This isn't Pat's claim here, but I think we need to keep it in mind in the so-called debates over torture.
The collection of useful data does not in itself imply torture as a means. But useful data from torture implies the broad use of torture.
With the earsplitting din of the current debate about whether to use torture in interrogating terrorist prisoners, it may be helpful, even educational, to define what an interrogation is, and how it is properly carried out, as opposed to the disagreeable prospect of torturing information out of prisoniers, a practice which would puke up America's record of promoting human rights..
According to retired a former very senior CIA official, interrogation is, in the first place, a function of counterintelligence which he defined as: “A huge research effort that involves consulting of massive and detailed files.” It is the data in those files that plays the key role, the official said. How the data is applied and used, especially the timing of its use, depends on the perceptiveness, the sensibility, the sheer artistry of the interrogator, he said.
This entirely rules out the use of kind of outright brutality.One of the U.S. Army’s top spycatchers, retired Army Col. Stuart Herrington, who has interrogated suspects ranging from henchmen of former Panama strongman Manuel Noriega, to Vietcong operatives and Soviet double agents, said to me: “It is never proper to mistreat a prisoner.” In his book, “Stalking the Vietcong,” Herrington, a member of the Phoenix program in Vietnam, said: “One of the keys to securing cooperation of a source was to disarm him psychologically by decent treatment.” Herrington recently added, in an interview: “Nothing else works as well.”He said in addition: “There is basic human decency involved. The prisoner in front of you is a father, a brother or a son. He’s the same as you are, and I always asked myself, if I were in his place, how would I like to be treated.”...