Is the new Osama bin Laden snuff flick "Zero Dark Thirty" pro-torture?

Jessica Chastain as CIA agent “Maya” in Zero Dark Thirty. Photo: Sony/Columbia Pictures

Glenn Greenwald at the Guardian on the new Kathryn Bigelow film about the capture and assassination of Osama Bin Laden: "With its release imminent, [Zero Dark Thirty] is now garnering a pile of top awards and virtually uniform rave reviews. What makes this so remarkable is that, by most accounts, the film glorifies torture by claiming - falsely - that waterboarding and other forms of coercive interrogation tactics were crucial, even indispensable in finding bin Laden."

Spencer Ackerman in Wired News: "Bigelow is being presented as a torture apologist, and it’s a bum rap. David Edelstein of New York says her movie borders on the “morally reprehensible” for presenting “a case for the efficacy of torture.” The New York Times’ Frank Bruni suspects that Dick Cheney will give the film two thumbs up. Bruni is probably right, since defenders of torture have been known to latch onto any evidence they suspect will vindicate them as American heroes. But that’s not Zero Dark Thirty."

Adam Serwer in Mother Jones: "The critical acclaim Zero Dark Thirty is already receiving suggests that it may do what Karl Rove could not have done with all the money in the world: embed in the popular imagination the efficacy, even the necessity, of torture, despite available evidence to the contrary."

Peter Bergen at CNN: ""Zero Dark Thirty" is a great piece of filmmaking and does a valuable public service by raising difficult questions most Hollywood movies shy away from, but as of this writing, it seems that one of its central themes -- that torture was instrumental to tracking down bin Laden -- is not supported by the facts."

Andrew Sullivan: "I have not seen the movie yet, so I have to rely on descriptions of its plot. But if it portrays torture as integral to the killing of Osama bin Laden, it is a lie. If Bigelow is calling torture "harsh tactics" she is complicit in its defense. And lies do have an agenda, whatever Bigelow says."

Greg Mitchell rounds up more links to those praising or condemning the movie's approach to torture and "harsh interrogation techniques."

Related BB post: "The teaser trailer for Kathryn Bigelow's controversial Zero Dark Thirty hits the web" (Jamie Frevele)


    1. Yup. I can guarantee you that the audiences my local small-city-in-Indiana octoplex will be cheering loudly as soon as the torture begins. Whatever subtle suggestions Bigelow *might* be trying to make will be largely overwhelmed by shouts of “USA!!!USA!!!”

          1. You’re a troll for criticizing a person for criticizing a movie the person hasn’t seen when the person wasn’t criticizing the movie in the first place.

          2. I’m a troll for criticizing a person for criticizing a movie for criticizing a person for criticizing a movie the person hasn’t seen when the person wasn’t criticizing the movie in the first place that the person hasn’t seen?

      1. “Whatever subtle suggestions Bigelow *might* be trying to make”

        Or perhaps they saw exactly what she was tasked to make.

    2. I too had an angry reaction to the plotline of this film as portrayed in the trailer.  In fact, all I could think to say was “Grrrrr.”

  1. On the other had, this review by Spencer Ackerman in Wired says the movie is mostly making a case against torture, showing it as pointlessly sadistic and yielding almost no useful information in the hunt for Bin Laden (he says it does show one bit of potentially relevant information coming from torture, but being misinterpreted in a way that blunts its usefulness, with the real useful information coming years later from other approaches like bribery). Strange that different critics could come away with such different impressions of the “message”…

    1. Well, the reason Ackerman may have taken something different away form the film than Greenwald is the fact that he’s actually seen it. Greenwald admitted via Twitter that he hadn’t actually seen it yet.

    2. I really hope Ackerman is right. But more importantly, I really hope that’s the takeaway the most Americans who see this film will have. 

      Not feeling especially optimistic about that possibility, but hopeful.

    3. Because small affordances for a particular interpretation have never been magnified into policy foundations and legalistic leeway.

    1. Yes. Seal Team Six captured Bin Laden (he was surrounded and apparently unarmed at the time), then they shot him. If they’d wanted him alive, they could have loaded him in the chopper with all the others taken from the compound.

      Whether you think that was a justifiable course of action or not (i.e. “he would have used his court trials as a public platform to rally supporters, thus leading to additional acts of terrorism”) the fact remains that it was an extrajudicial execution/assassination.

      1. Don’t worry, they’ve already set the stage that the assassination was a decision by the particular soldier.

      2. If they’d wanted him alive, they could have loaded him in the chopper with all the others taken from the compound.

        Not according to the SEAL that actually shot Bin Laden.  He said he didn’t receive orders to assassinate Bin Laden and shot Laden during the cloud of battle.

