Conscience and Integrity Still Have Their Price
P.J. Crowley has resigned his position as State Department spokesperson after his answer to a reporter’s question about Pfc. Bradley Manning’s treatment caused heads in the Pentagon and White House to explode:
Sources close to the matter said the resignation, first reported by CNN, came under pressure from the White House, where officials were furious about his suggestion that the Obama administration is mistreating Manning, the Army private who is being held in solitary confinement in Quantico, Virginia, under suspicion that he leaked highly classified State Department cables to the website Wikileaks.
Speaking to a small group at MIT last week, Crowley was asked about allegations that Manning is being tortured and kicked up a firestorm by answering that what is being done to Manning by Defense Department officials “is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.”
Crowley did add that “nonetheless, Bradley Manning is in the right place” because of his alleged crimes, according to a blog post by BBC reporter Philippa Thomas, who was present at Crowley’s talk.
Obviously, not enough for the Bush clone in the Oval Office. And reading between the lines of Crowley’s statement, it sounds to me like he refused to apologize for his remarks or disavow them, and that’s the reason he was forced to resign (emphasis mine):
“The unauthorized disclosure of classified information is a serious crime under U.S. law,” Crowley said in a statement Sunday. “My recent comments regarding the conditions of the pre-trial detention of Private First Class Bradley Manning were intended to highlight the broader, even strategic impact of discreet actions undertaken by national security agencies every day and their impact on our global standing and leadership.
“The exercise of power in today’s challenging times and relentless media environment must be prudent and consistent with our laws and values,” Crowley said. “Given the impact of my remarks, for which I take full responsibility, I have submitted my resignation.”
Phoenix Woman at Firedoglake notes the timing of the announcement:
It says something about the desire of the Obama Administration to try to quietly and without consequence destroy anyone who makes any challenges to their shameful mistreatment of an alleged whistleblower that they waited to make their move, not just for the usual news black hole that is a typical part of the American weekend, but for a weekend when a single global event — the ongoing catastrophes in Japan — would consume what media and public attention exists[.]
Pres. Obama is no longer leasing the Bush administration’s prisoner interrogation policies; he has purchased it outright and now owns it:
By firing PJ Crowley for the offense of protesting against the sadistic military treatment of Bradley Manning, the president has now put his personal weight behind prisoner abuse. The man who once said that forced nudity was a form of torture, now takes the word of those enforcing it over a distinguished public servant. …
… As commander-in-chief, Obama is directly responsible for the inhumane treatment of an American citizen. And Crowley’s firing will make it even less likely in the future that decent public servants will speak out against such needless sadism.
Libby Spencer headlines her post “Obama: The New Torture President.”
I’ve cut President Obama a lot of slack over many things that put “the left” into an uproar. I didn’t expect him to be a liberal president. I understand the difficulty of balancing competing interests. But the one thing, the only thing, I expected him to do was to uncategorically reject the Bush legacy of torture. So this, Mr President, is not just wrong. It’s evil.
I could not agree more.