Sunday, November 23, 2008

Standard Operating Procedure (2008) R - 3½ Stars

Remember, a few years back, the photographs that hit the air on nightly news, exposing abuse of Iraqi prisoners. A female soldier holding the leash to an Iraqi naked male prisoner. A human pyramid of naked Iraqi prisoners with American soldiers smiling in the background. Iraqi naked men handcuffed behind their backs to bars stretching them out and the famous Iraqi man standing on a box with wires attached to his fingers garbed and blindfolded. Well this is a documentary from those accused of the abuse and those responsible for taking the pictures and videos.

I've given up trusting most of what I see on T.V. and read on the Internet and I love to always see the other side of a story. I used to write to an American soldier in the Gulf War and he would tell me of stories that the public wasn't a privy to. After seeing the film, I am not condoning the photographers for taking their smiling in the photos. However, I do believe there is a whole lot more of this that goes on and these few kids are being the scape goats trying to proof to the country that our government does everything by the book when it comes to war. I would hope we all know that is bull shit.

Abu Ghraib is the largest prison in Iraq and was built in the 1960's with the Germans money and with American standards. It once held captives of Sudam Hussein who were tortured and killed there. During the Iraq war it was used to house high profile criminals under the direction of command of General Janis Karpinski. Eventually even Saddam himself would be a prisoner of these walls. But after photos surfaced, that exposed less than human interrogation of prisoners, the military tried to put a hush on it very quick by carting off a group of young soldiers to jail. Wipe it under the road let go General Janis Karpinski and move on. However, the people involved would not let it lay down so easily.

Errol Morris has made a film about these interviews trying to expose the larger picture of what really goes on behind the closed doors of war. This "scandal", as told in the documentary, interviews everyone involved, except Graham who's still in prison, picture and video taping, interrogators, as well as the forensic investigator working on the picture time line. His job is to dissect the photos into particular time frames in order to get a clearer picture of what really was going on. It's one of those movies where you will have to view it for yourself in order to form your own opinion. While I do feel some of the photos taken were out of line with smiling soldiers in them, I can half way understand why they did it and especially Sabrina when you read her letters written to home as it was happening. I believe, with a doubt, there is a whole lot more to the story we will never know about. Standard Operating Procedure is not something the general public would ever understand or agree to.


Javal Davis - Roman Krol - Ken Davis - Tim Dugan - Jeffery Frost - Brent Pack - Megan Ambuhl - General Janis Karpinski - Tony Diaz - Lynndie England - Sabrina Harman - Jeremy Sivitz

Sony Pictures Classic Inc.
Director: Errol Morris
Writer: Errol Morris
Producers: Errol Morris, Julie Bilson Ahlberg
I viewed 11/08

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