Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Taxi to the Dark Side

With the onset of autumn’s dark evenings, Netflix returns to our house. Last night we watched “Taxi to the Dark Side” (2007), the Oscar-winning documentary that takes an in-depth look at the torture practices of the United States in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay. Just days after an innocent taxi driver in Afghanistan picked up three passengers and never returned home, he was killed at Bagram Air Base by injuries inflicted by US soldiers in 2002. The story ends at the top of the U.S. chain of command.

I’m transcribing a few relevant paragraphs from one of the closing chapters:

Lawrence Wilkerson, US Army colonel, retired: “In a legal sense I think [the Bush administration] wanted to discard the Constitution and they wanted to write a new one. But you can’t do that, so what you do is you throw a new interpretation on the old one. And the new interpretation is, the Executive, in wartime, and perhaps this war is gonna last forever, is all-powerful.”

Congress gave the President most of what he wanted. He would agree to abide by the Geneva Conventions. So long as he could define their meaning and application. A few detainees at Guantanamo might be put on trial, but the rest would no longer have access to habeas corpus, the fundamental legal right to challenge their detention. Planning a run for president, even Senator McCain voted for the bill soon after the Bush administration threatened to discredit him with conservative voters.

Jack Cafferty: “Buried deep inside this legislation is a provision that will pardon President Bush and all the members of his administration of any possible crimes connected with the torture and mistreatment of detainees dated all the way back to September 11, 2001. At least President Nixon had Gerald Ford to do his dirty work. President Bush is trying to pardon himself.”

The pardon did not extend to frontline soldiers.

This movie will appear on HBO this month: tonight at 4:00, Oct. 9 at 9:00 PM, & Oct. 16 at 1:00 AM.

For the offiicial movie site, click title of this post. For more information:

Wikipedia article on Taxi to the Dark Side

Internet Movie Data Base on Taxi to the Dark Side

"Democracy Now" coverage of Taxi to the Dark Side

We cannot chant "USA, USA" and not know what our country is doing in our names around the world.


Randal Graves said...

Yeah. "Innocent." Damn ACLUers. They all want to put food on your family and kill your children.

America is rotten and the best that a Dem in the White House can do is slow down the rate of rot.

Border Explorer said...

Randal: Your last sentence said it all.

D.K. Raed said...

Thanks for the heads up, B.E. I watch anything that Larry Wilkerson is involved with because I always enjoy his thoughtful analysis ever since I heard him scream, "J'Accuse, Mr. Vice President". And how typical that Bush-Cheney would insert text pardoning themselves. Just sickening!

eProf2 said...

Thanks, BE, for the heads-up. I'll set my DVR so I don't miss it.

The author of The Angler was on the Diane Rehm show yesterday morning. This book is about the Cheney years and ties into your post today.

Randal has said it very well with his last sentence. Rotten to the core!

thailandchani said...

I agree with Randal, too! Still, I'm going to watch the movie anyway. Putting it on my Netflix queue.


Fran said...

Dark Side Indeed. The darkest ever for the history of this country, still stunned on how so many dark things happened, essentially without consequence.
How did this happen under our watch?
The list of Impeachable offenses is long, and serious. How will we explain this to would-be grandchildren?

Mnmom said...

Have to say I agree with Randal as well. All power brokers make me sick.

Renegade Eye said...

I saw Taxi in the theater. It really was excellent.

Border Explorer said...

D.K., I've been Googling "Larry Wilkerson" since your comment: What a man. Glad you and eProf can tape this. And Chani, that you can Netflix it. It is not a fun flick, tho. Just saying.

Fran, I've been living with those same questions today. MNmom and Ren--your chiming in feels supportive to me on a day I don't feel very positive. I appreciate you all chiming in on this post. Such evil. Such negativity.

I need to switch to a local view. The world and national scene are bumming me out. I'm surprised you all are still reading this. Thanks for hanging with me.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I saw this coming up on HBO--we don't normally have it, but we got it free for a month when we switched our cable. Maybe I should tape it on the DVR so I can watch it as I treadmill.

Border Explorer said...

Ruth, it'll put the fire under your feet! Do it.

FranIAm said...

I really want to see this film. Thank you.

DivaJood said...

I saw this film on HBO the other night - it is truly the most chilling film I've seen in a long time, because it sums up how badly we've fallen as a nation.

Mariamariacuchita said...

I think we must fight to slow down the rate of rot. It is not hopeless. There is real evil out there, people and choices that intentionally are cruel and dark. We cannot give up.

Ingrid said...

Border Explorer..check out the bloggers against torture..'we've' collectively written a LOT about torture when it was still dismissed (2006) just before Gitmo and Abu Ghraib came out, I had heard about this incident..that is why one needs a media to do all this reporting..not a bunch of citizen journalists doing some decent work..truly it does not take much...it IS maddening isn't it??


afeatheradrift said...

Well, I can't watch the video and we don't have HBO, but I have read something of this and I can pretty much figure it out.

I sometimes wonder (though God knows I'm a huge supporter of separation of church and state) whether we as a nation should engage in a national day of expiation of our sins. Perhaps we might be granted a clean slate, to start anew, clean up the messes we have made and go forth to do good. We are rotted to the core in our government, and I wonder if it's possible to redeem it any more.

D.K. Raed said...

B.E., just wanted to let you know the hub & I watched "Taxi" today. Thank you so much for recommending it. It should be required viewing for all americans, especially as we get ready to vote. Our govt may have lost its moral compass, but we as a people do not have to lose ours.