27 April 2011
Since our final APFT for airborne is tomorrow, we have the day off to rest. The rest of the class also finally had its dream come true: PT was cancelled (a day later than the rumor). Unfortunately, we still had to get up early in order to take our class photo. Despite overcast skies, the picture came out pretty well.
(You can easily pick me out without me needing to point out the row or anything.)
Class began with a two-hour session on war crimes. As a big fan of military history, I thoroughly enjoyed the historical perspective the class put on the current war crime framework. As we moved forward into the current scheme of things, the professor continued to use modern examples such as Kosovo, Abu Ghraib, and others to explore the boundaries of the law.
Next came a break in the action for a special guest lecturer on Joseph Holt, Abraham Lincoln’s TJAG. The lecture is part of a historical series that apparently occurs once a year around the same time, so I’m not sure if the July or October classes go through it. Overall, the lecture was interesting, but revolved more around current efforts to restore Holt’s home and name than any in depth investigation of his time as TJAG or his efforts in the military tribunal of the Lincoln assassination conspirators.
After an extended lunch break, we locked in for our last testable block of instruction: interrogation operations. Even though it’s one of our last classes, it was one of my favorites. Rather than focusing on scandals and techniques long outlawed, we jumped into current unclassified interrogation methodology. The professor discussed our list of approved techniques as he taught about the requirements and limits of interrogation. One of the most interesting points was that although it felt like we were handling sensitive information, he explained that we’ve found we can still get positive results even if we place all the cards on the table by keeping our methods unclassified.
(Ironically enough, dialing Jack Bauer's number to assist is not one of the approved interrogation methods.)
We finished the day with a 45-minute review session for tomorrow’s exam. It’ll be a 40 question multiple-choice test, and will be open book and open note. Given what’s coming in the morning, my mind will unfortunately be elsewhere, but I’m going to do my level best to get my notes and desk book straight so that everything is easy to find come test time.