14 / CHRONICLESnlying low and staying out of trouble by not communicating.nEverybody had to get on the line and take the torture afternbeing caught because we had a civilization to build, ancivilization of Americans behind walls, a civilization ofnpolitical autonomy that had the courage to responsibly rulenitself with its own laws without contact with the parentncountry or its government in Washington for eight years.n(Thank God.)nWhen I started teaching philosophy at the Naval WarnCollege about four years ago, I commenced reading thenliterature of the Vietnam era and came across a startlingnessay about prisoner-of-war ethics by Harvard ProfessornMichael Walzer. This piece appeared about three yearsnbefore we were released and had as its central theme thensanctity of individual rights and how the individual prisonernhad no particular obligation to bother cooperating withnfellow prisoners in a clandestine organization because thenpoor incarcerated soul had enough to do following thenorders of the captors. Walzer could not have been morenwrong. To ignore a fellow captive in the pressure chamber isnto betray him. Anybody who has been there knows that anneighbor in the cell block becomes the most precious thingnon earth, a soul who deserves your care and cooperation nonmatter what the risk. I’ll try to explain some of the reasonsnwhy.nWhen you’re alone and afraid and feel your culture isnslipping away even though you’re hanging on to yournmemories—memories of language, of poetry, of prayers, ofnmathematics—hanging on with your fingernails as best youncan and yet, in spite of all your efforts, still seeing thenbottom of the barrel coming up to meet you and realizingnhow thin and fragile our veneer of culture is, when younsuddenly realize the truth that we all can become animalsnwhen cast adrift and tormented for a mere matter ofnmonths, you start having some very warm thoughts aboutnthe only life preserver within reach—that human mind,nthat human heart next door. You become unashamed to saynwhat you mean when your pal is being taken out for torturenfor being caught trying to get a message to you. You tapn”God bless you, Jerry,” or perhaps “I love you, Jerry.”nMan’s need for his fellows was certainly spotlighted innthose intense circumstances. We found ourselves overcomingnwhat is often billed as the natural selfishness of man,neven the survival instinct of man, by clinging to ideas likenUnity Over Self and the spirit of other similar axioms of ournorganization. The sting of guilt was taken out of thenprogram by the commonsense expedient of never keepingnsecrets from other Americans. No matter what we said ornwere forced to say under torture in the privacy of theninterrogation room, we routinely put out the details on ourntap code net. This was a natural for tactical defense andnexpediency, but its fallout in terms of expiation of guiltnfeelings was golden. We learned that the virtues of truthfulnessnand straightforwardness had their own reward.nBut there was more to being your brother’s keeper thannbeing rewarded in a practical sense. J. Glenn Gray, anprofessor of philosophy at Colorado College until his deathnin 1977, wrote of that special power of comradeship tonovercome man’s alleged basic instinct of self-preservation.nHe made his observations as a foot soldier on the Europeannbattiefields of World War II and recorded them in one of hisnnnbooks. The Warriors: Reflections on Men in Battle. I was at anconvocation at Colorado College (where three of my sonsnhave gone) when the president introduced me to this mannand his literature by remarking that Professor Gray was thenonly serious scholar of recent times to reflect deeply on hownmen behave in mutually shared danger, mutually sharednpressure. His book and my conversations with him the yearnbefore he died corroborated what I saw in Hanoi. Graynwrote:nNumberless soldiers have died, more or lessnwillingly, not for country or honor or religious faithnor for any other abstract good, but because theynrealized that by fleeing their posts and rescuingnthemselves, they would expose their companions tongreater danger. Such loyalty to the group is thenessence of fighting morale. The commander whoncan preserve and strengthen it knows that all othernphysical and psychological factors are little inncomparison. The feeling of loyalty, it is clear, is thenresult and not the cause of comradeship. Comradesnare loyal to each other spontaneously and withoutnany need for reasons. Men may learn to be loyalnout of fear or rational conviction, loyal even tonthose they dislike.nGray contrasts comradeship with friendship:nFriendship is not just a more intense form ofncomradeship. It is its very opposite. Whilencomradeship wants to break down the walls of self,nfriendship seeks to expand these walls and keepnthem intact. The one relationship is ecstatic, thenother wholly individual.nNothing is clearer than that men can act contrarynto the alleged basic instinct of self-preservation andnagainst all motives of self-interest and egoism. Werenit not so, the history of our civilization would bencompletely diflFerent than what it has been.nThe question is sometimes asked of those who have beennin high stress situations for long periods, “What kept youngoing?” “What was your highest value?” My answer is:n”The man next door.”nWhat about corollaries to this single, simple, oldfashionednidea? First, let’s talk about very recent history.nHow does what I’ve said track with the way we Americansnhandled the matter of the hostages in Iran? Did we creditnthem with that nobility of spirit, that pride of autonomy andnself-reliance that generates within a body of people ofngoodwill united in a common cause under pressure?nI don’t think we gave them a chance to generate thatnspirit. We played with them like rag dolls. We couldn’t keepnour hands off them, allowing American do-gooders tonparade them before TV cameras on holidays, arranging fornand executing piecemeal destabilizing early releases. (PresidentnCarter worked for and secured through Yassir Arafat ofnthe PLO the parole of some U.S. Marines in the first weeksnof the affair—Marines whose duty it was to remain withntheir embassy in accordance with the Code of Conduct.) Inngeneral, we seemed to proceed from the assumption that ancaptive embassy staff was destined to become not a proudnautonomous band, but a bunch of pitiable lost sheep—n