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 Post subject: I'm Still Tortured by What I Saw in Iraq
PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 7:29 am 
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This is a piece from jaspar's thread. It deserves to be read through.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/28/AR2008112802242.html

Quote:
AN INTERROGATOR SPEAKS
I'm Still Tortured by What I Saw in Iraq


By Matthew Alexander
Sunday, November 30, 2008
................................
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.


Also:
Quote:
My experiences have landed me in the middle of another war -- one even more important than the Iraq conflict. The war after the war is a fight about who we are as Americans. Murderers like Zarqawi can kill us, but they can't force us to change who we are. We can only do that to ourselves. One day, when my grandkids sit on my knee and ask me about the war, I'll say to them, "Which one?"

Americans, including officers like myself, must fight to protect our values not only from al-Qaeda but also from those within our own country who would erode them. Other interrogators are also speaking out, including some former members of the military, the FBI and the CIA who met last summer to condemn torture and have spoken before Congress -- at considerable personal risk.


We do still have courageous people in America. Just read the article...

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 Post subject: Re: I'm Still Tortured by What I Saw in Iraq
PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 1:07 am 
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That Matthew Alexander is the person that authored a really good read called, "How to break a terrorist". His name is a pseudonym.

What he details in his book is the "new methods", based on criminal investigation techniques, he used to interrogate the enemy. He and his team did not use the "old school" fear and control method. Rather they used their knowledge of Middle Eastern culture, the Koran, Middle Eastern history, and cunning to get captives to talk.

He talked about the culture of the "old school" interrogation adherents and what he was up-against with them. The old school guys, in most respects, have minimalized the enemy to neo-racial epithets (i.e., Muj, and Haji) and racial stereo-typing.

He indicated that he had no love for the enemy, but felt a better tactic to get them "to talk" was to win the captives over with cunning honest talk.

The reader gets a bit of cultural knowledge too. One prisoner is named "Abu Ali". Abu, we learn, means "father of", so Abu Ali means "father of Ali". It becomes key to breaking down one prisoner.

In the book, he mentions how he got a suicide bomb maker to talk by, of all things, getting into a discussion with the guy about the bomb maker's second wife.

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 Post subject: Re: I'm Still Tortured by What I Saw in Iraq
PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 4:45 am 
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Sounds like an important book CZ. It is about time people started to listen to the people who have been saying in the past we got more information by being friendly with prisoners of war than by bullying them.

I hope Obama will change our tactics on his first day in office.

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 Post subject: Re: I'm Still Tortured by What I Saw in Iraq
PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 8:27 pm 
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The book does add a nice counter to the "fear and control" interrogation process.

One thing that the author mentions that he and his team does is figure-out what motivates these would-be Al Qaida members to join. And surprisingly, for the people that the book discusses, the motivation has less to do with religion than it does for each's personal situation.

There's this one captive named Abu Gamal. whose motivation turns-out to be about money. He's got an electronics store in Baghdad that is doing poorly. He's got a young second wife (the guy's 60's) in her 20's that spends like a horse for luxury items even in this war. So, Al Qaida comes around with money and he takes it.

Abu Gamal takes to heart the Islamic law to care for his family, even though his wife is a super-spendthrift. The author says he's disgusted with the idea of this old guy taking this young chick (she was in her late teens when they married) for his bride. But he understands the old guy's motivation -- he desperately desires a son to carry on his family name.

So, you learn about Islamic culture at the same time. And you see what it takes to "break" a "terrorist". Al Qaida has trained its members in some counter-interrogation tactics. So fear and control won't work, for the most part. But if a 'gator can keep interviewing a prisoner, find some sort of "break", the 'gator maybe able to use whatever is divulged and use that to get more information.

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 Post subject: Re: I'm Still Tortured by What I Saw in Iraq
PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 4:03 am 
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I know psychologists have been used in interrogation to break prisoners. Doesn't it make much more sense to use their methods of learning about people to befriend those prisoners?

And wouldn't we be less hated by the world if we followed that path?

"How to Break a Terrorist" sounds like we do have intelligent people working to bring trust and enlightenment into interrogation. The author I believe stresses he didn't do this alone. He credited his 'team' with the success of their mission.

Every time I hear about a quality idea from any of our leaders I cheer! This is worth cheering about!!!

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 Post subject: Re: I'm Still Tortured by What I Saw in Iraq
PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2008 12:34 am 
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I'm a slow reader, but this book has been engrossing.

It is interesting what Matthew Alexander was able to get out of Abu Gamal. For a while he was telling Matthew and Bobby that he was just the "driver". But Matthew is able to get from Abu Gamal that he took part in the bomb making. He wired them. He claims to have hundreds of these suicide bombs, which have probably killed thousands.

The book allows its readers to make some commentary on their own about the situation in Iraq. What we have done to that country and its people have driven them to this end. The instability that we've caused has allowed Al Qaida to come-in and become that necessary evil option.

I suggest that GWB add to his holiday reading this book.

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 Post subject: Re: I'm Still Tortured by What I Saw in Iraq
PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2008 4:48 am 
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Channel Zero wrote:
I suggest that GWB add to his holiday reading this book.


The problem with that idea is that he hasn't read anything more advanced than My Pet Goat for years. Something this advanced would have to be read to him and he just wouldn't sit still long enough to get the full implications, this would not be the automatic "you're the best W" he requires of his subordinates.

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 Post subject: Re: I'm Still Tortured by What I Saw in Iraq
PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 7:57 am 
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If Bush ever does end up in jail, someone should be reading this book to him non-stop.

I wonder if even that would penetrate?

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