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Consequence: A Memoir de Eric Fair
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Consequence: A Memoir (edició 2016)

de Eric Fair (Autor)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaConverses
9517222,761 (4.11)No n'hi ha cap
This "is the story of Eric Fair, a kid who grew up in the shadows of crumbling Bethlehem Steel plants nurturing a strong faith and a belief that he was called to serve his country. It is a story of a man who chases his own demons from Egypt, where he served as an Army translator, to a detention center in Iraq, to seminary at Princeton, and eventually, to a heart transplant ward at the University of Pennsylvania"--Amazon.com. Eric Fair grew up in the shadows of crumbling Bethlehem Steel plants, nurturing a strong faith and a belief that he was called to serve his country. Consequence is Fair's story, the story of a man who begins with a desire to serve and, through a winding series of choices, becomes an interrogator for a private contractor at Abu Ghraib during one of our nation's darkest moments. In 2004, after several months as an interrogator, Fair's now constant nightmares take new forms: first, there had been the shrinking dreams; now the liquid dreams begin. By the time he leaves Iraq after that first deployment (he will return), Fair will have participated in or witnessed a variety of aggressive interrogation techniques including sleep deprivation, stress positions, diet manipulation, exposure, and isolation. Years later, his health and marriage crumbling, haunted by the role he played in what we now know as "enhanced interrogation," it is Fair's desire to speak out that becomes a key to his survival. Fair chases his own demons from Egypt, where he served as an army translator, to the police force in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to a detention center in Iraq, to seminary at Princeton, and eventually to a heart transplant ward at the University of Pennsylvania. Spare and haunting, Eric Fair's memoir urgently questions the very depths of who he and we as a country have become.--From dust jacket.… (més)
Membre:LadyLo
Títol:Consequence: A Memoir
Autors:Eric Fair (Autor)
Informació:Henry Holt and Co. (2016), 256 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:**
Etiquetes:Non-Fiction, Iraq, Early Review, Middle East

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Consequence: A Memoir de Eric Fair

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I won an ARC of this book through Shelf Awareness. It's not something I would normally pick up, but I thought it would have appeal to some of the reluctant reader high school boys. Instead, I found myself intrigued -- but not necessarily for the war memoir angle.

I have read huge numbers of the female deconversion memoir -- the girl breaking free of the restraints of fundamentalist Christianity -- but have seen very few from the contemporary male (possibly this is a reflection of how conservative Christianity benefits the male, and therefore we see fewer men wrestling with and/or leaving the faith). This memoir isn't exactly a deconversion story -- Fair never renounces faith, only the career path of pastor -- but it is fascinating to see how he manages an underlying religious belief with the work that he does throughout the war.

( )
  resoundingjoy | Jan 1, 2021 |
Eric Fair's memoir as an interrogator in Iraq is a difficult book to read at times, due to the subject matter, however it is one I would definitely recommend to those who enjoy non-fiction, memoirs, and to book discussion groups. ( )
  knittingmomof3 | Nov 22, 2016 |
This memoir about torture is unsettling for two reasons. First, Fair’s narrative is filled with so many examples of cognitive dissonance. He was raised as a devout Christian and adhered to its basic tenants, but willingly participated in behaviors that he knew were not Christ-like. “I cannot ask God to accompany me into the interrogation booth.” “I am not disgusted by my actions…I am disgusted by how good it felt to wield power.” He had a life-threatening heart condition, but consistently acted against medical advice through his alcoholism, stressful exercise and especially by working in a warzone. He was patriotic and felt a need to participate in the war. “I grow up learning that I come from a long line of Presbyterians who valued their faith and marched off to war.” However, his military experience was unsatisfying mainly because of flaws he perceived in the chain of command. Despite his negative experiences, Fair still felt compelled to volunteer as a civilian contractor assigned to interrogate Iraqi detainees. There, he viewed and even participated in atrocities that he considered torture. Instead of refusing or just walking away—which as a civilian he could have easily done—he fixated on issues of mismanagement by his company, CACI. Are we left to conclude that if the military and CACI had not been so incompetent, Eric Fair would not have been enticed to become a torturer? His juvenile failure to assume personal responsibility for his actions is a repeating theme in the memoir. We see it in his marriage, his military service, his religious participation and his failure to protect his own health. On his return to the states, one might expect a reasonable man to tend to his ailing heart and marriage. Yet Fair volunteers once again for service in Iraq, this time with the NSA. Clearly the gap between his self-image and behavior caused Fair much anguish and could be blamed for his alcoholism, nightmares, and marital tensions, as well as his doubts about his own religious beliefs and patriotism. Yet writing seems somehow redemptive for him.