        This operation was at night with people running around with guns… shit happens.

        1. Well it’s not like he’s going to openly admit to a war crime. Even if the orders weren’t explicitly “eliminate on sight with extreme prejudice,” I’ll bet the chain of command made it clear that they weren’t especially eager to drag Bin Laden through a trial either.

          If they’d wanted Bin Laden alive, he’d be alive.

          1. If they’d wanted Bin Laden alive, he’d be alive.

            Of course. As you imply, if they wanted him alive, they would have given orders to take him alive.

            And it was so much tidier to assassinate him. If they’d taken him alive, where could they have kept him? Where could he have stayed, where he would have had a chance of staying alive, and not drawn a constant stream of people coming after him? Where could they have tried him? People still want revenge for 9/11.

            Which is why no one (OK, almost no one) cares that the US assassinated him. In fact, it’s almost universally celebrated in the US.

          2. If they’d wanted Bin Laden alive, he’d be alive.

            Warfare is hardly ever that clean and predictable especially considering the circumstances. And, I have no reason to doubt the SEAL’s words beyond your conjecture especially considering all the facts that work against you:

            1) They were basically behind enemy lines in Abbottabad, Pakistan. That’s not exactly the cleanest place to apprehend someone who’s likely armed and dangerous and surrounded by henchmen to boot. They were less than a mile southwest of the Pakistan Military Academy. Not much time to get out of there.
            2) They weren’t 100% sure it was Bin Laden’s compound.
            3) It was at night, in close quarters inside a darkened compound among the chaos of a helicopter transport crash.
            4) There’s no reason to “cover up” the intention to assassinate Laden, considering the history of previous, unclassified attempts on his life by the USA.
            5) Finally, apprehending Laden instead of blowing his head off can more easily put to rest muslim extremist’s conspiracy theories that he’s still on the loose (which can be a morale booster).

            If Obama put out an assassination order on Bin Laden, someone would have leaked it by now, I think.

          3. No.  

            The plan was always to kill bin Laden.  This fact has been ‘leaked’, multiple times. One instance is quoted above:  “It wasn’t a split-second decision.  No one wanted detainees.”

            The “capture” option was, at best, a fig leaf, and everyone involved in the operation knew this.

            [Obama] approved rules of engagement that made bin Laden’s surrender all but impossible.

            “The only way bin Laden was going to be taken alive was if he was naked, had his hands in the air, was waving a white flag, and was unambiguously shouting, ‘I surrender.’”

            It just wasn’t going to happen.

          4. That article does make a compelling case that the intent was to kill him, and I stand corrected. Thanks for the article links/quotes.

          5. BTW it isn’t warfare when you send soldiers to kill civilians (OBL wasn’t the only victim) in a country that’s allied (or not an enemy) to you. It’s murder plain and simple. The US likes to style themselves as defenders of justice and freedom – torture and killing without a trial (=murder) isn’t justice.

          6. The women and children in that compound are all alive. The men, armed or otherwise, are all dead. The men who carried out this mission were highly trained professionals, and I have very little doubt that they killed the people they intended to.

            I understand the murky nature of “the fog of war,” but if you think Bin Laden wasn’t targeted for assassination rather than capture then you’re frankly being a little naive.

  2. I’m a regular reader of Mr. Greenwald, so I’ve seen this going around, and Ackerman’s piece has me a little worried–even if Glenn’s wrong, he’s right.  Reviewers are not picking up that the film presents torture as useless and evil, but seem to have the impression that it is shown as vital to finding Bin Laden.  If Ackerman is correct, this is a complete misreading of its presentation, but it appears to be the majority view.  Given that, regardless of how it is intending to present torture, the majority of viewers may get the sense that torture is justifiable.

    1.  The majority will read whatever they want into something, no matter whether it’s there or not, with a great many going so far as to avoid ever experiencing the original source lest they have to deal with a potentially conflict opinion on what it says. ;)

      1. Of course–when Peter Bergen says that a central theme of the movie is “that torture was instrumental to tracking down bin Laden,” no reasonable person could possibly arrive at the conclusion that he said that because he believes it to be true without watching the movie themselves.

