Torture: The Misguided Rush now all Atumble, like a Herd of Clowns...


.....trying to get through the too small door suddenly & so conveniently provided by the CIA...of all people, of all organizations, to be trusted, this is where The People, the people that matter, now bow and praise the “Truth,” being presented and dressed all so pretty by the handlers learned in deception at the Central Intelligence Agency in these strangely ongoing attacks on the movie, ZeroDark30. People that hate the CIA suddenly find them to be center of truth and learning and light. One has to laugh.

People everywhere are writing, "It is established beyond doubt that torture doesn’t work, I know this, I write this, I certify this to be true, that no information gleaned by torture aided in the finding of UBL."

Balderdash, Poppycock. They haven’t a clue, they in absolute truth haven’t an idea if Torture is effective or not. Their perfect certitude notwithstanding, they cannot claim that the thousands of terrible tortures carried out in their name did not lead to the killing, the cold murder if you will, of UBL.

They have no personal knowledge, they could not testify in a Court of Law on the Issue, they couldn’t say a word...because they don’t know. Yet, like fools all a` howling at the dark night, they need to insist that their barking is somehow, like magic, nevertheless true.

All this lying, and lying is what it is, about ZeroDark30 has forced me to ask the easy yet real question....Does Torture work?

Of course it does. We look at our own frail flesh and we say and we know that we would give up whatever information we might have...true or not. Senator McCain himself signed a confession under torture that he was a War Criminal and murderer and killed innocent women and children. Let us look at this a moment, extracted through torture to be sure, but equally sure and certain is that Senator John McCain killed innocent women and children on his bombing runs over North Viet Nam.

Let us have a little truth here. He blew them to smithereens, their little arms ripped off, their bodied hurled through the air, their weeping mothers also killed or, if not, left trying to find the body parts of their children through the rubble his bombings left behind. This is the truth of Senator McCain, this is what he signed a confession to. It was true and he should tremble indeed if there is a just God in heaven.

I think we all know in our bones that torture is effective. As the character Dan says in the movie, “Everyone breaks, it’s biology.” This is simply true. I’m not even sure why there is any argument about it. If you get the right person, you will get the right information.  Also, more broadly,  Torture was effective for Hitler, and allowed Stalin complete control over the vastness of Soviet Russia; just the fear of it granted him security in far away Moscow. Now, today, North Korea is ruled by the fear of torture.

All of the above being said however, it is most important to note that torture is not a good way to gain anything. The movie shows deeply the soul deadening effects on various characters that carry out this terrible activity. There are very good and compelling arguments that Torture is Wrong, that it is not worth the toll it has exacted on the United States. And these arguments are true also.

But we did lots and lots of torturing. We had and probably still have rendention sites; we allow and ask other governments to conduct our interrogations for us. We did and still probable still do this.

That we now deny, loudly, that we found any useful information through Enhanced Interrogation Techniques is...probably good for our society. I am heartened that there is this tsunami of denial and it is a positive sign of a society trying to change a revengeful course that has been overall a destructive thing.

But people saying they know this or that...are simply wrong. They don’t know. They have opinions, they wager their arguments...but they do not Know.


You have to be there to know.


Thank God, none of us were. (Which is not to say our Representatives weren't there....ahhh)

Best Wishes, Traveller

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Torture worked on McCain, but to what effect?


Did the Vietnamese gain any useful information from him? Signing some piece of paper that nobody outside Vietnam would place any value in is an accomplishment?


There was plenty of torture in Vietnam. How did that work out? 


How many people, when tortured, give false information? How can the torturer tell? A serious terrorist network will be prepared, and will have lies within lies. It may even get its own targets to be hit by the authorities.


And don't your examples of regimes that sustain torture tell you something? How well did the Soviet Union do? How successful is North Korea?


