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Sunday, July 29, 2007



Yesterday, Oliver North in his War Stories program on Fox News Television related the story of 7 or 8 spies who were apprehended in 1942. A German U-Boat dropped off about 7 German spies somewhere on the shores of the Carolinas. These men tied up with an American citizen who was to assist them in some espionage work here in the US.

Eventually one of them, and I do not remember whether it was the US citizen alerted the authorities. Eventually all were apprehended and, since this happened on US soil they were not considered prisoners of war to be treated as such according to the Geneva Convention, but rather as spies. President Roosevelt decided to bring them before a military tribunal which convened in Washington, DC., something which had not occurred since Lincoln’s presidency.

Although one of the prisoners alerted the authorities and another cooperated fully in the trial, they were all found guilty and sentenced to death, I believe in the Electric Chair. President Roosevelt commuted the sentence of the informer to 30 years and the other who cooperated to life imprisonment. Within one week, the other men were executed. There were no long term appeals; they were summarily executed, as they should have been according to custom for individuals convicted of espionage.

Unfortunately, today this swift justice cannot occur. By the time slick lawyers get through with their appeals as the law allows them to do, years have gone buy and nothing gets done.

Just within the past week, a Taliban criminal who was know to have committed crimes on the battlefield of Afghanistan and had been imprisoned in Guantanamo but released several years ago to return to fighting in Afghanistan blew himself up as they were ready to recapture him again. Why was he allowed to go free in the first place? Essentially, we are unable to handle the enemy so they will not return to kill us again. As in my previous Blog, we are unable as a people to do the necessary things to win the war on terror. And as a consequence, we will be defeated by an enemy who has more guts than we.

What happened to the leaders like Roosevelt who know how to handle the ready present danger in a manner to insure the spies will not return to perform their dastardly espionage again.

And now for “The End of the Story:” President Truman commuted the sentences of the two men, one who got 30 years and the other who got life. After the war he released them and returned them to Germany. I never thought Truman was that smart. In my opinion he was the second worst president in my lifetime. President Carter definitely taking the first place in being the worst. Truman was never able to handle Stalin who made circles around him. Truman talked tough, but he was completely inept in world affairs and it was he who allowed the Iron Curtain to go up. The only contribution to the world lexicon was his famous request: “Oh, please give me a one armed economist.” The rest of his presidency was a disaster. Part of this was probably due to the fact that Roosevelt never clued him in to what was happening in the world. After Roosevelt’s death, those in the know had to inform Truman of the Manhattan Project – the creation of the atom bomb. He was completely unaware of the project while as Vice President.

I tend to digress. As I was saying, we need to develop a will to deal with espionage, traitors, and our enemies. Following this we need to put into place a plan of action to deal with these matters effectively to remove our enemies so that they will not return to commit the same crimes and to deter others from even trying.

But somehow, I do not believe we can do it. So hang on folks, it is going to be a very bumpy ride.

nicola michael c. Tauraso, M.D.


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