from either party and it's usually bad for everyone.
posted by snofoam at 12:49 PM on March 12, 2011


Translation: your belief that America should: a) be governed by the rule of law and with respect for the basic civil liberties enshrined in our Constitution, and b) should be based around a functioning democratic process of genuine participatory representation and checks and balances, is...

hopelessly naive.


It is sad, but yeah, this does seem hopelessly naive.
posted by snofoam at 12:51 PM on March 12, 2011


To be fair, I don't think the extremely conservative folks necessarily get what they want from the Republicans, either.


Of course they don't, which is why O'Donnell and Angle are so important. It's why they treat Bachmann and Palin seriously even though behind the scenes they know they are nuts. On the D-side Kucinich is mocked and liberals are fucking retards. You have to pretend, at least.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:52 PM on March 12, 2011


Kucinich is pretty mockable, tbh.
posted by empath at 1:00 PM on March 12, 2011


So is Bachmann.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:01 PM on March 12, 2011


You can't build a leftist coalition in the mold of the tea party if you aren't willing to lose races to prop up Angle over Reid or O'Donnell over Coons.

So, we're positing a left that can't field somebody better than O'Donnell or Angle? And then we're blaming the moderates who wouldn't vote for them? I'm afraid I might well be part of that crowd.

They spend all their time telling each other never to vote 3rd party or the scary Republicans win.

This is kindof a red herring. The Tea Party is not a third party. It's a simulacrum of a party whose function is to (a) provide a conservative populist outlet to keep frustrated Republicans from jumping ship (b) gain influence within the Republican party and steer it a particular way. If it had actually been a real third party, separate candidates , the results would have likely been complete irrelevance and a net gain for the Democrats. As things are, their results were kindof hit and miss. My guess is there's a lesson in there for anybody who wants to change the status quo.
posted by weston at 1:04 PM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, we're positing a left that can't field somebody better than O'Donnell or Angle? And then we're blaming the moderates who wouldn't vote for them? I'm afraid I might well be part of that crowd.

Saner, sure. Not sure you could get someone with any more moderate appeal that would be as appealing to the hard left as O'Donnell/Angle were to the hard right.

And yeah, 3rd party was the wrong phrase to use there.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:07 PM on March 12, 2011


I guess the problem here is that I'm not a 'leftist' whatever that means. I tend to take the more liberal position on most issues (prison reform, health care, unions, war, the welfare state, and so on..) but I'm not a dyed-in-the-wool radical who wants an overthrow of the whole system. As long as along some axes things are getting better while along other axes, things aren't getting notably worse, I'm pretty okay with the way things are going.

Could things be even better? Sure? Could they be a hell of a lot worse? -- I mean just imagine McCain Palin in office during this most recent crisis in North Africa.

I mean seriously. Imagine it. Think about where we could be right now.
posted by empath at 1:10 PM on March 12, 2011


Not voting for Obama apparently = radical.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:11 PM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, just wreckless.
posted by empath at 1:12 PM on March 12, 2011


A lot of us don't have the luxury of thinking that way.

Are you on some kind of Republican hit-list or something, where their first order of business when elected is to shoot you in the head?
posted by dflemingecon at 1:12 PM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Some of us think the Obama/Bush tax cuts are pretty reckless too, everybody is free to have their own priorities.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:14 PM on March 12, 2011


I mean just imagine McCain Palin in office during this most recent crisis in North Africa.

Well, at least with Palin, she'd need 20 or so minutes to figure out which of the squiggly lined countries in the middle east is Egypt, so that would've bought us some time to think of a plan.
posted by dflemingecon at 1:15 PM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not voting for Obama apparently = radical.

No, just wreckless.


I prefer the term realistic, especially on the national level. Obama is far from perfect and he's certainly disappointing in some ways. But yes, thank God it's not Vice President Palin. Is that low hanging fruit? Maybe, but we are talking the President here. Don't make it worse is a good start.

Well, at least with Palin, she'd need 20 or so minutes to figure out which of the squiggly lined countries in the middle east is Egypt, so that would've bought us some time to think of a plan.

Ha, but that wouldn't have stopped her from talking out of her ass.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:17 PM on March 12, 2011


Here's the difference between the Left and the Right: in deep red Utah, we have ultra-ultra-ultra-conservative and Tea Party stalwart Senator Mike Lee. In deep blue Connecticut, we have Senator Joe Lieberman. There's an inherent dread of running candidates who are "too far left" in most races, whereas no corresponding anxiety exists on the other side of the aisle. Bernie Sanders is perhaps the exception to this rule (although he did put in 15 years in the House).
posted by Bromius at 1:19 PM on March 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Mission accompished!
posted by Vindaloo at 1:20 PM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, dfleminecon, just pointing out that it isn't an intellectual exercise for some. Some people aren't harmed no matter who is in office, and like to just pontificate on this shit and make people feel bad for voting for Obama when he was clearly the best choice of the final two viable candidates.

If he is again, I'll vote for him again. If someone viable who is better comes along, I'll vote for that person. And no matter who is elected, you can reasonably be sure that they will do some horrible things that people will shriek over.

Obama is far from perfect and he's certainly disappointing in some ways. But yes, thank God it's not Vice President Palin. Is that low hanging fruit? Maybe, but we are talking the President here. Don't make it worse is a good start.

I'm agreeing with you a lot today.
posted by cashman at 1:21 PM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mission accomplished! (and with that typo I killed the joke)
posted by Vindaloo at 1:21 PM on March 12, 2011


If that's what you want for the rest of the country, then by all means, continue to equate Obama with the devil, and actively campaign against him and for Dennis Kucinich or whoever.
posted by notswedish at 2:49 PM

Wow, are you informed about this or are you seeing what you want. Our city fell under the exact same plan placed by an out going Engler-R , the plan remained in place under Granholm-D. The problems occurred under democratic leadership on the local level.
and BOY HOWDY!
posted by clavdivs at 1:21 PM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not sure you could get someone with any more moderate appeal that would be as appealing to the hard left as O'Donnell/Angle were to the hard right.

Candidate Obama seemed to do OK.

I'm also not sure that what we're really talking about is necessarily "hard left" -- at least, that seems like a separate concern to me than whether or not someone serves as visibly robust ombudsman for principles like "punishment *follows* (not precedes) conviction at trial."
posted by weston at 1:30 PM on March 12, 2011


Mistreatment of prisoners; capital punishment; pollution; high crime rate; corruption of the monetary system; lack of comprehensive health care; huge disparities of wealth; disproportionate influence of fundamentalist religious groups. America is effectively a third world country.
posted by Neiltupper at 1:30 PM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


When I say left I mean on the American axis, as strange as it is. Humane treatment of prisoners is a hard left position that even leftists on places like this put on a priority way lower than economic concerns. It's easy to talk about, but not to stand by. The thing about O'Donnell/Angle/Bachmann is that you know they will stand by their positions, crazy or not.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:34 PM on March 12, 2011


Wow, Rachal Maddow is a spin doctor. Hey Maddow, google "Ed Kurtz" and the former mayors of Flint. Guess what, it worked here. It is an old plan, and she is spinning it as a new plan to take over your city by business interests.
posted by clavdivs at 1:35 PM on March 12, 2011


And I want to be clear, someone voting or not voting for Obama is pretty much meaningless. Voting is about the minimum possible thing you can do to participate in democracy.

What matters a lot more is making phone calls and donating time and money. If you didn't do it last time, and aren't going to do it this time, and the only difference is that you voted last time and not this time, then nobody is going to miss you. Really, you're a non-entity, politically.

