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Lessons from the Quiet Men

When the NY Times revealed the other day that the Bush administration had secretly issued new memos condoning some of the harshest interrogation tactics ever used against terrorism suspects, the Bushies went into full spin mode. President Bush stuck to the script that the US does not torture and went on to praise the "highly trained professionals" who conduct these interrogations to keep America safe from terrorism.

I don't know about you, but these "highly trained professionals" could probably stand to learn a thing or two from their elders. (h/t Libby)
For six decades, they held their silence.

The group of World War II veterans kept a military code and the decorum of their generation, telling virtually no one of their top-secret work interrogating Nazi prisoners of war at Fort Hunt.

When about two dozen veterans got together yesterday for the first time since the 1940s, many of the proud men lamented the chasm between the way they conducted interrogations during the war and the harsh measures used today in questioning terrorism suspects.

Back then, they and their commanders wrestled with the morality of bugging prisoners' cells with listening devices. They felt bad about censoring letters. They took prisoners out for steak dinners to soften them up. They played games with them.

"We got more information out of a German general with a game of chess or Ping-Pong than they do today, with their torture," said Henry Kolm, 90, an MIT physicist who had been assigned to play chess in Germany with Hitler's deputy, Rudolf Hess.

The saying "You can catch more flies with honey" was no doubt well known to these men. That they would apply it even in the face of the truly existential threat of Nazi Germany is a testament to how far we have been lead astray by our leaders. Frankly, it leaves an acidic taste in my mouth that no amount of sugarcoated fluff we are force fed could ever remove.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

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