Eric Fair was an Arabic linguist in the U.S. Army from 1995 to 2000 and then, in 2004, he worked as a contract interrogator in Iraq. He remains haunted by what he did there.
In April 2004 I was stationed at a detention facility in Fallujah. Inside the detention facility was an office. Inside the office was a small chair made of plywood and two-by-fours. The chair was two feet tall. The rear legs were taller than the front legs. The seat and chair back leaned forward. Plastic zip ties were used to force a detainee into a crouched position from which he could not recover. It caused muscle failure of the quads, hamstrings and calves. It was torture.
The detainees in Fallujah were the hardest set of men I’ve ever come upon. Many killed with a sickening enthusiasm. They often butchered what remained of their victims. It is easy to argue that they deserved far worse than what we delivered.
Still, those tactics stained my soul in an irrevocable way, maybe justifiably so. But as members of our government and its agencies continue to defend our use of torture, and as the American people continue to ignore their obligation to uncover this sordid chapter, the stain isn’t mine alone.
Jose Rodriguez Jr., the former head of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, insists that those who suggest we question more gently have never felt the burden of protecting innocent lives. I’ve felt that burden. And when the time came, I did not question gently.
I’m dealing with my own burdens now. My marriage is struggling. My effectiveness as a parent is deteriorating. My son is suffering. I am no longer the person I once was. I try to repent. I work to confess. I hope for atonement.
As a country, we need to know what happened. We need to confess. We need to be specific. We need to open the book.
Not much to add, other that I agree with everything that Mr. Fair had to say.