Review: Taxi to the Dark Side

This is one of the best documentaries I’ve watched in a long time. It made a powerful case against the Bush administration. If you could still support torture after watching this, then there is something seriously wrong with you. 

It was surprisingly balanced and nuanced. The soldiers who did the torturing were given the opportunity to speak and they weren’t painted as simply bad people. However, I was saddened to hear how they rationalized it at the time. One soldier seemed to still not understand that what he did was wrong. His only complaint was that he got into trouble for doing his job and wished someone had given more clear orders.

I’m not shocked because this is typical of human nature as has been shown by psychological research, but it certainly doesn’t give me much hope for humanity. If you set up another torture prison right now, you could find soldiers to do the same thing all over again. Humans are sad creatures.

However, a major point of the documentary is that we’re all to blame. The government lied, the media parroted the propaganda talking points, and the American public embraced it righteously. The truly sad part is where it’s pointed out that our own war of independence was fought to stop this very kind of civil rights issue. We’ve become the oppressor. Apparently, it’s time for a new revolution.

One last point of interest is the connection with CIA research. The CIA program MKULTRA studied brainwashing techniques that involved torture techniques. The CIA had been reigned in from it’s past illegal activities, but that all went out the window with 9/11. There was a culture within the government that was rooted in these past covert projects.  And don’t forget that Bush sr was originally a CIA director.

By the way, the documentary mentions that the US detainees now numbers at 83,000 since 2001.

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