The Washington Post has a fascinating story of a US interrogator, pseudonymed “Matthew Alexander,” who refused to use aggressive interrogation tactics sanctioned by the military — because, as he puts it:
These interrogations were based on fear and control; they often resulted in torture and abuse.
This is the same idea Philip Zimbardo shares in his TEDTalk, when he examines the horrors at Abu Ghraib — that a policy of control, fear and dehumanization can open the door for evil. In his own work, Alexander took another path:
I refused to participate in such practices, and a month later, I extended that prohibition to the team of interrogators I was assigned to lead. I taught the members of my unit a new methodology — one based on building rapport with suspects, showing cultural understanding and using good old-fashioned brainpower to tease out information. … We got to know our enemies, we learned to negotiate with them, and we adapted criminal investigative techniques. … It worked.