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We do not need to choose between torture and terror

The American public has a right to know that they do not have to choose between torture and terror. There is a better way to conduct interrogations that works more efficiently, keeps Americans safe, and doesn’t sacrifice our integrity. Our greatest victory to date in this war, the death of Abu Musab Al Zarqawi (which saved thousands of lives and helped pave the way to the Sunni Awakening), was achieved using interrogation methods that had nothing to do with torture. The American people deserve to know that. (Interview of Major Matthew Alexander, Air Force interrogator and author of How to Break a Terrorist)

Also see the article in the Washington Post.

(via Schneier on Security)

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From the Mouths of Iraqis

Do we Americans want to take responsibility for what we have wrought in Iraq?

Intelligent, educated Iraqis are saying—based on a sound understanding of the situation in Iraq and the history of American dealings there—that America should get out of Iraq before we do any more damage.

The Americans in Iraq are like a virus, like a disease, and for us, we need to get rid of the Americans because the Americans just don’t know what they’re doing. Everything they do—probably even in good intentions—is bad for us. Everything they do, everything. There is nothing they are doing [that] is right.

They also don’t think the war ever about spreading democracy.

This amnesia [on the part of Americans about recent history] that I’m talking about. How would a people who’ve been oppressed for thirty-five years by a dictator that was supported by the United States, in a region where the United States supports dictators, how would they accept that America would come to spread democracy? Yes, some of them did.… But looking around… if the United States were interested in democracy, it would maybe topple Saudi Arabia. Why go to Iraq?

Contrast this with the constant drum beats of “the surge is working” that passes for most American journalism. Can we accept the idea that we broke Iraq and that we perhaps cannot fix it even with an extended occupation? Or would that be too much of a blow to our American exceptionalist ego?

Glenn Greenwald says of this interview:

The significance of the interview lies as much in what it says about the American occupation of Iraq as it what it illustrates about the American media. In the American media’s discussions of Iraq, when are the perspectives expressed here about our ongoing occupation—views extremely common among Iraqis of all types and grounded in clear, indisputable facts—ever heard by the average American news consumer? The answer is: “virtually never.”

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