by user Docsplice
It was definitively proven in a recent survey that there is no scientific proof of torture's effectiveness. It is widely known that torture can have horrifying psychological effects on its victims, but in an Op-Ed for the Washington Post, former Army interrogator Eric Fair relates his own hardship coping with what he did to Iraqi detainees in the name of freedom:
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.
The substance of Fair's piece is this: that the policy of torture adopted by the Bush Administration has done irreparable harm to our relationship with the Iraqi people, and by extension, our ability to complete the mission outlined by the Bush Administration has been compromised. Fair goes on to explain that this mission cannot be completed as long as we fail to come to terms with what we as a nation have done:
Some may suggest there is no reason to revive the story of abuse in Iraq. Rehashing such mistakes will only harm our country, they will say. But history suggests we should examine such missteps carefully. Oppressive prison environments have created some of the most determined opponents. The British learned that lesson from Napoleon, the French from Ho Chi Minh, Europe from Hitler. The world is learning that lesson again from Ayman al-Zawahiri. What will be the legacy of abusive prisons in Iraq?
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. The problem facing America is as old as our country. We have refused to take responsibility for the crimes of our past, and as such, are ill prepared to deal with the atrocities of our present. How can a nation that has been unable to accept the willful contradiction of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution with the institution of chattle slavery hope to reconcile its mission of "freedom" with the methods it has chose to employ?
We cannot come to terms with the impact of our contradictions until we truthfully acknowledge them. The blind pride of right-wing patriotism and patronizing guilt of the left are both completely inadequate to deal with the legacy of slavery, which is America's first fundamental moral contradiction. It is doomed to be repeated in structure and form, if not content, until it is dealt with. Until we confront slavery, America will never reconcile its message of freedom with the immoral practices of its foreign and domestic policies.