The All Naked Bradley Manning Show

posted at 2:00 pm on March 6, 2011 by Jazz Shaw

Another week passes and another bizarre story emerges concerning the case of alleged traitor Pfc Bradley Manning, currently a long term guest of the United States Marines at the Quantico brig. This time it seems that feathers are being ruffled over a report that Manning is being forced to strip naked during sleeping hours and for morning muster.

The Brig has stripped PFC Manning of all of his clothing for the past three nights, and they intend to continue this practice indefinitely. Each night, Brig guards force PFC Manning to relinquish all of his clothing. He then lies in a cold jail cell naked until the following morning, when he is required to endure the humiliation of standing naked at attention for the morning roll call. According to Marine spokesperson, First Lieutenant Brian Villiard, the decision to strip him naked every night is for PFC Manning’s own protection. Villiard stated that it would be “inappropriate” to explain what prompted these actions “because to discuss the details would be a violation of PFC Manning’s privacy.”

This, of course, has the usual suspects up in arms, describing this treatment as everything from brutalization to being on par with Abu Ghraib style torture.

Even my friend Doug Mataconis, an attorney and one of the more sane voices on the web, raised questions about the propriety of this treatment.

If he’s convicted of these charges, he deserves to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. While he’s awaiting trial, though, and even after he’s convicted, he still must be treated humanely and, at present, Manning is receiving worse treatment than a Prisoner Of War would, and the only purpose behind it seems to be to break him psychologically. That’s simply unacceptable.

So what was the mysterious course of events that led to this decision to strip Manning down each night? It’s provided, ironically enough, by one of his biggest cheerleaders at Fire Dog Lake.

In response to PFC Manning’s question, he was told that there was nothing he could do to downgrade his detainee status and that the Brig simply considered him a risk of self-harm. PFC Manning then remarked that the POI restrictions were “absurd” and sarcastically stated that if he wanted to harm himself, he could conceivably do so with the elastic waistband of his underwear or with his flip-flops.

Mystery solved. Jane Hamsher excuses Manning’s “sarcastic” remark as justifiable given his frustration at being kept under special watch to ensure he doesn’t harm himself. (Not a surprise, since she and Glenn Greenwald would probably find a way to laud his actions even if he – or Julian Assange – were found feeding kittens into a wood chipper.) But in the military we had a different way to describe something like that. It’s known as mouthing off or being a smartass. And doing so to your superiors is generally not a wise move under the best of circumstances, say nothing of when you’re in the hoosegow on charges which equate to treason.

But can this treatment really be justified? There are two points to address on this front.

First and most simply put, Manning made the comment about being able to kill himself with his underwear, sarcastic or not. Can you imagine what would be said if the brig commander did nothing and then he actually did turn up dead in his cell by his own waistband? It would be a movable feast for the media and several careers would come to an abrupt end. How does the commander ignore something like that?

The second point is a bit more complicated and far less clear, and one that we’ve touched on here in the past. It boils down to some of the fundamental differences between civilian society and the military community. Just as civilians, used to all their freedoms of free speech, etc. don’t understand the restrictions on military personnel, those familiar with the civilian justice system are frequently shocked by many of the “unofficial” aspects of the U.C.M.J. Lots of things like this go on all the time in the military, or at least they used to back in the day. But normally you don’t have the civilian press watching and reporting on it.

Does that make it right? I leave that to the judgment of the reader.

Also, life in the military in general is just a bit more physical and harsh than in the civilian world. A lot of things happen which would probably shock many of you who have never served. In the Navy, for example, there is an old tradition of an initiation rite of passage the first time a sailor crosses the equator on a war ship. It is the time when you graduate from being a “pollywog” (or just “wog” for short) to being a “shellback.” Trust me, it’s an ordeal, usually lasting 24 hours or more.

The third time I made the passage, two enlisted men wound up in sick bay with broken arms. Everyone got to experience the joys of crawling through plastic chutes filled with garbage, rotting food and bilge water, all the while being “herded” by shellbacks wielding foot long lengths of fire hose, loving called, “shillelaghs.” (During my own initiation it took more than a week before the bruises finally faded.) And this is all for your friends who have done nothing wrong.

I’ll leave it for one of the veteran submarine sailors to tell you about the grand old tradition of having your dolphins “tacked on” if they wish to do so in comments.

So I suppose our final question is, does any of this make it acceptable for Manning to be treated in this fashion, either to cover the brig commander’s butt or for the sake of teaching a lesson to somebody mouthing off to their superiors? I really don’t know. Maybe we do need to shine a light on this and review military procedures, both official and “under the covers.” But I do know that life in the military community is a lot different than in the civilian world, and having lived it for a number of years myself, this story honestly didn’t shock me at all.

(The author would like to apologize in advance to friends, family and readers for the title of this column. What can I say? The devil made me do it.)

