US film director Rory Kennedy on her The Ghosts of Abu Ghraib

US soldier with body of Iraqi prisoner tortured to death in Abu Ghraib

From the blog of US film director Rory Kennedy, on her film The Ghosts of Abu Ghraib:

A year ago I set out to explore how ordinary people, given certain circumstances, are capable of carrying out extraordinary acts of violence.

Historically, across cultures, there are many examples of this — genocides where neighbor turned against neighbor, friend against friend.

For me, the unanswered question linking all of them was, what were the factors, the precise circumstances that made such destruction and horror possible?

Starting with this broad inquiry, I soon narrowed the focus of the film.

It became apparent that the story that needed to be told was the story of Abu Ghraib.

Not only was this a story of violence and torture, but it was also a contemporary story, here and now — a story about ourselves.

My intention would be to look at the personal and psychological make ups of those most directly involved.

How could our American soldiers be capable of such monstrous acts?

What could possibly have motivated them?

The photographs that emerged from Abu Ghraib were so shocking that they instantly became the defining images of all that has gone wrong with the war in Iraq (and perhaps America, too).

Film The Prisoner on Abu Ghraib: here.

Book review on Samantha Power‘s A Problem from Hell, on genocide: here.

Zinn and Chomsky interview: here.

13 thoughts on “US film director Rory Kennedy on her The Ghosts of Abu Ghraib

  1. 11/21 – “The Ghosts of Abu Ghraib” Screening
    Tuesday, September 4, 2007

    “The Ghosts of Abu Ghraib” examines the policies and the psychology that led to the scandal at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, and ultimately to the revelation of secret U.S. torture sites around the world and the outing of America as a nation that practices torture.

    The Northampton Committee to Stop the War in Iraq is sponsoring a free screening of “The Ghosts of Abu Ghraib”on Friday, September 21 at 7:00 p.m. at the Media Education Foundation, 60 Masonic Street in Northampton.

    The event is free. The venue is accessible. Discussion will follow. For more information, call the contact listed above or visit our website at


  2. thats what American are no one ve motivated them. that in there blood. American’s are like wampira’s they are sick people. belive me or not there ll be a day you ve 2 pay 4 everythin you ve done


  3. Hi pirate, the problem is the Bush administration which orders torture like in Abu Ghraib, and more generally the ruling class, neoconservatism, etc. in the USA, rather than the people in the USA as a whole. After all, filmmaker Rory Kennedy and others who expose these scandals are US American as well.


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