Robert Kaplan examines the ethics of interrogation and torture in the New York Times Book Review. Well worth reading in conjunction with Andrew Sullivan's overview. Kaplan, who has spent a lot of time with soldiers in the field, doesn't shy away from addressing an awful truth:

Interrogators can use many tools that do not involve actual physical abuse. They
spread rumours among detainees, wear them down through repetitive questioning
and threaten to turn them over to other intelligence services known to employ
torture -- all of which cause interrogators constantly to ask themselves where,
exactly, does the slippery slope toward real abuse begin? Sadly, it is no use
saying torture never works, because as the French authorities learned in
Algeria, as the Filipinos learned with their own Muslim insurgents and as the
Dubai authorities learned with a Qaeda terrorist, it periodically does work, and
in some instances can possibly avert a major attack. While it is true that the
threat of torture...induces more anxiety among detainees than torture itself,
that threat over time will carry little weight if it becomes widely known that
the jailers have no record of following through...A captured Qaeda manual even
advises Muslim prisoners that people in the West don't ''have the stomach'' for
torture, ''because they are not warriors.''
(If you want to sample more of Kaplan's other pieces, I've already posted links on
Fallujah and the media vs military.)

|||Clive|||http://clivedavis.blogspot.com/2005/01/torture-debate-robert-kaplan-examines.html|||1/23/2005 01:52:00 am|||||||||