What'll really hurt Obama is if the people who went door to door and made donations and phone calls don't show up.

I went to an Obama rally the day before election day in Virginia and there were easily 100,000 people there. I literally had to jump over a 5 foot high fence to leave, the line was so ridiculously long to get out after the speech was over. There were Obama supporters swarming up and down my street the weeks before election day.

Those people matter. And from what I can tell the true-believers before election day are still true-believers and the people who are most vocally opposed to Obama never supported him to begin with.
posted by empath at 1:36 PM on March 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


America is effectively a third world country.
High on GDP.
posted by clavdivs at 1:38 PM on March 12, 2011


Empath, those crowds were the moderates. The moderates who voted Republican in 2010 while liberals stuck with him.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:40 PM on March 12, 2011


Empath, those crowds were the moderates.

So now you were at the rallies Empath was at, doing polling?
posted by cashman at 1:43 PM on March 12, 2011


They sure as hell didn't SOUND moderate.
posted by empath at 1:46 PM on March 12, 2011


Also, from what I understand, Obama was not actually running for anything in 2010.
posted by empath at 1:47 PM on March 12, 2011


nobody is going to miss you. Really, you're a non-entity, politically.

Good luck with that attitude.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:48 PM on March 12, 2011


For real guys? The exit polling data is widely available. Moderates supported Obama and this support waned in the 2010 elections in which Republicans were running against Obama, no matter who their opponent was on the ballot.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:53 PM on March 12, 2011


Your vote is basically meaningless in a national election. The people that multiply their votes with time volunteered and money are the ones that really matter (ie, Unions, PACs, college kids and retired people that go door-to-door, etc.. ). I donated to Obama a lot more than I could really afford in 2008. I'll continue to do it in 2012. That does a lot more to impact the election than blustering on the internet about how you'll maybe not vote this cycle does.
posted by empath at 1:55 PM on March 12, 2011


Yes, I donated too. So did a lot of the angry people on sites like Kos. You are not the only true scotsman.

The people being called fucking retards are not going to be as enthusiastic this time around, you can count on that. This is in addition to the loss of moderate support, by the way.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:58 PM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Manning's situation is not all that different than civilian prisons, let alone being in the custody of the US Armed Forces.

I believe most of those in prison have at least been charged with a crime and been convicted.

But your 'Obama Sucks! This Isn't the Change That I Voted For!' act is quite old.
"Why don’t we close Guantanamo and restore the right of habeas corpus, because that’s how we lead, not with the might of our military, but the power of our ideals and the power of our values. It’s time to show the world we’re not a country that ships prisoners in the dead of night to be tortured in far off countries. We’re not a country that runs prisons which locks people away without ever telling them why they’re there or what they’re charged with. We’re not a country which preaches compassion to others while we allow bodies to float down the streets of major American cities. That’s not who we are."
No; the truth, and Obama's complete failure to meet his campaign promises, never get old for me.

Don't you understand that he is a politician, which means that he does have to remain electable in a country where you are, quite frankly, a fringe minority? Ideologically, I'm with you. But for Christ's sake, please get out of whatever echo chamber you live in and recognize that he's been as progressive as it's fair to expect, given the actual constraints of the system.

A majority of Americans don't think torture should be allowed, even for terrorists. Before being assaulted with propaganda, a majority of Americans wanted a single payer option. Two thirds of Americans want us to be neutral in the Israel/Palestine conflict.

The issue is not the American people. The issue is our piss poor fourth estate and a failure of leadership, and Obama is that leader. Saying he's better than Bush is hardly a compliment.

Leadership is not following a goddamn poll or consulting some political analyst before you make a speech. It's having convictions and applying them to reality, and trying to convince your electorate through rational argument that you know the best way out of a given situation. Obama has done worse than compromise a good deal of his values. He's fucking abandoned them because he thinks, or his election team thinks, that it will get him reelected.
posted by notion at 1:59 PM on March 12, 2011 [9 favorites]


If you really aren't going to support or vote for Obama, consider actively supporting the least insane Republican during the presidential primaries.
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:59 PM on March 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


"It's having convictions and applying them to reality, and trying to convince your electorate through rational argument that you know the best way out of a given situation. "

He actually does this quite a bit; compare/contrast to Clinton in 96 if you really want to see a poll-driven "liberal" presidency.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:01 PM on March 12, 2011


m trying to process this from a European perspective. Where I live (in the Netherlands) the prime minister would have to answer questions about this from the opposition. I don't get the sense Obama is being questioned formally on this. That he has to defend this lapse against judicial principals.

To explain to our European friends, in the U.S. power is divided between center-right moderates and far-right reactionaries. The Opposition is fundamentally against the concept of civil rights, so if anything would be complaining that Manning hasn't been executed already.

There is no real Left in American politics; not only are they disenfranchised and lack numbers and money, but they also have a self destructive "the real is the enemy of the ideal", anti-power "it's all hopeless" philosophy that really serves to keep them powerless. When the brilliant plan to take back the nation consists of "We'll let the Republicans run the nation for the next twenty years, they'll run the nation into the ground, and the people will FINALLY see that we're right, and rise up to install a social democracy that will make pot legal, and oh yeah, I'll also get a musical pony", you can see that as a political group thy're pretty much completely irrelevant.

So basically, with the "tune in, turn on and complain on the interwebs" attitude the Left in America will just watch the country drift further to the right, bitch about it, and then go back to playing World of Warcraft. They'll keep waiting for the Revolution or the Great Socialist Hope to come save them, hopelessly, but at least they won't have to bestir themselves to actually do something.
posted by happyroach at 2:01 PM on March 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you really aren't going to support or vote for Obama, consider actively supporting the least insane Republican during the presidential primaries.

That is actually something I'm considering TYRR, will be funny to register Republican for a month.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:02 PM on March 12, 2011



He actually does this quite a bit; compare/contrast to Clinton in 96 if you really want to see a poll-driven "liberal" presidency.

Well, I wonder if Obama will make the Republicans shut down the government.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:03 PM on March 12, 2011


Register, get on the phones, donate. Seriously. A Palin (or Rand or someone like those creeps) presidency would be an unmitigated disaster; let's work hard to avoid it whether or not we're willing to support Obama.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:04 PM on March 12, 2011


What matters a lot more is making phone calls and donating time and money.

Talking of which... does anyone know if there's an organization that exists to support the campaigns of candidates who are committed to due process and related issues? I guess I think of the ACLU, but they seem more focused on duking it out in the courts.

If there isn't really such an organization, what would be involved in creating one?
posted by weston at 2:04 PM on March 12, 2011


If you really aren't going to support or vote for Obama, consider actively supporting the least insane Republican during the presidential primaries.

I'm absolutely stunned that there aren't any serious candidates who have formally announced a candidacy at this poing in 2007, there were something like 20.
posted by empath at 2:04 PM on March 12, 2011


" Well, I wonder if Obama will make the Republicans shut down the government."

He won't sign welfare reform, which was nothing but a beatdown of the country's most poor and vulnerable.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:04 PM on March 12, 2011


He won't sign welfare reform, which was nothing but a beatdown of the country's most poor and vulnerable.

And the Republican budget won't be? The Bush/Obama tax cuts?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:06 PM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was driving yesterday, when on NPR they mentioned that the President wanted to use his tax cut "compromise" with the Republicans back in December as the model of his approach to bipartisanship. I nearly crashed the car.
posted by Bromius at 2:13 PM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


DTMFA. Seriously, if this were a relationship question in AskMeFI you'd be getting that response over and over. It's an abusive relationship and I'm hearing the usual defenses from the people defending Obama: the abuses are necessary, I deserve them, I don't deserve anything better, anyone else would be just as bad to me. Just DTMFA.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:15 PM on March 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


The problem, Joe, is that you don't get to be single after dumping a president. A rebound relationship is pretty much non-optional. So the alternative would likely be very much worse.
posted by empath at 2:18 PM on March 12, 2011


It's an abusive relationship

The twist is that the ex'es are joining in on the abuse.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:18 PM on March 12, 2011


Seriously, if this were a relationship question in AskMeFI you'd be getting that response over and over.

