Monday, December 8, 2008

Books: Torture Policy Rivals 9/11 in U.S. Death Toll

A senior former U.S. military interrogator writes a fascinating account of the troubling torture techniques he saw in Iraq in this Washington Post piece. More details are in his new book, How to Break a Terrorist: The U.S. Interrogators Who Used Brains, Not Brutality, to Take Down the Deadliest Man in Iraq.

In his Post piece, Matthew Alexander (a pseudonym) writes: "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."

TAGS: Iraq, torture, books, investigations, military

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