I have been a participant in an onging discussion of this topic with several former colleagues.
One of these is Frenchman. As such, and as a former professional Soldier, some of his references have been to the French methodology in their various war/terrorist involvements. He sent me a link to this article as background for our discussion. This article, while a bit long, provides interesting insight into several aspects of this question.
Why use torture? Who does the torture? What are the results of the torture? What makes a person justify the use of torture?
Keep in mind that, in this scenario, we are not speaking of sadism and random brutality. This article referrs to the use of torture in a clearly defined military application. There is no hiding behind balaclavas, no scream of ‘religious exhaltations’ while severing the head of a civilian with a dull knife.
I post this to examine some of the historical aspects of this part of war. And in particular a war against terrorists who target civilians - men, women & children - in their attacks.
[quote]Torture to Prevent Terrorism? Interview with a French Master Torturer
By Martin Brass
Note: This article was first published in late 2001. International Law, and French and U.S. law have changed since the Algerian-French conflict. Updates will follow in future articles.
"he United States is being forced to face one of the most difficult decisions of its relatively brief history: how to deal with terrorists that have infiltrated not only the United States, but dozens of other industrialized nations. Time is of the essence. Americans anxiously wait in trepidation, hoping for the best, but expecting the worst. That is terror. But the alternatives are equally shocking. The effectiveness of massive military retaliation is uncertain, and civilian deaths are inevitable. There is resistance to the United States suffering the casualties involved in another foreign ground war. "
" In Morocco in 1942, an air force officer, Captain Delmas, had warned Paul Aussaresses: “Do you know what you risk in entering the special services?”
“Yes, my captain, I risk being killed.”
“My poor sir, when you are killed, you are relieved, because you may be tortured before you are blown away. Torture, you see, is less merciful than death.”
Captain Paul Aussaresses subsequently was briefed by the Chief of Police of Algiers, in 1955.
“Imagine for an instant that you are opposed to the concept of torture and you arrest someone who is clearly implicated in the preparation of a terrorist attack. The suspect refuses to talk. You do not insist. A particularly murderous attack is launched. What will you say to the parents of the victims, to the parents of an infant, for example, mutilated by the bomb to justify the fact that you did not utilize all means to make the suspect talk?”
"I would not like to find myself in such a situation,