Well I think the President is handsome, I'm not really dating him, so ANALOGY I AM DISAPPOINT.

Otherwise, America is representative Democracy, we vote for a person to run the show, without a lot of micromanaging. I personally don't and didn't expect to agree with everything Obama does while in office, especially since he explicity said he wasn't going to try to please everyone, including the left.

If we're going to stick to a relationship analogy, I consider it a fling, where you know the other person isn't perfect, but they're fine for now, while you keep your options open.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:20 PM on March 12, 2011


One day I'm gonna marry Russ Feingold.
posted by Bromius at 2:21 PM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm absolutely stunned that there aren't any serious candidates who have formally announced a candidacy at this poing in 2007, there were something like 20.

I think a few of them are waiting until 9/11 to capitalize on the fervor around that this year.
posted by cashman at 2:39 PM on March 12, 2011


If we're going to stick to a relationship analogy, I consider it a fling

It's more like an arranged marriage for me. I hope I don't get acid thrown in my face for whistleblowing, because I'm exactly the kind of person who would do something like Bradley Manning did. I would have access to bad, hurtful, secret information or evidance of massive wrong-doing and I would first think "OMG, I have to do something, this is wrong, I can't let this happen, the part of my brain that does morality-stuff is blowing up!" Instead of thinking of the myriad consequences I would do what my parents impressed upon me through my upbringing and my acculturation in American Hero Mythology and try to turn in the people who were doing bad, illegal things. If I know about something happening that I think is morally wrong, it eats at me, I feel guilty.

There wasn't much Bradley Manning could do because who is he? He's nobody. He did what I would have done: tell as many people as I can in hopes that someone addresses the actions that I think are wrong and immoral. I wouldn't put much thought in to it because of the immediacy of the emotions of discovering extensive wrong-doing.

So I can imagine this happening to me, I really sympathize with Manning. This is why I am upset by this and dislike Obama. It's like it's me naked in the cell and Barack Obama, a Community Organizer and a Lawyer, condones this. I don't know if I can forgive that, especially with out an apology.
posted by fuq at 2:53 PM on March 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


And from what I can tell the true-believers before election day are still true-believers and the people who are most vocally opposed to Obama never supported him to begin with.

I gave him $800 and volunteered fulltime for a month.
posted by orthogonality at 2:58 PM on March 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


Googling around, I'm not sure it's being made up:
Taliban Murders Afghan Elder, Thanks Wikileaks for Revealing "Spies"


I'm not sure either because it is difficult to prove a negative. But googling around it's clear that nobody can identify even one informant who has been killed as a result of the afghan documents release.

From the linked DailyTech article:
NewsWeek first reported on the murder. They report that the Taliban believes the documents showed it U.S. sources, including the murder victim, Abdullah -- whether or not they truly do. (emphasis mine)
From the Newsweek article:
While it is unknown whether any of the men were indeed named in the WikiLeaks documents, it’s clear the Taliban believes they have been cooperating with Western forces and the Afghan government.
posted by Manjusri at 3:00 PM on March 12, 2011


" And the Republican budget won't be? The Bush/Obama tax cuts?"

The tax cuts Obama continued were much better than the alternative. It sucks that he was in that bullshit position. Welfare reform was not necessary at all, it was bullshit racist pandering that forces women with newborns into the workplace while their babies are in substandard or unaffordable childcare, so that they can make less than a living wage. Tax cuts for the wealthy are bad but they're not so inhumane that they tear mothers away from their children so some smug asshole can feel secure that a few cents of his money wouldn't go to "welfare queens".
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:02 PM on March 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Daniel Ellsberg: This shameful abuse of Bradley Manning
posted by homunculus at 3:05 PM on March 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


The tax cuts Obama continued were much better than the alternative. It sucks that he was in that bullshit position. Welfare reform was not necessary at all, it was bullshit racist pandering that forces women with newborns into the workplace while their babies are in substandard or unaffordable childcare, so that they can make less than a living wage. Tax cuts for the wealthy are bad but they're not so inhumane that they tear mothers away from their children so some smug asshole can feel secure that a few cents of his money wouldn't go to "welfare queens".

First off, Obama 2011 would have signed it. He damn well would have.

Mr. Obama called the resulting law “an imperfect reform.” Like Mrs. Clinton, he called for an expansion of government-provided health care, child care and job training to assist women making the transition from welfare to work — programs he says he helped expand in Illinois as a state senator.

Asked if he would have vetoed the 1996 law, Mr. Obama said, “I won’t second guess President Clinton for signing.”


Or at least he won't say he would veto it, despite your confidence.

Second, the Bush tax cuts were still the Bush tax cuts when Obama made them permanent (I mean, pushed the decision on tax cuts until right before an election), regardless of the great payroll tax cut (that will help destroy SS) he got out of the Republicans, these tax cuts doom liberal spending in the future. It was not worth the cost.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:11 PM on March 12, 2011


Joe in Australia: "DTMFA. Seriously, if this were a relationship question in AskMeFI you'd be getting that response over and over. It's an abusive relationship and I'm hearing the usual defenses from the people defending Obama: the abuses are necessary, I deserve them, I don't deserve anything better, anyone else would be just as bad to me. Just DTMFA."

I'm so tired of this simplistic view of such utterly serious issues. In a two-party system, "D'ingTMFA" effectively cedes power to the opposing side. And when the opposing side is as batshit insane as the Republican Party is rapidly becoming, that is a very dangerous proposition. You don't like the guy that doesn't fight hard enough for gay marriage, didn't secure strong enough health care reform, and isn't shy about using drone attacks? Well, your alternative is the guy who would sign a bill banning gay marriage, roll back even the meager reforms we've seen, and launch an entirely new war if he had half a chance. (Or if she had half a chance. *shiver*)

The fortunes and in many cases lives of millions of Americans (to say nothing about the rest of the world) hinge on the policies that come out of Washington. They, and we, don't have the luxury of taking our ball and going home, or wasting time on third parties that are institutionally incapable of winning on a national level. Until the United States reforms its voting laws to make third parties viable (and it took an extraordinary effort in the UK to make that even a possibility), the only avenues to power are through the Democrats and the GOP. So if you want to effect real change, the way to do that politically is by working within the party closest to your values and pushing it in the right direction by fighting for the best candidates in primaries and local races. Walking away, on the other hand, does nothing but acquiesce to the worst elements of both parties. And we simply can't afford to do that.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:28 PM on March 12, 2011


Guess what, unless you think you can get a permanent Democratic majority, the Republicans are going to take over at some point and do all of that no matter who you vote for.

The best long term move is to do everything you can to break the two party system.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:31 PM on March 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


let the system break.

Evil is evil and let us not not enable it on any level.

Stop qualifying policies or options as not the worst possible. This is like B movie where the villain gives two options, do what I want right now and I'll kill you now, do what I want later and I'll torture you first then kill you.

do not negotiate with terrorists, do not negotiate with politicians who waver between not supporting any of your beliefs to supporting only a few, and those few half-heartedly at best.

