Now that three of the nation’s largest newspapers–the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and New York Times–have editorialized about the unacceptable conditions of the still-untried Bradley Manning, and a high-level State Department official was forced to resign over his remarks about Manning’s treatment, you can no longer plausibly deny that the issue hasn’t risen to the attention of the President of the United States. As such, he is now fully and directly responsible. To paraphrase Harry Truman, the buck has now stopped.
So, I would like to simply request, just this once, that President Obama engages in some of that looking backwards of which he is so famously not fond.
Because if Obama looked way back, he would be reminded of some very old-fashioned and, apparently, now quaint notions. For example, the belief that before the government punishes someone, they are responsible for first actually proving that individual is guilty. (Fifth Amendment) And the conviction that punishment should never be cruel or unusual. (Eight Amendment)
I sadly don’t expect that to happen because it seems only “looking forward, not backwards” is integral to the strategy of “winning the future.” Of course, if this is behavior Obama feels is necessary for him to win the future, I think I might prefer losing.