Orders, Truth and Torture at Abu Ghraib

A former interrogator in Iraq shares how he copes with the fallout from what he did and saw while working in Abu Ghraib.

  • Fighter Planes
    “Domestic Violence: A7”
    Illustration By Scott Waters

  • Fighter Planes

I enter my name in a search engine. There are 3,700 results. The word torture appears in most of them. I read the blogs. I read the comments that follow. I find more blogs. I pretend those don’t bother me either. I check email; 38 new messages.

Mr. Fair, I’m not at all sure why you have your panties in a twist. It seems clear that you were a willing participant, as a civilian contractor, in the interrogation process in Iraq. This is old news.  

I navigate back to the opinion page of The Washington Post. The comments section is still growing. More than 800 now. I read the new ones and some of the old ones, too. I read my article again. I check email; 57 new messages.

Eric, your words are empty and hollow. I do not accept a single one of them. But let me offer you a suggestion if you want to do the honorable thing: kill yourself. Leave a note. Name names. Until that day, I hope you never sleep another hour for the rest of your life.  

I keep pretending not to be bothered. Then I drink. In the mornings, I pretend to have slept. I watch Sarah drive off to work. We both pretend our marriage isn’t suffering. During the day I pack boxes; we are moving to Princeton. I’ll be studying at the seminary, pursuing ministry in the Presbyterian Church. I hope no one there reads the article.


12/5/2012 12:57:34 AM

I don't think the writer is doing these things to bring attention to himself. I think the writing is an attempt to try to let go as much as is possible. It is a process, no doubt.

12/3/2012 5:19:17 PM

. . I listen....I read.... I try to understand...orders & torture ?.?.? orders of torture.....are we back to WWII Germany?? They said the world is a circle - what goes around comes around..George Bush gave orders..General Petriaius gave orders......The man down the bottom of the ladder gets stepped on.....and is told to suck it up. The General doesn't answer for his war crimes - - - George Bush doesn't answer for his war crimes .......Unless and until people are held accountable.......

andre lasalle
12/3/2012 3:45:02 PM

you apparently have a conscience. why the need to bring so much attention to yourself? blow the whistle, do good works and try to let go as much as possible. take care.

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