Obama, you failed, now get the fuck off the stage.
posted by Shit Parade at 4:08 PM on March 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


The fortunes and in many cases lives of millions of Americans (to say nothing about the rest of the world) hinge on the policies that come out of Washington. They, and we, don't have the luxury of taking our ball and going home, or wasting time on third parties that are institutionally incapable of winning on a national level.

Aye.
posted by cashman at 4:26 PM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


> Whistleblowers find out about a wrong being committed, and release information related to that wrong. Manning decided it would be fun to reveal as much classified information as possible, with absolutely no regard for who he hurt.

Does your mouth hurt when you tell such lies? Do you have no shame at all, or do you simply not care to find out the correct information?

Here's one of many links with the transcripts of Manning's alleged conversations. Here's a few choice quotes.
bradass87: hypothetical question: if you had free reign over
classified networks for long periods of time... say, 8-9 months... and you
saw incredible things, awful things... things that belonged in the public
domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC...
what would you do?

[...]

bradass87: uhm... crazy, almost criminal political
backdealings... the non-PR-versions of world events and crises... uhm...
all kinds of stuff like everything from the buildup to the Iraq War during
Powell, to what the actual content of "aid packages" is: for instance, PR
that the US is sending aid to pakistan includes funding for
water/food/clothing... that much is true, it includes that, but the other
85% of it is for F-16 fighters and munitions to aid in the Afghanistan
effort, so the US can call in Pakistanis to do aerial bombing instead of
americans potentially killing civilians and creating a PR crisis.
You might not like Bradley Manning. You might think he made the wrong decision. You might keep claiming, despite no corroborating evidence and absolutely all the concrete evidence to the contrary, that he's caused deaths (and how many damned deaths has the US government's insane policies caused?)

But to claim that Manning released this information, if he even did so at all, FOR FUN is an abomination. It's completely clear that IF these transcripts which incriminate him are true, then he thought of himself as a whistleblower and there's absolutely no evidence whatsoever that he got the slightest enjoyment of it.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 4:29 PM on March 12, 2011 [13 favorites]


Ranting about how awful it is that Obama isn't doing everything you could possibly want is fun and all, but it can not and will not improve the situation. However distasteful you might find what passes for centre-left policy in America, you will like it much more than the alternative.

This is something, incidentally, that the Tea Party have done really well. Part of the reason that the Republicans did so well last year was that the Tea Party wing was channelled into working within the framework of the Republican party. The power of that movement managed to get half of the party jumping to the Tea Party tune, and they got a big electoral win, with lots of Tea Party candidates now in power.

If you are pissed with Obama, that is what you need to look at emulating - you need to work at changing existing structures to suit your POV and shift the political conversation to your priorities. Taking your toys and going home is entirely couterproductive.
posted by Urtylug at 4:35 PM on March 12, 2011


> There is no real Left in American politics; not only are they disenfranchised and lack numbers and money, but they also have a self destructive "the real is the enemy of the ideal", anti-power "it's all hopeless" philosophy

Garbage. The issue is that the media and both major political parties systematically present the progressives and their ideas as foolish and evil, if they present them at all. Poll after poll after poll shows that Americans, if presented progressive ideas in a form where they aren't identified as "Left", like them more than any other.

I think this is best summed up by a conversation I had with a smart, well-educated, Obama-supporting 20-something, who said, literally, "I don't know what Socialism is, but I know that I don't like it."

Or perhaps it's best exemplified by Greg Palast, who worked tirelessly night and day for many weeks during the 2000 elections to get unambiguous proof of the election fraud, with literally over a thousand verifiable sources, and when the story (which had been accepted, bought and paid for) didn't run in the Miami Herald, he called the editor and was told, "Jeb Bush's office denied the story, so we couldn't run it."
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 4:37 PM on March 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


> Ranting about how awful it is that Obama isn't doing everything you could possibly want is fun and all,

Dammit, will you stop with that false claim, endlessly repeated here?

First, it's no fun at all. I'm planning to pick up and move my family from New York City, which we love, causing us great trouble and expense, because we simply cannot deal with what America has become.

Second, it's not that "Obama isn't doing everything we could possibly want" - it's that he's doing nothing at all that we want and everything we don't want including torturing prisoners, the subject of this post.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 4:40 PM on March 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you are pissed with Obama, that is what you need to look at emulating - you need to work at changing existing structures to suit your POV and shift the political conversation to your priorities. Taking your toys and going home is entirely couterproductive.

I can't, in order to do that the party has to be afraid my type will leave which can't happen when they spend their energy explaining why it is utterly unthinkable to vote for anyone else.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:40 PM on March 12, 2011


"In deep blue Connecticut, we have Senator Joe Lieberman."

Dude, if you want me to take you seriously, you have to at least pretend you know what you're talking about.

Lieberman's an independent who won after a Netroots rebellion cost him his Dem nomination.

Netroots is pretty much the closest thing that the liberals have to a countervalence on the Tea Party. But they're not very effective in national elections because they're not as efficient in motivating voters as face-to-face contact with peers — that's how the religious right leverages churches into electoral force, that's how labor used to work.

But again, all of this is sort of blah-blah-blah when you don't know how the system works, don't bother getting involved in effective ways, and expect a system with huge institutional inertia to not only instantly grant your policy wishes and kowtow to your hectoring.

It doesn't work. This sort of rhetoric just isn't very popular, it doesn't tie into the day-to-day concerns that most Americans have, and it's not effective without any sort of infrastructure.

Obama's OFA was a good start, and Netroots campaigning can be valuable, but when people don't care about your issues, trying to attack them (or simply assuming that you're right and it's only "cognitive dissonance" that keeps them from acknowledging your righteousness) isn't effective.

If you want to be effective, instead of bemoaning the lack of third parties on a national stage (which is the kind of ignorance and naivety that shows you're not interested in practical solutions), you have to realize that this is a project that will take at least a generation to achieve. While progressive reforms tend to happen in quick fits, the infrastructure necessary takes a long time to build.

But the more you treat me like an enemy, the more I conclude that you don't know what the fuck you're talking about and are doing more harm than good.
posted by klangklangston at 4:49 PM on March 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you vote for the guy who wants to keep Guantanamo open, you are a bad guy.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:55 PM on March 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, like I said, that sort of rhetoric, I just conclude that you don't know what the fuck you're talking about and are doing more harm than good.
posted by klangklangston at 4:57 PM on March 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


it's a good thing i didn't vote for that guy.
posted by empath at 4:59 PM on March 12, 2011


"I can't, in order to do that the party has to be afraid my type will leave which can't happen when they spend their energy explaining why it is utterly unthinkable to vote for anyone else."

Oh, and I missed this bit, which again mistakes how politics actually works: They don't have to be afraid that you'll leave. They have to believe that your message is one that's broad enough to get people on board and motivate them to also vote for the same cause. While a little bit of vote-grubbing is done on the "Don't Leave" theory, most of it's not. It's done on the "What can you bring?" And the answer to that is "Relatively little, versus the other competing interests that also want representation."

Sorry, I know it's frustrating to be essentially impotent, but you're the engine of your own unhappiness there.
posted by klangklangston at 5:00 PM on March 12, 2011


> But again, all of this is sort of blah-blah-blah when you don't know how the system works, don't bother getting involved in effective ways, and expect a system with huge institutional inertia to not only instantly grant your policy wishes and kowtow to your hectoring.

This again.

Really, can you give the argument, "You're naïve and ignorant," a rest? I think that many of us have demonstrated very strongly that we do know how the system works, that we have gotten involved in effective ways because we elected Mr. Obama. It's been two years, two miserable years where Mr. Obama has gone in precisely the wrong direction. To characterize our frustration after two years of movement in the wrong direction as expecting the system to "instantly grant [our] policy wishes" shows a profound lack of respect.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:02 PM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]



it's a good thing i didn't vote for that guy.


