Major Matthew Alexander is a former interrogator for the United States Air Force, someone who participated in countless interrogations of prisoners and suspects in the dangerous battleground of Iraq. With the proximity to danger (suicide and roadside bombs were killing dozens of Americans and Iraqis everyday) and the Bush Administration’s advocacy of “enhanced interrogation”, you might expect that Major Alexander’s book, How to Break a Terrorist, might be about how unsavory tactics were used to press information out of uncooperative terrorists just in the nick of time to stop a bomb.
Instead, Major Alexander’s book tells the story of how carefully building relationships with prisoners using humane treatment and a sense of curiosity led to indescribably valuable information, including the intelligence that helped the US Air Force kill Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Zarqawi was the terrorist mastermind who allegedly personally beheaded Nicholas Berg, plotted the hotel bombings of 2005 in Amman, Jordan, and orchestrated numerous bombings of Shiite mosques.
In Alexander’s own words:
“The American public has a right to know that they do not have to choose between torture and terror. There is a better way to conduct interrogations that works more efficiently, keeps Americans safe, and doesn’t sacrifice our integrity. Our greatest victory to date in this war, the death of Abu Musab Al Zarqawi (which saved thousands of lives and helped pave the way to the Sunni Awakening), was achieved using interrogation methods that had nothing to do with torture. The American people deserve to know that.”
You can hear from Major Alexander tonight at 7pm Left Bank Books Downtown and ask him your own questions.
Place: Left Bank Books Downtown
321 N. 10th
Saint Louis, Missouri 63101