From the Associated Press, via NBC News:
WASHINGTON – In an unprecedented move, the Pentagon is trying to transfer convicted national security leaker Pvt. Chelsea Manning to a civilian prison so she can get treatment for her gender disorder, defense officials said.
Manning, formerly named Bradley, was convicted of sending classified documents to anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. The soldier has asked for hormone therapy and to be able to live as a woman.
The request was the first ever made by a transgender military inmate and set up a dilemma for the Defense Department: How to treat a soldier for a diagnosed disorder without violating long-standing military policy. Transgenders are not allowed to serve in the U.S. military and the Defense Department does not provide such treatment, but Manning can’t be discharged from the service while serving his 35-year prison sentence.
Some officials have said privately that keeping the soldier in a military prison and unable to have treatment could amount to cruel and unusual punishment.
More at the link.
First of all, the compliments of The First Street Journal to the Associated Press writer, who made an obvious effort not to misidentify Inmate Manning through the use of feminine pronouns. The only such misuse in the article was in a direct quote, from a Pentagon spokesman, RADM John Kirby. A rear admiral ought to know better than that, but he was probably under orders. The internally linked article noting the mistaken ruling1 by Leavenworth County District Judge David King which said that Bradley Manning could legally change his name to Chelsea did use the incorrect pronouns, which The First Street Journal will not do; Mr Manning is legally and physically male, and is not a woman regardless of how deranged he is.
However, we certainly do not compliment the Department of Defense, either for the decision not to contest the name change request, or for the decision to allow this prisoner to receive, at federal government expense! sexual reassignment “treatment.”2 That the decision was taken at the highest level is noted:
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last month gave the Army approval to try to work out a transfer plan with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which does provide such treatment, two Pentagon officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record.
There you go: the decision was taken by the civilian leadership.
Of course, it’s more than just a problem with Secretary Hagel’s decision; the question of why the Federal Bureau of Prisons provides — and pays for — sexual reassignment “treatment” in the first place. Typically, the procedures which are mistakenly identified as male-to-female transition cost around $20,000. At a time when the federal government is borrowing over $500 billion a year,3 why in God’s name does the federal government spend money on these cockamamie procedures?4
Now, if Mr Manning is ever released from prison, and his sentence is such that he could be released on parole in as few as six more years, though he was sentenced to 35 years, your Editor has no problem at all with him getting together the money to pay for it himself. But while he is a prisoner, he should remain in jail, as a male, throughout his sentence.
Update: I appear to have erred when I said that the Associated Press writer had avoided using the incorrect pronouns; the first paragraph uses the incorrect, feminine pronoun, though the third refers to “his 35-year prison sentence.”
- The Department of Defense did not contest Mr Manning’s suit, which probably left the judge no choice. ↩
- The word “treatment” is used in quotation marks because The First Street Journal does not regard improper medications and surgical mutilation to be a proper treatment for anything. ↩
- In February, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the FY2014 deficit would come in at $514 billion. ↩
- Of course, the government should not spend money on these procedures, for prisoners or anyone else, even if the budget showed a surplus. ↩