Obama Says It's Okay To Treat Manning The Way He's Been Treated Because He 'Broke The Law'
from the missing-the-point dept
OBAMA: So people can have philosophical views [about Bradley Manning] but I can't conduct diplomacy on an open source [basis]... That's not how the world works.Now, the folks who posted this are taking the biggest issue with Obama's statement of "he broke the law," pointing out that he hasn't been convicted of breaking any laws. I actually don't find that to be all that problematic. The government has charged him with breaking the law, so clearly it believes he has broken the law. Obama stating the same thing that his own Defense Department has stated doesn't seem that ridiculous.
And if you're in the military... And I have to abide by certain rules of classified information. If I were to release material I weren't allowed to, I'd be breaking the law.
We're a nation of laws! We don't let individuals make their own decisions about how the laws operate. He broke the law.
[Q: Didn't he release evidence of war crimes?]
OBAMA: What he did was he dumped...
[Q: Isn't that just the same thing as what Daniel Ellsberg did?]
OBAMA: No it wasn't the same thing. Ellsberg’s material wasn't classified in the same way.
But, that still doesn't excuse the treatment of Manning in any way, shape or form. I don't know for certain if he broke the law. But even if he did, he deserves to have a trial on the matter, and prior to that trial he shouldn't be held in conditions that much of the world considers to be torture. That's the key issue, and one not dealt with here.
Separately, some of Obama's other remarks are troubling as well. The claim that he "can't" conduct diplomacy if information is open is false. It may be more difficult and he may not like it, but he's not in this job because it's easy. Finally, as the report also notes, while Obama is technically correct that the material Ellsberg released "wasn't classified the same way," he appears to be missing out on how that actually goes in favor of Manning, since the content Manning is charged with leaking was classified at a lower level than what Ellsberg released ("classified" rather than the Pentagon Papers' "top secret").