Friday, May 21, 2004

A front-page article in the New York Times says that Abu Graib was run by people who had served in Afghanistan and who had brought the interrogation rules that applied there with them to Iraq. The difference is that al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters are not protected by the Geneva Conventions, which does apply—or is supposed to be applied—to prisoners in Iraq. (See the Gonzalez memo [PDF].) But does the fact that these so-called interrogation “techniques” (more commonly known as torture) work change anything? No. It’s not that Afghanistan, where high-value terrorists are tortured to save lives and rightly so, and Iraq are different. In Iraq, we mostly deal with Sunni insurgents and Sadr’s thugs; not the kind of people we ought to torture for information. But say we do capture someone important in Iraq, say al-Zarqawi. He would not and should not be entitled certain rights under the Geneva Conventions. The use of torture is limited to a small and specific group of people, and not a certain geographical area.

(Minor editing.)


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