Michael Yon makes an important point about how deeply American decency was understood in Europe and elsewhere in the wake of the Greatest Generation:
Before I lived in Germany and Poland for about six years, the Army taught me German and some Polish. And so there were countless conversations with older Germans and Poles, and I heard earfuls of stories. The older Germans were very respectful toward our "Greatest Generation," but pretty much hated the Russians because of their brutality. The theme nearly always drifted to the very humane treatment we afforded German prisoners, while the Russians killed them off. We even had German prisoners working on farms, and after the war, many Germans returned and married American women! But the Poles didn't like the Germans or the Russians because of the very same reasons. They had been mistreated, but the Poles have great respect for America because we treated them well. Americans are extremely welcome in Poland, but that place sure is cold.
This was dinned into me too as a young European. I knew what America was, and how it was different: whatever criticisms you could have, America didn't torture. No one can say that any longer.
If you want to know why I remain incensed at Dick Cheney, this should help.
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