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View Diary: Michael Moore Speaks Out on Zero Dark Thirty (85 comments)

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  •  Huh? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grover, radical simplicity

    And how is he wrong?

    Did you read the article? Which points do you contest?

    •  I'm not arguing either side, actually. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joanneleon, Chi

      I have encountered Moore's defense but have not seen the film, so going into Moore's specific arguments would be premature (though some sounded more of a stretch than should be merited in even the most generous of circumstances).

      My point is that you have embraced the Moore review as the authoritative one and are asking us to do so, based on his other progressive credentials.  That is a fallacy.  His other views have absolutely no bearing on this particular point.  Judge on his arguments here, sure, but don't expect him to get a free pass for being progressive on other occasions.  He can be wrong.  He's not infallible.  Neither am I.  Take this as you will.

      •  I don't "embrace" his view (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wee Mama, mumtaznepal

        I saw the film two days after the initial press screenings, and was stunned by the brilliance of this film both as cinematic art but also as a strong destruction of the idea that torture is either effective or moral. I am not saying go with his opinion because he is an authority. I am asking people to read his opinions and take them for what they're worth.

        Too many people here have decided not to see this great film because of the incredibly misguided attempts to misrepresent what it is. From the start, all I've suggested is that people see it for themselves and make up their own minds. Unfortunately, too many people have bought into what has become, in its extremes, a smear campaign that would be more appropriate for Fox News and Rush Limbaugh when it comes to reacting to a movie.

        •  So your opinion is (6+ / 0-)

          sincere, whereas people who have a different reaction are misrepresenting it?

          Might it be possible that people like me -- who believe it's soft on torture and generally pro-war -- sincerely feel that way?

          •  Where did I say that? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mumtaznepal

            Sorry, but I am as anti-torture as you are (and I respect your efforts on the subject).

            I don't question your sincerity. I question your take on the film, which I find profoundly inaccurate and misguided.

            Those who oppose torture should be grateful, as I am, for taking a subject which unfortunately has been swept under the rug, despite heroic efforts by many to hold people responsible, and reopening it to public view. And in doing so, showing how brutal it is and ultimately how ineffective it is - which is exactly what Zero Dark 30 does.

            •  You just said it-- (4+ / 0-)
              people here have decided not to see this great film because of the incredibly misguided attempts to misrepresent what it is.
              You're saying people are trying to give a false impression about the film; we're just interpreting differently.
              •  We're getting into semantics (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                david mizner, mumtaznepal, viral

                But can we agree on this - no one should take either you or me as the final word on the film, but rather should be encouraged to see it for themselves to make up their minds?

                I am very interested in hearing your response to this.

                Hardly anyone who has attacked the film has encouraged people to see it - the tone, and often the specific suggestion, has been to not see it (don't know if this includes you).

                So - do you agree with me that people should see it and make up their own minds?

                •  Sure--I encourage everyone (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  joanneleon, Meteor Blades, Chi

                  to see it and make up his-her own mind; that's always preferable to relying on the opinions of others. (Incidentally, I had a video of it - my wife is in the WGA -- so I didn't have to give them money!)

                  I will say, as well, that I don't agree with all the criticism of the movie; I don't agree, for example, that it casts President Obama -- he's shown on TV condemning torture, the single dissenting voice in the film -- in a negative light. I think some things in the film are at least more ambiguous than some of the detractors argue. That said, I think -- well, you know what I think.

                  •  Thank you for your reply (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    david mizner, mumtaznepal

                    and your joining me in encouraging people to see this and make up their own minds.

                    That separates you from unfortunately many who have encouraged a boycott or not voting for awards or other anti-intellectual responses.

                  •  Obama is not the only dissenting voice on torture (0+ / 0-)

                    in the film.  The CIA agent who did the first 30 film minutes of torture is, too.

                    "Privatize to Profitize" explains every single Republican economic, social and governing philosophy. Take every taxpayer dollar from defense, education, health care, public lands, retirement - privatize it, and profit from it.

                    by mumtaznepal on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 02:34:35 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

    •  I suppose if he wants to support 9.11 porn (0+ / 0-)

      that's his imperative.

      Not sure if we're required to imbibe, however.

      •  Have you seen the film, roadbed? (0+ / 0-)

        "Privatize to Profitize" explains every single Republican economic, social and governing philosophy. Take every taxpayer dollar from defense, education, health care, public lands, retirement - privatize it, and profit from it.

        by mumtaznepal on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 02:35:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't feel compelled to support the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jayden

          element of society that makes this shit, so no.

          I get quite enough pro-torture propaganda from "free" sources to have to pay for it !

          •  I thought for a long time before I saw it, because (0+ / 0-)

            I had heard all the left complaining about it, and I didn't know that I wanted to give money to it.

            But I saw it.  I think much of the left is wrong about it.  JMHO.

            I'd recommend you see it, too. Sorry you don't want to.

            "Privatize to Profitize" explains every single Republican economic, social and governing philosophy. Take every taxpayer dollar from defense, education, health care, public lands, retirement - privatize it, and profit from it.

            by mumtaznepal on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 03:26:34 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, going to the top - i.e., my first (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Chi

              comment about this being a 9.11 porn movie - what I was getting at was how it is a piece in the larger mosaic that builds up the narrative the OBL had any substantial to do with 9.11 in the first place, thus necessitating the whole decade (plus) long (heroic, ha ha) manhunt for him.

