The intelligence coup that led to killing abu Musab al-Zarqawi did not come from the torture-based methods that had become almost universal at that time. Instead a renegade unit tried handling suspects with respect, a novel approach recommended by the notable terrorist lovers in Israeli intelligence. The unit found a guerilla leader’s hideout among other useful information.
We turned several hard cases, including some foreign fighters, by using our new techniques. A few of them never abandoned the jihadist cause but still gave up critical information. One actually told me, “I thought you would torture me, and when you didn’t, I decided that everything I was told about Americans was wrong. That’s why I decided to cooperate.”
[…] 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.
When I picture a schmuck like Andrew McCarthy turning on the laptop after an hour in a dark room ‘reviewing’ photos from abu Ghraib, and then reading this, the liberal in me feels something like sympathy. The flame of hope that he too could one day crush the fingers of a muslim child will die hard.