Matthew Alexander is back from Iraq and he’s filled with regret:
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. The number of U.S. soldiers who have died because of
our torture policy will never be definitively known, but it is fair to
say that it is close to the number of lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001. How
anyone can say that torture keeps Americans safe is beyond me — unless
you don’t count American soldiers as Americans.
When the torturer becomes the tortured — is that fair retribution — or complete a failure of a properly policed policy?