Saturday, December 24, 2005

Doing the Right Thing to An Iraqi Insurgent

The United Nations Human Rights Advocate General, the UNHRAG for short, stood next to CIA Operative #1 in a dimly-lit room. They were looking through a one-way mirror at a man sitting on a metal chair. The man was an Iraqi caught with a beige Lands End canvas satchel containing six C4 plastic explosive rectangular bars as he was driving alone in a beat-up blue Toyota pickup truck on the outskirts of Baghdad. CIA Operative #2 was circling the Iraqi, round and round, walking methodically, staring down at the Iraqi, who was looking down at the concrete floor, his hands jittery on his knees.

“The lights are too bright,” said the UNHRAG.

“The ceiling fluorescents are too bright?” asked CIA Operative #1.

“Fluorescents cause headaches. Can you dim them?” asked the UNHRAG.

“There’s just an on-off switch,” said CIA Operative #1.

“Do you have a pair of sunglasses? Or maybe a hat with a brim. Also, he may be thirsty. When was the last time he had something to drink?”

“Fifteen minutes ago. We gave him a Coke.”

The UNHRAG glanced down at a case of Coca-Cola bottles lying on the floor behind him. “You mean one of those?” asked the UNHRAG.


“Un-chilled, room-temperature Coke? Yuck,” said the UNHRAG. “No wonder he looks miserable. I think you should ask your associate to stop circling our subject. He may be causing him stress.”

“He knows where they store the explosives. And the insurgents do not know we have this guy in custody. This is an opportunity. We must move quickly.”

“The subject is docile and poses no threat. All he has is information, if that. You will have to get it without techniques that we consider unethical. Now where are those sunglasses?”

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