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.

| November/December 2012

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.


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