Weak Sauce

Megan takes note of Mark Kleiman's weak defense of a weak President in the context of Bradley Manning's treatment, and quotes an interesting vignette about Kissinger, which is worth reading. The moral?

Not only does the president hear about threats we don't, but he's the guy who gets in trouble if any of these threats come off.

Well, we're all prisoners of context.  Obama the President is obviously incompetent, ineffectual, and in over his head -- and seems to view American power as something akin to Sauron's ring (let's just hope the Tea-infused GOP House can keep him away from the fiscal Crack of Doom he seems bent on hurling us into) -- but even he was able to figure out he couldn't just abandon our successful installation of a semblance of liberal democracy in Iraq (now lighting the way for aspiring democrats across the Mideast despite its painful beginnings) or close Gitmo, or end warrantless wiretaps, or release every terrorist we can't charge, despite promising to do all those things as Obama the (Historic!) Candidate.

Kleiman's nonsense is not worth reading, undeserving of linkage, and easily debunked by anyone willing to waste a few seconds his work doesn't merit with Google (we can console ourselves we thereby avoid Krugmaning ourselves into a contextual echo chamber of epistemic closure).  He dishonestly claims "State" complained about Manning's treatment, when in fact State has disavowed the statements by Crowley (whose every word is apparently an exemplar of  smart power) on Manning as being his personal opinion.  It's not even clear Manning's treatment is unusual or at all inhumane:

A Quantico spokesman said in January 2011 that allegations of mistreatment were "poppycock," and that Manning had been designated "maximum custody" because his escape would pose a national security risk. The spokesman said Manning could talk to guards and prisoners in other cells, though he could not see the prisoners, and left his cell for a daily hour of exercise, and for showers, phone calls, meetings with his lawyer, and weekend visits by friends and relatives. His lawyer said in December 2010 that the guards were professional, and had not tried to bully, harass, or embarrass Manning.[33] Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell and Pentagon General Counsel Jeh Johnson visited Quantico in February 2011 to examine the conditions of the detention. Morrell said he was impressed by the professionalism of the staff, and that Manning's housing and treatment were appropriate.[34]

Prison conditions for other criminals are often considerably worse than this, so the issue strikes me as one of those things that is only news because the dead tree MSM hates American power about as much as that guy on TV whose friends bombed the Pentagon -- Obama, not Osama -- and thus Manning is a bit of a hero to them.

In any case, contra Kleiman, Obama clearly is committed to making the poor poorer by reducing economic growth, the country more ignorant by kowtowing to teacher's unions at the expense of children's education, and the planet less habitable for humans by tithing energy use on the basis of a poorly evidenced quasi-religious theory, so his whole thesis is anti-empirical nonsense.

UPDATE:  ....aaaaand there goes Crowley.

posted by Dave on 03.12.11 at 11:06 PM


They took his shoelaces and belt and the like to keep him from killing himself, standard operating procedure.

So he said, "You idiots, I could kill myself with my pants, socks or underwear" or something like that.

So they had to take away his pants, socks and underwear. Since he warned them he could do that, they had to ensure he couldn't.

So naturally his supporters (non-terrorist version) freaked out, "He's being kept nekkid!! It's humiliation!!!"

No, he begged for it, to get upset when it happened is just rude.

Veeshir   ·  March 13, 2011 11:25 AM

One also has to keep in mind that the military controls the military prisons and they are run under the rules of military discipline.

What else did Manning expect? He was in the military.

M. Simon   ·  March 13, 2011 6:00 PM

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