To Torture or Not to Torture?

If a captured terrorist does not wish to talk about attacks that his colleagues are planning, should he be made to talk? If so, how? That’s the subject of my latest story, in the Week in Review section of The New York Times. As the story explains, “The line between legitimate interrogation and outlawed torture is ill defined, and the reluctance of governments to disclose what they are doing intensifies this murkiness. It is nearly impossible to know whether, in a fetid basement cell in Cairo or Amman or Islamabad or Kabul, a suspected terrorist is having his limbs broken to safeguard against terrorism. And it is just as hard to know whether such deeds, if they are occurring, will enhance long-term national security or fuel a desire for retribution against America.”

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.