(updated below - Update II)
One of the most striking aspects of the WikiLeaks debate from the start has been the identical mindset of political and media figures and the full consensus among them in condemning that group; in almost every debate I did on television, radio and everywhere else, it was impossible to distinguish between the views on these leaks from politicians and journalists, as they read from the same anti-WikiLeaks script. With a few exceptions, exactly the same has been true of Democrats and Republicans: there has been full-scale bipartisan consensus such that it's impossible to distinguish between the "two sides" on this issue.
Yesterday, MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan hosted a segment on the extreme, prolonged isolation in which Bradley Manning has been kept for eight months now, despite having been convicted of nothing. He had on his panel a "Democratic strategist," a "Republican strategist," and "a Washington insider." Ratigan tried without any success to get them to understand why putting someone in a cage alone for 23 hours a day under extremely repressive conditions was unjust and intolerable. Begin at the 1:20 mark -- right after Ratigan introduces his panel -- and see if you can identify who the Republican is, who the Democrat is, and who the "Washington insider" is; I'd submit it's impossible. Once your guesses are in, go back and watch the beginning of the segment and grade yourself -- on the honor system. It's the Joys of Bipartisanship:
One other aspect of this bipartisanship quiz -- an extra credit essay, if you will (and the flu I referenced yesterday turned out to be anything but "mild," so posting may be quite sparse over the next few days): yesterday, Atrios referenced the snide, Red-State-mimicking derision of prolonged isolation and solitary confinement by former Obama campaign aide Joy Reid (which I noted in the update to yesterday's post), and then asked this extremely relevant question:
UPDATE: Here's a very strange, and hopefully positive, set of events: two days ago, NBC News reported that government officials acknowledged that the Marine commander of the Quantico brig had violated regulations by imposing "suicide watch" conditions on Manning both punitively and without the recommendations of psychiatric experts. Yesterday, CNN reported -- then retracted -- a story that a formal investigation had commenced into the commander's actions. Today, CBS News reports that the Quantico commander is now being replaced; CBS certainly appears to believe that it's related to the treatment of Manning, though the Pentagon is denying this. Whatever else is true, far more attention has been generated for the conditions of Manning's detention than I expected when I first wrote about them.
UPDATE II: On his Fox News show today, Andrew Napolitano -- who often exhibited strong civil libertarian leanings during the Bush years -- today denounced the Government's harassment of David House for visiting Manning, as well as the treatment of Manning itself; it begins at the 1:00 mark: