After putting on the blue jumpsuit, the guards also put a leather belt—which looked quite similar to the type of belt weight lifters wear—around my waist. But this belt was clearly not for weight lifting. Attached to the front of the belt was as a set of stainless steel handcuffs.
One of the guards locked my wrists in the handcuffs. A moment later he locked leg irons around my ankles. Apparently, these precautions were part of the standard operating procedure for admitting a detainee to special quarters, which was the maximum-security area of the base brig at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
During my time in the U.S. Marine Corps, as many Marines have, I once hiked more than 20 miles at a pace of 4 miles per hour, after spending a week patrolling in the forest, with burning blisters on my feet, carrying a heavy pack and a 25-pound M240 G machine gun, which combined to create an incredibly sharp pain in my trapezius muscles that flared with every step. The walk to special quarters was likely less than 100 yards in total, my feet were free of blisters, shoulders free of pain, and I wasn't carrying anything. But it was the longest walk of my life. The humiliation, the fear, the regret, and the confusion grew within me with each step.
With each turn around a corner, I prayed that it would be the last. I wondered, “How many corners could ...