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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:
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
No Comment — March 28, 2014, 12:32 pm
On CIA secrecy, torture, and war-making powers
Average number of sitcom laughs an American hears during a prime-time season:
Nielsen Media Research (N.Y.C.)/Jim Drake, Night Court (Tarzana, Calif.)/Harper's research
Czech and German deer still do not cross the Iron Curtain.
British economists correlated the happiness of a country’s population with its genetic resemblance to Danes.
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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.”