Monday, December 1, 2008

To Those Who Believe That Torture Is Necessary and Works

From Matthew Alexander who led an interrogations team assigned to a Special Operations task force in Iraq in 2006, writing in the Washington Post on Sunday:

"I learned in Iraq that the No. 1 reason foreign fighters flocked there to fight were the abuses carried out at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Our policy of torture was directly and swiftly recruiting fighters for al-Qaeda in Iraq. The large majority of suicide bombings in Iraq are still carried out by these foreigners. They are also involved in most of the attacks on U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq. It's no exaggeration to say that at least half of our losses and casualties in that country have come at the hands of foreigners who joined the fray because of our program of detainee abuse. The number of U.S. soldiers who have died because of our torture policy will never be definitively known, but it is fair to say that it is close to the number of lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001. How anyone can say that torture keeps Americans safe is beyond me -- unless you don't count American soldiers as Americans."

Torture is wrong under any and all circumstances. But it is also appropriate to point out, as Matthew Alexander does above, that it is viciously counter-productive. Bush and Cheney know this. They use it because their goals aren't really to quell anti-state terror. Their principle goal is to terrorize because they know that they can't accomplish what they want - world domination - by persuasion and if people have freedom of thought.

No comments: