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I have a soft spot for idealists.

I suspect most people whose political views are shaped by their morality as opposed to immediate self-interest have that same soft spot.

I never doubted for one minute that the apotheosis of Barack Obama was beautifully and carefully constructed by skilled political operatives.  I assumed that they recognized that Obama was "the real thing" much like the young operatives attracted to the fictional President Bartlett on The West Wing.

I expected that Obama would make deals and compromises on policies that would anger and perplex me, and surely he did, but I could comfort myself that in some grand scheme version of 3 Dimensional Chess, Obama was losing a piece to gain the board.

Not tonight.

It's one thing to compromise on policy: tax rates and economic measures.  Those compromises have larger effects on larger numbers of people, but it's hard to suss out the precise combination of government actions and personal choices to account for a lost job or a denied benefit.

When an individual sits in a jail cell, unconvicted of any crime, and is subjected to the kind of treatment that Bradley Manning endures then the chief executive of the state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces is singularly responsible.

I argued a few days ago in a thread about Manning that Obama surely did not "approve" of Manning's treatment in the usual meaning of the word "approve". I assumed that President Obama did not have the ugly niggly details of Manning's mental torture on his desk and was required to sign off on them.

I want to apologize to the respondents who called me naive and asserted that Obama was a functionary in service to the American empire and would not be influenced by something like justice and legal precedent.  Today I recognized that their analysis of Obama's conscience is arguable, defensible and rational.

I will likely embrace, join and defend that assessment of "Obama as a man of conscience" if today's disgraceful response to a question regarding Bradley Manning is not followed by real changes.

When Barack Obama suggested that concerns for Manning's safety, presumably from self-injury, were a factor in his conditions "as well"....  he ignored the predicate,... the first cause for these conditions.  These of course would be illegal, unconstitutional, contrary to the military regulations, and enough to trigger these secondary concerns about thoughts of self-injury.

Obama, today, publically embraced a position on a legal case that undermines the presumption of innocence, the legal rights of a defendant, and the human rights of a detained human being.   I am not impressed.

Nelson Mandela was legitimately "guilty" of some of the charges against him in the sense that the racist apartheid regime was then "sovereign". And yet he was, above all, a prisoner of conscience.  As inadequate as it was, there was a trial. A verdict.

Bradley Manning is not yet convicted of any crime.  His trial date is not set.  The conditions he is being held in seem, to any reasonable assement, akin to if not defineable torture,  conditions designed by totalitarian regimes to break and dissolve the mind and will of the internee.

Nelson Mandela, we presume, admires or admired Barack Obama.  Barack Obama we presume admires Nelson Mandela.

Either quietly, quantitatively and qualitatively.... conditions for Bradley Manning improve.. a demonstration that Obama has been forced to examine, review and rectify this injustice, or we can conclude:

Or we can conclude that in Barack Obama's America, kafkayesque abuses of the legal system and human rights can persist in the face of a direct and public challenge.

If such an abuse of the individual's rights continues in the light of a public challenge we can presume that the more vague and broad brush kinds of victimhood in the American empire are also deliberate.  

Harvard law? Harvard law review?  Constitutional Law?
Bone up on the Manning case Mr. President.    My opponents believe you are well versed in the case and we are witnessing your orders.

If Obama thought he did sufficiently well on his feet fielding a question on a nagging issue that he was not well briefed on... he did not.

Bradley Manning's conditions of confinement would be objectionable IF he was tried and found guilty of a crime.  As a suspect being held for trial he is a living exemplar of America's shoddy companionship with human rights violating states.

At least most torture states don't lecture other torture states about the thrills of moral superiority.

Poll

Obama's response to today's question on Bradley Manning was:

5%2 votes
15%6 votes
70%28 votes
5%2 votes
2%1 votes

| 40 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  how about presumably (0+ / 0-)

    because if he was put in general population he would be torn from limb to limb by other soldiers who may have been put in further harms way?

    And if THAT happened Greenwald would freaking loose his shit. Again.

  •  You are insulting Nelson Mandela (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sviscusi, Fabian, skeyewalker

    To compare Bradley Manning, a traitor to this country, to Nelson Mandela is insulting and disrespectful. How dare you insult Nelson Mandela like that? How dare you equate Manning with man who fought apartheid for decades?

    Manning wasn't a victim of aparthied. He willingly divulged classified information that the US Army and Government entrusted him with. That isn't heoric.

    I really wonder about some of you here. On what rational basis can you really equate a traitor like Manning with Nelson Mandela?

    •  That "Classified Information" (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SadieB, frandor55, Showman, OHdog, JesseCW, ratmach

      being a war crime where innocents were gunned down.:

      Brad Manning is a hero.

      ... just floating by ...

      by cumulo on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 12:34:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  perhaps you, (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SadieB, EvilPaula, Showman, BlueDragon

      and others taking this line might address the real Mandela argument in my diary.

