God is Not Here


By Bill Russell Edmonds

cover image of God is Not Here

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In May 2005, Lieutenant Colonel Bill Russell Edmonds of the U.S. Army Special Forces, a decorated counter-terrorism expert, was deployed to the Iraqi city of Mosul, which was boiling over. His job was to advise an Iraqi Intelligence Officer on the art of interrogations, collect intelligence, and monitor the capture and interrogation of insurgents, while applying the brakes on more extreme tactics and torture. From a makeshift basement prison, he would witness a never-ending cycle of some of the darkest things humanity could create.It was a soul crushing minefield of mutually exclusive moral mandates. Edmonds' training offered little practical guidance for the nuances of the Iraq War, so he had to draw his own red line: what level of torture he would tolerate and what level he would not. A year later he returned home morally and spiritually hollowed-out, with post-traumatic stress and acute moral injury. At first, he thought his distress was from the inevitable adjustment of returning home. In God Is Not Here, Edmonds has gone beyond a blood-and-body-count war memoir, revealing his emotional, psychological, and spiritual trauma—and the tortuous process of his reassembly—while providing a raw look at what happened overseas.

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God is Not Here