Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Reality check

Before you start to smear or pontificate too much; remember - even the "Greatest Generation" had some bad things said about them.
The following quotations from "Naples '44," by the late Norman Lewis (perhaps the greatest English travel writer of the past century), are instructive. Lewis was stationed in Naples following Italy's liberation from the Nazis, and he kept a diary:

"What we saw was ineptitude and cowardice spreading down from the command, and this resulted in chaos . . .

"I saw an ugly sight: a British officer interrogating a civilian, and repeatedly hitting him about the head with the chair; treatment which the [civilian], his face a mask of blood, suffered with stoicism. At the end of the interrogation, which had not been considered successful, the officer called on a private and asked him in a pleasant, conversational sort of manner, 'Would you like to take this man away, and shoot him?' The private's reply was to spit on his hands, and say, 'I don't mind if I do, sir.'

"I received confirmation . . . that American combat units were ordered by their officers to beat to death [those] who attempted to surrender to them. These men seem very naive and childlike, but some of them are beginning to question the ethics of this order.

"We liberated them from the Fascist Monster. And what is the prize? The rebirth of democracy. The glorious prospect of being able one day to choose their rulers from a list of powerful men, most of whose corruptions are generally known and accepted with weary resignation. The days of Mussolini must seem like a lost paradise compared to us."
Hat tip LBG.

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