    2. You may be right, although note that of the links above, only Ackerman and Bergen have actually seen it, the others are going by second-hand information…I’m waiting to see more reviews by others interested in the torture issue. Looking at the small handful of reviews on rotten tomatoes it looks like the movie is ambiguous enough that it could easily be interpreted as implying “torture works” for those who are already sympathetic to that idea. For example this review says: Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty” isn’t strictly designed to make us morally uncomfortable, which is exactly why it’s morally discomfiting. Bigelow’s aim is not to tell us what to think; she even refuses to tell us outright what she thinks. At first, Jessica Chastain’s Maya, a junior CIA agent who’s just learning the ropes of interrogation, flinches as she watches an eerily delicate form of brutality being inflicted upon a prisoner. Later, Maya takes a hand in the captive’s torture herself, seemingly without the flicker of an eyelid. Is this evidence of Bigelow’s revulsion at the methods the United States government used to smoke out Osama Bin Laden, or of her moral disengagement from the whole issue? That question is up for interpretation until the end of “Zero Dark Thirty” and beyond.

      And this one says:
      After a few years of interrogations, a name comes to the forefront that intrigues Maya, who now works in an office with Jessica (Jennifer Ehle), Joseph Bradley (Kyle Chandler), Jack (Harold Perrineau), and others. Their task is fascinatingly captured in Boal’s script in the sense that these people were forced to wage multiple wars at one time. They’d get a piece of information that may lead them to Bin Laden but they were equally concerned and engaged in trying to stop pending terrorist attacks. And the misinformation was overwhelming. Maya becomes obsessed with a name of a courier that keeps coming up in repeated and interesting ways. This courier seems to be the one solitary person who may still be in touch with Bin Laden on a regular basis. Find him and they’ll find their target. 

      I guess it would be important to see whether the name of that courier “comes up in repeated and interesting ways” mostly in interrogations or in some other contexts, to what degree torture-based-information is shown as important in cluing in the characters that this person is important…and of course, in judging whether this movie has a “stance” it would also be important to know how much historical truth there is in the movie’s depiction of what made the CIA interested in this one courier.

  3. I cannot imagine why any of these guys would think it was a good idea to go on record condemning this movie without having seen it.  What a trap.

    1. Yeah, I enjoy how people always make excuses for war-porn when it’s so honest that, no one could POSSIBLY miss the point. But they always do, and the “point” is often marginal at best.

    1. Could you please refrain from using “[re]tarded” as an insult? I’m sure you didn’t mean any offense to people with disabilities, but there’s really no need for it.

    2. Wow, head stuck in the sand much?

      Greenwald is consistently brave and brilliant. He talks and writes tirelessly about shit that most Americans prefer to ignore. 

      His recent piece on the silly PSY anti-American lyrics scandal is a good case in point —

      We like to tell ourselves that anti-American animosity is produced by propaganda from foreign factions hostile to the US. Actually, that belief is the one that is the by-product of propaganda. The acts of the US government that generate this hostility are rarely discussed in US political discourse, though they are widely discussed in most of the rest of the world. Americans would benefit from spending much less time and energy expressing outrage and offense at anti-American sentiment, and far more time and energy trying to understand why it’s so widespread and intense.

  4. The trailer says:

    The story you think you know… this is how it happened.

    Screenwriter Mark Boal says:

    It’s a movie, not a documentary.

    1.  Probably more like a mockumentary, seeing as how it comes from the same idiot that did that piece of crap, The Hurt Locker.

    2.  Trailers are created by a completely different team of people who work directly for the studio, not the team who created the movie.

  5. If the film contains any discussion about whether or not to try Bin Laden in a court of law vs just shooting him, then I’ll most likely want to see it. If assassination is simply assumed as the opening premise, I can’t imagine the movie telling me anything I really want to know about.

    1. From what I understand, the SEAL that actually shot Bin Laden said he didn’t have orders to assassinate him.  Bin Laden was shot in the heat of battle and would have been captured otherwise.

      1. Even if one buys that story, it wouldn’t let the film off the hook for not covering that choice. If the the target was killed by accident, I’d expect the shooter’s bosses to at least grumble about in the cop shows.

        Or maybe a choice was made that Bin Laden as a pretrial captive would be too juicy a goal for other extremists to demand a release- or else they’ll blow up the death star. I’d expect the movie to at least address that question.

        1. Bin Laden as a pretrial captive would be too juicy a goal for other extremists to demand a release- or else they’ll blow up the death star.

          Extremists vowed revenge for killing Bin Laden anyway.

    1. But no Tura Satana. Wouldn’t it be nice if she and Divine were alive and could do weekly recreations of top news stories?

  6. the film glorifies torture by claiming – falsely – that waterboarding and other forms of coercive interrogation tactics were crucial, even indispensable in finding bin Laden. … is now garnering a pile of top awards and virtually uniform rave reviews 

    The brainwashed really enjoy their brainwashings.

  7. After seeing the movie it is plain untrue. It just shows waterboarding was used and it is a part of what was used by the CIA during their chase for bin laden. In no way it suggests  that it was imperative for the CIA to catch him. