There’s been a lot of buzz around this story: Fort Hunt’s Quiet Men Break Silence on WWII
The men at Fort Hunt interrogated Nazi prisoners during the Second World War. This is the bit that everyone seems so excited about:
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.
I’m not condoning “torture” or denying that anything wrong has been done by today’s interrogators, and I’m not even interested in debating the amount of information possessed by German generals compared to typical terrorist prisoners. But I do have one question that I haven’t seen answered, or even asked, in the (admittedly few) pieces I’ve read about this controversy:
How do the Fort Hunt interrogators know what information today’s interrogators are able to get?
Seriously, today’s retired veterans have no idea whatsoever how much information they “get”, what sort of information they “get”, and how valuable some of that information ends up being. They do not know. Not knowing, claiming to have gotten more back in the good old days is groundless.
But it sure makes a good story.