Fighting The Ghosts
There is an amazing op-ed in the Washington Post today.
If I have ever seen a more pointed reason for why America should not have invaded Iraq, why America should leave and why, if America chooses to stay, ultimately America will fail, it is in this statement.
A man with no face stares at me from the corner of a room. He pleads for help, but I’m afraid to move. He begins to cry. It is a pitiful sound, and it sickens me. He screams, but as I awaken, I realize the screams are mine.
The lead interrogator at the DIF had given me specific instructions: I was to deprive the detainee of sleep during my 12-hour shift by opening his cell every hour, forcing him to stand in a corner and stripping him of his clothes. Three years later the tables have turned. It is rare that I sleep through the night without a visit from this man. His memory harasses me as I once harassed him.
We have failed to properly address the abuse of Iraqi detainees. Men like me have refused to tell our stories, and our leaders have refused to own up to the myriad mistakes that have been made. But if we fail to address this problem, there can be no hope of success in Iraq. Regardless of how many young Americans we send to war, or how many militia members we kill, or how many Iraqis we train, or how much money we spend on reconstruction, we will not escape the damage we have done to the people of Iraq in our prisons.
I don’t think he wrote that piece for us. He wrote it for himself. Unfortunately many coming back from Iraq will see themselves in his words.
Go read it now. Blog it, e-mail it. Make sure people are aware of it. It is an important peace of prose.
While you’re at it, remind people of the movie Outlawed about the detention of Khaled El-Masri and Binyam Mohamed. (27 minutes, my original post here.) That is American policy and whether the conservatives say it is OK or not. This is how the world views America. This is the reality that the policies put in place by the Bush administration have created. Congragulations.
But back to Eric Fair.
Sir, you have done wrong. You are being punished for it. While I don’t condone what you have done, I salute you for what you are doing now.
I thank you for fighting your ghosts in public.