You can say torture works if you think that removing a zit with a gunshot works. The solution is worse than the problem.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

OK, so if we can agree that torture works

mmghosh's picture

and so is a legitimate component the information extraction process, then we can also agree that torturing American soldiers and their enablers should be a component of information extraction when instituted by, say, the Taliban.  You are, in effect, legitimising the probable torture of your own. 


It is instructive that you should want to go down that path.  When chemical and biological weapons were outlawed, all advanced nations of the day agreed that it should be so.  The legitimisation of torture in the public mind of those same nations (by this movie, and other events) should make for an interesting phenomenon.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

You Have Added Words That I Specifically Diavow... (ZD3)



...most especially is the word, "Legitimate." I have been writing on the Torture issue now, like you probably, for almost a decade. I would presume that we  both have nuanced positions on  this subject.


I have always objected to the systemization of of torture. We have seen it in the Tower of London, in Limestone beneath the streets of Paris, high in the Festung Hohensalzburg overlooking Salzburg where there are leaned parchment volumes on how to best commit Moscow, in Berlin, in the Killing Fields in Cambodia. I know torture.


However, I have maintained that that Torture must be like love, you must openly suffer for it. There is no hiding, you must justify every act of your swooning ardor. And must be willing to be prosecuted for what you have done. Willing to sand and proclaim proudly.


The real difficulty with the Movie Zero Dark Thirty is subtlety seems to be presenting a lesser version of the ticking bomb an ongoing reality. So, we are not talking a single act of torture to stop an Pakistani Atomic device from leveling New Delhi, but rather an ongoing setting of bombs in New Delhi, Mumbai, many people do you torture?


Seriously, if there was an atom bomb in New Delhi and the bomber was in your possession, I would start clipping off fingers as I suggest you would faced with such a dilemma if you were honest with yourself.


The movie presents the scenario in which UBL is sitting in Abbottabad,  responsible for the Kobar Massacre, the London Bus/Tube Bombings, the JW Marriott Bombing in Pakistan and the recent Times Square bomb which was foiled.


I have questioned if this is true, but if true, this would justify a lot, going a long, long mile to killing this man.


As to your other fanciful propositions, see Polio Workers recently murdered in mass in Pakistan and the constant murdering of teachers in Southern Thailand. These Islamist are bad people. I am willing to say this to a moral certainty.


Lest me ask you, if you had in your possession an attacker ready for another murderous 3 days in Mumbai again that knew when the attackers were coming ashore in the next 24 hours and where...would you torture this individual or not?


And I don't want any cheating here...the movie is premised on the idea that you have the right person, who has the right you have this man, Mumbai is about to happen all over again or worse...what are You going to do?


How much moral courage do you have?





Moral courage is irrelevant. Torture works

mmghosh's picture

I have agreed with you on that - in certain selected situations.  It has, in the past, and will probably will be used in future.


But that is not the point.  Concentration camps work.  The British proved that while defeating the Boers.  Bombing civilians works - the Germans proved that in Rotterdam.  Poison gas works.  Biological weapons work.  Anti-personnel mines work. Even dum-dum bullets work.  


The point is - all these tactics are now outlawed, and for a reason; very simply, they stack the deck up against your own.  It is agreed among all reasonable antagonists that these techniques are to be abandoned - mutually.  That has created what you may call a moral order.  


As for the Mumbai massacres - I do not think torture would have worked.  In any case torture is pretty routine here, so that is again not the point.  There were 101 things that could have prevented the Mumbai attacks - starting with not marginalising the Muslim population for 65 years as we have done, preventing the Babri Masjid demolition, humane treatment of our Kashmiri people and so forth.  Even a non-corrupt police force, vigilant border security are much more important in preventing Mumbai-type attacks.  All these are much more important than torturing people to confess to imagined crimes.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

That Distant Voiced Controller in Pakistan Directing the Mumbai


...Attackers, calling them by cell phone, giving them encouragement, telling them what the authorities knew about their whereabouts, giving them hope when their will was faltering as they murdered the innocent...He knows everything, he's going to do it again.


