A Review Of ‘Standard Operating Procedure’, Opening April 25th


“It’s a man’s world. You have to either be equal to a man or overpower a man.” - Lynndie England.

Nope, filmmaker Errol Morris isn’t asking you to shed any crocodile tears for Lynndie England, the eye of the Abu Ghraib hurricane who stumbled into Iraq’s central prison as a highly impressionable, love struck private and left as the scapegoat/poster child for American depravity.

She’s not alone in her matter-of-fact testimony (lacking visible remorse but also lacking visible joy or pride, either). You’ll meet… Her boss and lover Sgt. Graner, the true ringleader of this insanity. Specialist Sabrina Harman, who documents it all by taking pictures out of her own amused horror and sense of duty before eventually descending to partake herself. Sgt. Javal Davis, one of the more innocent bystanders in it all, nevertheless guilty by association. All appear on camera (save a still imprisoned if not ashamed Graner), among others to explain their involvement and the level of atrocities committed at the now three syllable euphemism for torture.

Facing a growing prison population with no release procedure in place despite the continual rounding up and incarceration of fighting age Iraqis akin to the Japanese internment camps of the ’40s, these soldiers live in a constant state of fear and boredom (and a bored soldier is a dangerous soldier). Repeated use of nudity for interrogation? Aural abuse via musical repetition? Sleep deprivation? By any objective measure, the tactics employed at Abu Ghraib can only be classified as tort