04 December 2008

Most Disgraceful Element of Bush Legacy

I suspect that the single most disgraceful element of President Bush's legacy (at least from an American point of view) will be the historical conclusion that thousands of American soldiers needlessly died as a consequence of the adminstration's use and tolerance of torture. This is the allegation of former military interrogator Matthew Alexander (pseudonym) in an op-ed in Tuesday's Sunday's Post (11/30). "Alexander" is the guy who got Sunni extremists to rat out Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, by using traditional confidence and rapport building interrogation techniques (the kind that actually work). He quite credibly says the number of American military killed as a result of the recruitment effect (on Arabs) of our country's torture policy will never be known, but it's reasonable to estimate it at close to the number killed in the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks.

Update: This comment from "Alexander" is telling, and chilling: "How anyone can say that torture keeps Americans safe is beyond me -- unless you don't count American soldiers as Americans."

In case it isn't self-evident, the mechanism for this tragedy is as follows: Arab nationalists, and such people as Iraqis displaced from their usual occupations and/or homes as a result of war, came to see America as a violent oppressor, which tortures captives (as do many Arab countries, but this was not America's former reputation). As a result, probably tens of thousands, or more, men became persuaded to fight against American forces. The results of the interrogations "Alexander" describes frequently included descriptions of precisely this process.

["Matthew Alexander" is the author of How to Break a Terrorist: The U.S. Interrogators Who Used Brains, Not Brutality, to Take Down the Deadliest Man in Iraq, and his op-ed is presumably in conjunction with a book tour. He appeared on Democracy Now! and Countdown this week, but otherwise has garnered little attention.]

No comments:

Post a Comment

Gyromantic Informicon. Comments are not moderated. If you encounter a problem, please go to home page and follow directions to send me an e-mail.