After being assigned by the Military Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld to prosecute terrorists at Guantanemo Bay - and beginning as a "True Believer" in the War on Terror - the J.A.G. officer eventually discovered that those he had been trying to prosecute for crimes, had themselves become victims of torture by U.S. Officers and agencies themselves.
Rather than being a lone sheep among wolves, in a recent Washington Post Op-Ed, a former U.S. terrorism interrogator who succesfully used non-violent and non-abusive tactics to secure information from some our highest value terrorism targets leading to the neutralization of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, has echoed Col Vandeveld's deep and serious misgivings.
I'm not some ivory-tower type; I served for 14 years in the U.S. Air Force, began my career as a Special Operations pilot flying helicopters, saw combat in Bosnia and Kosovo, became an Air Force counterintelligence agent, then volunteered to go to Iraq to work as a senior interrogator. What I saw in Iraq still rattles me -- both because it betrays our traditions and because it just doesn't work.
Torture and abuse are against my moral fabric. The cliche still bears repeating: Such outrages are inconsistent with American principles. And then there's the pragmatic side: Torture and abuse cost American lives.
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.
You can't say it much plainer than that - there's a right way to fight terror and wrong way. Using Terror itself is Wrong. "Enhanced Interrogation" is Torture and a War Crime, it doesn't work and it costs American lives.