Ghosts of Abu Ghraib is a riveting documentary by director Rory Kennedy that explores one of the most shameful episodes in American military history. At the notorious Baghdad prison in 2003, U.S soldiers were accused of inappropriate behavior and mistreatment – some would say torture – of Iraqi detainees, all of whom faced their release without charges.
Kennedy’s documentary delves beyond the physical atrocities to examine the philosophy behind them; apparently, violations had been occurring even before the invasion of Iraq. Then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his administration defined their captives not as prisoners of war but as “unlawful combatants,” justifying such extreme techniques as nudity and sexual humiliation, “stress positions” (such as standing on a rickety box wearing a sensory-deprivation hood) and intimidation with vicious dogs. As we see in Kennedy’s documentary, many of these activities are captured in lurid color photos that are far more explicit than any previously circulated images.
It is difficult to discern who was ultimately accountable for these horrific acts; guards at Abu Ghraib claim they were under-trained and overworked while their superiors state demands for more support fell on deaf ears. Ghosts of Abu Ghraib raises important questions about ethics within our armed forces and shines a light on systemic abuses that must never be repeated again.
Make sure to watch this powerful documentary which provides a unique insight into this dark chapter in US history. Ghosts of Abu Ghraib is an eye-opening film that reminds us why it is so important to hold our government accountable for its actions – past, present, and future.