OK, maybe this Internet-things isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

John Adams and Abu Ghraib

Maybe this Internet-thing isn't all it's cracked up to be.

This morning, one of columnists at our magazine sent his latest effort. A retired seminary professor and notorious Luddite, I'm not sure he even knows how to turn on a computer.

Despite this, and the fact that he writes every other month, he managed to find something essential to say about the Abu Gariab prison scandal-- something that all us Internet-savvy journalists and bloggers missed.

During the War of Independance, John Adams wrote a letter to his wife Abigial, complaining about the "continual Accounts of the Barbarities, the cruel Murders in cold Blood, even by the most tormenting Ways of starving and freezing, committed by our Enemies." (BTW, the letter is available online as well as in the "smeared ink on dead trees" format, where our columnist found it.)

"These Accounts harrow me beyond Description," Adams added.

Newsday, in a history of Long Island, did a story on some of the harrowing conditions aboard British prison ships. The piece reports thawhich reports that "More Americans died in British prison ships in New York Harbor than in all the battles of the Revolutionary War."

Adams' letter ends with what is known as known as the "Policy of humanty," which has helped shape American treatment of POWs ever since.

"Is there any Policy on this side of Hell, that is inconsistent with Humanity? I have no Idea of it," he wrote.

"I know of no Policy, God is my Witness but this -- Piety, Humanity and Honesty are the best Policy. Blasphemy, Cruelty, and Villany have prevailed and may again. But they won't prevail against America, in this Contest, because I find the more of them are employed the less they succeed."


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