A Page from His Book; Vince Flynn Weighs in on Torture and Islamists
Byline: Audrey Hudson, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Novelist Vince Flynn's hot new political thriller featuring CIA superspy Mitch Rapp hit the New York Times best-seller list at No. 1 this week.
In "Protect and Defend," Mr. Flynn pushes the political debate on the use of torture in the war on terror as he pits Rapp against master terrorist, Imad Mukhtar.
The following are excerpts of a recent phone interview with Mr. Flynn:
Question: In the real world, how effective do you think torture is with Islamic terrorists?
A: Far more effective than liberals would have you believe. Congress really upset me with how they treated Attorney General Michael Mukasey and how the media pushed this question. Why aren't reporters forcing senators and Congress to answer the same questions about torture? What do you think we should have done? Given them a lawyer, three square meals a day and let planes get hijacked?
I think it should be done in the rarest of situations. Anybody who says torture doesn't work hasn't studied the history of torture. Torture, or aggressive interrogation, is only as good as the interrogators. Take Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, for instance. He got waterboarded and he sang like a canary ... he ended up naming
operatives and giving up a treasure trove of financial secrets as well as plans for future attacks This was not Uday and Qusai Hussein at work. This was done with clinical precision, not brute force. There are multiple interrogators, lie detectors, doctors and a group of analysts in the next room connected to every friendly western intelligence agency to check everything the subject says.
That's a far cry from what Senator [John] McCain experienced, and he says that torture does not work. I have a lot of respect for the man, but when he was in the Hanoi Hilton, he was brutally tortured to give up names, so he gave them the starting lineup of the Green Bay Packers. Back then, it would have been difficult to verify; but today, it's called "Google."
I'm not talking about pulling people out of cafes in Baghdad, torture has to be reserved for high-value targets.
All of these men and some women who happen to participate in the program have to be waterboarded themselves, they've gone through it and they know how terrifying it is. I know Amnesty International would disagree with me, but every American needs to ask themselves, "If you could turn back the clock one week [before the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks] would you want Zacarias Moussaoui to have been interrogated by waterboarding?"
Q: How can we win the war on terrorism when many cannot acknowledge who the enemy is?
A: That's a tough question. I'll waffle on this. As a society, we need to start demanding a few things. We have embraced liberty, equality in the sexes and religion - we believe in all of this. If you want to come to this country and you are Muslim, you had better agree and be fine with the Christian and Jewish faith. But if you are going to come over here and preach hatred and raise money for Hamas and Hezbollah, we're going to kick you out of the country. …