Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

It isn't the same America I knew

Nothing stays the same forever but I didn't expect to live long enough to see this country become what it is today. Had I died at 75 I wouldn't have. Change is inevitable, of course, and sometimes it is for the good and sometimes it isn't.
The old live-and-let-live way of American life faded away many years ago. People began having agendas, personal and group crusades, and more often than not the changes they favored trampled on the rights of others. At first we didn't pay much attention until gradually it became the norm and now is seen as an accepted part of life. "My way is the right way so everyone should do as I do and act as I act," that attitude has become so commonplace that people believe it has always been that way. It hasn't.
To me the most disturbing change is the government's way of treating prisoners. We don't torture, the president says, so apparently he has coined a new word for the practice. He says Americans expect nothing less than what is being done so they will be safe and secure. From whom? Not from ourselves if we use terrorist methods.
We didn't have to resort to torture in the past even though our enemies may have. Three former World War II soldiers who had the job of interrogating German prisoners were on the TV news yesterday. To a man they were appalled by the methods used today. How did they do it? By gaining confidence, by quietly talking, by playing games of chess and ping-pong until the prisoner was ready to provide accurate information. Torture leads a man to say whatever his tormentors want him to say. At best the information is suspect.
Anyone who believes today's prisoners are worse than those Germans needs to study history. Members of the Gestapo could have given lessons in methods of torturing. Other Germans were operating death camps where millions of innocent people died. They were far worse than any of America's present enemies. But valuable information was gained from German prisoners by treating them well, gaining their confidence and even playing games with them. We didn't resort to using their methods.
If you employ the means used by your enemy you are no better than him. You may claim to be right, but if you resort to torture you are wrong. You may claim to hold the moral high ground but you don't. You have stooped to his level and any fight has become a matching of one evil against another. That isn't, or never was until now, the American way.


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