Friday, June 08, 2007

A Torturer Repents?

The Tortured Lives of Interrogators -
Then a soldier's aunt sent over several copies of Viktor E. Frankel's Holocaust memoir, 'Man's Search for Meaning.' Lagouranis found himself trying to pick up tips from the Nazis. He realized he had gone too far.

At that point, Lagouranis said, he moderated his techniques and submitted sworn statements to supervisors concerning prisoner abuse.

'I couldn't make sense of the moral system' in Iraq, he said. 'I couldn't figure out what was right and wrong. There were no rules. They literally said, 'Be creative.' '

Lagouranis blames the Bush administration: 'They say this is a different kind of war. Different rules for terrorists. Total crap.'
I read the same book by Frankel for freshman class in college. I don't remember thinking of the torture mentions as anything to learn from beyond the cruelty of man to man. But then, I'm not a torturer.

As to that, it would seem that inhuman situations easily lead to inhuman responses. Lagouranis is an American and was told by his superiors to "be creative" in the pursuit of information at all costs. Of course, the quality of information gained by torture is less than useful for anything other than being able to say it was gained. Like the use of torture in the Spanish Inquisition or any other witch-hunt conflagration, it becomes an end in itself. It is not a "true" interrogation technique since it does not produce useful information in most cases, and even the rare occasions when it does are so random as to be of no value anyway since they cannot be depended upon, or even evaluated, until verified by other means which would have sufficed in the first place.

The ends can never justify the means. Once we begin to use the methods we assign to our enemies, we become like them and have lost the real war.

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