The administration’s official position on the harsh mistreatment of detainee Bradley Manning in the Quantico Brig appears to be drawing some criticism from within, as State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley slammed the treatment as “counterproductive and stupid.”
Crowley has since insisted that the comments were his “personal opinion” and not official State Department policy, however they drew enough attention that President Obama apparently felt compelled to defend the abuse in his own comments.
Indeed, Obama insisted that he asked the Pentagon whether what is happening to Manning is “meeting our basic standards” and was assured that it was, adding that “some of this has to do with Private Manning’s safety as well.”
The real concern, however, is with the “some of this” that does not, and in the absence of Manning being on a suicide watch (which officials assure he is not), taking his flip flops away and making him sleep nude and waking him up if he rolls over facing the wall don’t appear to benefit his safety.
Indeed, Manning has detailed much of his own abuse in a new memorandum, according to his lawyer, and his reports appear virtually identical to the allegations made in the past in media outlets. The Obama comments suggest the mistreatment is to be seen as official policy.