Standard Operating Procedure – on Demand at Netflix
Above is the trailer for Errol Morris’ most recent film, Standard Operating Procedure, which is now available as a watch on demand feature at Netflix.
It takes the premise that all that will be remembered of the Iraq war in decades to come will be the photographs of abuse at Abu Ghraib and dissects the role of photographs in how what went on there was ultimately judged.
Lynndie England, the person often held most culpable, because of her appearance in photographs appears least guilty under analysis. She was a child below the legal drinking age who was easily influenced by another reservist, the sadistic alpha-male, Charles Graner, who was often behind the camera in the most incriminating images.
No matter how horrifying the imagery of Abu Ghraib the people interviewed point out that the real violence was perpetrated by CIA interrogators who murdered prisoners during questioning, but whose crimes were not photographed or prosecuted.
The underlying point is that images will always carry more weight than written testimony, but that they are often taken at face value. The most iconic image of Abu Ghraib, the one which turned public opinion more than others, is the crucifixion-like image of a prisoner standing on a box with his head in a sack and arms outstretched. The electric wires hanging from his fingers are fake and the exercise in sleep deprivation rather than physical violence is deemed ‘Standard Operating Procedure’. But the image, with its religious overtone, speaks of something else. .
(BTW for those that wonder why I am posting a link to Netflix. The aim of this site is to point to great TV/movies that are available directly via the Internet. I’m a particular fan of Netflix’s watch it now service, which has increasing good movies available, after a slow start).