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The Subject of TorturePsychoanalysis and Biopolitics in Television and Film$
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Hilary Neroni

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231170710

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231170710.001.0001

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The Nonsensical Smile of the Torturer in Post- 9 / 11 Documentary Films

The Nonsensical Smile of the Torturer in Post- 9 / 11 Documentary Films

(p.49) 2 The Nonsensical Smile of the Torturer in Post- 9 / 11 Documentary Films
The Subject of Torture

Hilary Neroni

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines a group of documentaries that deal with the Abu Ghraib photographs. These documentaries include Standard Opening Procedure (2008), Taxi to the Dark Side (2007), and The Ghosts of Abu Ghraib (2007). The subject of these documentaries is not the desiring subject or the bizarre nature of what the photographs from Abu Ghraib reveal about human subjectivity. Instead, the documentaries work to expose the inhumanity of torture. The films also reject the Bush administration's claim that the U.S. military did not directly order those specific acts of torture at Abu Ghraib. They also prove both the ineffectual nature of torture, and George W. Bush's involvement in the decrees to torture. The films, however, avoid the question of the justifications of torture, which leads these otherwise excellent documentaries to miss the real issue at stake in torture.

Keywords:   Standard Opening Procedure, Taxi to the Dark Side, The Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, torture, Bush administration, U.S. military, Abu Ghraib, George W. Bush

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