America Before Bush

A reader reads a revealing extract from my new colleague Mark Bowden's "Guests of the Ayatollah." It's set in 1979:

Sheikh-ol-eslam also had one more session with Tom Ahern. The CIA station chief was led into a room where his old interrogator was seated alone behind a desk.  Stretched across the desk was a long piece of cord.

...The best [Ahern] could figure, Sheik-ol-eslam was going to use [the cord] on him again. Instead, Sheik-ol-eslam started explaining that the beatings Ahern had received were really not indicative of his own values or those of Islam.

"As a token of my sincerity in this, I invite you to use this rope to do to me what I did to you."

Ahern looked at the rope and then at Sheik-ol-eslam.

"We don't do stuff like that," he said.

Those were the days.