Does Torture Work?

On a recent trip to Pakistan, I spent a fair amount of time with Jameel Yusuf, who heads a semi-official crime-fighting organization in Karachi. He described to me his interrogation of two members of a kidnapping gang: “When we get two guys, it is very nice, very easy. One guy was weaker so he broke really fast. I told him, `Look, I am going to torture you so much that you might die. We don’t bother about that because we have two of you. Whether a man in custody dies or not, who cares? You better save your life. The earlier you speak up the better; otherwise let’s see how much torture you can take. If you die we will throw you out. Who cares?'” For more about Yusuf and the unpleasant ways in which America’s allies are cracking down on suspected terrorists, click here or here for my cover story in this week’s issue of The New Republic.

Author: Peter Maass

I was born and raised in Los Angeles. In 1983, after graduating from the University of California at Berkeley, I went to Brussels as a copy editor for The Wall Street Journal/Europe. I left the Journal in 1985 to write for The New York Times and The International Herald Tribune, covering NATO and the European Union. In 1987 I moved to Seoul, South Korea, where I wrote primarily for The Washington Post. After three years in Asia I moved to Budapest to cover Eastern Europe and the Balkans. I spent most of 1992 and 1993 covering the war in Bosnia for the Post.