Fair’s personal confession of complicity in torture took courage, but the details were not particularly revealing for anyone who was paying attention at the time. With regard to the Iraq war in general and torture in particular, it is tempting to extrapolate Fair’s behavior to that of the Bush administration. We like to think of ourselves as the “good guys” and that our “war on terror” was noble and ample justification for invading a sovereign country and torturing its people. Like Fair, many of us lived with that dissonance at the time.

The second unsettling feature of this memoir is the writing itself. It lacks emotional highs and lows. Fair’s flat and matter-of-fact delivery of everything leaves the reader wondering just what actually moved him. Is he really religious? He seems to have had a type of faith as a young man, but his dropping out of the Princeton Theological Seminary leaves one wondering how deep that was. Is he patriotic? Fair’s willingness to return again and again to the warzone even in the face of a threatening health issue and strains on his marriage suggests a high degree of patriotism. Yet he participated in actions that he came to reject. Once again one wonders whether a desire to not “want to be seen as the type of people who aren’t cut out for doing their part” can be viewed as adequate justification for the inhumane treatment of people. There are no highs and lows in tone despite remarkable extremes in the facts. Fair’s matter-of-fact delivery is the same whether he is tell us of his life threatening heart condition or standing in line for a burger in Iraq. His witnessing was quite strong, but seemed somehow muted by a lack of any personal interpretation. One wishes he included more personal reflections like his wish to have left Iraq earlier “with my soul intact.” ( )
  ozzer | Sep 6, 2016 |
This is a book about Moral Injury to The People of the United States, really. But it's presented as a memoir. It's not really about one guy's memoir.

Even so, this memoir reminds me a lot of the confessions of St. Augustine except that where Augustine was reared up in a pagan household, Fair grew up in the Presbyterian Church, and so his upbringing and descriptions of the moral and theological underpinnings of what that was like were very familiar to me. Fair will probably be the first to tell you he's the last candidate for sainthood and believes he may never be forgiven because he believes he does not deserve to be forgiven. This is certainly as devastating a memoir to read as it must have been to write, and the impression that this is a man whose Soul twists on a spit every day is present from first to last. It's certainly the first time I've ever read a book with whole pages of blacked-out redacted text.

Sere and spare as a parson's visage, Fair lays it our for us in first person prose, short sentences, and clear language as he takes us from his childhood in Bethlehem, PA and the insecurities that led him down the rabbit hole to his own personal Hell and thence to the moral blast furnace of Iraq and Abu Ghraib prison. There, he found himself at the epicenter of the torture policy and practices carried out by his employer, the private contracting firm CACI, as well as the Army on, what the American public eventually learned, were the orders of Vice President Dick Cheney.

The next phase of the book takes us through his flounderings with to heart failure both physically and morally, his post-CACI employment with the NSA, two abortive attempts to attend seminary, alcoholism, suicidal ideation and his desire to find a way back to Life. I had to digest this book in small bites and put it down frequently for three reasons: I saw myself in it (though I've not tortured anyone), at many points I became sure that this is man who will eventually eat his gun, and because I began to wonder if this was a backward apology for the use of contractors in these wars and we should just all feel sorry for them.

