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What Would I have Seen? How Would I Have Reacted?
Today's third installment of Chapter 3 follows CIA Inspector General John Helgerson's inquiry into the black site torture program that led up to the publication of his Special Review in May 2004—and in particular, the conclusions he reached when he reviewed the videotapes of the Thai black site interrogations. We will never be able to see those interrogation tapes, but we have Helgerson's reaction as the best guide to we would have seen and how we might have felt if we had.
It seems to me those two questions—What would I have seen? And how would I have reacted?—are the two simple questions we should all be asking about the interrogations of detainees in US custody after 9/11. The documents are full of accounts by men and women who saw what was happening and had emphatic, clear reactions that it was wrong-Helgerson in this Chapter, the unnamed soldier who worked on an interrogation team in Afghanistan and reported an abusive interrogation in Chapter 2 are just two examples. So much was done, and is still being done, to keep us from seeing what was going on. But we are not without good guides.