News & Politics  
comments_image Comments

Former Interrogator Rebukes Cheney for Torture Speech

Matthew Alexanders says torture has "literally cost us hundreds if not thousands of American lives."
 
 
Share
 
 
 
 
A former top interrogator is responding forcefully to the case Dick Cheney made on Thursday in favor of torture (what the former VP and his allies refer to as "enhanced interrogation methods.")

Brave New Films released a short video Tuesday of Matthew Alexander taking apart Cheney's argument piece by piece. Alexander, who uses a pseudonym for security reasons, was a 14-year military interrogator who oversaw more than a thousand interrogations and conducted more than 300 in Iraq himself. He led the interrogation team that scored one of the United States' most high-profile captures, that of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and he did it using traditional methods.

Alexander easily takes down Cheney's arguments. The most immediate blow Alexander strikes is, of course, his obvious success, which undercuts Cheney's case for more brutal techniques. Alexander also engages on the level of principle. For Cheney, the suggestion that torture is a poor strategy because it aids terrorist recruitment is nothing more than old-fashioned blame-America-first cowardice.

"After a familiar fashion, it excuses the violent and blames America for the evil that others do," said Cheney.

The president and others who have condemned torture don't say that it "excuses the violent." Rather, they say it makes a violent reaction more likely -- and Alexander backed them up.

"At the prison where I conducted interrogations," responded Alexander, "we heard day in and day out, foreign fighters who had been captured state that the number one reason that they had come to fight in Iraq was because of torture and abuse, what had happened at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib."

Alexander put the number making this claim at 90 percent.

Alexander, however, made a broader point at the end of his interview, one that would certainly evade Cheney's grasp, convinced as he is that Al Qaeda recruits "hate us for our freedoms."