“To make them fight the better, it seems they had been told that the Americans, against whom they were warring, were not (like the Europeans) Christians and gentlemen, but mere savages, a race of Cannibals who would not only tomahawk a poor Hessian, and haul off his hide for a drum’s head, but would just as lieve barbecue and eat him as they would a pig. “Vat! Vat!” cried the Waldeckers, with eyes staring wild and big as billiard balls, “Vat! eat Hessian man up like vun hock! Oh mine Got and Vader! vot peoples ever been heard of eat Christian man before. Vy! shure des Mexicans mush be de deble.”
“This was Hessian logic: and it inspired them with the utmost abhorrence of the Americans, to whom they thought the worst treatment much too good.”
I think we can see both British and Hessians in our own community — our community of Americans, who were the butt of such logic and such treatment centuries ago. So soon we all forget.
I was watching a documentary about the race to the moon this morning with my junior scientists. As Apollo 17 was about to go up, the director of manned flight, Dr. Farouk El-Baz, said to one of the astronauts, “I’ll give you a Koran for protection.” The astronaut replied, “Thanks! We need all the help we can get.”
Those were the people who could get to the moon and back, riding, it’s true, on the back of a huge military machine but performing astonishing feats of science and expressing benevolent wishes for peace on earth. And I know who’s to blame for dumbing Americans down.