Personal question, you have him in your possession 24 hours before then next Attack...what do you do?


I have told you what I would do, very bad, bad-bad things, and if I prevented another Mumbai, good, if not, I still would stand up and accept responsibility for what I did.


You apparently would not...I understand this.


However, I will not cede to you that you are the More Moral Person between us.


Listen, I understand what you are telling me, I agree it would be better to treat broad populations better...but you are not hearing me.


And you seemingly refuse to be honest with me or yourself.


You have the the Mumbai Pakistani Controller in your possession before the next attack...What do you do?


Best Wishes, Traveller



I'm sorry, Traveller, but what you describe is not an isolated

mmghosh's picture

incident.  Much though you would like to paint Mr Telephone Controller as Mr Mastermind Bad Guy, whose elimination, via torture, if necessary will solve the Muslim vs Hindu conflict that has been ongoing for a millennium - or a plainsmen vs hillmen conflict which has been ongoing for two millennia previously - it is a wrong dilemma, and a poor reading of history.


The solution to violent conflict is not more violence, not even (amazing though that may sound) more American-inflicted violence.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

It Would be Intellectually Dishonest of Me to Not Note That...



...we continue to disagree.


I'd give way to your (Hank and Manish and MA's) humanistic doctrines if I could...that would be easy, but we will just have to be on opposite side of  a very distinct & deep chasm on this.


Best Wishes, Traveller

I'm Not a Humanist


I am a pragmatist. I simply know from experience that torture is a net negative for those societies who engage in it on a regular basis.


I have also answered your hypothetical thus: Exceptional situations are handled in exceptional ways.


Those who want to lower the bar for torture are not truly concerned with exceptional situations. What they seek is to make torture routine and massive. Far more often than not, this results in blow back in the specific theater, and long term costs globally.


I credit widespread anti-Americanism in the Third World with American support of torture from the 1950's through the 1970's. As a result these countries are wide open politically, not merely economically, to entry by the Chinese.


This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

A block of cement is about to fall from the sky...


...and hit your head. What do you do?


It's just as likely a scenario.


I think I am safe in stating that Manish, me, you, anybody, will do whatever needs to be done in such an improbable case. Just like any of us would do very nasty things very quickly should we find ourselves on an airplane that was being hijacked by Muslim fundamentalists.


But it's still a nonsensical question that deserves to be ignored. Not only is the probability vanishingly small, but it is outlandishly obvious that no law enforcement officer is going to sit there and treat a terror attack controller with kid gloves because the law says so.


On the other hand, it is a certainty that if, using that unlikely television action series scenario, institutionalized torture is allowed, then thousands of people will be tortured for no good reason. It is also a certainty that this will backfire on the torturing government sooner or later, and if later, with a wrecking ball.


Torture should be illegal, period. If truly needed, it can always be pardoned.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Can No One Answer a Question Directly? This Was the Real Issue



...with the move ZD3 as I noted here:


They Had The Goods on This Guy, The Detainee...That's What...



...made the moral quandary so VERY interesting.


In truth, Detainees are, I sense, swept up in the being captured net as much by accident as guilt and this is what makes the moral equation so difficult.


The movie doesn't show any of this, doesn't even hint at this in the moral universe as presented by the film, and maybe in real life, if there is opportunity of stopping the London Bus and Tube bombings and killing of complete innocents...and you are in my control and I know you know when and where and who and therefore how to stop the pending disaster... don't want to be my prisoner. Very bad things will happen to you and much worse than what was presented in the movie...and I will take the responsibility for what is done. But you will bleed and very likely die.


This is the moral question presented by the is an interesting one for what is left out.


Best Wishes, Traveller




You can say its not honest, it's not true, its nonsensical, but, if the movie IS accurate...then the question is not nonsensical at all. It is real, it is pressing, it requires decisions. Decisions that have already been made in your name...there can be no question about this...we've tortured people in secret sites all over the world.


