Col. David Hogg, commander of the 2nd Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division, said tougher methods are being used to gather the intelligence. On Wednesday night, he said, his troops picked up the wife and daughter of an Iraqi lieutenant general. They left a note: “If you want your family released, turn yourself in.” [Emphasis mine] Such tactics are justified, he said, because, “It’s an intelligence operation with detainees, and these people have info.” They would have been released in due course, he added later.
The tactic worked. On Friday, Hogg said, the lieutenant general appeared at the front gate of the U.S. base and surrendered.
UPDATE II: I posted the following in Tacitus’ comments (who thinks that the general’s family were “never hostages” and “no moral or legal oppobrium attaches”).
Tacitus is right; this tactic does seem to work in Iraq. I know that it also works in criminal cases in a number of countries. And we all know what kind of scumbags some criminals can be. So we should go ahead and promote this policy against criminals here in the US. If a criminal has disappeared and cannot be found by law enforcement, we take his family into custody until he gives himself up. If the scumbag then doesn’t confess, we threaten him about his family.
I can assure you that this will have a chilling effect on crime.
Also, read Aziz Poonawalla’s post.