Updating and Bumping: P.J. Crowley has resigned. Yes, he is former Air Force (resisting comments), which only means he should have known better in this case, with the tsunami tweet that went down the memory hole, with the birthday wishes to Ahmadinnerjacket, etc. I wish I thought amateur hour was over, but suspect it may only be beginning...
Beyond the obvious, the U.S. Department of State clearly has a problem. Why has the State Department decided that it can and should make a strong criticism of the treatment of Bradley Manning?
Before the knee-jerks live up to the second half of the descriptor, this does indeed amount to an official position of the lace panty brigade. It doesn't matter if it was said by an indvidual at a totally unrelated event (MIT no less), when one is an Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs and the official spokesperson for a major government agency, there is NO SUCH THING AS SPEAKING FOR ONESELF. In point of fact, this is a major faux pas in terms of how the game is played in DC. At this level, it just isn't done unless the agency represented has decided to go to war with another, and that such war has backing all the way up the chain to the President, not just the Secretary. It is a major breech of protocol and anyone in "the game" at this level knows it.
If this was indeed a truly rogue comment and was done without the knowledge and consent of the Secretary of State and the President, it is a stunning admission of incompetence. One does not try to start such a war without having the confirmed approval of the powers that be. Anyone who does do so with only the belief that they will be backed needs to be sacked, immediately as they have no business in that position, lacking both critical skills and judgement.
If this was done with the knowledge and approval of Secretary Clinton, then the President -- who has publically expressed his satisfaction at the treatment and process afforded Manning -- needs to deal with the situation quickly and strongly.
Frankly, the Department of State has no business interjecting itself into this matter. Period. That they have chosen to do so is yet one more sign of the myriad problems and lack of competence in Foggy Bottom.
And a hat-tip and link to Ed at Hot Air on this as well.