15 September 2006
THE FREE PRESS
TO The Editor:
THE Time has come for us all to fight tooth and nail this rotten nonsense about torturing and roughhousing our war-prisoners. Our civilization needs oil, but it also needs self-respect. We owe it to ourselves to follow the rules. In all conflict atrocities happen as a human matter. There is no need though for our leadership in this generation in any way to lower our moral standards. We know that our dads in WW II sometimes shot prisoners out of hand and so on (many WW II stories were frankly told after the My Lai-massacre story in Vietnam got out) though not in such great numbers as did the enemy. The only difference — it alone is what makes us a worthy people! — is that this was not official policy, nor was it officially condoned. And when we got prisoners away from the battlefield they were treated far better than were our POWs by the enemy. There are many stories of German and Italian POWs mainly, of how surprised and grateful they were to the Americans they met during captivity and the lifelong friendships they formed. This helped us no end to win the peace after 1945. So now, and especially in such a war as this, maybe keeping a firm grip on our national character is the only thing we really have going for us in history. To say and do otherwise is just self-sabotage and means we will not deserve to win.
Emmett R Smith
[Emmett R Smith all rights reserved 15 September 2006]