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This is the Obama administration…

Another reminder here that the Obama administration in the vast majority of respects is a repeat of the prior administration. The official spokesman of the State Department, P.J. Crowley is forced to resign due to this completely true statement:

“What is being done to Bradley Manning is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid on the part of the Department of Defense.”

To note I have no complaints with the fact that the DoD is prosecuting Bradley Manning – he broke the Military Code of Conduct as well as other laws. Yes, at some level I wish they weren’t, but that is the government’s prerogative and Manning, assuming he is guilty, had to be aware of the possible consequences of his actions, even if he was acting his conscience’s dictates.

Still, we are a nation of laws, one that Constitutionally guarantees (via the 8th Amendment):

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

I think it is pretty easily substantiated that what is being “inflicted” on Bradley Manning is both “cruel” and “unusual”.

For those of you who think, “Good riddance! He deserves it!” while I can sympathize (though not agree) with the idea that you feel like he deserves what he’s getting, that is not the metric of law we live under nor should it be. One must remember that anyone’s viewpoints can be seen with similar vitriol and when we verge into the area of “political crimes” (or “political prisoners”) which is where we are with Manning, then we should be very careful of what precedent we set.

It is true today that we are a center-right to outright right nation, however that could change with the political winds as it has so many times before. Conservatives who might be celebrating Manning’s treatment here given their loathing of his position, should remember the shoe could land on the other foot, and that some day a conservative Americans being driven by similar piques of conscience, might too fall into the jaws of the same justice system (or, if not them themselves, their children or other loved ones).

No, this is not a precedent we want to set. It is bad enough when inflicted on non-Americans, but when it involves American’s it is particularly disturbing. And, given the fact that it was exercised by a so-called “liberal” president, it is truly frightening.

UPDATE:

I really do wish all the “Tea Party” types who are so up in arms about the losses of freedom involved with being forced to buy a particular type of light-bulb (a subject which I happen to agree – er, that is that the new light-bulbs suck), would find time to be equally upset at what are more fundamental freedoms, like not being tortured while in custody (which is essentially what is happening to Manning). That they aren’t, and certainly weren’t during the Bush administration, I think brings truth to the lie that their grievances are about principle rather than anything other than political tribesmanship.

Also, given that the “light bulb law” was passed under the Bush administration of course adds particular irony.

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