TORTURE UNLIMITED | HBO PREMIERES GHOSTS OF ABU GHRAIB
American exceptional-ism is the notion that the United States, by the virtue of its institutions, history and national credo, is somehow superior to all other nations. American exceptional-ism holds that there are certain things that America just doesn’t engage in. Torture, for example, is considered a despicable tactic that is a fixture of third world regimes and former Soviet gulags but not the US. According to the narrative, the United States is too wholesome and moral to undertake such barbarism. The sadistic and disturbing pictures that made their way out of the Abu Ghraib prison shocked the world and revealed the truth. Abu Ghraib was torture central under Saddam and remained so after the Saddam regime was toppled and America took over. Ghosts of Abu Ghraib is a searing documentary that tackles that sordid episode head on. Filmmaker Rory Kennedy pulls no punches and delves deep into that tragic affair interviewing some of the Iraqi victims as well as their American torturers. Far from being an aberration or the work of a few bad apples, sexual humiliation and torture were systemic and encouraged by the highest levels of government. The Bush administration with its disdain for international laws created an environment that was conducive to the committing of such atrocities. I guess you can call it American exceptional-ism run amok.
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