Police State USA
Brad Manning Has Rights!
by Karen Kwiatkowski
At the culminating point of the movie A Few Good Men, Colonel Jessup, played magnificently by Jack Nicholson, angrily tells the truth and shockingly incriminates himself. The interrogating lawyer LT Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise), in his moment of victory, refuses to gloat. Instead, he abruptly ends his interrogation and demands that rule of law prevail, saying, “The defendant has rights!”
The famous courtroom scenes from this movie are well-known and oft-quoted by many Americans. A Few Good Men is formulaic, but it is the formula we particularly love – proud patriots who believe in right and wrong, in black and white, in law over lawlessness, Davids who fight a powerful Goliath. Against all odds, eventually our heroes win when the powerful and vindicating truth is revealed for all to see.
In another time, this would be the story of Bradley Manning.
“A Few Good Men” dramatically exposes the deformation and distortion of right and wrong that is the very demand of state utilitarianism, which is to say, an action is right if is promotes the state’s happiness, and an action is wrong if it tends to make the state unhappy. Colonel Jessup called for the harsh physical punishment of a “substandard Marine” and thus Corporal Santiago was killed by his comrades. The state, represented by Jessup, explains, “…Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives….”
Charged but not convicted of any crime, American airman Brad Manning is being held largely incommunicado at Guantanamo, without bedding or permission to exercise in his cell. He is purposely deprived of human contact. His current treatment – based on unproven charges – is far harsher than the treatment and sentences of four famous and convicted US federal-level spies.