Not yet!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:03 PM on March 12, 2011


There's also the fact that it's a lot easier to poach moderates/independents off of the Republican column — each one worth essentially double a leftist's vote — than it is to worry about keeping an incredibly fickle and ungrateful left happy.

If I were a politician looking to get re-elected reading this conversation, there's so much fatalist sturm und drang that I'd essentially say, "Fuck this, I'll go right." Because at the Dems level, they don't have to deal with the right-wingers (except in an Overton sort of way), they just have to grab the lowest-hanging fruit of folks who are dissatisfied with Republican outcomes.
posted by klangklangston at 5:04 PM on March 12, 2011



Oh, and I missed this bit, which again mistakes how politics actually works: They don't have to be afraid that you'll leave. They have to believe that your message is one that's broad enough to get people on board and motivate them to also vote for the same cause. While a little bit of vote-grubbing is done on the "Don't Leave" theory, most of it's not. It's done on the "What can you bring?" And the answer to that is "Relatively little, versus the other competing interests that also want representation.


The bit you missed was where I was again talking about tea party comparisons, not all of politics.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:04 PM on March 12, 2011


There's also the fact that it's a lot easier to poach moderates/independents off of the Republican column — each one worth essentially double a leftist's vote — than it is to worry about keeping an incredibly fickle and ungrateful left happy.

2010, liberals stayed but moderates didn't. It turns out the easy to switch moderates thing works both ways.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:06 PM on March 12, 2011


> Yeah, like I said, that sort of rhetoric, I just conclude that you don't know what the fuck you're talking about and are doing more harm than good.

That's not, in fact, a refutation of what's a pretty cogent argument, it's merely personal abuse.

At some point the buck stops here. To pretend that Mr. Obama has no responsibility for Guantanamo's continued existence when he's been pushing for exactly that continued existence for far longer than Congress has been stalling him is to say that no one has responsibility for Guantanamo, that the crimes can continue indefinitely and no one is to blame.

An ethical thinker must reject this. The blame falls upon our leaders who willingly allow this to continue - Mr. Obama, Congress, and the generals of our military. If you vote to support them, some of this moral blame falls upon you. Perhaps you might argue that this is a necessary moral evil, that you need to take this moral hit in order to achieve greater things - this is certainly an argument that's viable - but to claim that you can vote for someone who supports immoral internment camps and yet be free of any moral taint from this support is unjustifiable, logically, ethically or morally.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:07 PM on March 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


"Really, can you give the argument, "You're naïve and ignorant," a rest?"

Well, when you stop being naive and ignorant, sure.

"I think that many of us have demonstrated very strongly that we do know how the system works, that we have gotten involved in effective ways because we elected Mr. Obama."

Getting Obama elected took a lot more than just you, and getting Obama elected is not evidence that you understand how American politics work any more than eating a hamburger is evidence you understand how McDonald's works.

" It's been two years, two miserable years where Mr. Obama has gone in precisely the wrong direction."

Says you. There have been plenty of things that Obama has done that are worthwhile, or are substantial changes from the Bush administration. Further, you don't seem to have any conception of the separation of powers, nor any decent understanding of process. Sorry.

"To characterize our frustration after two years of movement in the wrong direction as expecting the system to "instantly grant [our] policy wishes" shows a profound lack of respect."

Why should I respect naive and ignorant arguments? Especially of those who keep treating me like the enemy?
posted by klangklangston at 5:08 PM on March 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


"2010, liberals stayed but moderates didn't. It turns out the easy to switch moderates thing works both ways."

Well, except what happened wasn't so much that moderates switched — though there was some of that — but that Dems, across the board, liberal and moderate — didn't turn out in the same numbers. It was an off-presidential cycle election, where the Dems would have historically lost seats anyway, compounded by an incredibly unpopular Democratic congress. Obama could have helped more, not least by being more proactive in the health care debates both in setting the agenda and controlling the debate, but ultimately, his numbers stayed pretty strong compared to Dems in congress.

But there was relatively little swing in terms of people who voted Dem switching and voting Republican as compared to the number of Republicans that didn't vote in 2008 coming out in 2010, or Dems who came out in 2008 staying home in 2010.
posted by klangklangston at 5:12 PM on March 12, 2011


Isn't this what the primary system is for? If you don't like your party's incumbent, then find someone who you feel better represents your views, can win a general election and who is willing to run against the incumbent, and get them to run against the incumbent in the primary. People vote for their favourite, most votes wins.

At least under the current US system, that's the time to air internecine disputes. Come the general election, you get behind your party's candidate, even if they aren't perfect for you, because they'll be better than the alternative.
posted by Urtylug at 5:18 PM on March 12, 2011



Well, except what happened wasn't so much that moderates switched — though there was some of that — but that Dems, across the board, liberal and moderate — didn't turn out in the same numbers.


By percentage of the electorate they were the same, and stuck by Dems while moderates bailed. These are the facts according to the exit polls. Hippy punching is satisfying, but pointless.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:18 PM on March 12, 2011


>> "Really, can you give the argument, "You're naïve and ignorant," a rest?"

> Well, when you stop being naive and ignorant, sure.

I think this sums up the level of argument from you pretty nicely.

> Getting Obama elected took a lot more than just you, and getting Obama elected is not evidence that you understand how American politics work any more than eating a hamburger is evidence you understand how McDonald's works.

What "proof of effectiveness" would you like then?

> Says you. There have been plenty of things that Obama has done that are worthwhile, or are substantial changes from the Bush administration.

Yes. I at least didn't claim that Bush and Mr. Obama were identical. I claimed that the US government continues to move in the wrong direction. This certainly doesn't mean that I think everything Mr. Obama has done is wrong - heck, I couldn't even say that about Mr. Bush!


> Further, you don't seem to have any conception of the separation of powers, nor any decent understanding of process. Sorry.

But I do, and I have endlessly discussed this in various other posts on this site. Let's look at the very subject of this post, that being Bradley Manning. Are you claiming that "separation of powers and process" prevents Mr. Obama from ordering Bradley Manning treated according to, say, the Geneva Convention? If so, you are wrong. If not, why are you bringing up this matter at all?

Why should I respect naive and ignorant arguments? Especially of those who keep treating me like the enemy?

To summarize your argument... wait, you have not presented any argument at all. You have simply repeated your claim that we are naïve and ignorant, without the slightest corroborating proof, without any references, without any coherent logical argument of any type.

Oh, and you've been personally insulting.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:20 PM on March 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


Come the general election, you get behind your party's candidate, even if they aren't perfect for you, because they'll be better than the alternative.

...but I'm not a member of a party. I vote for the candidates that most fit my views. I view the two party system as the problem, not just the Republicans. Crimes like Iraq depend on both parties, not just one. The Bush Tax Cuts, the Patriot Act, Guantanamo, all of it. This isn't hysteria, you just count the votes.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:21 PM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


"That's not, in fact, a refutation of what's a pretty cogent argument, it's merely personal abuse."

It was a stupid argument, and you wanting it to be cogent, or calling it cogent, does not make it so.

The argument assumes:

A) That Obama wants Guantanamo open, which is far from obvious.

B) That voting for Obama isn't the least-worst alternative even given the rights abuses.

C) That this makes someone who votes for Obama "bad."

Sorry, that's inane. Every one of those premises is fraught, and when you pretend that's a "cogent" argument, I'm forced to conclude that you simply don't know what the word "cogent" means and are using it to make yourself look smart and to brace a flawed and foolish argument.

