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Taxi to the Dark Side DVD Review

Winner of the 2008 Best Documentary Award, Taxi to the Dark Side examines the procedures (see: methods of torture) used by US forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantánamo Bay. The story is framed by the death of innocent Afghan taxi driver Dilawar, who was detained at Bagram Air Base and beaten to death by US soldiers.

Like director Errol Morris’ standard operating procedure, Taxi to the Dark Side is an in-depth investigation into the “anything goes” torture methods implemented by the US government after the 9/11 attacks. It is a situation in which suspects are presumed guilty before trial and are subjected to all kinds of harassment, as well as physical, sexual and psychological cruelty that clearly go against the Geneva Convention (international standards for the treatment of prisoners of war). To think that the Bush administration was able to pass such directives without international intervention is a terrifying, terrifying thing.

Director Alex Gibney (Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson) uses interviews with (among others) a released detainee, US soldiers, and US Attorney John Yoo, as well as news footage and the now-infamous footage of Abu Ghraib torture for two purposes: to highlight the injustices that have been perpetrated and also to explain how their execution was sanctioned. Like standard operating procedure, Taxi to the Dark Side is a play that will make most thinking people gasp and heads explode with outrage.

Is war hell? It sure is.

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