              The best account I've seen of how OBL * was * involved in 9.11 is given in this New Yorker article and the answer is not really any more than Jesus Christ was involved in George W Bush's Iraq war.  That is to say, they were both (i.e. OBL and JC) mythical figures that inspired the major actors involved but did little beyond that - for sure, they had no operational role.

              Nevertheless, I think I WOULD go see a movie where the CIA engages in a decade (2 millenia?) long manhunt to track down Jesus Christ torturing all the usual suspects (the pope, Rick Warren etc) along the way.  I think I'd enjoy that.  9.11 porn OTOH, not so much.   Maybe it's still just too soon.

              •  The last line of the movie questions the whole (0+ / 0-)

                hunt for bin Laden, was it worth it?

                "Privatize to Profitize" explains every single Republican economic, social and governing philosophy. Take every taxpayer dollar from defense, education, health care, public lands, retirement - privatize it, and profit from it.

                by mumtaznepal on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 04:14:51 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  This piece is an (11+ / 0-)

      embarrassment for Moore; I explain his most egregious error below, one that has veteran interrogators I work with laughing.

      But I want to touch on his bizarre takeaway that torture was shown to be ineffective. On two occasions in the film the threat of torture induces victims to immediately cough up info. One of them says, absurdly:

      "I do not wish to be tortured again. Ask me a question and I will answer it.'

      Probably the single worst line of dialogue in a movie this year.

      Moore explains away one of these instances by saying the CIA had that info from another source, but the fact is, torture (the threat of it) quickly extracted info; that's now how it happened, quite the contrary.

      Moreover, is you're going to make torture such a major part of your film; you should include a fuller picture of it: the time that high-value detainees stopped talking once the water-boarding began; the considerable opposition to the "EI" program withing the government, and how the hunt was hindered when torture victims provided inaccurate info. None of that was in the film.

      •  I agree with Moore (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wee Mama, Jon Says

        that once you engage in the argument over whether or not torture "works," you've lost the argument.

        As he says, castrating a pedophile would "work" too. But we don't do it.

        Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by NLinStPaul on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 01:05:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nah (4+ / 0-)

          In fact, momentum started to turn against torture in 2005-2006 largely because military officers entered the debate, basing their argument on national security. (Granted, Abu Graib also had an impact.) You'll notice that when President Obama signed his executive order banning torture, the people standing behind him weren't conventional anti-torture activists or clergy but generals and admirals.

          Time and again, on human rights questions, public opinion hinges on people's perceptions of their self-interest. We might like to think that the moral argument and moral argument alone can do the trick, but that's a fantasy.

          On torture, we're right about its inefficacy. We shouldn't shy away from it. On the contrary, if we do, the torture lobby has an opening to claim with impunity that torture keeps us safe.

          •  I wouldn't shy away (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Wee Mama

            from its inefficacy. Truth is - its a crap shoot whether you get good intel or not.

            The point is that even if it DID work - its still wrong.

            So the ultimate argument is a moral one.

            Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

            by NLinStPaul on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 01:16:26 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Of course (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Meteor Blades, BradyB, Agathena
              The point is that even if it DID work - its still wrong.
              My point is a political one. Moore's think it's unwise for us to engage in that debate; I think he's dead wrong.

              This is, in fact, an old argument among torture opponents.

              •  Of course its an old argument. (0+ / 0-)

                I'm very well acquainted with that.

                The fact that its an old argument among torture opponents means that there are thoughtful people on both sides.

                My position would be that - when push comes to shove - I stand on the ground where there are zero openings to lose the debate...the moral argument.

                Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

                by NLinStPaul on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 07:20:33 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Oh, and by the way... (0+ / 0-)

                the efficacy argument is based on the notion that the end goal of torture is to extract useful intelligence. Historically that hasn't always been the goal of those who torture. There's a lot of evidence that it has also been used as a tool of oppression and as a means for extracting propaganda. Torture has actually pretty effective in accomplishing that.

                Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

                by NLinStPaul on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 07:24:44 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  Jennifer A Epps makes the points... (3+ / 0-)

        ...in your final paragraph and more in her excellent critique published here this week and highlighted two days later in Night Owls.

        Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 01:54:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I think you need to rewatch the film. Where the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NLinStPaul

        person who was tortured during the first 30 minutes of the film speaks, it's not because of threat of torture again.  It's because they lie to him and tell him the attack failed.

        He specifically did NOT talk during any of his torture experiences.  Waterboarding, being tied up, humiliated in front of a woman, stuffed in a box ... he would not talk.

        I disagree that torture is any "major" part of the film, too.  It is less than 20% of the film.

        "Privatize to Profitize" explains every single Republican economic, social and governing philosophy. Take every taxpayer dollar from defense, education, health care, public lands, retirement - privatize it, and profit from it.

        by mumtaznepal on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 02:38:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Right if water boarding is so effective (0+ / 0-)

        why was it necessary to use it 266 times on 2 suspects?

        ❧To thine ownself be true

        by Agathena on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 06:42:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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