Protesters yesterday interrupted President's Obama speech at a $5,000/ticket San Francisco fundraiser to demand improved treatment for Bradley Manning. After the speech, one of the protesters, Logan Price, approached Obama and questioned him. Obama's responses are revealing on multiple levels. First, Obama said this when justifying Manning's treatment (video and transcript are here):
We're a nation of laws. We don't let individuals make their own decisions about how the laws operate. He broke the law.
The impropriety of Obama's public pre-trial declaration of
Manning's guilt ("He broke the law") is both gross and manifest. How can
Manning possibly expect to receive a fair hearing from military
officers when their Commander-in-Chief has already decreed his guilt?
Numerous commentators have noted how egregiously wrong was Obama's
condemnation. Michael Whitney wrote:
"the President of the United States of America and a self-described
Constitutional scholar does not care that Manning has yet to be tried or
convicted for any crime." BoingBoing's Rob Beschizza interpreted Obama's declaration of guilt this way: "Just so you know,
jurors subordinate judging officers!" And Politico quoted legal experts explaining why Obama's remarks are so obviously inappropriate.
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