As always with Rauch's work, this item is much worth reading even if you disagree with it.
the second major breakthrough that the CIA had came here in New York City at Cornell University Medical Center, where two eminent neurologists under contract from the CIA studied Soviet KGB torture techniques, and they found that the most effective KGB technique was self-inflicted pain. You simply make somebody stand for a day or two. And as they stand -- OK, you're not beating them, they have no resentment -- you tell them, "You're doing this to yourself. Cooperate with us, and you can sit down." And so, as they stand, what happens is the fluids flow down to the legs, the legs swell, lesions form, they erupt, they separate, hallucinations start, the kidneys shut down."
Does coercion work sometimes? Sure it does. If I beat you up, you may tell me what I want to know. But you may also tell me whatever you think I want to know, and quite obviously, there's no reason to think that I couldn't have gotten the info from you by standard tactics.
I'd appreciate seeing some bright lines from the people opposed to all the interrogation techniques outlined above, and perhaps to other techniques not mentioned.
And we get back to the question of what is the price of foregoing it and do we want to undertake it?
Rick Klein has a story in today's Boston Globe, tellingly titled "Congress in Dark on Terror Program," that notes that almost no members of Congress have the foggiest idea what is actually covered by the new "anti-terror" legislation being rammed through the Congress as part of the desperate effort by the Bush Administration to limit Republican losses in the forthcoming elections. "'I don't know what the CIA has been doing, nor should I know,' said Senator Jeff Sessions, an Alabama Republican." This is par for the course.
A central characteristic, seldom actually omitted from nonjudgmental accounts of Stalinism, was indeed torture. It was applied on a huge scale to produce a totally false picture of terrorism, sabotage, and espionage.
Even the ostensibly nonphysical methods used in 1936 are described by victims as both mentally and physically devastating. One man arrested briefly told me that the comparatively mild-sounding stoika, when a prisoner was kept standing against a wall for days, was hardly bearable. Torture is, one might say, a worse crime against humanity than killing.
This seems fairly self-evident to me -- non-uniformed combatants make the conscious choice to forego GC protections in exchange for the operational advantages conferred by anonymity
Nevertheless, many interrogators privately acknowledge that coercive methods that stop short of torture have proven effective in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In Afghanistan, for instance, interrogators who questioned prisoners early in the war complained that they had little success with straightforward approaches, and only began to get meaningful information from prisoners after embracing harsher methods, including short-term deprivation of sleep.
Looking up the first two definitions of crimes that occurred to me, murder and manslaughter (unlawful killing of a human being with or without malice, respectively), those definitions seem much clearer.
Anyway, how did you go from protesting the lack of libertarian spirit on this blog to warning against precision in law, lest the government be unable to lock up as many people?
Mark Field, straighten these folks out, would you?
Anyway, how about putting the question of what is the cost of foregoing harsh interrogation on the table?
That's quite a "given." And I just love how you glibly dismiss the Army Interrogation Manual, and with it the work of professional interrogators, who unlike us know personally what they're talking about.
Part of why [U.S. Marine] Sherwood Moran became such a legendary figure among military interrogators was his cool disregard for what he termed the standard "hard-boiled" military attitude. The brutality of the fighting in the Pacific and the suicidal fanaticism of the Japanese had created a general assumption that only the sternest measures would get Japanese prisoners to divulge anything. Moran countered that in his and others' experience, strong-arm tactics simply did not work. Stripping a prisoner of his dignity, treating him as a still-dangerous threat, forcing him to stand at attention and flanking him with guards throughout his interrogation—in other words, emphasizing that "we are his to-be-respected and august enemies and conquerors"—invariably backfired. It made the prisoner "so conscious of his present position and that he was a captured soldier vs. enemy intelligence" that it "played right into [the] hands" of those who were determined not to give away anything of military importance.
I don't see much interest in the question of whether we, as a nation, are willing to bear the cost of foregoing torture?
If the fact that war will inevitably kill innocent people is not a reason to avoid all war, why is the possibility of torturing innocent people a reason to avoid all torture?
The use of torture, or less aggressive techniques, Goldberg says, can be related to killing.
I find it amusing that not a single person here arguing against the faux strawman torture argument was willing to answer the questions about specific items being considered torture or not or being forbidden by the vague language of common article 3 or not.
The question is, are we prepared to undertake the cost of going without the information which could be gained through harsh interrogation? What are the costs likely to be and what do we choose?
Moran’s whole approach--and Hans Joachim Scharff’s, too--was built on the assumption that few if any prisoners are likely to possess decisive information about imminent plans. (And as one former Marine interrogator says, even if a prisoner does have information of the “ticking bomb” variety--where the nuke is going to go off an hour from now, in the classic if overworked example--under duress or torture he is most likely to try to run out the clock by making something up rather than reveal the truth.) Rather, it is the small and seemingly inconsequential bits of evidence that prisoners may give away once they start talking--about training, weapons, commanders, tactics--that, when assembled into a larger mosaic, build up the most complete and valuable picture of the enemy’s organization, intentions, and methods.
That question's been answered already.
Moran’s whole approach--and Hans Joachim Scharff’s, too--was built on the assumption that few if any prisoners are likely to possess decisive information about imminent plans.
... the torture techniques of North Korea, North Vietnam, the Soviet Union and its proxies--the states where US military personnel might have faced torture--were NOT designed to elicit truthful information. These techniques were designed to elicit CONFESSIONS. That's what the Khymer Rouge et al were after with their waterboarding, not truthful information.
Bottom line: Not only do waterboarding and the other types of torture currently being debated put us in company with the most vile regimes of the past half-century; they're also designed specifically to generate a (usually false) confession, not to obtain genuinely actionable intel. This isn't a matter of sacrificing moral values to keep us safe; it's sacrificing moral values for no purpose whatsoever.
Is it true that sexual assault would be allowable under the new rule?
`Sec. 950bbb. Rape
Any person subject to this chapter who forcibly or with coercion or threat of force wrongfully invades the body of a person by penetrating, however slightly, the anal or genital opening of the victim with any part of the body of the accused, or with any foreign object, shall be punished as a military commission under this chapter may direct. (emphasis added)
Torture is worthless as an investigative technique not because of the people who can still resist, but because of the flood of false positives.
Sticking one's fingers in one's ears and saying, "It's not torture! It's not! It's not!" is persuasive to oneself at best ....
It's the existence of people like JunkYardLawDog that make me question whether I am still in America.
What if you were falsely accused of rape, would your idea be so keen then?
For that matter, what if you were falsely accused of terrorism?
My suspicion is that you would suddenly develop a keen respect for the Constitution and Bill of Rights. That is if they were in existence in this hypothetical.
uppose, arguendo, that I agree with your definition of EC. Just who makes the determination that a particular person is an EC? What sort of procedural rights do they get? Can Rumsfeld just 'declare' that you are an EC or do you get to challenge the fact that (I presume) there is no factual basis for such a declaration?