The Second Version

22/11/06

About Torture

The unpleasant truth is that torture and related techniques (of which I'll talk later) do work. Not as well as in the movies, where a few seconds of pressure are enough to make criminals spill their beans; but neither they yield useless garbage as anti-torture absolutists say.

It is all a function of how well it's done.

In order to persuade someone to talk, the proper combination of carrot and stick has to be employed, as usual.

Yes, torture intended as severe physical or psychological torment produces disinformation at least sometimes, because people in serious pain are willing to do anything to make it go away. However, professional interrogators do know this, they aren't dumb sadists.

That is why interrogators developed less brutal and more subtle techniques to break one's resistance. These techniques go under the general name of coercitive interrogation, and are very varied. They are stress positions (uncomfortable positions such as kneeling while keeping your arms open at shoulder level); loud music - often of a type or subject particularly disliked; hot or cold rooms; cold showers; sleep deprivation; strip-tease or lap-dance numbers (for gynophobic prisoners); forced proximity with objects or animals regarded as unclean; insults and harsh comments on virility or sexual prowess or deeply held beliefs; clever tricks (such as making the prisoner think they are in a different place, or they have lost the war etc); threats of violence and up to fake executions (such as shooting a pistol close to the prisoner's head) and techniques like waterboarding, which is a fake drowning. It is also up to the interrogators to modify, adapt and improve their techniques for specific conditions.

There is no doubt that being subjected to these methods is unpleasant, but that is a feature, not a bug. It is necessary to put some pressure onto people to make them reveal information they want to keep secret instead. And these techniques work, leaving the subjects I won't say untouched but less damaged than with an iron maiden, for example. And I would be more than willing to force even in innocent Muslim to listen to Christina Aguilera at ludicrous volume if it can prevent my men from falling into an ambush.

It seems that the very definition of torture is being diluted and dumbed down to incorporate about everything done by American interrogators. Of course, there are vast grey areas, but in my opinion it is ridiculous and dishonest to put "sexual harassment" in the same league with amputation of limbs. And please don't ask me why, ok?

And now a few words on the prisoners themselves. Jihadis aren't teenage pickpockets. They are religious fanatics convinced that fighting the infidel by any means is their duty and glory. Nearly all of them are strongly determined, though, mean and deeply hostile. At least some received training, even anti-interrogation, and have combat experience. They won't talk if you just ask pretty please; more likely they will stab you in the back if you just let the guard down. Remember Nikita and her pencil? Jihadis have done that and worse.

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4 Commenti:

  • I wish we had a little more backbone in this country (US) to do what we must in order to protect ourselves. But no. Torture or even torture light such as waterboarding, can’t be practiced by our security forces.

    Di Blogger Rancher, Alle 23/11/06 00:05  

  • Of course, I recommend coercitive interrogation to be used with great care. Because there is a definite possibility of sliding into routine brutality, and that's ugly.

    Di Blogger Fabio, Alle 23/11/06 13:30  

  • Sadly, I generally agree with you on this one. I wrote a post about it.

    Tortured about torture!

    Do you have a link which proves that torture works, btw?

    Thanks!

    Di Blogger Red Tulips, Alle 29/11/06 12:52  

  • Links... I recall the recent story that useful information about jiahdis in the West was obtained in Pakistan (or was it Egypt?) with rather harsh methods. Then lots of anedoctal evidence, whose sources I can't locate now.

    Di Blogger Fabio, Alle 29/11/06 18:07  

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