Monday, June 10, 2013

Fort Mudge Theatre of the Absurd

Walt Kelly

Thanks to Alexa O'Brien, Kevin Gosztola, Ed Pilkington, Nathan Fuller, Freedom of the Press Foundation, and other gutsy American defenders of civil liberties, we all have a ringside seat at the bizarre court-marshal of Bradley Manning at Fort Meade, a show that promises black comedy for months.

The transcripts and descriptions are hard to believe.  The overwhelming impression left after less than a working week of actual court proceedings is that the prosecution doesn't have a case. At all.  And yet, like a season of Arrested Development, we can look forward to the testimony of some Seal Team Whatever JSOC spook, camouflaged lest his identity interfere with the success of his memoir and movie rights, who will reveal that bin Laden read WikiLeaks.  I predict a large fraction of the world's population will want  to see this.

The case took three years to come to trial, the first year being sadistic incarceration by meathead Marines, and looks like it took three years because nobody could figure out charges that would stick. Light Treason?  The possibility that Manning might have been true to his oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, seems not to have occurred to anyone.  Well, I'm sure it occurred to Manning, and now his lawyers who seem both constitutionally principled and suavely ruthless.

The possibility that this decent and courageous kid - whose courtroom statement (that had to be secretly recorded) will convince anyone with half a brain that he knew exactly what he was doing and why - gets hung out to dry while Scooter Libby, just to pick a random example, gets pardoned, seems so fantastically grotesque that the military might try it anyway.

If that happens the show can only get better.