Monday, December 01, 2008

The last word on torture (hopefully)

What will it take to get proponents of torture to turn off "24" and face reality? Perhaps the leader of an interrogations team assigned to a Special Operations task force in Iraq?

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.
But torture makes us feel tough and not afraid. We're supposed to give all that up just because some experienced Special Operations and counterintelligence guy says it violates American principles, doesn't work, inspires fighters to join the enemy and costs lives?

Did I mention that it makes us feel tough and not afraid?

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