I decided to write How to Break a Terrorist because I am opposed to torture. I believe that we will stop terrorist attacks by being smarter, not harsher. Torture is fundamentally against the principles that I swore to defend -- freedom, liberty, and justice -- and our torture policy is a recruiting tool for Al Qaida.
We are capable of using better methods of interrogation. Although the methods in the Army Manual are effective tools, the basic interrogation model needs improvement. Interrogation follows a simple formula of analyzing motivations and then applying incentives. The Army interrogations school glosses over this methodology and places the majority of emphasis on the approach methods. The approach methods are simply delivery vehicles for packaging the incentive. This way of teaching interrogation does not stress the importance of identifying a detainee's motivations and then applying an appropriate incentive. As a result, interrogators waste time haphazardly going through the sixteen, more or less, approved approaches instead of focusing on a detainee's motivations, which can be discovered through relationship building. Once a detainee's motivations are uncovered, then the interrogator can apply a proper incentive that maximizes the opportunity for cooperation.
It is also important for interrogators to realize that the strongest incentives are intangible, such as pride, ego, wasta (status), hope, cause, religion, principles, obligations, and relationships. These are what the interrogator is selling, and the approaches, although important, are merely wrapping.
There are numerous criminal interrogation techniques, or ruses, that can be effectively used by intelligence interrogators. The Army interrogation school should hire experienced criminal investigators to share their knowledge of these techniques. In my time in Iraq, I realized that most Army interrogators had no knowledge of basic criminal interrogation techniques. There is an entire untapped wealth of interrogation skills, none of which involve harsh treatment or torture, that could be legally, and humanely, used by intelligence interrogators. For example, the most commonly discussed criminal interrogation technique is Good Cop/Bad Cop, but there are many others.
For an excellent argument against torture and abuse, I encourage readers to check out the following article by Colonel Steve Kleinman (one of the most experienced and educated interrogators in our country) and Haviland Smith (a retired CIA station chief):
Abuse Has No Place in Interrogation Policy.