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Phil Perspective

But .. but ... but .. it's not really torture .. and Bradley Manning's dad said he was doing just fine.

Mike D.

Forcing out a spokesman who recognizes that outrage is an implicit concession that Manning's treatment is an outrage.

I can almost see this, but I'm not quite there.

On presumption of innocence - on charges as a civilian, yes, but Manning is still an enlisted soldier in the U.S. Army. Do military personnel have presumption of innocence against charges of breaking regulations of their conduct as military personnel? By no means, even if not, does that justify abuse per se. BUt that, like the very word Torture, from the beginning of the debate in 2002, just begs the question. What is 'abuse' in this context? What, even, is the legal incidence of this particular context?

When you sign up to go into the military, are you not signing up for being willingly (in a non-conscriptive environment) forced to undertake and accept crushing physical abuse that in any civilian correctional setting would be clearly unlawful, and also signing up to accept humiliating and demeaning displays of the absolute authority of your superiors? This may not include being forced to sleep naked, but on the other hand, once you have breached very serious regulations of conduct, might the kind of treatment you may be subject to change? Or if your conduct rises to the level of that which can potentially be charged in a civilian context, does all that authority that the military would otherwise have over you dissolve, and all civilian legal protections apply? Or, are any differences in treatment between American service member prisoners of the U.S. military and other prisoners in the U.S. correctional system depend on the setting being an actual warzone - i.e. anyone being held at Quantico is afforded all the same rights as any other prisoner in the U.S.? I don't know these answers.

Just as my gut told me that GTMO detainees being deprived of sleep were being tortured before I had done the research to know whether and why that treatment fit the definitions (legal, moral) of torture, my gut also tells me Bradley Manning is being or has been abused. But I cannot claim to have a precise situational understanding of the exact wherefore of that belief.

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