Obama Administration Forces Resignation of State Dept. Spokesman
This is a sad day for the Obama administration and for all of us who believe in American values. That Assistant Secretary PJ Crowley was
fired forced to resign after making statements condemning the inhumane and possibly illegal treatment of Pvt. Manning, who is currently in military custody, shows just how similar to George W. Bush Barack Obama really is:
STATEMENT BY SECRETARY CLINTON
It is with regret that I have accepted the resignation of Philip J. Crowley as Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs. PJ has served our nation with distinction for more than three decades, in uniform and as a civilian. His service to country is motivated by a deep devotion to public policy and public diplomacy, and I wish him the very best. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary (PDAS) Michael Hammer will serve as Acting Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs.
STATEMENT BY PHILIP J. CROWLEY
The unauthorized disclosure of classified information is a serious crime under U.S. law. My recent comments regarding the conditions of the pre-trial detention of Private First Class Bradley Manning were intended to highlight the broader, even strategic impact of discreet actions undertaken by national security agencies every day and their impact on our global standing and leadership. The exercise of power in today’s challenging times and relentless media environment must be prudent and consistent with our laws and values.
Given the impact of my remarks, for which I take full responsibility, I have submitted my resignation as Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs and Spokesman for the Department of State.
I am enormously grateful to President Obama and Secretary Clinton for the high honor of once again serving the American people. I leave with great admiration and affection for my State colleagues, who promote our national interest both on the front lines and in the quiet corners of the world. It was a privilege to help communicate their many and vital contributions to our national security. And I leave with deep respect for the journalists who report on foreign policy and global developments every day, in many cases under dangerous conditions and subject to serious threats. Their efforts help make governments more responsible, accountable and transparent.
I certainly hope Secretary Clinton fought the White House (and yes, her friend Secretary Gates) about this. If anyone should be fired it’s whoever it is at the Pentagon who is ordering Private Manning be treated this way.
For those who don’t know the back story to this, I’ll let Glenn Greenwald explain:
On Friday, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley denounced the conditions of Bradley Manning’s detention as “ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid,” forcing President Obama to address those comments in a Press Conference and defend the treatment of Manning. Today, CNN reports, Crowley has “abruptly resigned” under “pressure from White House officials because of controversial comments he made last week about the Bradley Manning case.” In other words, he was forced to “resign” — i.e., fired.
So, in Barack Obama’s administration, it’s perfectly acceptable to abuse an American citizen in detention who has been convicted of nothing by consigning him to 23-hour-a-day solitary confinement, barring him from exercising in his cell, punitively imposing “suicide watch” restrictions on him against the recommendations of brig psychiatrists, and subjecting him to prolonged, forced nudity designed to humiliate and degrade. But speaking out against that abuse is a firing offense. Good to know. As Matt Yglesias just put it: “Sad statement about America that P.J. Crowley is the one being forced to resign over Bradley Manning.” And as David Frum added: “Crowley firing: one more demonstration of my rule: Republican pols fear their base, Dem pols despise it.”
Of course, it’s also the case in Barack Obama’s world that those who instituted a worldwide torture and illegal eavesdropping regime are entitled to full-scale presidential immunity, while powerless individuals who blow the whistle on high-level wrongdoing and illegality are subjected to the most aggressive campaign of prosecution and persecution the country has ever seen. So protecting those who are abusing Manning, while firing Crowley for condemning the abuse, is perfectly consistent with the President’s sense of justice.
Also, remember how one frequent Democratic critique made of the Right generally and the Bush administration specifically was that they can’t and won’t tolerate dissent: everyone is required to march in lockstep? I wonder how that will be reconciled with this.
I’ll be honest folks, I’ve really had it up to here with Barack Obama. I don’t know where Secretary Clinton stands on all of this but I hope this is an instance where she doesn’t align herself with Secretary Gates, who likely wanted Crowley gone. I like to believe that Secretary Clinton stood up for Crowley, who also worked in the Clinton admin. and has a long and distinguished career of public service. I believe Crowley’s firing was totally the result of the White House having a hissy fit.
I don’t agree with the wholesale leak of classified documents, but neither do I agree with the inhumane treatment of prisoners, whether they be American citizens or not. Put Manning on trial, present the evidence and if he’s found guilty, he’ll go to jail. This alleged psychological/physical mistreatment of him before he’s been found guilty of anything (or even AFTER he’s found guilty, if in fact that happens) is inconsistent with American values.
I’ve got news for Barack Obama, if there is a patriot lurking anywhere in this situation it’s PJ Crowley, not the dunderheads at the Defense Department and certainly not him. If Obama had anything other than lofty, unfulfilled rhetoric he’d tell Secretary Gates to ensure that any potentially illegal treatment of Private Manning cease immediately. But clearly, Barack Obama is not that sort of leader- he just pretended to be during the 2008 election.
Honestly, what kind of nation have we become, anyway? Wasn’t there a time when the U.S. used to set an example for the rest of the world to follow? Maybe we could be that country again. But that takes leadership.