"At some point the buck stops here. To pretend that Mr. Obama has no responsibility for Guantanamo's continued existence when he's been pushing for exactly that continued existence for far longer than Congress has been stalling him is to say that no one has responsibility for Guantanamo, that the crimes can continue indefinitely and no one is to blame."

That's simply your opinion. Congress has to act in order for Guantanamo to be effectively closed. As Congress will not act, and Obama has tried to close Guantanamo — something you seem to ignore because it's inconvenient for your argument — you conclude that Obama wants it open, instead of Obama being practical and realizing that closing it will take more of his political capital than he wants to expend given other priorities.

"An ethical thinker must reject this."

Well, no. But congrats on giving me another opportunity to use "begging the question" appropriately. Bringin' it back!

"The blame falls upon our leaders who willingly allow this to continue - Mr. Obama, Congress, and the generals of our military. If you vote to support them, some of this moral blame falls upon you. Perhaps you might argue that this is a necessary moral evil, that you need to take this moral hit in order to achieve greater things - this is certainly an argument that's viable - but to claim that you can vote for someone who supports immoral internment camps and yet be free of any moral taint from this support is unjustifiable, logically, ethically or morally."

No, again, you're positing your moral framework as universal and assuming all sorts of premises that you fail to support. And because you're not very good at arguing — certainly not as good as you are at impugning and insulting — you don't seem to understand this.

For example, in a simple utilitarian system of ethics, there's no such thing as a transitive moral taint — either something has a greater utility or not. Ergo, justifiable, QED.

Likewise, any transitive moral argument has to conclude that you're a "bad guy" for your complicity in any number of human rights abuses, from the fact that you voted at all in America, that you consume anything made with oil or transported with oil, etc. It reduces to the absurd incredibly quickly if followed as an earnest statement, which is why it's reasonable to conclude that it's a passionate but empty appeal to emotion.

All of your bluster is fairly meaningless.

"I think this sums up the level of argument from you pretty nicely."

That's fine. In ignoring the rest, it pretty much supports the idea that you don't have a solid argument and are only running on moral fervor.

"What "proof of effectiveness" would you like then?"

Oh, how about you stop pretending that a desk sign from Truman is the central philosophy of the US government?

"Yes. I at least didn't claim that Bush and Mr. Obama were identical. I claimed that the US government continues to move in the wrong direction. This certainly doesn't mean that I think everything Mr. Obama has done is wrong - heck, I couldn't even say that about Mr. Bush!"

Forgive me for thinking that statements like "it's that he's doing nothing at all that we want" meant that you thought he was doing everything wrong. And again, the argument that he's moving in the wrong direction seems to begger belief — he is winding down Iraq, he did pass a monumental health care reform bill, he did pump billions of economic stimulus into the economy, he has attempted to close Guantanamo. It's simply your opinion, and one that seems more motivated by passion than reason.

"But I do, and I have endlessly discussed this in various other posts on this site. Let's look at the very subject of this post, that being Bradley Manning. Are you claiming that "separation of powers and process" prevents Mr. Obama from ordering Bradley Manning treated according to, say, the Geneva Convention? If so, you are wrong. If not, why are you bringing up this matter at all?

No, I am arguing that Obama seems to believe that Manning is being treated according to the Geneva convention and that Obama believes it's not really worth his time to investigate further. I do hope that he changes his mind, however, despite your inflammatory rhetoric, it really doesn't seem that Manning's treatment is significantly cruel or unusual, given the baseline of treatment of prisoners in America. Which I agree is generally poor, and I would be delighted in seeing it elevated, but since that's a much lower priority for most Americans than, say, the economy, it doesn't seem likely any time soon.

Finally, expecting immediate action from Obama over the treatment of Manning is naive and ignorant, a statement that I thought was pretty self-explanatory, but as an argument, it's practically a tautology. That something matters very much to you does not mean that it matters very much to other people.
posted by klangklangston at 5:43 PM on March 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


instead of Obama being practical and realizing that closing it will take more of his political capital than he wants to expend given other priorities.

No, no. We fully fucking realize this. We just value human rights over politics.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:51 PM on March 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


No, again, you're positing your moral framework as universal and assuming all sorts of premises that you fail to support. And because you're not very good at arguing — certainly not as good as you are at impugning and insulting — you don't seem to understand this.

What you fail to understand is that all political arguments are also moral arguments, and your attempts to deploy a framework that pretends at objectivity and pragmatism are just as moralizing as lupus_yonderboy's, but much less humanizing.

I'll argue that Obama couldn't care less about the actual conditions of Manning's detainment - his decision-making here is pure politics, in that if he is seen as sympathetic to a Beltway pariah, his secret Muslim will be showing. It's really as simple as that: the DC consensus is that Manning should be hanged in the town square.
posted by mek at 5:52 PM on March 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Are you claiming that "separation of powers and process" prevents Mr. Obama from ordering Bradley Manning treated according to, say, the Geneva Convention

Chain of command. If the commander has admitted to this treatment and given his reasons it is then up to the Commander and chief to negate that order and give that young man some paper jumpsuits and a blanket. But suicide watch means being watched 24/7 by camera and guard, that is procedure, similar measures are taken in jails around the world. Is it politics?, forcing the C&C to countermand an order, a political embarrassment. The embarrassment is already there though it is not indicative to King Snurres hot room with shackles and braziers jutting white hot persuasion.
posted by clavdivs at 5:58 PM on March 12, 2011


For the record, he is not on suicide watch. His doctors would have to agree to that, and they don't. He is on "prevention of injury" watch which the doctors don't have to sign on to, and apparently wouldn't.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:05 PM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I mean, would YOU be suicidal? He has a legit chance at acquittal in a fair trial and a lot of people see him as a hero.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:12 PM on March 12, 2011


Here's the thing I don't understand about these arguments. People keep saying, "Well, it's simply impossible for there to be a third party" or any other kind of really profound change in the political system in the U.S. But why is it impossible? I mean, huge political shifts have happened. Revolutions have happened.

Really, there are many many ways that people could organize their politics and societies. And the biggest reason, in my view, that things remain as they are is because people believe there is no other possibility. I mean, people think that most people couldn't be convinced of a shift to something like Instant Runoff Voting. But that can so easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Or they might say, sure, that would be more fair, but it would never happen because the entrenched power structure is too powerful. Well, maybe, but it for sure isn't going to happen if people just give up before even trying. Imagine if Gandhi had said, well, there's no way I can defeat the British Empire. Instead he, through the power of his willingness to act as if his vision were going to happen, made massive changes. We could do that too.
posted by overglow at 6:24 PM on March 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


i>Garbage. The issue is that the media and both major political parties systematically present the progressives and their ideas as foolish and evil, if they present them at all.

And here come the pathetic excuses; your post is a perfect example of the mythology of futility which the Left uses to justify sitting things out. "It isn't even worth trying! "They" control the media and politics, so no matter what we do we'll lose! And it's not like we have the resources that the revolutionaries in Egypt and Tunisia had (besides, my raid starts in 15 minutes)"

The Left has a narrative that excuses not being involved, not putting any effort to change the system, not taking any responsible. It justifies sitting on one's ass waiting for somebody else to start the revolution.

Poll after poll after poll shows that Americans, if
presented progressive ideas in a form where they aren't identified as "Left", like them more than any other.

So that must mean the Left sucks even more, right? After all managing to seize failure even with a receptive audience takes a lot of effort. Of course you can reassure yourself that the people really do believe the same as you, and if only if wasn't for "Them", everything would be fine. But keep sitting around waiting: someday, magically, the people will rise up and do everything you want them to.

posted by happyroach at 10:24 PM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


That something matters very much to you does not mean that it matters very much to other people.

