In a recent editorial for the Wall Street Journal, author of the Bush-era “torture memos” John Yoo warns against Obama’s closing of Guantanamo and effort to stamp out Geneva-unfriendly interrogation methods.
To wit, Yoo argues such moves will seriously impede the flow of intelligence that US officials are extracting from detainees. The second half of the op-ed is based purely on speculation, but it’s Yoo’s torture talk that has attracted attention, as he was, well, the Torture Guy — though was ambiguously dubbed “an official in the Justice Department” in the article.
Yoo cites questioning tactics the British and Israelis have used that sidestepped Geneva, but he fails to mention that these approaches were found “cruel, inhuman, and degrading” and removed from the toolbox in both nations. Some speculate that Yoo is just covering his ass against rumors of charges being brought against him.
How much torture is acceptable? It’s a question that Obama and co. will need to sort out. One intriguing suggestion is for an interrogator to go mano a mano with a detainee. The tactic is called “monstering,” and whoever breaks first — from lack of sleep, in a staring contest, by Foxy Brown exposure, etc. — loses. It could at least lend credence to the phrase “this waterboarding hurts me more than it hurts you.” Alan Dershowitz sees the debate as less ambiguous.