Old interrogators insult current ones
Saturday, October 06, 2007
There is a project called Freedom Team Salute underway to collect as much information from WWII vets as possible and remind them one last time that their service is honored. Recently this group held an event for a secret group of interrogators who worked with prisoners in the US during the war. Two dozen men were honored recently and some among them wanted to make political statements:
"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.
Several of the veterans, all men in their 80s and 90s, denounced the controversial techniques. And when the time came for them to accept honors from the Army's Freedom Team Salute, one veteran refused, citing his opposition to the war in Iraq and procedures that have been used at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
"I feel like the military is using us to say, 'We did spooky stuff then, so it's okay to do it now,' " said Arno Mayer, 81, a professor of European history at Princeton University.
When Peter Weiss, 82, went up to receive his award, he commandeered the microphone and gave his piece.
"I am deeply honored to be here, but I want to make it clear that my presence here is not in support of the current war," said Weiss, chairman of the Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy and a human rights and trademark lawyer in New York City.
I have nothing but respect for the work they did, but I am also basically uninterested in their sanctimonious insults to the professionals who have to deal with our current enemies. I'm tickled pink that when dealing with German Generals and scientists, many of whom weren't Nazis, they were able to be gentlemen while dealing with gentlemen. The German officer corps was an aristocracy and it is not surprising that cordial relations could be observed. They had an an expectation that they would be treated this way and their cooperation ensured that. Does anyone really think we could do the same with a deranged, religious fanatic who believes his god commands him to kill us?
Khalid Sheikh Mohamed cracked after seconds of water boarding and coughed up entire networks of his murderous co-religionists. These cultured gentlemen could have played decades of ping pong while learning nothing. And that instance is hardly even demonstrative of how our current interrogators operate. Their humanity is not one whit less than the self-benighted WWII vets, and it is disrespectful for theses folks to imply otherwise. The government as representative of the American people went out of it's way to honor these men, and some of them felt obligated to use the occasion to insult those currently working long hours to keep us all safe. Tacky.