Thursday, August 15, 2013

Another sad milestone

Bradley Manning says sorry "for hurting his country". Psychologists confirm he's a four-star fruitcake with a troubled childhood, mild autism, and most damning of all, gender-identity issues. Photos emerge of Manning dressed as a woman. Nobody seems to be asking precisely where the photos came from, or who gave them to the press.

Thus ends the first high-profile American show trial in my memory, although surely not the last. And the United States confirms its intention to follow the legacy of Stalin rather than Washington. It's already got the secret police, secret courts, secret laws, state spying apparatus, restrictions on free movement and speech, automatic arrest of all foreigners upon arrival in the country, an effective one-party system (dressed up as two parties, but so managed that the differences between them are meaningless, and all candidates are effectively vetted by the same political and commercial interests) - and a legal structure that considers "hounding a suspect to suicide" as a win.

All that was really missing was the show trials, where enemies of the state would be thoroughly discredited and smeared before expressing public contrition and repentance and begging their betters for a chance to reform. Now Manning has delivered us all of that.

It's still possible for America to come back. It recovered from the Civil War, it got over McCarthyism - in theory there's no reason why it can't recover again. If only it would try.