ded reckoning

The Militaristic, Environmental, Telecom blog that doesn't know where it's going

28 June 2005

Truth Extraction

Lots of good and bad stuff written on terrorist/prisoner interrogation by people more in the know than I, but The Atlantic had a short article by Stephen Budiansky on how it used to be done. They just have an excerpt on-line here. The gist of it was that the Marine Corps Interrogator-Translator Team Association reprinted a report from WWII on how to interrogate Japanese prisoners by basically getting them to feel safe and buddy up to them.

I went out and found their site ( and found the PDF document the article talks about. A good read of historical interest, and if you ever have any wounded or recently captured soldier of the Imperial Army you need to talk to, it has some good points. Classic, conventional war interrogation tactics that will work in many areas of conflict but are not really relevant to Al Qaida.

Al Qaida training, zealotry (more than the Imperial Japanese Army even), and fanaticism has made the ITT job a lot harder. I would love to see us not torture anybody, but some tough interrogation has to occur to get information from the enemy.

Go read some of Heather MacDonald's articles on the subject in City-Journal, with details of how traditional techniques have not worked (
here, here, and here) and then read Andrew Sullivan for his more strict view that we've lost our soul on this subject.

Read and make up your own mind, don't just read the BS coming out of AI and HRW that is repeated without a critical eye by the press.