You say no....we disagree. I agree that torture should be illegal, always in all places...but this is not to say that there are not circumstances must, and it is a moral choice. I have tried to produce scenarios that people can relate to...but nobody does. everybody dodges the question, as do you also.


I'll tell you, the Mumbai Cell Phone voice may well already be in someone's possession, a war between Pakistan and India may have been one will ever know about.


Its a big world out there.






I think the movie is so disturbing because it presents so




It's a false issue

HankP's picture

because the universe of the story doesn't resemble the universe of reality. In stories there is absolute knowledge, in reality not so much. The problem is that people draw conclusions from the story world that they want to apply to the real world.


I blame it all on the Internet

It's Like Everyone Is Putting their Fingers in Their Ears...


...and going la, la, la, so they don't have to hear the real world.


Are you denying that there haven't been hundreds of people rendered and/or tortured in your name? This is real world, I've tried to sharpen the distinctions a little I suppose...but the real world is real and this has been done.


Further, has no one been in a college class and presented with a dilemma test? Do you tell the teacher you refuse to answer?




But back to the cental question...I would suggest you are getting the answer you want.


Untroubled by the real world. Because the real world is  too uncomfortable.





Of course it's been done

HankP's picture

it's despicable and the worst stain on our country in decades. But using a fake story to turn it into some sort of moral dilemma is crazy.


"Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity."


I blame it all on the Internet

Very Long HufPost Article Defending ZD30 as True...


I repeat only three central paragraphs, but the entire article is worth reading on war, truth, art and all of that stuff. It at times can be a bit of a slog as a read, but an important one. Here are the central facts:


The protest of officials and critics against Zero Dark Thirty is largely centered around one controversy: whether or not waterboarding or any other physically and mentally coercive interrogation technique used by the CIA had succeeded in procuring information leading to the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden. The film's most impassioned and otherwise well-informed critics of the film, director Alex Gibney, The New Yorker's Jane Mayer, and's Peter Bergen all are under the impression that no vital information had been secured by torture. The same opinion is being voiced by U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), and John McCain (R-Ariz.), who together represent the Senate Intelligence Committee that last week took a hard stand against Zero Dark Thirty and Columbia Pictures for its "misleading" depiction of information obtained from captured al Qaeda operatives as the result of waterboarding and other means of humiliation and extreme physical duress.


But the news archives tell us otherwise. On May 5, 2011, three days after the alleged death of Osama bin Laden, Leon Panetta, then still the CIA chief, in an interview with NBC News anchor Brian Williams, confirmed that "enhanced interrogation techniques were used to extract information that led to the mission's success." Panetta went on to explain that waterboarding was among the techniques used and was used successfully. The only difference between Panetta's statement and the film is that bin Laden's courier is not identified in the NBC interview as the lead to the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where Osama bin Laden was allegedly killed. Panetta also made clear that the CIA, "had a multiple series of sources... that provided information with regards to the situation. Clearly some of it came from... the interrogation of detainees but we also had information from other sources as well."


The former CIA chief is not the only official to corroborate the scene from Zero Dark Thirty in which an imprisoned al Qaeda operative discloses the name of bin Laden's courier. The same NBC dispatch examining the legalities of the raid that allegedly led to the death of bin Laden contains this quote from Representative Peter King (R-N.Y.) who was the House Homeland Security Chairman: "The road to bin Laden began with waterboarding." King then went on to state that waterboarding is a "moral imperative" that "saves lives."


Fast forward to December 2012 and ask, why would the Intelligence community and the Senate Intelligence Committee now change its story? One answer is that since Panetta and King made their disclosures to NBC in May 2011, the intelligence community could have come to recognize that an overt admission that waterboarding or other internationally illegal means of procuring information about bin Laden's whereabouts could also make the action that the U.S. took against bin Laden illegal.



