Alexander vs. Cheney on Interrogation
The video embedded below features arguments presented by Dick Cheney in favor of torture (or, if you prefer, “enhanced interrogation techniques”), which are ably demolished by Matthew Alexander, a former member of the United States Air Force who served as an Interrogator in Iraq. He was part of a task force charged with determining the location of Abu Zarqawi.
The former vice president is confusing harshness with effectiveness. An effective interrogation is one that yields useful, accurate intelligence, not one that is harsh. It speaks to a fundamental misunderstanding of interrogations, the goal of which is not to coerce information from a prisoner, but to convince a prisoner to cooperate.
Finally, the point that is most absent is that our greatest success in this conflict was achieved without torture or abuse. My interrogation team found Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, the former leader of Al Qaida in Iraq and murderer of tens of thousands. We did this using relationship-building approaches and non-coercive law enforcement techniques. These worked to great effect on the most hardened members of Al Qaida — spiritual leaders who had been behind the waves of suicide bombers and, hence, the sectarian violence that swept across Iraq. We convinced them to cooperate by applying our intellect. In essence, we worked smarter, not harsher.
Read the whole thing.
(video link via Andrew Sullivan)