06/06/05 - interrogation

In today's excerpt - Stephen Budiansky's article 'Truth Extraction' in the June 2005 Atlantic Monthly is notable in light of recent events and what should be our desire to exhibit our values even in war:

"[Recently] a small and fairly obscure private association of United States Marine Corps members posted on its Web site a document on how to get enemy POWs to talk.

"Marine Major Sherwood F. Moran, the report's author, noted that despite the complexities and difficulties of dealing with an enemy from such a hostile and alien culture, some American interrogators consistently managed to extract useful information from prisoners. The successful interrogators all had one thing in common in the way they approached their subjects. They were nice to them.

"Moran was writing in 1943, and he was describing his own already legendary methods of interrogating Japanese prisoners of war. More than half a century later, his report remains somthing of a cult classic for military interrogators. ... James Corum, a professor at the US Army Command and General Staff College ... says that Moran's philosophy has repeatedly been affirmed in subsequent wars large and small. 'Know their language, know their culture, and treat the captured enemy as a human being' is how Corum sums up Moran's enduring lesson."


Stephen Budiansky


'Truth Extraction'


Atlantic Monthly


June 2005
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