In the first instance, anyone who has done things out of insecurity will see themselves and have a "There but for the Grace of God go I" moment.

In the second instance, I came across this book when I saw an interview with Eric Fair on CSPAN-2 Book TV. He's very photogenic and gives off a very calm demeanor; too calm.

In the third instance, this memoir eventually gives you a sense of watching one of the flagellotti staggering through the streets of some Medieval city in Europe during the Black Plague, flailing himself with no governor. Fair doesn't give us a lot of details of the horrible things he says he's done, not about what he saw or did at Abu Ghraib or Fallujah, nor about what he gave as testimony to Army CID and the Justice Department (other than naming names) during his attempted seminary days. Perhaps those details are still classified. A great deal of the memoir about his work for the NSA are pages of blacked-out redaction. But the one really detailed gorey description is of what he, and any of us, might consider a good deed. Why in a confessional is there great detail there but not otherwise? Fair calls himself a torturer and makes it clear that he is writing this memoir as a means of approaching those he's wronged and intends to do so as many times as it takes to be forgiven. I don't know if he intends this to be published and distributed in Iraq or not, so perhaps he means that he's wronged the American people instead. And indeed, he has, as an agent for CACI and ultimately Dick Cheney. But indulging in shame as a permanent penitent is itself an exercise in the Mortal Sin of Pride, and can very easily devolve into a masturbatory one at that. Fair lays some of the blame for his bad actions on the decisions he made, and some of it on his Presbyterian upbringing which stressed rules; he says "Presbyterians like rules." Well, one of those rules is : "It's a sin to believe you cannot be and/or don't deserve to be forgiven." And that's a rule every Presbyterian learns in Sunday school. I know - I learned it in my Sunday school. Because you see, that's Prideful and manipulative. In point of fact, those things are part of the alcoholic complex from which he suffers.So he may be blind to it, as well.

I came to the conclusion, after reading this book, that one of the reasons contractors were used in these wars, instead of ginning up a draft and engaging the full war-machine potential of the United States was, because the Powers That Are were not certain the military people would follow those kinds of orders to torture prisoners. Civilian employees, being paid much more money, tax-free, and not subject to the UCMJ's moderating influences - might be more malleable and amenable. That indeed, seems to have been the case. ( )
  ktho64152 | Aug 30, 2016 |
Review to follow. ( )
  Maureen_McCombs | Aug 19, 2016 |
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This "is the story of Eric Fair, a kid who grew up in the shadows of crumbling Bethlehem Steel plants nurturing a strong faith and a belief that he was called to serve his country. It is a story of a man who chases his own demons from Egypt, where he served as an Army translator, to a detention center in Iraq, to seminary at Princeton, and eventually, to a heart transplant ward at the University of Pennsylvania"--Amazon.com. Eric Fair grew up in the shadows of crumbling Bethlehem Steel plants, nurturing a strong faith and a belief that he was called to serve his country. Consequence is Fair's story, the story of a man who begins with a desire to serve and, through a winding series of choices, becomes an interrogator for a private contractor at Abu Ghraib during one of our nation's darkest moments. In 2004, after several months as an interrogator, Fair's now constant nightmares take new forms: first, there had been the shrinking dreams; now the liquid dreams begin. By the time he leaves Iraq after that first deployment (he will return), Fair will have participated in or witnessed a variety of aggressive interrogation techniques including sleep deprivation, stress positions, diet manipulation, exposure, and isolation. Years later, his health and marriage crumbling, haunted by the role he played in what we now know as "enhanced interrogation," it is Fair's desire to speak out that becomes a key to his survival. Fair chases his own demons from Egypt, where he served as an army translator, to the police force in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to a detention center in Iraq, to seminary at Princeton, and eventually to a heart transplant ward at the University of Pennsylvania. Spare and haunting, Eric Fair's memoir urgently questions the very depths of who he and we as a country have become.--From dust jacket.

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