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Torture? It probably killed more Americans than 9/11

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cal04 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-25-09 07:24 PM
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Torture? It probably killed more Americans than 9/11
A US major reveals the inside story of military interrogation in Iraq. By Patrick Cockburn, winner of the 2009 Orwell Prize for journalism
The use of torture by the US has proved so counter-productive that it may have led to the death of as many US soldiers as civilians killed in 9/11, says the leader of a crack US interrogation team in Iraq.

"The reason why foreign fighters joined al-Qa'ida in Iraq was overwhelmingly because of abuses at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and not Islamic ideology," says Major Matthew Alexander, who personally conducted 300 interrogations of prisoners in Iraq. It was the team led by Major Alexander that obtained the information that led to the US military being able to locate Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the head of al-Qa'ida in Iraq. Zarqawi was then killed by bombs dropped by two US aircraft on the farm where he was hiding outside Baghdad on 7 June 2006. Major Alexander said that he learnt where Zarqawi was during a six-hour interrogation of a prisoner with whom he established relations of trust.

Major Alexander's attitude to torture by the US is a combination of moral outrage and professional contempt. "It plays into the hands of al-Qa'ida in Iraq because it shows us up as hypocrites when we talk about human rights," he says. An eloquent and highly intelligent man with experience as a criminal investigator within the US military, he says that torture is ineffective, as well as counter-productive. "People will only tell you the minimum to make the pain stop," he says. "They might tell you the location of a house used by insurgents but not that it is booby-trapped."

In his compelling book How to Break a Terrorist, Major Alexander explains that prisoners subjected to abuse usually clam up, say nothing, or provide misleading information. In an interview he was particularly dismissive of the "ticking bomb" argument often used in the justification of torture. This supposes that there is a bomb timed to explode on a bus or in the street which will kill many civilians. The authorities hold a prisoner who knows where the bomb is. Should they not torture him to find out in time where the bomb is before it explodes?

Major Alexander says he faced the "ticking time bomb" every day in Iraq because "we held people who knew about future suicide bombings". Leaving aside the moral arguments, he says torture simply does not work. "It hardens their resolve. They shut up." He points out that the FBI uses normal methods of interrogation to build up trust even when they are investigating a kidnapping and time is of the essence. He would do the same, he says, "even if my mother was on a bus" with a hypothetical ticking bomb on board. It is quite untrue to imagine that torture is the fastest way of obtaining information, he says.
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Dennis Donovan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-25-09 07:27 PM
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1. Recommended because it's true.
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JMDEM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 11:31 AM
Response to Reply #1
7. Since when does truth have anything to do with anything?
What are you? Some sort of reality based freak?
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-25-09 07:35 PM
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2. Recommend. nt
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-25-09 08:00 PM
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3. Sending the Worst Story off to the Greatest Page
and ordering a new irony meter on Monday.
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Doctor_J Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-25-09 08:25 PM
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4. Keith's guest last night, a retired army geneal, said the same thing
After the Abu Ghraib photos came out, the insurgency rate went through the roof.
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bleever Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 01:20 AM
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5. All of the "blowback" is measured in American casualties.
But the people who set this thing up already knew that.
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Occam Bandage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 11:30 AM
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6. Does anyone here really think
Edited on Sun Apr-26-09 11:42 AM by Occam Bandage
that Iraqis wouldn't have formed resistance movements had the US not tortured? That is to say, that the PNAC plan was entirely sound except for the fact that we tortured people?

I can accept and accept easily that torture most likely caused more American deaths than it prevented. I would accept and accept easily that torture and detainee abuse increased support for terrorists and insurgent groups, causing perhaps dozens and maybe even hundreds of American deaths. But to claim that Iraqi anger at methods of fighting the Iraq insurgency--methods that were not made public until years into the war--was the majority cause of the insurgency seems bizarre. I think our sanctions (killing half a million), our invasion, our declare-victory-while-Baghdad-burns attitude, our failure to provide Iraqis with electricity and water, and our half-blind aerial bombing campaign might have something more to do with the insurgency than our mistreatment of detainees.
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Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 05:28 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. You mean "that were not made public in the non-Moslem world, until years into" the war. All
the difference.
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pmorlan1 Donating Member (763 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 12:05 PM
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8. Confirmed by Post: Not just liberals want accountability for torture
Although the Post didn't admit it, the latest Wash. Post/ABC poll confirms that it's not just liberals who want accountability for torture.
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SlingBlade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 12:07 PM
Response to Original message
9. Which is WHY we must keep alive the hope
of prosecuting these war criminals

They did this in our name
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Divine Discontent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 12:17 PM
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10. torture is evil. K&R! I sent this out to some Christian friends of mine from my past
Recently the writer of 'The Late Great Planet Earth', Hal Lindsey who is known for his books that focus heavily on the end of days, said that torture was fine because it saved lives. Well, where does he get this information from? From Dick Cheney of course - despite numerous studies and factual examples that show how prisoners are handled correlates to how much truthful information they divulge.

I found this short explanation from a major in the U.S. armed forces quite interesting. He has done over 300 interrogations personally, on some very hateful men who have done horrible things - but he did things the right way and is an honorable serviceman.

(I attached cal04's thread story about Major Alexander's comments about how torture caused more US deaths than 9/11)

Plus, for followers of Christ, we are not to physically inflict cruelty onto anyone, but that didn't stop the rabid undying necessity of these people to tie down men and have a woman sexually assault them, or to have soldiers urinate on them as they have admitted, and desecrate their quran and painfully crush their genitalia. That's only some of the tamest things done in each of our names to many men who have not been proven to have done anything - and it'd be no different than an invading force coming into America and rounding up a bunch of the men you know, even if we weren't military, and inflicting grotesque and evil torture upon us with no resulting information gathered accept how to watch someone scream, bleed, and die.

Most of these men were captured with extraordinary rendition, as mostly private military contractors, tried to force admissions of terrorist plots out of them - I don't want to type the worst things I've read that were done repeatedly, and as the thousands of photos come out, we will see the massive amounts of torture done on many innocent men, or their children, in "God's" name.

So, to the writer, Hal Lindsey... Torture is still not okay, Sir, and you've clearly lost the plot.
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Overseas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 05:29 PM
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12. K&R !!
One of the saddest things about the whole torture program of the Bush Gang was that interrogation experts have known for a long time that torture doesn't work.

I am glad Matthew Alexander has appeared on TV to talk about his book.
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