The Official Newsletter of The Al Benson, Jr. Website
28 May 2008
Stanton, Torture, and Military Prisons — Setting the Precedent
by Al Benson, Jr.
Author Nathaniel Weyl has agreed with Otto Eisenschilm’s view of what Edwin M. Stanton and company were all about. In The Battle Against Disloyalty he wrote: “In the Civil War and Reconstruction eras, the United States War Department bore some traces of resemblance to the Soviet secret police. It’s leaders were zealots who believed that, if the end didn’t justify the means, nothing else could.”
Colonel Baker, head of the National Detectives has been described by Weyl as “An enormously vain and unscrupulous person, Baker was also a congenital liar, intriguer, and twister.” Sounds like just about the right qualifications for an agent in the Lincoln administration. His boss, the venerable Stanton has been pictured as “A rude, rough, vigorous Oliver Cromwell sort of man, incapable of generosity to a prostrate foe, arbitrary, bad tempered and impulsive, double-faced, tyrannical, with an inordinate desire for office.” I wonder if those were his good points. Again, sterling qualities for a Lincoln administration member! In mentioning the Lincoln assassins (at least those we’ve been told about) Weyl observed that their trial “served as an opening move in deeply calculated positional play for something akin to a military dictatorship.” Something else our “history” books never bother to deal with.
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