Featuring the works and commentary of Andrew Bruss

Sunday, March 13, 2011

State Dept. Spokesman Fired for Humanitarian Concerns

At least the resident of this cell gets a blanket...

Note to self: If you are the public spokesman for the State Department, don’t criticize the Department of Defense. State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley spoke out about the treatment of Wikileaks suspect Private Brad Manning who is being held in solitary confinement twenty-three hours a day and forced to sleep in the nude without a pillow or blanket. Manning is alleged to have leaked troves of classified documents to Wikileaks. 

Crowley spoke to a small group at MIT when he let his concerns be known. When asked about the army’s treatment of Manning, Crowley said the Private’s treatment was “ridicules, counterproductive, and stupid. “ Crowley added he still thinks Manning is “in the right place” behind bars.

Although Crowley officially resigned, the editorial staff at andrewbruss.com is left wondering if this is the decision making of President Obama or Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  In Bob Woodward’s Obama’s Wars, the Jimi Hendrix of journalism documents how former National Security Advisor Jim Jones failed to protect the young President from having Mullen and Gates tag team him into an Afghan troop surge.  Mullen and Gates are the offended parties in this situation and it isn’t unrealistic to assume their displeasure led to Crowley getting canned.

Breaking from ranks and criticizing administration policy regarding any high profile issue is generally considered unprofessional and contrary to his duties as the mouthpiece for Hillary Clinton’s State Department. But given the concern coming from such a high level official, the logic behind Manning’s living conditions deserves more scrutiny now than ever.

No blanket is one thing, but no underpants? Deprivation of freedom does not necessitate the deprivation of dignity. Give the kid some clean drawers!  

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