Breaking Glass

Military Unintelligence

Letter From Paris

Nothing is riskier in life—at any rate, for those interested in discovering that elusive thing, the “truth”—than to assume that what one has personally experienced years ago can be a useful guide in judging present problems.  It is particularly true when the time gap between the two exceeds 50 years.  This said, I feel almost duty-bound, as a World War II G.I. who served for almost two-and-a-half years in the U.S. Army’s Military Intelligence Service (MIS), to say a few words about my own experiences, which might help to throw some light on the catastrophic crisis in information extortion that has overtaken us in Iraq.

In September 1943, while I was receiving basic training as an artilleryman at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, I was suddenly transferred to an MIS training camp located at Camp Ritchie, not far from Hagerstown and the Potomac River in northwestern Maryland.  The basic purpose of this camp was to train American officers and enlisted men in the subtle arts—which is how they should be regarded—of interrogating prisoners of war and of establishing useful contacts with anti-German resistance movements in countries that might be invaded by “liberating” U.S. forces.

I much regret today not having kept a diary—I was only 19 years old at the time and felt no burning desire to become a novelist—for the incredible goings-on in this American...

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