      Obama, I have no doubt admires Mandela.  What would Mandela say about how prisoners should be treated?

      Would Nelson lean over and say in his quiet raspy voice, I spent many years in very difficult confinement, but in spite of that,  I like what are doing to Bradley Manning.

      I repeat. Convict Manning and then punish.

      Convict Manning and hate him all you want.
       And imprison him according to international standards of detention that America should defend, not undermine.

      The current situation is the one used by totalitarian states and authoritarian dictators to "crack" a defendant prior to a show trial.

      In fact, have a show trial with good evidence or bad evidence, an impartial jury or a partial jury.  Have a trial presided over by a fair minded judge or a partial functionary.
      Find him guilty if he is guilt. Find him guilty even if he is innocent.

      And after that incarcerate him according to the norms of human rights that America claims to advocate and defend.

      Are Democrats who blog here really opposed to the rule of law?

    •  do you wonder about (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SadieB, JesseCW

      some of "us" here... or some of "you" here?
      You are not from here?

      Watch the video at the top thanks to cumulo.

      He willingly divulged classified information that the US Army and Government entrusted him with. That isn't heoric.

      You must really hate Daniel Ellsburg!

    •  White South Africans also (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jlb1972

      considered Mandela a traitor and a criminal. History has not been particularly kind to them ...

      •  Again I find the comparison between (0+ / 0-)

        Mandela, who fought apartheid, and Manning to be offensive. If I were Mandela I'd be insulted.

        •  I think you'd be VERY surprised what... (0+ / 0-)

          ... Nelson Mandela would think of Bradley Manning.  And if you're uncomforable comparing Mandela fighting apartheid vs Manning fighting gov't secrets that cause the deaths and suffering of people, just think of it this way:

          Both Nelson Mandela and Bradley Manning were willing to break laws and risk their own freedom/lives to fight injustice and do what they felt was right.

          Sorry if that FACT* upsets you.

          (* assuming Bradley did what he's accused of)

          "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media." -- Noam Chomsky

          by ratmach on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 04:05:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Just to clarify "Manning vs Mandela" (0+ / 0-)

            All I'm saying is that, as far as where their "hearts are/were", and their "moral" reasons for doing what they were doing, it's fair to compare the two. But of course when you talk about the physical risk they were each taking, and the broad-based importance of what they were doing at the given moment, and OBVIOUSLY what Mandela endured vs what Manning has so far endured... Mandela is miles beyond Manning. That is NOT a put down of Bradley... it's just that Nelson is of world-class importance.

            "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media." -- Noam Chomsky

            by ratmach on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 04:46:54 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  I oppose Bradley Manning's treatment (5+ / 0-)

    in the strongest terms possible but your comparison to Nelson Mandela is absolutely the worst you could have made.

    I lift weights, but I don't sweat. I go for a swim, but I don't get wet.

    by rexymeteorite on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 12:22:11 AM PST

    •  It is downright offensive (0+ / 0-)

      and insulting. I don't support Manning being tortured, but he did commit serious crimes. He violated the trust that the US Army and the Government placed in him.

      •  perhaps we should (4+ / 0-)

        support the torture of Manning.

         Can we just convict him first?  It so... ya know.... traditional.

        If people wish to read some kind of comparison between Mandela and Manning...  please try to discern what the comparison is.

        If you would were to compare the  younglawyer Nelson Mandela and the  young lawyer Barack Obama and what they would say as young lawyers... about each other, and the role of the state in dealing with incarcerated prisoners... please make that comparison too.

        Who would be disappointed in whom?

      •  As did..... (6+ / 0-)
        He violated the trust that the US Army and the Government placed in him.

        the unpunished: (because they have not been tried)

        guys who played football with the bundles of US Cash that arrived on pallets to be given to whomever in Iraq.

        the generals who lied and deceived the Tillmans

        consultants who worked for Chalabi to get American kids killed.

        officers who farmed out the assault on Tora Bora to "locals "

        pilots on bennies who drop bombs on allied troops

        Geeze louise, or oceanstar, can you just put the words  "proven to have"   in front of your assertions of violation.

        •  Had they ... (0+ / 0-)

          worked as feverishly on the things you mention as they seem to be feverishly defending Manning maybe there would some punishment for them too.

          •  "feverishly?" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            OHdog

            Do you not understand the link between torturing whistleblowers and covering up war crimes?

            •  Actually...yes I do (0+ / 0-)

              I DO understand what you describe as the link between torturing whistleblowers and covering up war crimes. As far as military personnel are concerned...and this is my view and mine only, military personnel can't be viewed as similar to civilians in some cases...some of those cases are whistleblowers and 'covering up war crimes'.