All these are points I myself have made. Full Article here:


Best Wishes, Traveller



Is G Roger Denson plays Chinese Telophone in his head on HPost

brutusettu's picture

Denson fills up his word quota:



The film's most impassioned and otherwise well-informed critics of the film, director Alex Gibney, The New Yorker's Jane Mayer, and's Peter Bergen all are under the impression that no vital information had been secured by torture.




Denson links to:

"Enhanced interrogation techniques" were used to extract information that led to the mission's success, Panetta said during an interview with anchor Brian Williams. Those techniques included waterboarding, he acknowledged.


From Gibney:


Sounds like torture works, right? But as we know from the Senate and former CIA Director Leon Panetta, who wrote McCain in May 2011, that EITs did not play any more than an incidental role in the discovery of UBL.



If someone discreetly scratched their own privates during an interrogation session, would Denson think that that method secured the intel?

The link of what Harley posted....

brutusettu's picture

What Harley posted; Alex Gibney:








More relevant to this film is the fact that KSM, during his waterboarding program, vigorously denied the importance of al-Kuwaiti. So confident was the CIA in the effectiveness of waterboarding — despite all evidence to the contrary — that the CIA actually assumed that KSM was telling the truth about the unimportance of al-Kuwaiti, when he was actually lying. The CIA’s unjustified confidence in waterboarding likely derailed the hunt for bin Laden until the interrogation of Ghul.

ZB30 also withholds how much damage was done by the false information obtained by waterboarding. Ibn al-Sheik al Libi was being interrogated successfully by the FBI when an impatient Bush Administration demanded that the CIA take over. The CIA wrapped him in duct tape and packed him in a wooden box to be shipped to Cairo where he was waterboarded. As a result, he offered up information linking al Qaeda with Saddam Hussein, which was used by Colin Powell when he gave his famous speech before the UN. Partially as a result, we invaded Iraq. Later on, the CIA admitted that al-Libi had given false information. But by then we already had “boots on the ground” in Iraq.



Kathryn Bigelow must have been delighted when she discovered a female CIA agent was at the heart of the hunt for bin Laden. But compare Maya’s infallibility in the film with the case of another female CIA agent — a redhead like Jessica Chastain — who was such a fan of waterboarding that she asked to “sit in” on the slow motion drowning of KSM. (As Jane Mayer notes in her book, “The Dark Side,” she was rebuffed by a superior who told her that waterboarding is not a spectator sport.) She supervised the kidnapping and torture of a man named Khaled el-Masri in the CIA’s “Salt Pit,” a black site in Afghanistan. Despite a valid German passport, the agent insisted on his continued torment and incarceration (despite the protests of Condelezza Rice) until it was finally revealed that the agent had mixed him up with another man named al-Masri. (Whoops, we tortured a man over a spelling mistake!) Without apology, he was then dropped on a lonely road in Albania to try to pick up the pieces of his life. Just this month, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg declared his treatment at the hands of the CIA to have been torture — the first time this has happened. Where did we see this kind of cruel incompetence treated in ZD30?

Merry Fu(*ing Christmas

HankP's picture

If by "torture works" you mean that if you beat and abuse people long enough they'll sign whatever you put in front of them, then sure, torture works. If they had put a document in front of McCain saying that he dropped lollipops and flowers on North Vietnam he would have signed that too.


I blame it all on the Internet

I Didn't Say it Was Right, I Said it Was True...



...we have a choice, we can and seem to be turning away from this...which is good.


What seems odd to me is McCain leading this charge when torture was effective against him.

(but you've gotta want what is essentially at some level true, McCain did not drop lollipops, he dropped High Explosives wrapped in steel casing).


Best Wishes, Traveller

It was only effective

HankP's picture

in getting him to sign something that wasn't true. It was completely ineffective in getting any valuable information - just as it was for the US after 9/11.


Torture isn't used to find the truth, it's used to get false confessions. To get the subject to agree with what you tell him, while he's under the threat of more torture. That's how it's been used throughout history, and I'm tired of hearing "it's different this time". It's never different.


