Here's a net version of the KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation Manual, the CIA's 1963 guide for using "coercive" methods to get information from prisoners. It's interesting, but not entirely pleasant to read.

Meanwhile, GeekPress links to an article in The Atlantic on "The Dark Art of Interrogation" that discusses some of the moral considerations surrounding the use of torture; Mark Bowden wonders whether there are ever situations in which torture is warranted, and he explores many different real-life scenarios. I tend to agree with his conclusion.

The Bush Administration has adopted exactly the right posture on the matter. Candor and consistency are not always public virtues. Torture is a crime against humanity, but coercion is an issue that is rightly handled with a wink, or even a touch of hypocrisy; it should be banned but also quietly practiced. Those who protest coercive methods will exaggerate their horrors, which is good: it generates a useful climate of fear. It is wise of the President to reiterate U.S. support for international agreements banning torture, and it is wise for American interrogators to employ whatever coercive methods work. It is also smart not to discuss the matter with anyone.

If interrogators step over the line from coercion to outright torture, they should be held personally responsible. But no interrogator is ever going to be prosecuted for keeping Khalid Sheikh Mohammed awake, cold, alone, and uncomfortable. Nor should he be.



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