              •  another thing I forgot to add (0+ / 0-)

                What is the difficulty in accepting the fact that Manning has to be tried by both a civilian and military court? Why not 'organize' and The condescending tone you are using does nothing to cancel out my views. As some have said before I offered my comments acting as if  Manning should be sent back to his unit with a commendation and a pat on the wrist is both delusional and laughable. No matter what condescending tone you decide to use as you attempt to minimize the credability of my comments you can't argue that the law is being violated in regards to how he is treated, yet ignore the law in regards to how he came to be treated that way (in other words his own actions in spite of responsibilities he voluntarily accepted).

      •  If he committed a crime, where is the trial? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jlb1972
    •  You apparently don't know squat about Mandela. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jlb1972, Enzo Valenzetti

      He would not be insulted by the comparison, he would be honored.

  •  I don't support anyone being tortured. it doesn't (8+ / 0-)

    matter what Bradley Manning or anyone else did or didn't do.  No one should be tortured.

    "They had fangs. They were biting people. They had this look in their eyes,totally cold, animal. I think they were young Republicans."

    by slouching on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 01:05:14 AM PST

  •  At the Countercurrents website (8+ / 0-)

    is an article comparing Manning's treatment with its close Soviet counterpart as described by Solzhenitsin. I think he's being made an example; his information would make us lose faith in the wars and now they're breaking his mind.

    •  Plus, of course, making sure that... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Enzo Valenzetti

      .... when the time comes, Manning will testify in court to ANYTHING our gov't wants him to say about Julian Assange.

      (and no I will NOT hold that against Bradley... he's a VICTIM in all this)

      "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media." -- Noam Chomsky

      by ratmach on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 04:09:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Having been to Robbin Island (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian, BFSkinner

    and listen to an actual prisoner talk about his experiences, you have no clue what you are talking about comparing Manning to Mandela.

    Manning should get a fair, speedy trial but stop comparing to one of the greatest civil rights leaders alive.

    •  I think the Egyptians feel differently about that. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OHdog, jlb1972

      You only love Mandela because he is far away and "other." He's not threatening YOUR beloved leader. I assure you white South Africans hated Mandela with the same passion you feel for Manning.

      •  You have no idea what you are talking about. (0+ / 0-)

        I spent six months in South Africa recently working side by side with South Africans!  Some white South Africans hate Mandela but not all South Africans.  Mandela was able to come to power through a united South African not a divided one.  Mandela has a long complicated relationship with South Africa but his journey is one of forgiveness and understanding.  He was able to forgive his enemies because he understood that South Africa would only heal by moving forward.

        And I don't hate Manning.  I hope Manning gets the trial he deserves.  I don't agree with the treatment by the military.  Do I think he is a hero in the vain of Mandela, ABSOLUTELY NOT!!

        Way to paint a broad brush over all South Africans.  As Democrats, we are suppose to be better than that!!

  •  I want to see Manning tried, and don't understand (0+ / 0-)

    why he hasn't been.  this whole case is bewildering to me, in the same way the Guantanamo thing is.  I truly don't understand what the admin is doing here and make no excuses for it.

    that said, in my community people feel about Mumia Abu-Jamal much the same way most people on here feel about Bradley Manning.  but when a kossack named HansBennett used to put up por-Mumia diaries he was excoriated by the same people casting judgment now on peoples souls because they're not up in arms about Manning.  I find this stunning, and telling.  nevermind this brand-new-to-me "Solitary confinement = torture" meme.  I've heard about far worse treatment than everything I've read about manning's firsthand from people who did time in county jail.

    meanwhile I'd also love to hear a BLACK South African's take on your comparison here.

    "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

    by mallyroyal on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:50:53 AM PST

    •  It's a big "community", isn't it? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      frandor55, ratmach, Tentwenty, BWildered

      With such diverse opinions.

      Freedom Rider: Peace Prize Torture
      by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

      The United States, governed by a Nobel Peace Prize winner, tortures political prisoners. That truth is on display for all the world to see, in the treatment of Wikileaks defendant Private Bradley Manning, who is stripped naked every night in an effort to crush his psyche. “The enemy is anyone, anywhere who dares to consider revealing the truth about how this country actually conducts itself around the world.”

      “Manning is denied the use of sheets and now is forced to sleep naked and stand naked outside of his cell when it is inspected.”

      If members of the Norwegian Nobel committee do not feel embarrassment for making Barack Obama a peace prize laureate, then they are as shameless as the man they foolishly chose to honor. Barack Obama is every bit the authoritarian as his predecessor George W. Bush. He too believes in his right to declare anyone an enemy combatant and restrict their rights to due process. He too has cracked down on whistle blowers and is determined to ferret them out and punish them.

      Nice to see that not everyone is having their opinions colored by race, if you will pardon the play on words.