Now you can yell at Jazz for being a stupid, wrong-headed RINO even faster than by leaving a comment. Follow him on Twitter! @JazzShaw

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
To see the comments on the original post, look here.


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You, otoh, have made several comment about how he should be killed.

I can smell the bs all the way across the internet.

triple on March 6, 2011 at 8:49 PM

Again triple, I’m am not nor have I ever argued that Manning does not have rights or that those rights should should not be respected. I am however questioning WHAT should be done with prisoners who make threats of self harm. You have still not addressed this.

hboulware on March 6, 2011 at 8:50 PM

I can smell the bs all the way across the internet.

triple on March 6, 2011 at 8:49 PM

That’s because you have pooped through out this thread. You think your shite don’t stink?

Blake on March 6, 2011 at 8:53 PM

Apparently conservatives who don’t go lock step into the hivemind consensus are labeled trolls, as such, im out.. bye.. guess any sort of critical thinking is beyond you guys.

triple on March 6, 2011 at 8:48 PM

Says the guy who has convicted Chief Barnes as a human rights violator based on comments of Mannings lawyer and “divined” absolute truth that this poor, little, misguided whistle-blower is a saint just by virtue of being in a military jail.

BTW, how much critical thinking does it take to come up with the opinion that the military lies all the time because it’s the nature of what they do?

hawkdriver on March 6, 2011 at 8:55 PM

Triple use your vaunted critical thinking skill and address my question. In light of Mannings threat what should have been the proper response?

hboulware on March 6, 2011 at 8:56 PM

I am however questioning WHAT should be done with prisoners who make threats of self harm. You have still not addressed this.

hboulware on March 6, 2011 at 8:50 PM

Well, he can’t or his whole argument falls apart. That’s why he won’t link. That’s why he won’t answer or address even the most simple of questions posed about it. If Manning even insinuated in jest that he was going to harm himself, then Chief Barnes would be derelict in her duties to not take appropriate measures to prevent that young man from harming himself. And in establishing that fact, the rest is just Leftist BS in trying to support one they admire for sticking it to the US and US Military.

hawkdriver on March 6, 2011 at 8:59 PM

Hawkdriver I am most impressed and much appreciative of your critical thinking skills!

hboulware on March 6, 2011 at 9:02 PM

Triple use your vaunted critical thinking skill and address my question. In light of Mannings threat what should have been the proper response?

hboulware on March 6, 2011 at 8:56 PM

It appears that being thoroughly destroyed in his debate, he’s retreated to lick his wounds.

Hawkdriver I am most impressed and much appreciative of your critical thinking skills!

hboulware on March 6, 2011 at 9:02 PM

I’m sure it only looks very critical when pitted against very shallow debate such as triple provided. Triple really wasn’t worth an evening I don’t think and Blake was probably right that he was better just ignored.

hawkdriver on March 6, 2011 at 9:06 PM

In the Navy, for example, there is an old tradition of an initiation rite of passage the first time a sailor crosses the equator on a war ship. It is the time when you graduate from being a “pollywog” (or just “wog” for short) to being a “shellback.”

Marines stationed aboard ship got the pleasure of being shellbacked as well. My fondest memory, after being hauled out of the rack at 0430 for the first of many beatings, was finally completing the day long torture and getting to eat the cherry out of the lard covered belly of the fattest squid on the ship. Oohrah! Thanks for letting me join in the reindeer games.

Alden Pyle on March 6, 2011 at 9:09 PM

Well, he can’t or his whole argument falls apart. That’s why he won’t link. That’s why he won’t answer or address even the most simple of questions posed about it. If Manning even insinuated in jest that he was going to harm himself, then Chief Barnes would be derelict in her duties to not take appropriate measures to prevent that young man from harming himself. And in establishing that fact, the rest is just Leftist BS in trying to support one they admire for sticking it to the US and US Military.

hawkdriver on March 6, 2011 at 8:59 PM

I read a newspaper account of how a man hanged himself with a shoe lace. He was in a prison cell at the time. The family threatened to sue because they said he should have been prevented from taking his life. Their position was that the jail had taken custody of him, so they were responsible for him.

Terrye on March 6, 2011 at 9:11 PM

I agree he wasn’t worth the time but I refuse to give in to stupid shallow arguments based on nothing more than anti- military feelings. I am unfortunately an argumentative sort. And if you can’t do that based on fact and reason go away. People like triple simply name call and try distraction as a form of argument. Not my cup of tea to simply let it go.

hboulware on March 6, 2011 at 9:11 PM

Alden Pyle on March 6, 2011 at 9:09 PM

You my friend have been tortured. Please contact the law office of Lieutenant Colonel (RET) David E. Coombs to file your lawsuit!

hawkdriver on March 6, 2011 at 9:13 PM

Not my cup of tea to simply let it go.

hboulware on March 6, 2011 at 9:11 PM

I find it hard to resist the trolls too. I said above, especially when they accuse the military of everything in the book.

