Lost in all the political bickering about the torture memos is are two significant questions. Does torture work? And is it compatible with American values? As an experienced interrogator who worked in Iraq Matthew Alexander has been speaking out on those two questions since at least November of 2008. I consider him a real hero because of his answers to those two questions and also because he is working so hard to advance this crucial debate so that our citizens may understand what is really at stake.
I really liked one quote from a Washington Post interview he did in November 2008:
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?”
By the way, his short answers to those two questions are “Not really” and “Absolutely not!” (My answers have always been “I have no experience with it but I suspect not” and “Absolutely not!”)