ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

PJ Crowley On Bradley Manning.

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Being sacked for saying what you know to be true is a bit more than annoying, and in this instance rather surprising when you consider what position in the State Department that PJ Crowley held.

He was Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs.

He was the public face of the State Department, and so his criticism of Bradley Manning’s humiliating treatment holds all the more veracity and force.

PJ Crowley is not some chicken-livered-do-gooding-liberal, he’s an ex-military man who would like to see Bradley Manning prosecuted and presumably locked up for decades and decades.

But even he can see how the treatment meted out to Manning is not only degrading but stupid, he writes in the Guardian:

“Based on 30 years of government experience, if you have to explain why a guy is standing naked in the middle of a jail cell, you have a policy in need of urgent review. The Pentagon was quick to point out that no women were present when he did so, which is completely beside the point.

The issue is a loss of dignity, not modesty.

Our strategic narrative connects our policies to our interests, values and aspirations. While what we do, day in and day out, is broadly consistent with the universal principles we espouse, individual actions can become disconnected. Every once in a while, even a top-notch symphony strikes a discordant note. So it is in this instance.

The Pentagon has said that it is playing the Manning case by the book. The book tells us what actions we can take, but not always what we should do. Actions can be legal and still not smart. With the Manning case unfolding in a fishbowl-like environment, going strictly by the book is not good enough. Private Manning’s overly restrictive and even petty treatment undermines what is otherwise a strong legal and ethical position.”

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