P.J. Crowley, having told an inconvenient truth regarding the maltreatment of Bradley Manning, has abruptly stepped down as the official spokesman for the State Department.
At one level, this is no surprise: it’s not normal for the spokesman for one cabinet department to refer to the conduct of another as “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.” Doing so forces the President to take sides; if the spokesman keeps his job after saying that, the only interpretation is that the President more or less agrees. Apparently the President wasn’t willing to allow that interpretation to stand.
Such a statement also puts the spokesman’s boss in the middle, she (in this case) can either distance herself from the remarks, or not. In this case, Hilary Clinton chose “not.” She merely praised Crowley’s record without any hint that he was leaving on a sour note.
Though I’m not surprised, I am disappointed. Either the President really approves of what is being done to Manning, or he isn’t willing to oppose the military even when its conduct is, in fact, ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid: not to mention unconscionable and un-American and borderline criminal.