David Leigh and Luke Harding, WikiLeaks: From Wales to a US jail, via Iraq, the story of Bradley Manning, guardian.co.uk (01 February 2011)
Unnecessary nastiness — a blot on American honor
The article notes the unnecessarily nasty jail conditions Manning is forced to endure.
Most Americans will think that the “traitorous faggot” deserves it.
But that misses the point. He hasn’t been tried yet. Nor is torture a legally recognized characteristic of pre-trial detention or post-trial criminal punishment in the United States.
Scum rises to the top in both camps. Leaving us with the shades of gray that ethics were designed to brighten with color.
Brutishly-oriented louts like to argue that realism requires countering “badness” with brutality. But the fact is that cruelty merely begets more badness. Louts are just too historically inobservant to recognize that.
The fact that the rest of us often let them get away with dishonorable behavior doesn’t say much for our national consciousness, either.