Of course PJ Crowley, the State Department spokesman, had to go for his gaffe. That’s what happens when you tell an obvious truth in circumstances that embarrass and even shame your bosses:
P.J. Crowley abruptly resigned Sunday as State Department spokesman over controversial comments he made about the Bradley Manning case.
Sources close to the matter the resignation, first reported by CNN, came under pressure from the White House, where officials were furious about his suggestion that the Obama administration is mistreating Manning, the Army private who is being held in solitary confinement in Quantico, Virginia, under suspicion that he leaked highly classified State Department cables to the website Wikileaks.
Speaking to a small group at MIT last week, Crowley was asked about allegations that Manning is being tortured* and kicked up a firestorm by answering that what is being done to Manning by Defense Department officials "is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid."
All of which is true. As Glenn Greenwald reminds us:
So, in Barack Obama’s administration, it’s perfectly acceptable to abuse an American citizen in detention who has been convicted of nothing by consigning him to 23-hour-a-day solitary confinement, barring him from exercising in his cell, punitively imposing "suicide watch" restrictions on him against the recommendations of brig psychiatrists, and subjecting him to prolonged, forced nudity designed to humiliate and degrade. But speaking out against that abuse is a firing offense.
Also, alas, true. Manning may well be guilty but that’s not the issue. As tends to be the case it’s simpler to fire the messenger than change the message.
*I think "tortured" overstates the matter, incidentally, but Manning is clearly being treated in ways calculated to demean him. There’s an evident degree of relish and sadism about this which does not, shall we say, flatter the Pentagon.Tags: Americana, Obama, Pentagon, Wikileaks