Saturday, June 11, 2005

Changing Times

No greater proof of our changed moral climate can be found than in the following quotations from C.S. Forester's tale of the 18th exploits of Admiral Hornblower:

"A senior officer perforce had to trust his juniors, while still carrying the ultimate responsibility. If [Leuitenant] Harcourt should blunder, if he should be guilty of some indiscretion leading to a diplomatic protest, it would certainly be true that he would wish he had never been born; Hornblower would see to that. But Hornblower would be wishing he himself had never been born, too.]

"[To prevent a war, Hornblower had been forced to lie. ] He had ceased to be a gentleman. He was disgraced. Everything was at an end. He would have to resign his command; he would have to resign his commission. How would he ever face Barbara [his wife]. When little Richard grew up and could understand what had happened, how would he ever be able to meet his eyes."

Today, of course, a dozen enlisted men may be found guilty of abusing and torturing prisoners, and not one officer will be reprimanded. A chief financial office might cook the books and his billionaire superior found blameless. As for lying, t'is the surest way to promotion in the Bush Administration.

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