I blame it all on the Internet

Shouldn't it be marked as "True..." in quotations marks?

brutusettu's picture

So, torture "works" at getting people to sign off on statements prepared by the interrogators....exept when someone is waterboarded about 200 times and still doesn't sign off on a statement a la KSM.

I will stipulate that torture works

Bird Dog's picture

But it still don't make it right, unless it's a ticking time bomb situation, but those situations are so rare that I can't think of an single instance in our history where it has been applicable.

As for McCain, I don't doubt that he killed women and children when he flew planes into NV, and that his bombs separated limbs from bodies. But that's a phony issue. The question is whether he committed war crimes, and there is no indication that he did. Therefore, he did not commit murder. When he was captured, war crimes were committed against him, and he was compelled to make a phoney baloney "confession" which served NV's political objectives.

Oh, and OBL was murdered in cold blood? C'mon, Traveller, that's just pure bulls**t.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

The Killing of OBL in the Movie Was Cold, Alone in a Room...



..shot and then shot again. It was...percise, as was the killing of all the people killed in the Abbottabad compound. When one of the wives is shot after throwing herself on her dead husband...she was shot again.


As was necessary.


Later, the Seal that shot her comments about her being dead, "No, but she'll bleed out."


Which was exactly correct.


A fabulously true the way that Art can be truer than what actually happened, as Apocalypse Now was truer than true.


Best Wishes, Traveller

We killed the leader of a transnational paramilitant...

Bird Dog's picture

...organization that declared war on the United States. There was no murder. It was his wife's own damn fault for getting in the way of the bullet intended for her husband. He was a combatant every bit as much as any al Qaeda member carrying a AK-47.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

God What Arrogant Crap


And, for some reason, flung from on high.  Look, you're free to have your own badly educated opinion on the subject, as am I.  But the notion that anyone who believes torture does not work is somehow a mushy-hearted ninny with no real experience with the thing itself is a needless slander seemingly offered to bolster your I See The World Clearly bona fides.


But it's crap, embarrassingly so.  And statements like this -- "I think we all know in our bones torture is effective" -- is exactly why Zero Dark 30 is not just a dishonest movie, but a dangerous one. And gawd, what a head-smackingly stupid statement to make.


Neurobiologists, interrogation experts -- jeebus, do five minutes worth of research and you'll find educated opinion stating that torture is not an effective interrogation technique.


In other words, watching several seasons of 24 is not an adequate replacement for actual cognition.

“Two clichés make us laugh but a hundred clichés move us, because we sense dimly that the clichés are talking among themselves, celebrating a reunion." - Umberto Eco

ZDT May Be a Dangerous Movie, but Only Because it Accurately


...depicts the United States Triumphalism  from 2001 through 2012. It is what it is and it has people all upset because of this accuracy and people now want to turn away from what was done in their name.


We will just have to disagree on the fragility of flesh, the weakness of spirit, and what seems stupid to you appears just obviously true to me. We disagree. The question of means and ends is always present and is so here also.


As I noted in my other diary on this, the real problem with the movie, if a problem it is, is that it seems to imply that all the intervening terrorist attacks where from UBL and were somehow preventable. This may or may not be true.


The movie is art in the sense that it stays with you...the young woman looking, with a quick oblique camera angle, out the London double decker bus is all the more effective with it only being 2 seconds long.


And if this was preventable? Our society has faced difficult choices...but having looked into the abyss, it is good to know that we are turning away from this human darkness. But it is not wise to not acknowledge that it is there, ever waiting.


Best Wishes, Traveller







Not Even Close


Suggesting that torture led to the capture of Bin Laden, and doing so to add a little moral gravity to your movie, is hackwork of the worst kind.  And the very opposite of 'accurate.'  


Also?  It leads to 'torture works I must say with a sigh' diaries like this one.  For that reason alone, the movie is objectionable.

