We tip our hats this week to journalist and Salon columnist Glenn Greenwald for having the guts and the smarts to point out certain jarring inconsistencies in the Obama administration’s treatment of alleged WikiLeaker Bradley Manning versus accused Afghanistan shooter Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, among other “ironies” in our justice system Greenwald noted Tuesday.
In a relatively short space, Greenwald, who Salon’s bio reminds us was previously a constitutional and civil rights litigator, ran down a list of problematic policies and stances that the administration and its supporters have adopted in recent months, touching on the National Defense Authorization Act and the White House’s license to kill American citizens; calling out Obama’s cheerleaders for supporting actions they’d condemn if and when Bush did them; and zeroing in on the hypocrisy, as he saw it, in the contrast between the government’s treatment of Manning and Bales. Both are being held in Fort Leavenworth, Kan., where Manning was transferred after 10 months of solitary confinement.
Glenn Greenwald in Salon:
Think about that: if you expose to the world previously unknown evidence of widespread wanton killing of civilians (as Manning allegedly did), then you will end up in the same place as someone who actually engages in the mass wanton killing of civilians (as Bales allegedly did), except that the one who committed atrocities will receive better treatment than the one who exposed them. That’s a nice reflection of our government’s value system (similar to the way that high government officials who commit egregious crimes are immunized, while those who expose them are aggressively prosecuted). If the chat logs are to be believed, Manning decided to leak those documents because they revealed heinous war crimes that he could no longer in good conscience allow to be concealed, and he will now find himself next to a soldier who is accused of committing heinous war crimes.
Good points, all. And on Thursday, Greenwald was busily bucking mainstream media trends by simultaneously displaying a nuanced understanding of international relations and a memory that extends further back than the last commercial break in his critique of last year’s NATO-led war in Libya:
Glenn Greenwald in Salon:
As I wrote repeatedly during the debate over that war, whether it is actually a “success” from a humanitarian perspective will be determined not merely by whether Gadaffi’s life can be ended, but by what replaces him (in exactly the same way that the Iraq War was determined not by Saddam’s death, but by what came after). Despite the widespread insistence that this intervention was a “success,” it is far from clear whether the situation will improve for Libyans or for anyone else as a result of that war. Wars and militaries are designed to destroy, and that’s almost always what they do above all else.
Greenwald also devoted some useful column inches to criticizing President Obama and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey for declaring Manning guilty before he even went to trial, noting, “For Obama and Dempsey to proclaim Manning’s guilt makes it impossible to imagine how he could receive a fair trial.” And for Greenwald to make these points and stay on the administration’s case, he’s our Truthdigger of the Week.