They Don't Make Them Like That Any More:
The New York Times has a fascinating obituary of Robert Rosenthal, a highly decorated WWII bomber pilot and a member of Justice Jackson's legal team at Nuremberg. Rosenthal was 89. Thanks to Peter Lattman for the link.
Mongoose 388:
R.I.P. and deservedly so. My one gripe, the column title is in error. We do still make them like that. Our current miltiary proves that. It's just that we make fewer and use them up in ill concieved ways.
5.1.2007 8:28am
Viscus (mail) (www):
Interesting post.

But I do think they still make them like that. Note the surge in military volunteers after 9/11. Remember Pat Tillman. Left a million dollar+ salary in the NFL to serve this country. Their are still some real patriots out there.
5.1.2007 12:50pm
Joanne Jacobs (www):
What jumped out for me was Rosenthal's response to an author who asked about the rumor that Rosenthal had family members in Nazi concentration camps:

When asked directly, he replied, "That was a lot of hooey."

He said: "I have no personal reasons. Everything I've done or hope to do is because I hate persecution. A human being has to look out for other human beings or there's no civilization."
5.1.2007 3:35pm
LawBlog Reader (mail):
Robert Rosenthal was one of a kind. Fortunately, America does indeed still make them like that, according to a Wall St Journal article last year about two American army officers in Iraq (one a lawyer):

For all of the grinding progress that Capt. Carter and Col. Benson have made in eight months in Iraq, there are stark reminders of how far they have to go. Some members of the Iraqi police still believe it is all right to abuse prisoners to secure a conviction. Last month, Col. Benson was discussing "Ali the Cable," the head of the police's counterterrorism unit, with another Iraqi police officer. "If the terrorists don't confess to their crimes, the judge will set them free. The only way to deal with these people is with the cable," said Col. Mustafa Mohammed Alwan, who heads the police department's rapid-reaction force, defending his Iraqi colleague.

"The way you are talking is Saddam's way," Col. Benson told his Iraqi counterpart.

The next day, Capt. Carter returned to the jail to take pictures of eight men who were detained by the Iraqi Army in October and accused of attacking a checkpoint. They included a school headmaster, a farmer, a construction worker, a high-school student, and a taxi driver. Each bore scars from where they said they had been whipped with a cable. Most had burn marks on their legs where they said an Iraqi Army major had placed electrodes and shocked them.

The youngest of the men said he was picked up on Oct. 3 and, after 12 hours of beatings, gave his torturers the names of the first seven people he could think of from his town, including his school headmaster. "He needs names so I gave him names," the teenager said.

The others were arrested on Oct. 4 between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. The men, all Sunnis, said they were beaten, shocked and urinated on by the Iraqi Army major, who is a Shiite.

They told Capt. Carter they had been tortured for about a week at an Iraqi Army base. Then they were taken to a police station and beaten again until they agreed to sign confessions. They had been languishing in Iraqi prisons ever since, they said. Capt. Carter snapped pictures of their scars and praised them for coming forward before they were taken back to the jail.

"When there is no rule of law, there is the rule of force. This is what we are trying to change," he said.
5.1.2007 3:57pm
michael (mail) (www):
I don't know how often they have them in, but the Air Force Academy had members of the Eighth Air Force to the Academy one day about 7 years ago. My son said he helped one of the fellows get his butter out of the little tub; he said this sympathetically while observing what a difficult duty assignment the Eighth Air Force had. Somebody else will have better figures, but I recall it as having lost a division, 20,000 men, out of the sky. People talk about being 'humbled' by inclusion in.. but the cadets felt humbled.
5.1.2007 9:39pm
SG (mail):
I agree with the other posters that they absolutely do still make them like this, witness the many Marines and soldiers in our all volunteer force who have volunteered to go to Iraq over and over again. If you want a lawyer example, I'd point to my friend (and fellow Marine) Capt Matt Wentd, an Asst DA in Oakland, who responded to Nick Berg's beheading by going back on active duty and spending 7 mos in Fallujah as an infantryman. There are countless examples like Matt, he's just one that I know well.
5.2.2007 12:22pm
I read the obit in the NYT when it appeared and had the same reaction as OK. It seems to me that the previous posters here engage too literally with the notion of "they don't make them like that anymore," taking it to mean that there are not people today who selflessly put their lives in danger in order to serve their country and others. Of course, there are, the question being whether our society produces them in the same numbers as it once did. I think not for a number of reasons, but that is entirely impressionistic, with no evidence other than the purely anecdotal (which can be met with counter anecdotal evidence).
5.4.2007 12:29pm