Juan Cole examines the psychological torture of accused whistle-blower Bradley Manning in light of the collapse of Tunisia’s brutal regime. The “monarchical national security state” created by George W. Bush and his cohort can abuse, torment and punish the unconvicted with the best of them.
Manning has for months been held in solitary confinement 23 hours a day. He is not allowed exercise or work, a pillow or bedding, or, for the most part, human contact. Guards are permitted to wake him at all hours. Manning has not been convicted of a crime. His supporters allege that the military is attempting to coerce his cooperation in its pursuit of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Cole’s essay is more elegant than can be demonstrated by a short excerpt, so do click the link and take in its entirety. Otherwise, you can read the grand finale below. —PZS
If an American citizen, convicted of no crime and innocent until proven guilty, can be held under such conditions arbitrarily for half a year, essentially softened up and tortured as a means of extracting information from him, then the Republic is in extreme danger. Indeed, it may be that John Yoo, Karl Rove, Richard Bruce Cheney, and George W. Bush are already winning in their war on civil liberties in favor of a monarchical national security state.
President Obama, has made some important advances in abolishing torture and restoring some civil liberties, but it is a mixed picture, as the ACLU explained just a few days ago. He has a duty to intervene to stop the abuse of Pfc. Manning.
If Manning has broken the law, he will be tried and convicted and punished in accordance with the law. In the meantime, as long as he is being treated as though he were at Guantanamo, all of us are.