The act of interrogations is as old as war itself. For as long as there has been armies, there was a constant need to know the composition, location, and capabilities of the opposing forces. As Sun Tzu, the theoretical Chinese general and strategist once said in his Magnum opus “The Art of War”,

Knowledge of the enemy’s dispositions can only be obtained from other men.”

So what is an interrogation? In military context it is the process to where an individual, either willingly or unwillingly, is gleaned of information in order to answer pertinent intelligence requirements.

Really, it’s that simple. Despite this, there is much mystery, awe, and even derision among the public and military community as a whole concerning the value of interrogation in wartime. Much of this is due to the litany of books and movies that often spin tales of intrigue in order to better weave their story. Everyone has at least seen or heard of the T.V. series “24.” The protagonist, Jack Bauer, in his never-ending quest to stop some sort of terrorist or state-sponsored attack against the citizens of LA, resorts to seemingly ruthless but effective means to get the answers out of the obviously evil-looking bad guy. And the recent scrutiny over real life events such as“enhanced interrogation techniques” and “Abu Ghraib” only further muddies the water. But, truthfully, the art of interrogation is much more subtle and perhaps, procedural, than the media makes it out to be, particularly with how the U.S. Army currently mandates it.