Taxi to the Dark Side explores the evolution of torture techniques after the September 11 attack and the effects said techniques have on America’s global image. It documents torture used in Bagram in Afghanistan, Abu Ghraib in Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. According to the documentary, hundreds of thousands of people have been detained and tortured in these facilities, while less than one percent of them have been found to have any terrorist connection.

Toward the end of the documentary, there was a discussion regarding the effectiveness of torture and multiple people were interviewed on the issue. John McCain, having been a prisoner of war himself, has spoken out against the torture used in detention facilities and has proposed multiple bills in Congress to limit the use of torture. In the documentary, he speaks of how torturing a detainee is rarely helpful. It usually leads to false information and it often times just emboldens the person to become more steadfast in their beliefs. A man who was detained in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay also spoke of the torture he endured in the facilities. Later found innocent, he commented that many detainees were not terrorists when they arrived, but terrorists when they left.

I agree with the position that torture is a counter-productive strategy. Not only do I believe torture to be morally wrong, but I also believe that using torture to attain information has negative implications for US security. First, most information that is attained during interviews that involve torture is false. Many detainees will just say what they think the interviewer wants them to say. When false information is used to make military decisions, it puts soldiers at first. Second, it reflects poorly on the US’s image. Many of the torture techniques that have been used in the past are inhumane. This prevents coalition building in many Middle Eastern countries, greatly hampering US soft power.

-Leandra