at Annapolis in 1943, ultimately to rise to become chairmannof the Joint Chiefs of Staff in time to face perestroika when itnwas new — told me that one of the best things about thentotal newness of it all was that there was no man in the worldnto whom George Shultz could turn for advice. He said younwere just asking for trouble if you started fumbling aroundnwith somebody locked into Cold War—particulady oldnCold War — ideas.nI know Bill well enough to know that he did not mean henadvocated some kind of “new age” thinking, or new moralncodes, or that he thought there was any metamorphosis ofnhuman nature going on about the world. He was talkingnabout the wheels-spinning—rand sometimes hard feelingsn— of getting mixed up with people who are out of itntactically. (On football tactics I mentioned some thoughts ofnmy old friend Woody Hayes to my new friend Bill Walsh anfew years ago when he had me traveling with the 49ers, andngot a dose of those same vibes. Good parallel: Acheson wasnto Shultz as Hayes was to Walsh.)nWhat about case studies of post-Cold War temptations tonmake knee-jerk commitments of American will, treasure,nand perhaps blood, in support of those who cry out innfreedom’s name? The Tiananmen Square episode in Chinanand the Lithuanian separatist efforts are typical of what wencan expect more of, but thankfully not very exciting tonrecount from the American scene because PresidentnGeorge Bush has had the good sense not to overreact tonsignificant public cries for “action.”nMy reaction to such episodes is permanentiy affected bynmy firsthand observations of human nature in prison.nThe drive by the timid to become “part of the action” whennmonolithic power blocs start to give ground is I believe anperennial trait of human response to unexpected restraint onnthe part of the mellowing vicious. Their cries are particularlynappealing to Americans who remember inscriptions onnsuch monuments as the Statue of Liberty, and nationalnpolicies that had applicability in the past (the TrumannDoctrine comes to mind), and who feel awkward and asknthemselves “why are we just standing around?” when distantncries for rallying against tyranny are heard. Intervention,nwhen long-term trends bode improvement, and particularlynin the absence of a clear-cut serving of our national interest,nis in my mind foolhardy. A true story might make my viewsnunderstandable.nWhat we faced in the prisons of primitive communistnNorth Vietnam was a twisted version of the confinementnregime of their own convicted civilian enemies of the state,nas they were kept in the high security prisons of that hybridnAsian/Marxist culture. We and their lifers had really twonthings in common: first, we had no rights. It sort of took younaback no matter how many times you heard it — and it wasnoften said in response to our demands for such basicnminimum standards as food, water, air, the sight of anothernAmerican, a torture-free existence. But “you have no rights”nwas not shouted as though it was a just retribution for beingna war criminal — it was said calmly, often with bemusement,nby a commissar truly perplexed to think that any criminalncould imagine a just prison being operated otherwise.nSurprised that I use the word “criminal” without a littlenspeech about the moral indignation of it all? They prettynmuch beat that out of you. They couldn’t make you feel likenyou were one, of course, but you just have the strength tonstand on your dignity on a finite number of issues, andngenerally speaking, this one was a wheel spinner. Thensecond thing we were told we had in common with domesticncriminals was a severe social maladjustment, and that thenpurpose of our imprisonment was to rid us of our chronicnpropensity for antisocial behavior. In any sort of argument,nthe relationship between us and our interrogators was heldnto be the same as the relationship between us and ournpsychiatrists back home. This last idea comes from thenMarxist-Leninist side of their house, of course. The idea ofnno human rights for evildoers might come from the orientalntradition. We got used to the idea that the whole regime wasna kind of weird amalgamation of those two orientations.nI said this was a twisted version because they had a third-,npayoff side, to this thing of holding American prisoners: wenwere to be manipulated and used as propaganda agents,nsuppliers of military secrets, and informers on one anothern(organized resistance was the highest crime in their book).nSo they kept the natural leaders in solitary, and through antrip-wire system of interwoven absurd regulations (like neverncommunicating with an American not your cellmate) theyndevised “punishment” regimes for those caught in violationn— which were in effect private torture sieges for extractingnmilitary information, propaganda statements, and details ofnthe prison underground. Not much new in the above iprnmost of you. But how did American prisoners respond innthis regime?nVery few acted dishonorably, that is, as informers on fearnalone, without torture. The ringleaders of our undergroundnresistance were another special breed, and of course on thencompletely opposite end of the behavior spectrum. Fornnumbers, I’m talking maybe 2 percent informers, and 10, ornmore like 8 percent true hard-line ringleaders, plotters, andnimplementers of tactics for the captor’s biggest “no-no,”norganized resistance. The Vietnamese had names for thesengroups. The first were “willings,” the latter “diehards.” Thenbig third category, the broad floating majority, the Vietnamesencalled (optimistically) “partial willings.” From the Vietnamesenviewpoint, the “willings” were in their pocket, then”diehards” were hopeless — ultimately to be exiled into oldnFrench outlying dungeons rehabilitated for that purpose,nand the “partial willings” (even after three or four years ofnpunishment and coaxing), were still considered unreliablenbut worth working on. (By these identifiers, they hadnconstructed a model of a Marxist society — the middlengroup had to be worth working on or their revolutionaryntheory was invalid.)nActually, as the diehards saw them, “partial willings”nwere, first and last, the broad target group we werencontinually trying to rally into our fold, though theirnpersonalities and drives varied all the way from near-diehardsnto the honorable timid, who would go along with organizednresistance but would seldom instigate it.nDid the diehards accomplish anything? Yes; they were thensoul and conscience of the prison society. They includednthe men who commanded the prison underground (thesenwere the seniors, but not all the seniors). And they includednself-selected standout juniors who goaded the ringleadersninto ever-strengthening the rigor of our rules of minimumnnnNOVEMBER 1990/25n