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Change We Can Believe In, XIV

Change We Can Believe In: Don’t Mess With the Man

I wrote twice last week (here and here) about the mistreatment of PFC Bradley Manning, held in solitary confinement in the Quantico brig, spending his nights naked, and not even convicted of a crime. Last night I wrote about State Department spokesman P. J. Crowley’s description three days ago of Manning’s treatment as “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid” and President Obama’s response two days ago that the Pentagon had assured him that “the procedures that have been taken in terms of his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards.”

Well, okay. I’m glad that’s clarified. The Pentagon certainly knows a thing or two about how to treat people held in military prisons who haven’t been convicted of anything.

The latest news is that Crowley has been fired for speaking his mind.

P.J. Crowley, the state department spokesman, stepped down Sunday after saying publicly that treatment of Wikileaks suspect Pfc. Bradley Manning in military detention has been “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.”

In a statement, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote that she accepted his resignation with regret.

“P.J. has served our nation with distinction for more than three decades, in uniform and as a civilian. His service to country is motivated by a deep devotion to public policy and public diplomacy, and I wish him the very best,” Ms. Clinton wrote.

Back in June 2008, Joe Klein quoted candidate Obama as saying, “I don’t want to have people who just agree with me. I want people who are continually pushing me out of my comfort zone.” (Hat tip: Luke Johnson, via Glenn Greenwald.) That was then. Now we know otherwise. Crowley is lucky that he hasn’t joined Manning in solitary confinement.

(See also Will Bunch’s comments.)

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