On December 5, 2002, Dilawar, a young Afghan taxi driver, was arrested, handed over to US troops and taken to Bagram Air Force Base for interrogation. 5 days later he was dead. In his five days in that dungeon, he was hooded, chained to the ceiling of his cell, and beaten repeatedly. His legs were so badly injured that they were described as “pulpified” – like they had been crushed by a truck. Dilawar’s story is an example of what can happen to people in places like Afghanistan who are simply judged to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
What happened to Dilawar is unique only in the sense that we know about it – the story of his torture and murder was made into a film, Taxi to the Dark Side, which recently won the Academy Award for best feature documentary. But as numerous horror stories from Bagram, Abu Ghraib, and Guantanamo show, these crimes have become routine.
I was inspired to post this today because of the US State department’s release of a worldwide report on human rights, in which they criticize other countries over violations like violence, humiliating treatment, and yes, torture. It is galling hypocrisy, hypocrisy without limit.