Torture v. McDonalds
December 11, 2012
A selection from the book, “500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars,” by Kurt Eichenwald.
“The detainee was a very bad guy. His file revealed that he was a hard-core terrorist and had been aggressively resistant to questioning. But manhandling and humiliating him were guaranteed to fail, [Colonel Larry] James [ a Guantanamo psychologist]knew.
“When he held the promised review with the interrogator, James asked him how it was going. ‘Sir, the problem is that the fucker won’t talk to me,’ he replied. Okay, James said. He asked what the detainee was being fed. The same meals that soldiers in the field get….nothing hot, nothing particularly tasty, but good enough.
“’Here’s what I recommend,’ James said. Go to the base McDonald’s and pick up a fish sandwich. Then buy a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue at the PX….Muslim or no, the man hadn’t seen a woman in a year. [Don’t give him this stuff but] go into the interrogation booth and eat the sandwich. Have some pistachios and tea as well. Read the magazine. Don’t ask the man a single question, don’t yell at him. Do the same thing for three days….At the end of the week, bring an extra fish sandwich. Let’s see what happens.’
“It worked. When the soldier arrived with the extra sandwich, he casually handed it to the detainee. He let him have the magazine. Slowly, the prisoner warmed up to his former tormentor. He started talking, revealing useful intelligence.
“A meal from McDonald’s had pulled off what a year of abuse had failed to achieve.”