“Two clichés make us laugh but a hundred clichés move us, because we sense dimly that the clichés are talking among themselves, celebrating a reunion." - Umberto Eco

You Certainly Don't Know, Harley, and Argentina..The Disappeared



...Chile, Pinochet, Guatemala, the list is endless of successful (20 years or more) torture regimes.


I am coming to think that you haven't even seen the movie and can't therefore have any informed opinion....especially on its merits as...Capturing America for this decade.


I also am coming to think that my formulation on torture is far more morally superior than yours...I say torture can be effective, it is a choice, one we freely should not make. You on the other hand assert that there is no choice...if no choice, I see no moral value.


But the point remains, it is a fine movie, and further, having had this discussion, I have looked at the actual CIA non-denial denial. Read these three paragraphs, then read them again, what does it say? It affirms exactly what the movie depicts.


It would not be practical for me to walk through all the fiction in the film, but let me highlight a few aspects that particularly underscore the extent to which the film departs from reality.

*First, the hunt for Osama Bin Ladin was a decade-long effort that depended on the selfless commitment of hundreds of officers. The filmmakers attributed the actions of our entire Agency—and the broader Intelligence Community—to just a few individuals. This may make for more compelling entertainment, but it does not reflect the facts. The success of the May 1st 2011 operation was a team effort—and a very large team at that.

*Second, the film creates the strong impression that the enhanced interrogation techniques that were part of our former detention and interrogation program were the key to finding Bin Ladin. That impression is false. As we have said before, the truth is that multiple streams of intelligence led CIA analysts to conclude that Bin Ladin was hiding in Abbottabad. Some came from detainees subjected to enhanced techniques, but there were many other sources as well. And, importantly, whether enhanced interrogation techniques were the only timely and effective way to obtain information from those detainees, as the film suggests, is a matter of debate that cannot and never will be definitively resolved.


I am not even quite sure why I have to defend what most people have not yet even seen. My first diary in the comments tried to catch and expand on the moral ambiguities of the movie and some of it's difficulties, read those sub-diary cooments again.


My second diary was in response to the wave of people asserting what they do not know. You posted that review, I have dozens saying it is a fabulous movie, which it is. But you have taken a position that you do not know is true or not...nor do I in reference to this movie.


Best Wishes, Traveller....Oh, go see the movie and come back and tell me what you think...I mean the opening with actual voices from 9/11, was that offensive? I certainly thought so at the beginning...but there are hundreds of these "Ut Oh," moments strung out through the movie. It's a toughie, but worth your time....that's all you can ask for from a movie.





I have no doubt your 'formulation' on torture is morally superior to mine.  That's the point of the diary, not to mention your takeaway from the movie.  And that's what the movie sets out to do, appeal to those who are looking for a little moral superiority time -- "Gosh, torture is awful, but you know what?  It got us Bin Laden.  Gee willikers, these moral gray areas are for me and me alone!"


Saw it three weeks ago when my WGA screener arrived.  But will not assume moral high ground as a result.  Promise.


My objection is VERY specific.  The water boarding sequence is a lie.  It was added for sizzle, not for authenticity, and not to make a moral argument.  It's a perfect example of a director and writer living in a bubble made from self-esteem.  This leads to mistakes exactly like this one.


Funny.  Bigelow calls the movie 'journalism' until anyone calls her on this.  Then?   It's 'just a movie.'




But more importantly, Merry Christmas!!

“Two clichés make us laugh but a hundred clichés move us, because we sense dimly that the clichés are talking among themselves, celebrating a reunion." - Umberto Eco

I'll Accept Gladly Your Gracious Merry Christmas (smile)nt



PS I Hope We Both Enjoy the...Weirdness (?) of Django...nt





Sold out in every theater within range.  Maybe tomorrow!

“Two clichés make us laugh but a hundred clichés move us, because we sense dimly that the clichés are talking among themselves, celebrating a reunion." - Umberto Eco