Alexander easily takes down Cheney's arguments. The most immediate blow Alexander strikes is, of course, his obvious success, which undercuts Cheney's case for more brutal techniques. Alexander also engages on the level of principle.
For Cheney, the suggestion that torture is a poor strategy because it aids terrorist recruitment is nothing more than old-fashioned blame-America-first cowardice.
"After a familiar fashion, it excuses the violent and blames America for the evil that others do," said Cheney.
The president and others who have condemned torture don't say that it "excuses the violent." Rather, they say it makes a violent reaction more likely -- and Alexander backed them up.
"At the prison where I conducted interrogations," responded Alexander, "we heard day in and day out, foreign fighters who had been captured state that the number one reason that they had come to fight in Iraq was because of torture and abuse, what had happened at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib."
Alexander put the number making this claim at 90 percent.