Well, hell, that's it, I guess. Shut the thread down.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:01 PM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Don't blame Obama. He knows how it would play in the press if he made any move regarding Manning's treatment.
The press doesn't care about Manning. They only reason he got asked about it was because of Crowly's comment. Anyway, cowardice about the press is just such an idiotic excuse. The real people he's worried about are people who were embarrassed by the leak.

But I'm so tired of the "he can't do X because of the press!!!!" when in fact it's just a pathetic excuse. Compare Obama to Gov Walker in WI. Everyone hates Walker but he got what he wanted. If the republicans are willing to piss people off, but the democrats aren't, then that means they win, every time.
instead we draw reasonable inferences: when you publish the names of Afghan informants on the web, and the Taliban say they have downloaded these publicly-available documents, it it reasonable to infer
Well, we are debating the real world, not hypothetical. And there's a good reason for that, since there is no way to know who's hypothetical model of the world is correct. Speculation isn't worth arguing about, just dismissing.
Angle lost. O Donnell lost. The tea party was a temporary blip and will be a non entity in 2012 when the GOP actually has to win a national election.
Plenty of Tea partiers won, including Rand Paul. The reality is the majority of republican candidates in '10 pledged fealty to the teaparty. They won more then they lost.
I gave him $800 and volunteered fulltime for a month.
I thought about it, but my lazyness has been richly rewarded.
> Getting Obama elected took a lot more than just you, and getting Obama elected is not evidence that you understand how American politics work any more than eating a hamburger is evidence you understand how McDonald's works.
Money goes in, votes come out. Never a miscommunication.
posted by delmoi at 11:58 PM on March 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Do you believe Manning should have a trial to decide if he is guilty or innocent?

I can make some allowance for the idea that the military system may be more authoritarian than the civilian system.

For those who may have missed it:
The Uniform Code of Military Justice
810. Art. 10. Restraint of persons charged with offenses
How Current is This?
Any person subject to this chapter charged with an offense under this chapter shall be ordered into arrest or confinement, as circumstances may require; but when charged only with an offense normally tried by a summary court-martial, he shall not ordinarily be placed in confinement. When any person subject to this chapter is placed in arrest or confinement prior to trial, immediate steps shall be taken to inform him of the specific wrong of which he is accused and to try him or to dismiss the charges and release him.
Prompt Action
The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution and UCMJ, Article 10, guarantee the right to a speedy trial. The accused soldier has the right to be advised of the charges against him as early as possible. Normally, the accused must come to trial within 120 days of either arrest or preferral of charges, whichever is earlier. An accused may not remain in continuous pretrial confinement more than 90 days for the same or related charges. (See MCM, Chapter VII, Rule for Courts-Martial 707, Analysis.) A speedy trial assists both the government and the accused. Testimony given soon after an incident is more reliable than that given after a long period. Also, witnesses are likely to leave the area during a delay.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:41 AM on March 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately I'm in transit (from Bali to Yogyakarta) and do not have time to follow up on this thread.

I'd also say that the level of mockery and personal attack in this thread leaves me rather sick and sad, so in some ways I'm happy that I'm forced not to respond.

I will comment on one thing:

> Finally, expecting immediate action from Obama over the treatment of Manning is naive and ignorant,

Bradley Manning has been held since May 2010.

Reading the response to my posting again reinforces my desire not to respond in turn. Have a pleasant day, most of you.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:55 AM on March 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


CNN reports that Crowley is stepping down.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:08 AM on March 13, 2011


CNN reports that Crowley is stepping down.

Nothing is embarrassing or less American that supporting human rights. Obama needs to surround himself with "loyal" people. Whistle-blowers are a major problem for this administration.
posted by fuq at 10:40 AM on March 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


He is on "prevention of injury"
You are correct. I just wonder if he has a 24/7 guard watching him for "injury prevention"

I mean, would YOU be suicidal? He has a legit chance at acquittal in a fair trial and a lot of people see him as a hero.
posted by furiousxgeorge

wha, you talkin to me?....:)
hey, I have thought that Manning himself is a "plant" and is playing xbox and taking fencing lessons with willy while phelps comes up with part two of this, this wierdest military espionage charge in my memory.

The prosecution has the "evidence" to Mannings alleged crime. ( i will use alleged because i want to see the meat and taters of this case when it is over)
posted by clavdivs at 10:47 AM on March 13, 2011


Crowley quits over Manning comments: US state department spokesman resigns after calling Pentagon 'stupid' over treatment of soldier accused over WikiLeaks.

fucking christ.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:24 AM on March 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


From Crowley's resignation statement
“My recent comments regarding the conditions of the pre-trial detention of Private First Class Bradley Manning were intended to highlight the broader, even strategic impact of discreet actions undertaken by national security agencies every day and their impact on our global standing and leadership,” he wrote. “The exercise of power in today’s challenging times and relentless media environment must be prudent and consistent with our laws and values.”
posted by adamvasco at 11:32 AM on March 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Poor, poor man. If only he could have understood how important the politics of this are.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:44 AM on March 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


cough Hilary cough
posted by clavdivs at 12:33 PM on March 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


President sounded off this a.m. concerning Manning. Seems he has looked into the matter and has stood by the commanders decisions. I also noted the reporter used "suppossed" alot concerning Mannings treatment available to the media.
posted by clavdivs at 12:36 PM on March 13, 2011


I think that Manning might be one of those things that it could be possible to rally 'the youth' around on both sides of the political spectrum.

What does everyone think of the plausibility of getting some kind of mass protest going in DC over his detention and treatment? It seems like something that even conservative young people would support.
posted by empath at 1:35 PM on March 13, 2011


I think that Manning might be one of those things that it could be possible to rally 'the youth' around on both sides of the political spectrum

sounds more like a plot then an idea.
posted by clavdivs at 1:38 PM on March 13, 2011


It seems like something that even conservative young people would support.

A gay soldier who damaged the war effort?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:40 PM on March 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I don't want to have people who just agree with me. I want people who are continually pushing me out of my comfort zone."
posted by homunculus at 2:18 PM on March 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I thought you were all planning to have a Day of Rage over there.
posted by adamvasco at 2:20 PM on March 13, 2011


So a spokesman for the civilian leadership had to resign because he questioned decisions made by the military.

That doesn't seem like an encouraging sign.
posted by EarBucket at 2:23 PM on March 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


"I don't want to have people who just agree with me. I want people who are continually pushing me out of my comfort zone."

Differing points of view are no longer "pragmatic".
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:59 PM on March 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Crowley quits over Manning comments: US state department spokesman resigns after calling Pentagon 'stupid' over treatment of soldier accused over WikiLeaks.

It's a shame that we've missed the deadline for Nobel Peace Prize nominations. It would be rather fitting if Crowley were to receive one.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:17 PM on March 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am the "young man" who asked the question of Crowley at the MIT forum. The full question I asked was about the cognitive dissonance in the state department's positions: they support the free flow of information even when it's embarrassing to other governments (e.g. green revolution), but have consistently condemned the free flow of information when it is embarrassing to the US (e.g. wikileaks). They challenge human rights abuses in other countries (e.g. Liu Xiaobo), but allow them to continue in the US (e.g. Bradley Manning).

The more important question to me: How can we keep a man in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day in a windowless 6x12 cell, forbid him to even move or exercise, take away his clothes, refuse blankets and pillows -- for over 8 months, without trial -- and somehow even have a "debate" over whether this is torture? Obama's "assurance" that this treatment is "for his safety" only drives home the Orwellian absurdity.

