September 3rd, 2013
TO: General Colin Powell
At the age of 14 I met Hilde Speer. She was a friend of Harriet Meier, the German foreign exchange student who lived with us in Michigan during the 1955-56 school year. Hilde was the first child of a Nazi bigshot I’d ever met. She stayed with our family for about a week, then returned to her still faltering nation. I don’t remember specifically what we discussed, only that since that time I became immersed in the history and, particularly, the crimes of the Third Reich. Hilde’s father, Albert Speer, having escaped the noose, was in his tenth year of a twenty year sentence he was serving at the Spandau penitentiary. After reading up on the Nazis for a week straight, I was still in wonderment at my two degrees of separation from such a criminal.
In 1969, along with about a million other Americans, I read Albert Speer’s memoir “Inside the Third Reich.” It was hugely popular and hugely false. But it wasn’t until Hilde’s friend, Gitta Sereny, wrote “Albert Speer: His Trouble with Truth,” that the public learned how effectively they’d been lied to. Until this book, I too had bought into Speer’s token tears and qualified admissions of wrongdoing. This was the mid-nineties, fifty years after the Nuremburg war trials had put nooses around the necks of a great many of those mass murderers. But not Speer. This time though, truth has been served. For one thing, Hilde made a point of reminding her father that he owed his family, himself, and posterity the real story. In “His Trouble with Truth,” Speer indeed paid his debt.
Alas, once again the public is owed an explanation for the lies a nation has told to the world. This time it was American officials who did the lying. General Powell, you are the man to set the record straight. Do not take this story to your grave! Tell us why you have been afraid. After all, we paid a trillion dollars and we deserve honesty. Can we trust Cheney, Bush, Condi, Rumsfeld, et al, to tell us? Sorry, rhetorical question. We cannot. You are our hope. If you do not come through, a massive opportunity will have been squandered.
(Do any readers know the most likely way to get this letter to General Powell?)