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If Manning Deserves Life, Bush Deserves Torture and Death

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For whistleblowing on war crimes, Bradley Manning gets life in prison. For committing egregious war crimes, George W. Bush gets a presidential library. Which Barack Obama helps him dedicate. 

Manning and OLB Chi 094
Manning and OLB Chi 094
(Image by Mikasi)
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Manning and OLB Chi 094 by Mikasi

Manning and OLB Chi 094 by Mikasi

Manning and OLB Chi 094 by Mikasi

An outrageous injustice--the type of injustice that's the hallmark of fascist tyranny--sits enshrined in our highest temples of power. Yet most Americans don't notice, or shrug as if this is normal and acceptable. When in fact it stinks to the highest heavens, and our future as a free nation, already in serious jeopardy, is simply over if it goes unpunished.

The first punishment, popular revolt, should be meted out on Barack Obama. In his perpetual overreach in encroaching on our freedoms, this time he has gone UNPARDONABLY far. He has trampled the rule of law--above all, the very purpose of law--in a manner found ONLY in states endangered by fascism. For amply rewarding the worst criminals, while waging virtual war on dissidents who cry foul, is the very essence of fascist governance. Preventing our government's slide into out-and-out fascism depends on US, on our starting to notice and starting to care.

And in this case, there is no excuse for not noticing. Never was it clearer that Barack Obama sides with 1%--indeed, is their firmest bulwark--in the class war being waged to our detriment. He unjustifiably brings the strongest charge imaginable, aiding the enemy, against a troubled young man of humble background while crippling his case by denying him the public-interest defense, which forms the very essence of his case. All this, mind you, after Manning has spent an unconscionable three years awaiting trial, during which he was subjected to torture.

The contrasting treatment of silver-spoon mass murderer George W. Bush and his thuggish plutocrat cronies couldn't form a starker chiaroscuro. Where for Manning all is darkness, for them all is light--unless they stray from the shelter of Obama's protective injustice. For a number of human-rights organizations, steadily enlisting worldwide governments wearied of U.S. bullying, are making it harder and harder for Bush and his crime mob to leave these shores. For most of the world rightly views them as war criminals who've arrogantly trampled the gravest canons of international law. Not merely prohibition of torture (bad enough), but the absolute interdiction of aggressive war, which sits right besides genocide as the WORST crime imaginable. Whereas President Obama--NOT lying candidate Obama, who was all for rigorous investigation--has far shown undying fealty to his plutocrat colleagues not even by pardoning, but by not even administering the wrist slap of an investigation. When we're talking about the most criminal administration in U.S. history.

Yet Obama excuses this criminal leniency by claiming he's looking "forward, not back." As Glenn Greenwald rightly points out in his book "With Liberty and Justice for Some," Obama's principle here amounts to an outright rejection of the rule of law, for ALL prosecutable crimes happened in the past. On Obama's showing, we never should have had the Nuremberg trials. Yet the world knows how crucial those trials were to purging a nation of its sick criminality, deterring budding aspirants to similar lawlessness, and building a lasting reign of peace and justice in Western Europe.

But Obama's hardly consistent in applying his principle of not looking back. He's VERY willing to look back--and look back in savage anger--at those who blow the whistle on government criminality--Rather like letting the Nazis go, but bringing the full force of law against witnesses to Nazi crimes. But it's not that Obama loves injustice for its own sake. It's simply that, as always, he's protecting the interests of the plutocrat power elite. In shielding Bush, not only is Obama protecting all plutocrat lackeys, Republican or Democrat, who buy their way to our presidency; he's safeguarding the military-industrial-surveillance complex Bush both privatized and put on steroids. And perhaps nothing the Bush crime family did to harm our nation--and they did a LOT--was worse than their supersizing of that Frankenstein's monster.

For sheer immorality and assault on this nation's founding principles, it's hard to imagine a worse power elite than the Bush mob. The simple fact is, they lied us into a criminal war in Iraq--a war that UNNECESSARILY cost multiple hundred thousands of civilian and military lives and literally trillions of dollars we desperately need domestically. If Manning deserves 136 years in prison for "crimes" that haven't provably killed ANYONE (and if they have, it was light-years from his intent), it's hard to imagine a fitting penalty for DELIBERATELY lying a nation into a criminal, insanely costly war. Torture and a cruel, grisly death at minimum; perhaps deliberate inoculation with HIV virus or flesh-eating bacteria, or perhaps we should convene a panel of our most unconscionable serial killers to devise and carry out the sentence. Let's be clear, I endorse neither torture nor the death penalty. I'm simply applying the principle of the punishment fitting the crime, and if Manning deserves life imprisonment (after unduly long detainment and torture), Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and company surely deserve torture leading to death.

And that's ONLY for misleading us into a criminal war; it's hard to say what they deserve for their insane "war on terror" policy and the hideously hypertrophied, privatized military-industrial-surveillance Frankenstein spawned in its wake. Nothing could be a more savage attack on the principles of a nation founded on informed consent of the governed and free dissent and a profound distrust of concentrations of power, spying, standing armies, and military mercenaries. And by privatizing the dubious "services" this Frankenstein's monster offers--matters like spying and fighting wars that are properly functions of accountable government--the Bush mob gave a whole class of dangerous plutocrat leeches a permanent incentive to drain our treasury, launch aggressive wars, and assault our civil liberties. To say nothing of quashing the needed dissent against this whole sick process. Yet Obama, in defending ALL 1%er interests, has dug in his heels behind this innately fascist new one.

With its growing impoverishment of the many for the sake of the few, the iron grip of the few on government and media, and our security state's eagerness to quash all dissent, Chris Hedges rightly views America as a tinderbox ripe for revolt. And based on considerable experience with popular uprisings, he knows it's hard to predict what grievance will prove the needed spark igniting revolt. Often, it's something seemingly small, or seemingly unrelated to the most central cause for grievance. In this regard, I warmly recommend "Pardon for Manning, Justice for Bush" as the match for our national tinderbox. Placing Manning's "crime" of arguably serving the public interest side by side with Bush's unspeakable crimes of torture and lying us into an unjust war puts Manning's case on its firmest possible footing, and as leniency for Manning is a hot current issue dear not just to Americans but to people worldwide, I strongly urge this compelling way of making our case. But indirectly, it's a fabulous way of reigniting Occupy Wall Street's desperately needed discussion of class war and unjust 1%er control for our government. For NOTHING besides the reign of terror by the 1% explains the unconscionable differential treatment of powerless, troubled young whistleblower Bradley Manning and the unspeakable war criminal George Bush.

For those interested in igniting a "Pardon for Manning, Justice for Bush" movement, the Time to Restore Democracy Facebook page ( is a great place to start.

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Patrick Walker is co-founder of Revolt Against Plutocracy (RAP) and the Bernie or Bust movement it spawned. Before that, he cut his activist teeth with the anti-fracking and Occupy Scranton PA movements. No longer with RAP, he wields his pen (more...)

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