News your connection to The Boston Globe

Bush's unsophisticated methods

ALL OF the approaches to interrogation supported by President Bush as "nontorture" (head slapping, freezing temperatures, water boarding) qualify as torture under international law ("Bush backs interrogation of suspects," Page A2, Oct. 6).

During my last year in Vietnam, 1968 to '69, I was in charge of US Air Force interrogation of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army prisoners. None of what Bush labels as legal was legal under the Geneva Conventions, to which the United States is still a signatory. US Army, Marine, and Army of Republic of Vietnam personnel were constantly amazed at the interrogation results produced by the Air Force, and we were never allowed to touch prisoners, let alone head-slap them. Every human being has needs, and we learned those needs and exploited them. Neither Bush's bullying approach in the Mideast nor his unlawful interrogation program has worked. Sophisticated psychological methods are not being used by the Bush people, so the alleged "nontorture" bullying will continue.

The writer is a retired lieutenant colonel, US Air Force.

More from