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Jonathan Kim

Jonathan Kim

Posted: September 3, 2009 11:27 AM

Rethinking Taxi to the Dark Side: On Torture and the Mystery of Cheney Not Being in Jail


I can't for the life of me figure out why Dick Cheney is still walking around free and -- even worse -- continues to get airtime so he can spew lies about the utter awesomeness of American torture and his outrage that anyone would dare question its legality. Cheney's latest claim is that any investigation into America's torture policies would be purely a "political act", which would magically exempt him from testifying or following the law if he didn't feel like it.

So I decided to take another look at Taxi to the Dark Side, Alex Gibney's Oscar-winning 2007 documentary about America's torture policies and how they led to the death of Dilawar, an Afghan taxi driver in his early twenties who was beaten to death by American soldiers in 2002 while being held at the prison at the Bagram air base in Afghanistan. Dilawar was never charged with a crime and had no connections to Al-Qaeda. Of the approximately 105 prisoners that have "officially" died while in US custody, Dilawar is one of 37 that have been classified as homicides.

Watch my review below. (I did this review for Brave New Films' now-defunct web show, Meet the Bloggers, back in November 2008, which might explain why it looks so different and lacks the silky-smooth delivery of my later reviews ;-).)


So when you hear Cheney say that an investigation into torture is only a "political act", think of cases like Dilawar's. Dilawar was not a fictional character created for a campaign ad or invented by democrats to make Cheney look bad. Dilawar was an actual person who was actually innocent and was actually tortured to death because of the policies of Cheney and the Bush administration. Just as there have been tens of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans who have been arrested, mistreated, and held in nightmarish conditions, often without being charged or based on the flimsiest of evidence.

Just five days after 9/11, Cheney told Tim Russert during an interview on Meet the Press that the US government would have to "work through, sort of, the dark side. We've got to spend time in the shadows in the intelligence world." What he really meant is that he was planning to sell his (and America's) soul by approving the torture, kidnapping, and killing of anyone -- guilty or not -- who was perceived to be a threat to American interests. And he would do it in our names.

If you see Dick Cheney out somewhere, please make a citizen's arrest. You'll be doing the country and the world an immense favor, and I'm sure countless people will sing songs, write stories, and make movies celebrating your heroic actions.

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