Tonight I watched Rory Kennedy’s new documentary, Ghosts of Abu Ghraib. The documentary tells the story of the events leading up to the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, and of what actually happened in the prison, and includes interviews with some of the soldiers eventually convicted for abusing prisoners at the prison and some of the prisoners who were abused.
First, a quick word about Rory Kennedy. She is an amazing documentary filmmaker. I had previously watched her documentary American Hollow, which documented and exposed the dark side of abject rural poverty in United States. It changed the way I thought about this country and about poverty.
Her film on Abu Ghraib is even more powerful. I had seen the photos from Abu Ghraib and knew almost everything she reported in the documentary, but seeing it was different. I know that saying every American should see something is an overused cliché, but every American should see this documentary. I have thought many times that President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and others have ruined this country, but I’m now more convinced than ever.
The documentary takes the infamous pictures from Abu Ghraib and puts them in context, at the same time revealing what a hollow sham the comments from the people in power were.
If you get a chance, watch this film. It’s harrowing and painful, but necessary, especially if you’re one of the people who thinks that torture is justified.
For more, check out this interview with Rory Kennedy from The Nation.