Monday, December 12, 2005

Torture or Military Necessity?

Many years ago, at the very beginning of our involvement in Viet Nam, I had a graduate school acquaintance who had just returned from Nam. A Princeton graduate, he had enrolled while still in school in a program called, as I recall, something like the Platoon Leader’s class.

At any rate, when he graduated (with a major in French) he went into the Marines and from the Marines to Nam as an interrogator. He was a fluent French speaker after all.

I was interested in this…what sorts of questions he would ask, how he would develop the interrogation process, in general how he structured the whole process. “Good guys”- “Bad Guys” or what?

Rather bluntly I asked him, “How did you do that?”

With equal bluntness he said, “Electrically,” and moved on to other topics. I have no idea if he was dramatizing for the girl sitting with us, putting me on, or telling me a painful truth. I wouldn’t be surprised if it were the truth.

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