Op-ed: The Most Dangerous Man in America?
BY Vic Mazzaraco
February 14 2012 5:00 AM ET
A victim of DADT while in the military, Manning has been treated since his arrest in ways that focus on humiliation and gender disruption. At Quantico he was forced to wear a dress-like garment that exposed his genitalia. He was sometimes forced to be naked, with nothing to cover him, exposed to the eyes of every male guard passing by his cell. When asked about this treatment in a press conference in March, Obama noted that the Pentagon had assured him Manning was being protected for his own welfare. By being naked?
Gay men are often called "pussies" and "cunts" in the military. They are often treated like women, who themselves are treated as second-class and are frequently the victims of sexual harassment and assault. The treatment of male detainees at Abu Ghraib also demeaned their sexuality and gender and was found to be torture. The perpetrating soldiers were punished. So why is torture acceptable treatment for Manning stateside?
If Manning was a danger, why wasn't he given a section 8 transfer out of Iraq and into psychiatric care? And if he is mentally unstable now, how much of that instability was triggered by the pressures of having to hide or defend his sexual and gender orientation?
The case of Bradley Manning raises more questions than it answers. What remains nearly two years after his arrest is that the government has no real charges upon which to hold him, but the Obama administration has decided that Manning is a threat and therefore must be held as an enemy combatant until the war on terror is over.
Can the terror ever be over for a gay or transgender person in a military prison? Perhaps not. So far, Manning's fate is an undelivered sentence with no end in sight.