Customer Reviews for

How to Break a Terrorist: The U.S. Interrogators Who Used Brains, Not Brutality, to Take Down the Deadliest Man in Iraq

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  • Posted March 11, 2009

    "How to Break a Terrorist" sounds like a dry topic title. I couldn't put this book down... it reads like a thriller.

    There are a couple graphic passages about atrocities committed between Iraqi Shia and Iraqi Sunni that might be unpleasant for some folks to read.

    The author points out America's failure to appreciate Iraqi culture, and how that failure crippled our efforts. The assumption that all 'al Qaeda' are 'kool-aid drinking extremist ideologists' is replaced with the reality that many Iraqi Sunni's turned to al Qaeda because there was nowhere else to turn. Many were simply caught up in the events that unfolded around them, though they weren't innocent, either.

    The author shines a bright light on the ineffectiveness of torture and harsh interrogation techniques, and shows how outsmarting the terrorists by knowing their cultural values, strengths, and weaknesses is much more effective.

    This book is very enlightening and educational while presenting a thrilling and suspenseful progression from the capture and interrogation of low-level Sunni Iraqi's who got caught up in al Qaeda activity, through a group of 5 men caught with suicide bombers, to find that a man posing as a 'photographer' actually held the key that ultimately lead to the killing of the deadliest man in Iraq, Abu Musab Al Zarqawi.

    How the interrogators 'broke' the terrorists down and gained their trust to get the information they needed to find Zarqawi is truly inspirational.

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  • Posted February 23, 2009

    Has anyone in the govt read this?

    As a former USAF intel officer, I found this first-person account to be engaging and honest. The author shows his vulnerabilities and sensitivity to his captors while maintaing an honest eye towards his objective: save American and Allied lives. Yes, the writing can be a bit stilted, but that's how we talk. Finally: to those who think torture works, consider this report form the field.

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