children stranded at the bus station waiting for a parent toncome and take them home.nAmericans don’t seem able to grasp the politics andnpsychology of terrorism and hostage taking. After the Popenwas shot, the papers were full of thoughtful reflections andnpredictions by informed people. Their message was that thisnage will be the age of terrorism and hostage taking.nA better explanation of my thoughts on the recentnhostage issue was in the Washington Post on Sunday,nJanuary 25, the day the main body of hostages arrived backnin the United States. I entitied my article “ExtortionistnTheatre.” I see this whole scene as a modern art form, a vilenart, but like most arts, fed and supported by its audience. Ofncourse, actors are needed, too. In the recent show, Americanfurnished both the actors and the audience. The hostagesnwere on camera, our squeamish President was publiclynagonizing and assuring the world and the Iranians that nondamage would be inflicted on the theatre, and the Americannman-on-the-street demanded and got his daily dose ofnseveral hours of hostage soap opera. To any outlaw group orngovernment with that natural bent for extortion, this wholenscene spelled one thing: gold mine! Just swoop in and grab angroup of Americans, get the show in the news, get the handsnwringing and the tears flowing, and write your own ticket.nSome countries know how to stop this. If you’re interested,ncheck with Israel.nA second corollary could also become a public policynissue. How does what I’ve said track with the wellintentionednsuggestion I sometimes hear that goes somethingnlike this: You military prisoners went through hellntrying to protect information that wasn’t worth it andnrefusing to make statements against your government thatnwere no worse than those Senator Fulbright was making.nLet’s get smart. Forget the Code of Conduct. Tell the worldnwe’ve instructed our prisoners to say or write anythingnthey’re asked to say or write. That way we would defuse thenwhole torture and isolation situation.nLet me tell you that the enemy extortionists would reallynlike that solution. With resistance brushed aside, theynwould just dig deeper and play even more lethal games withnfear and guilt. Don’t kid yourself into thinking they’re goingnto start with an antiwar statement in a candy store situationnlike that. More likely, subjects for their first assignednprisoner essays would be: “Why I know that capitalismnmade my mother a whore” or “Why I believe it is everynprisoner’s duty to inform on his fellow Americans.” In anprison civilization, covert or overt, a person’s most prizednpossession is his reputation with his peers. Right off the bat,ndissension would dominate the scene because most goodnpeople will just not stoop to self-imposed degradation. Atnleast half would refuse to write anything. Who’s going tonorder them to follow this proposed new U.S. governmentnpolicy? Are you going to ask the senior prisoner to do that?nYou would never get me to do that. You can’t get out of thisnpredicament by making it optional, either. This oft-heardnproposal has an inherent logic that drives captives towardndestructive guilt feelings and disunity. Togetherness wouldngo, self-respect would go, and the prison civilization wouldnbecome an animal farm. It has been said that you can’tnlegislate morality. You can’t legislate degradation either.nMy message on this corollary is: You can’t make a good mannunder pressure finesse evil, no matter how smart it seems.nA third corollary also focuses on conventional smartness.nHow does what I’ve said track with the fact, which Ingenerally believe to be the truth: Well-applied torture canneventually make any man give up particular facts that theninterrogating ghoul knows he knows. When confrontednwith this, the smart money guys from the big easy world ofnyackety yack might say: “When you know your enemy is onna winning wicket, why resist?”; “It defies common sense tonresist—save your strength for something important”; orn”Don’t fight City Hall.”n’My point is that people of goodwill under pressure andnunited in a common cause do fight City Hall. (ThanknGod.) When the cool, rational smart money skepticsnchallenge the united sacrifice in this example, severalnanswers are possible.n* A practical answer: It’s the only way to go in annextortion environment—everybody makes ’em hurtnhim. The ghouls don’t like to have to hurtneverybody. They don’t like to be reminded of ournunity. Furthermore, when you see how frustrated itnmakes ’em, it makes you like to live with yourselfn* An Aristotelian answer: Man is not a package ofnon-off switches; he is not at his base some sort ofnbinary computer. Compulsion and free will canncoexist. To give up just because you know you can’tnachieve total success is a form of determinism. Indon’t subscribe to environmental, genetic, or anynsimplistic determinism. Will is the thing. Mannmakes his character here on earth. I am the masternof my fate, the captain of my soul.n* My answer: Loyalty to the group. I have anreputation to uphold with them. I can’t let themndown. They are my country. They are my family.nI’m not a kid stranded in the bus station trying tonminimize the pain while I wait for my motherncountry to come and pick me up.nFinally, there is one corollary that falls out of that ecstaticnrelationship that comes as a surprise to most of us. I’mnpicking up on the suggestion that I would have more to saynabout disillusionment. I’m going to talk about how easy it isnfor a well-intentioned person to commit a cruelty ofndisillusionment under pressure.nIt’s important here to interject the fact that we in thosenprisons were not an unsophisticated group. We were almostnall fighter pilots, all had bachelor’s degrees, and more thannhalf of us had at least one advanced degree. At least mostnwere sophisticated enough to know that as intelligent peoplenwe should be able to cope with tentativeness and commitmentnat the same time, much as Aristotie would have usncope with the ideas of free will and compulsion at the samentime. What I’m saying is that by and large we were able tonaccommodate commitment unto death and freedom ofnthought simultaneously. Political or religious orthodoxynwas not a requirement for joining the club. But I think wenall tacitiy agreed that insensitivity and lack of restraint in thenexpression of destabilizing personal views to others werenvery poor form.nNevertheless, I saw unintentional cruelty of disillusionmentnkill a rare sort of depressed and thoughtful man. YounnnAPRIL 1986/15n