Over the weekend, I listened to Charles Krauthammer on "Inside Washington" discuss what I have come to call "The Krauthammer Scenario." Basically, it goes like this: If you knew that a nuclear device was going to explode somewhere in Washington, D.C. in thirty minutes, and you had a person in custody who knew the location of this device, why wouldn't you torture this person to obtain the information?
Why wouldn't I torture this person to obtain the information? Well, laying aside for the moment the numerous psychological studies that suggest torture is not the most effective method to obtain information, there are several reasons why I wouldn't.
- Assuming for a moment that you get this person to talk, they cough up an address: the intersection of 7th and D streets. But which one? There are four such intersections in the city. Can you summon enough manpower to search those four locations thoroughly? In thirty minutes? And then defuse the bomb? Doubtful.
- Charles has seen "The Peacemaker" too many times. Life is not a movie, Charles. The odds of finding a nuclear device and deactivating it in the time you give are somewhere between slim and none.
- Piling on to my #2 reason, this article from The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists is not very encouraging. From the conclusion:
Of course, even advance warning is no guarantee of success, given the difficulty of locating a hidden nuclear device and the limited time that may be available. A comment in the Nevada Operations Office's after-action report on [a recent inter-agency exercise in locating nuclear material] is chilling, not as a criticism of NEST members, with their diverse talents and dedication, but as an acknowledgment of a harsh reality. The report notes that it would be "a drastic mistake to assume that NEST technology and procedures will always succeed, resulting in zero nuclear yield."
Charles, I'd like to ask you a favor. You can continue being a schill for the current administration, but would you please refrain from nuclear speculation. You obviously have no idea what the heck you are talking about.