Summary. In an effort to avert and eliminate crime or acts of terrorism, it’s important to obtain accurate intelligence information from people who have been captured or who have turned themselves in.
However, in the process of interrogation, it’s imperative that the interrogator does not become a terrorist. Matthew Alexander is the author of How to Break a Terrorist: The U.S. Interrogators Who Used Brains, Not Brutality, to Take Down the Deadliest Man in Iraq. In the book, he advocates for more compassionate interrogation. In an interview with Jon Stewart of the Daily Show, Matthew Alexander describes how compassion and dialog produce better short-term and long-term results.
To publish his method of compassionate and effective interrogation, he had to “sue the Department of Defense to get it through the review process.” He says, “There is resistance within the military to my ideas. That we don’t need to torture.”
Regarding the effectiveness of compassion and dialog instead of torture, Alexander states, “… I never saw coercive methods pay off. In fact, when I was in Iraq, the few times that I saw people use harsh methods, it was always counter productive because the person hunkered down. They were expecting us to do that, and so they’d shut up. I’d have to send somebody in to build back up rapport, reverse that process, and it would take us longer to get that information.”
Since people who are interrogated may eventually return to their home country, it’s important not to create an even more vindictive and vengeful enemy after the process of interrogation.
Video. Below is the video interview from the Jon Stewart Show.
Cliff May Interview. Below is a three-part interview with Cliff May, the President of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. These are from the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.