Demonstrator Jay Marx stands in front of the U.S. State Department in tighty whities and flips-flops to show his support for Bradley Manning. (Chip Somodevilla/GETTY IMAGES)

What do jockstraps have to do with a man both derided as a traitor and heralded as a hero?

As Milbank explains, Manning is a 23-year-old soldier in military custody, charged with downloading and transferring government secrets as a WikiLeaks source. He is allegedly being held naked in a Marine Corps base in Virginia, forced to turn over his boxer shorts before bed so that he doesn’t try to kill himself . Death by underwear — seriously.

“This is ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid,” writes Milbank, echoing the sentiments of a State Department spokesman, P.J. Crowley, who was forced to resign after criticizing the military’s handling of Manning. “Doesn’t the Pentagon know that boxers are far less lethal than briefs?” asks Milbank.