Agree or disagree with what he allegedly did: Manning's treatment is not OK. And it saddens me that speaking this obvious, straight-forward truth led to Crowley's forced resignation. I may disagree with Crowley's other positions, but on one thing we agree: that's no way to treat anyone, criminal or no, and doing so can only hurt ourselves. And no-one should be fired for saying that.
posted by yourcelf at 4:06 PM on March 13, 2011 [22 favorites]


Thank you for having the guts to do that, yourcelf. Know that it's appreciated.
posted by EarBucket at 4:44 PM on March 13, 2011


Seconded.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:05 PM on March 13, 2011


Must be bitterfuckingsweet. I asked a question that needed to be asked of a man who had the honor to answer it decently and correctly...and he got thrown under the bus for it.

Well, I salute both of you.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:05 PM on March 13, 2011


I'm sure it is bittersweet for Crowley too, but it just cements what I always suspected of the man: that he is a human being.
posted by mek at 5:11 PM on March 13, 2011


"I don't want to have people who just agree with me. I want people who are continually pushing me out of my comfort zone."
Yes, but not publicly
posted by delmoi at 8:04 PM on March 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Daniel Ellsberg has an article in the Grauniad which has some perspective comments.
posted by adamvasco at 2:34 AM on March 14, 2011


Adamvasco: so many people are saying things like "He can't know! How could he be silent about it if he knows?" The idea that Guardain (fixed your typo) readers know more about the treatment of a military prisoner than the President is self-evidently stupid. He knows about this, and he knows about the secret jails, and the torture, and the kidnappings. And he could put an end to many of these with a word to an aide - without publicity, without a political fight, without any expense of real or political capital. But he doesn't do it.

The best explanation - the only explanation I can think of, other than that he's in a fit of depressive catatonia - is the one given in an article about Daniel Ellsberg which is well worth reading. Short version: when you suddenly get all these secret clearances and access to super-secret information you realise how wrong you were about many things, and you stop listening to anyone who doesn't have the super-duper secret clearances because you know they're working off limited information.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:03 AM on March 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Joe: - No need to fix that which does not need to fixed..
Two of the comments I particularily liked were here and here. I'm not quite sure where you are getting the Obama doesn't know...bit from. As to Grauniad Guardian readers knowledge; they are just an international bunch of people commenting on a website rather like somewhere else I know.
posted by adamvasco at 8:05 AM on March 14, 2011


A number of us who were at the MIT forum where P.J. Crowley made his remarks have written an open letter to Hillary Clinton regarding his resignation.
posted by yourcelf at 9:19 AM on March 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


when you suddenly get all these secret clearances and access to super-secret information you realise how wrong you were about many things, and you stop listening to anyone who doesn't have the super-duper secret clearances

That Ellsberg piece is great -- it fits with what I've been calling in my head The Giant Robot Theory of the Presidency (and, to some extent, some other offices, public and private). I suspect that occupying the white house is to no small extent a lot like climbing into the cockpit of a large and complex piece of anime mecha. It mediates your senses, your reality is "augmented" in a number of ways, you have information being fed to you from various subsystems. You're also somewhat isolated by the cockpit, too, and it's easy for me to imagine that you start to think in terms of what those feeds are telling you and in terms of the controls in front of you... at first because it's all so new and awesome and exciting, later because you're used to it. The system itself shapes your perceptions and thinking... you start to think less like what you were before you climbed in and more like the system.

Ellsberg's perspective is crucial to minimizing the isolation. I'm not sure Obama has it. But Ellsberg might even be implying that it's really only in the next year or two you could expect most intelligent mortals to actually be picking it up.
posted by weston at 9:38 AM on March 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Greenwald concludes in his latest piece: the greatest support for the President's policies (with a few early exceptions) are found, by far, among the same faction of America's Right who so eagerly supported the Bush/Cheney policy framework. That's just a fact.
posted by adamvasco at 1:31 PM on March 14, 2011


Adamvasco: I also noticed the innuendo about Manning from Politico's Mike Allen: he's "unusually sensitive to the treatment of prisoners because his late father, a B-17 pilot, was a prisoner of war for two years ...." What an odd fact for him to be aware of. I bet it came straight from one of Obama's staffers.

Incidentally, why not use a spellchecker? I do, which is why I knew you misspelled The Graduate.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:26 PM on March 14, 2011


The unspoken implication, I feel, is that the last person you'd want to listen to about torture is someone who's seen its effects up close. I hope I'm not the only one who finds that super-creepy.
posted by EarBucket at 11:12 AM on March 15, 2011


Oh, by the way, this was the Obama campaign's take on whistleblowers:

"Protect Whistleblowers: Often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out. such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled. We need to empower federal employees as watchdogs of wrongdoing and partners in performance."

(from the "Campaign decree" link on Greenwald's site here.)

Thanks a fucking lot, Obama.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:29 AM on March 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Bradley Manning's military doctors accused over treatment: WikiLeaks suspect treated cruelly, says rights group, which accuses psychiatrists of 'violating ethical duties'
posted by homunculus at 11:13 AM on March 16, 2011


It looks like Crowley's resignation brought a lot more attention to this situation.

Glenn Greenwald links several US newspapers reporting on this issue. From the New York Times editorial:
Private Manning, unlike most other prisoners, is never allowed to mingle with other prisoners. We consider that to be “solitary confinement,” but the Pentagon says it is not because he is allowed to shout to prisoners elsewhere in his cellblock. Our editorial criticized Private Manning’s detention conditions because he must strip every night and hand over his clothes to a guard (unlike most other prisoners). The Pentagon says this is not forced nudity because he is then given a Velcro-secured wrap-around “smock” that he may sleep in.
And this is from A Statement on Manning's Detention from a Yale Law prof and Harvard Law prof (and signed by many others):
President Obama was once a professor of constitutional law, and entered the national stage as an eloquent moral leader. The question now, however, is whether his conduct as Commander in Chief meets fundamental standards of decency. He should not merely assert that Manning’s confinement is “appropriate and meet[s] our basic standards,” as he did recently. He should require the Pentagon publicly to document the grounds for its extraordinary actions --and immediately end those which cannot withstand the light of day.
posted by Glinn at 8:01 PM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bradley Manning, Barack Obama and the National Surveillance State
posted by homunculus at 1:42 PM on March 18, 2011


Daniel Ellsberg (aged 80) arrested twice in two days at Bradley Manning rally at Quantico. CNN on the protest.
posted by adamvasco at 4:13 AM on March 21, 2011


Crowley: 'No regrets' over Bradley Manning remarks. "I'm a believer in something like strategic narratives," he told HARDtalk on Monday, "that the US, as an exceptional country in the world, has to be seen as practicing what we preach."
posted by adamvasco at 10:46 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bradley Manning: top US legal scholars voice outrage at 'torture'
Obama professor among 250 experts who have signed letter condemning humiliation of alleged WikiLeaks source.
posted by adamvasco at 6:59 AM on April 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bradley Manning case sparks UN criticism of US government
posted by homunculus at 4:32 PM on April 11, 2011


If the President cared about Manning's treatment, it would have stopped. It hasn't.

That's downright evil, if you ask me.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:12 PM on April 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't think it's a matter of caring; the deliberate stonewalling looks like a policy decision to me. It's not even a desire to avoid buckling to public pressure: it would be easy to create a plausible rationale for improving his treatment without doing anything overt. The only interpretation I can place on this is that the Administration is sending a message: fsck you, this guy embarrassed us, we're going to drive him insane.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:21 PM on April 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


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