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Friday, May 14, 2004



The water boarding incident can only be classified as torture. It's a dilemma for me as I think we have to be tough on the Al-Qaeda and get maximum intel. But that cannot justify what is obviously torture.


Let’s say day after tomorrow our troops pick up two of the men who stood behind and chanted as Musab al-Zarqawi sawed off Nick Berg’s head. Zarqawi may or may not be in Fallujah, he may or may not be in Iraq, he may or may not be receiving assistance from Syrian and/or Iranian intelligence operatives, or he may be dead.

To what lengths can military interrogators go to extract information on al-Zarqawi, a man who has had a hand in the death of over 700? In the discussion on torture, few individuals have attempted to define coercive interrogation techniques that are effective and should be tolerated in a time of war.


1) I'd love to know your intelligence that proves that it was this so-called 'zarqawi' and 2) how you would know it was 'for certain' the two men involved in the acts. given the infiltrated level of the US armed forces in Iraq now and the notoriously terrible 'intelligence' they've relied on thus far [if the soldiers on the ground are to believed, and they would likely know a thing or two about that], well my guess is 50-50 if we went your route we'd be torturing an innocent Iraqi again(!).

miklos rosza

It's very much in dispute whether torture ever yields good intelligence. Certainly it didn't in Vietnam. (I direct anyone's attention to the fascinating books about his service there by retired Colonel Stuart Herrington, who later went on to become head of all foreign counterintelligence while stationed in Berlin.)

Darius Rejali, an Iranian now teaching at Reed College, also asserts that torture is "inefficient" at best. Most often it simply becomes a punishment or terror tactic, and meanwhile lowers the morale of all who engage in it.

Those tortured often either plausibly lie or tell you what they think you want to hear or become defiant while preparing themselves for death.

Alan Dershowitz and others have loosely spoken of hypothetical situations in which a given captured terrorist might be tortured in order to prevent some huge catastrophe, such as the explosion of a nuclear bomb, but those in possession of the best operational intelligence will almost certainly be the most highly motivated... and, given the nature of the enemy, perhaps the most ready for martyrdom.

And so the gathering of timely, "good" intelligence must proceed along different paths.


Did you notice that the white plastic chair in this photo is of the same type as Nick Berg was set in. I read that on Free Republic.

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