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We made all possible preparations,
Drew up a list of firms,
Constantly revised our calculations
And allotted the farms,
Issued all the orders expedient
In this kind of case:
Most, as we expected, were obedient,
Though there were murmurs, of course;
Chiefly against our exercising
Our old right to abuse:
Even some sort of attempt at rising,
But these were mere boys.
For never serious misgiving
Occurred to anyone,
Since there could be no question of living
If we did not win.
The generally accepted view teaches
That there was no excuse,
Though in the light of recent researches
Many would find the cause
In a not uncommon form of terror;
Others, still more astute,
Point to possibilities of error
At the very start.
As for ourselves there is left remaining
Our honour at last,
And a reasonable chance of retaining
Our faculties to the last.
–W.H. Auden, Let History Be My Judge (1928) in: Collected Poems pp. 34-35.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
Percentage increase in the annual number of polio cases in Pakistan since 2005:
A bowl of 4,000-year-old noodles was found in northwestern China; and a spokesman for the Chinese Academy of Sciences said that “this is the earliest empirical evidence of noodles ever found.”
A federal judge sentenced the journalist Barrett Brown to 63 months in prison for sharing a link to information stolen from the private-intelligence firm Stratfor by a hacker in 2011. “Good news!” Brown said in a statement. “They’re now going to send me to investigate the prison-industrial complex.”
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”