Burning Question: 'Windtalkers'
Q In the fact-based WWII drama Windtalkers, Marines used the Navajo language as code and recruited Navajos as code talkers. When did that stop?
A The U.S. military dropped the Native American code shortly after the war, due to less need for secrecy — and tech advances. ”Nowadays it’s all on tiny little chips,” explains David Kahn, author of The Codebreakers. ”They’d have walkie-talkie telephones, only these messages are instantly encrypted. If anybody intercepts it, they’re going to hear gobbledygook.” And, adds Kahn, cracking a digital code would take decades. Bemoans Windtalkers director John Woo: ”The whole world is so computerized. But the Navajos…used skill to win the war.” — Nancy Miller (Send queries to BurningQuestions@ew.com)