      ... just floating by ...

      by cumulo on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 09:21:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Black Agenda Report Excellent Site (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        slinkerwink, Agathena, ratmach, cumulo

        See views expressed from African American community from the left.
        http://www.blackagendareport.com/

        Action is the antidote to despair---Joan Baez

        by frandor55 on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 09:43:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  yes, of course. your opinion could never be (0+ / 0-)

        colored by race.  neither could any progressive's, right?  perish the thought, right?

        bullshit.

        it's interesting though.  you toss up that BAR link like you thought I meant 'the black community'.

        I was talking about my literal NW philadelphia neighborhood though.  was that some kind of opinion colored by my race?

        hmmmmm...

        "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

        by mallyroyal on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 09:50:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Perhaps it was (0+ / 0-)
          meanwhile I'd also love to hear a BLACK South African's take on your comparison here..

          your use of all caps "BLACK" that led me to think that you were talking about the AA community?

          You do see how that works?

          ... just floating by ...

          by cumulo on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 10:09:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  my use of black in the statement about (0+ / 0-)

            how that particular subset of people would react to the comparison made in the diary colored your reading of what came prior as talking about blacks as well?

            ok.  anyway my neighborhood is mixed.

            "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

            by mallyroyal on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 10:42:44 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  ? (0+ / 0-)

              You lost me.

              In any case, people disagree about politics and politicians, and they come in all colors, and that's OK with me - I like to view a broad section of web sites, and both DK and BAR are great sites in their own right.

              In my view, the poor and middle class AA better represented by the views at BAR on the whole, as radical as they may appear to the existing power structure. A bit too much boot licking and fealty here at DK for my taste, but it's interesting to read just so I know what the current propaganda/enabling strategies are.

              ... just floating by ...

              by cumulo on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 11:01:16 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  wow bootlicking and fealty huh. (0+ / 0-)

                not reasoned disagreements with your take.  only BAR is reasoned lmao BK is propoganda and enabling.

                do you hear yourself?

                "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

                by mallyroyal on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 11:18:04 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  in other words... blacks are reasoned (0+ / 0-)

                only when they agree with you about the admin.  when they don't, it's bootlicking and blind fealty, enabling with propoganda.

                that's pretty sad, and very offensive.

                "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

                by mallyroyal on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 11:19:29 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Coffee Break (0+ / 0-)

                  where were we...ah yes...more of your distortions and straw men and bogus BS

                  Here is what I said:

                  In my view, the poor and middle class AA (are) better represented by the views at BAR on the whole, as radical as they may appear to the existing power structure. A bit too much boot licking and fealty here at DK for my taste, but it's interesting to read just so I know what the current propaganda/enabling strategies are.

                  Here's your distortion:

                  in other words... blacks are reasoned
                  only when they agree with you about the admin.

                  No, not "in other words".

                  And if what I say offends those who defend Manning's treatment while enabling the terrible human rights abuses to continue under Obama, so be it.

                  ... just floating by ...

                  by cumulo on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 12:26:39 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  here's what else you said: (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    skeyewalker
                    A bit too much boot licking and fealty here at DK for my taste, but it's interesting to read just so I know what the current propaganda/enabling strategies are.

                    may as well have bolded that too, because that's what I was talking about.

                    and I know you don't care about offending those who disagree with you.  hardly any of the 'critics' on site do, but will cry out if anyone says a thing to them they don't like, claiming offense.  thats why I find most of you to be hypocrites.  that includes you.

                    "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

                    by mallyroyal on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 12:37:42 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

  •  His "supposed" crime (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    frandor55, cumulo, Enzo Valenzetti

    was displaying the crimes of others.  Everyone who calls him a traitor should in essence call everyone who committed the war crimes exposed by Wikileaks a traitor.  They should be calling our current Secretary of State a traitor and our president a traitor for allowing all of this to go on with no consequences whatsoever.

    We could give them all trials with evidence to support the claims that they did violate laws, or commit war crimes.  But we certainly aren't rounding them all up and putting them in solitary confinement for the past 8 months and forcing them to remove their clothing and underwear without the approval of psychologists.  These are the exact same tactics used in breaking down individuals at Abu Gharaib, Gitmo, and Bagram.  

    It's torture.  Our president is allowing it to happen.  Bradley Manning "supposedly" exposed war crimes.  Our Nobel Peace Prize winning president allows torture.  Exposing war crimes is traitorous to an administration who supports those very same war crimes.

  •  Yep, that Million Man March backing Manning (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skeyewalker

    is shur thang gonna force a political realignment.

    Not....  not.... not..............

    No public outcry, no change.

    Manning could walk on water, literally, and that would still be true.

    Make Obama change policy by making this a public issue.

    Otherwise, fergitaboutit.

    Financial capitalism's criminals + Angry White Males + KKK wannabes + Personality Disorder delusionals + George Will =EQ= The GOPer Base

    by vets74 on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 10:25:51 AM PST

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