Their position was that the jail had taken custody of him, so they were responsible for him.

Terrye on March 6, 2011 at 9:11 PM

A general consideration I’m sure the good warrant officer was aware of.

hawkdriver on March 6, 2011 at 9:16 PM

My teenagers would call what happened to Pyle Saturday night.

hboulware on March 6, 2011 at 9:16 PM

Alden Pyle on March 6, 2011 at 9:09 PM

You my friend have been tortured. Please contact the law office of Lieutenant Colonel (RET) David E. Coombs to file your lawsuit!

hawkdriver on March 6, 2011 at 9:13 PM

And no, I’m kidding. That Coombes was an Army Officer is an embarrassment and I wouldn’t seriously recommend that you ask his counsel on even what ply TP to buy.

hawkdriver on March 6, 2011 at 9:20 PM

I am simply sick to death of the left throwing around the word torture. I assure you listening to my daughter sing along to her iPod would constitute torture. But it’s along way off what happened to POWs in any war. Lets at least keep things in some sort of perspective.

hboulware on March 6, 2011 at 9:27 PM

My sources tell me that somebody put a pea twenty matresses under Bradley Manning’s tush one night. This is torture, people!

Really Right on March 6, 2011 at 9:29 PM

Well, RR, he is sort of a princess ;)

hboulware on March 6, 2011 at 9:35 PM

Well, that was certainly entertaining!

WaltzingMtilda on March 6, 2011 at 10:15 PM

Well, that was certainly entertaining!

WaltzingMtilda on March 6, 2011 at 10:15 PM

It kinda was, wasn’t it? The trolls have been active these past couple of days, and it’s been a hoot playing with them! But, it’s a new school week, and they need to get into bed. Next week is Spring Break, though. Not only will they be back, but if we’re lucky, most of ‘em will be trying to argue while drunk!

Fish in a barrel…

creekspecter on March 6, 2011 at 10:38 PM

I say put Manning in with the general population and let them deal with the traitorous b**tard.

Harry S on March 6, 2011 at 11:05 PM

There is no such thing as general population in a military brig. Everybody has their own little cell. They aren’t allowed interaction with one another, with perhaps a one-hour per day exception, which I’m sure varies from place to place. Quantico is about as bad a place to end up in a brig as any. The Marines there take pride in that being true, the same way Sherrif Joe Arpaio takes pride in how much crooks don’t want to end up in his prison.

Manning is awaiting trial for what has been in the past a capital crime in the military. Being held in the brig is proper treatment. If he has foolishly quipped about harming himself with his skivvies, then he has very plainly asked for those to be taken from him during any period of time that he isn’t under direct observation. His mistake. Not mistreatment.

Freelancer
USN(Ret)
Golden Shellback

Freelancer on March 7, 2011 at 12:01 AM

Grow Fins on March 6, 2011 at 3:23 PM

Bush’s Interrogators Stressed Nudity

Oh the torture!
Oh the humanity!

Well Growfins your side won this argument! We no longer interrogate prisoners, he11 we don’t even take prisoners anymore!

After a firefight ya go through the pockets of the dead (you can’t violate their rights if their dead!) take whatever intel we get, see if we can connect it to some other suspect and send them a questioner, by air, traveling at 1.8 MACH.

It’s a fine “how do you do!”

So tell us Growfins, are you happy we are doing this the way you wanted?

No suspect will be put in a room with the temperature set at 63deg cuz that’s tortureeeeeeeeeeee!

Now we just obliterate them, atomize them, along with who ever happens to be around them!

Yep Growfins you won!

Are ya happy now?

DSchoen on March 7, 2011 at 12:13 AM

Freelancer on March 7, 2011 at 12:01 AM

I read that he is allowed to speak to other prisoners in the cells near him.

Blake on March 7, 2011 at 12:26 AM

DSchoen on March 7, 2011 at 12:13 AM

I believe GF is a canuck. She don’t give a shite (but not in a cool honey badger way).

Blake on March 7, 2011 at 12:29 AM

triple and growfins are anti-military idiots. They really don’t care about Manning or any one else. That is, unless they can take the anti-american side or give unresponsive answers.

hboulware on March 7, 2011 at 1:06 AM

It does sound distasteful and demeaning.

On the other hand, if Manning had done something like this at any other time in all of human history up until this decade, he would have been blindfolded and shot on the spot.

In context, he’s getting pretty light treatment.

Jaibones on March 7, 2011 at 8:53 AM

Just put this traitor in front of a firing squad and be done with it.

workingforpigs on March 7, 2011 at 1:05 PM

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