Concequences: A Memoir, by Eric Fair, ISBN: 978-1-250-11842-4, Picador Publishing, Review by Kenan Kurspahic, Mentoring and Advising Center, Georgia Gwinnett College

As an interrogator and contractor in Iraq, Eric Fair details his experiences of interviewing captured soldiers and the methods he personally used and saw to obtain information. He struggles with the choices he made to obtain intelligence gathering, as it started to effect both his marriage, faith and his health. Prior to him joining the army and becoming a civilian contractor, he lived a fairly normal life in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where he joined the police force. Years later, Fair travels to Iraq as a contractor where he witnesses torture, isolation and sleep deprivation to name a few. The encounters he experienced and wanted to avoid, is what strayed him away from the person he was before Iraq to the person he became after it.

Eric Fair, underwent a drastic transition from an ordinary citizen from Pennsylvania to the one he became as a civilian contractor in Iraq. Eric is a fairly religious man with ambitions of being a great police officer, but before his dream could come true he enlisted in the army where he learned Arabic and later served in the special ops training unit. Upon returning home, he joins his local police force but is quickly forced to give up his dream due to his heart condition. Fair puts his language skills and army training to use by becoming a civilian contractor in Iraq where he witnesses a wide range of mistreatment of prisoners and torture methods. As his contractor duties concluded, Eric felt ashamed and regretful, he became a man that could not fathom what he witnessed and what he did, trying to lead a normal life, but cannot because of the demons he struggled with every day of his life. Fair (2016) states, “I am not disgusted by my actions, but rather disgusted by how good it felt to wield power” (p. 189). Eric confesses to committing gruesome acts as a contractor, and is trying to find his way back to forgiveness.

The topics of torture and interrogation are very complex, are not something we can relate to in our everyday lives, but more importantly as advisors. As advisors, we can look at how we use certain methods to get to know our students. Fair tried to get to know his prisoners. Advisors are trying to shape young people’s lives as advisors by getting to know them, by asking questions, by making them feel comfortable, and more importantly, by letting them know we are here to help. In an advisors point of view, Consequence, does not leave too many implications in our roles, but advisors are interrogators in a sense, in that we are trying to obtain information from students but without the methods he used, we want to learn about the student, we want to guide them to a path towards success and serve and teach them while they are in college. 

Again, this the authors point of view during the Iraq war and the consequences that Eric is having to live with every day. He and others committed sins just as much as the prisoners he was trying to interrogate. The best part of this book is when Eric confesses to his wrongdoings, and admits his attempt to forgive himself before he gets it from others. Eric exposes his own wrongdoings, while trying to accomplish his nation’s purpose in the recent Iraq war. It’s a great read no matter your current occupation, but an even better read to those who serve students in an everyday capacity.

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