Eric Fair’s ‘Consequence,’ a Memoir by a Former Abu Ghraib Interrogator
“Consequence,” Eric Fair’s “candid and chilling new book,” is “at once an agonized confession of his own complicity as an interrogator at Abu Ghraib and an indictment of the system that enabled and tried to justify torture,” writes Michiko Kakutani at The New York Times.
Mr. Fair, who worked for CACI, a private contractor that provided interrogation services at the prison, participated in or witnessed physical abuse, sleep deprivation and the use of what he calls “the Palestinian chair” (a monstrous contraption that forces a prisoner to assume an excruciating “stress position”). He sees naked men handcuffed to chairs, stripped of their dignity and their clothes. He and his colleagues “fill out forms and use words like ‘exposure,’ ‘sound,’ ‘light,’ ‘cold,’ ‘food’ and ‘isolation’” — ordinary words that become shorthand for methods of inflicting fear and pain. He rips a chair out from underneath a boy and shoves an old man, head first, into a wall.
Of the Abu Ghraib torture photos broadcast by “60 Minutes” in April 2004, Mr. Fair writes: “Some of the activities in the photographs are familiar to me. Others are not. But I am not shocked. Neither is anyone else who served at Abu Ghraib. Instead, we are shocked by the performance of the men who stand behind microphones and say things like ‘bad apples’ and ‘Animal House’ on night shift.’”
In 2007, Mr. Fair says, he confessed everything to a lawyer from the Department of Justice and two agents from the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command, providing pictures, letters, names, firsthand accounts, locations and techniques. He was not prosecuted. “We tortured people the right way,” he writes, “following the right procedures, and used the approved techniques.”
Mr. Fair, however, became increasingly racked by guilt. He begins having nightmares. Nightmares in which “someone I know begins to shrink,” becoming so small “they slip through my fingers and disappear onto the floor.” Nightmares in which “there’s a large pool of blood on the floor” that moves as if it’s alive, nipping at his feet.
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.Wait, before you go…
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