Friday, June 04, 2004

U.S. treats POWs worse than dogs

From an article entitled "Report on the Occupation... reconstruction stands still and victors are as glum as vanquished" in the March 11, 1946 issue of Life, penned by John Dos Passos:
The lieutenant worked in Intelligence. He was a young man from Brooklyn with a thoughtful ruddy face and full lips....

He got up and began to walk back and forth. "I've been interrogating German officers for the War Crimes Commission and when I find them half starved to death right in our own PW cages and being treated like you wouldn't treat a dog, I ask myself some questions. All these directives about don't coddle the Germans have thrown open the gates for every criminal tendency we've got in us. Just because the Germans did these things is no reason for us to do them. Well, I know war isn't a pretty business but this isn't war any more. This is peace."
Interestingly, the description of the alleged maltreatment of POWs is on the last page of a nine-page article. Imagine the same report from Iraq today.

(Sorry, no link. I transcribed the article myself when I could not find a copy on-line. I've been spending time lately at the local library reviewing Life issues from the mid-40s. Stay tuned for more.)