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Treating the enemy —
From WWII to war on terror

German POWs reflect on captivity in U.S.;
John Yoo defends legal opinions

“Wir sind gut behandelt worden – sehr gut behandelt worden.”
(“We were treated well – very well.”)
– Rudolf Krause, former German prisoner of war in the U.S.

Herr Krause was one of 20 former German POWs who returned to his former place of internment during World War II at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri.

In striking contrast to reports of abusive treatment at the U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, these former fighters from Field Marshall Erwin Rommel’s Afrika-Korps had nothing bad to say about their captors. Clearly, times have changed.

Recently released documents from the Bush era indicate that harsh treatment of captives was the order of the day. Former Vice President Dick Cheney asserts the past administration’s practices were essential to protect national security; and John Yoo, a lawyer from the Bush Justice Department, continues to uphold the legal rationale for the administration’s behavior.

See the SageLaw column, "Treating the Enemy," which includes a conversation with Krause and two other former German POWs.


Also see SageLaw coverage of the Chapman University debate on torture, featuring former Bush administration lawyer John Yoo. Online content includes analysis, documents and recent news updates.

Some highlights:

“If you completely rule out coercive tactics ... that is to say, ‘I am unwilling to do anything but read your Miranda rights and wait for the lawyer to show up,'  I’m afraid these kinds of arguments return us to the overlawyered, timid approach to fighting terrorists."
— John Yoo, University of California, Berkeley law professor

“The Office of Legal Council provided legal cover for torture.”
— Katherine Darmer, Chapman University law professor

“Waterboarding is not clearly illegal."
— John Eastman, Dean, Chapman University School of Law

“Torture should always be considered as breaking the law of nature.”
— Lawrence Rosenthal, Chapman University law professor

Also see the University of Massachusetts Press book, Religious Liberty in America: The First Amendment in Historical and Contemporary Perspective by Bruce T. Murray.

Religious Liberty in America is available at libraries throughout North America and Europe, and it may be purchased from the University of Massachusetts Press.

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