The crimes Bradley Manning is accused of are extremely serious and destructive, and if he is guilty as charged they should throw the book at him.
Manning now seeks to have his case dismissed because of unduly harsh conditions during his confinement, including, as the LA Times reports, being “stripped of his clothing, forced to sleep naked for several nights and required to stand naked at attention one morning.” The court is currently considering whether his 9 months of seclusion in a 48-square-foot brig cell constitute illegal punishment.
It’s a good thing these charges are being thoroughly aired. If overzealous officials treated Manning incorrectly, those responsible should be sanctioned. As the Huffington Post notes:
Manning was held at Quantico in maximum custody from July 2010 to April 2011, when he was moved to medium-security confinement at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. While at Quantico, Manning was on either “suicide risk” or the less-restrictive “prevention of injury” status, both involving additional security measures. Brig commanders, advised by a three-member Classification and Assignment Board, rejected psychiatrists’ nearly weekly recommendations to ease Manning’s restrictions, according to testimony and brig records.
However, the release of the Wikileaks material, if indeed Mr. Manning is responsible for that, endangered lives and had consequences for which Manning must be held accountable.
He deserves a fair trial. The attention being paid to his charges of improper treatment is an encouraging sign that he will get one.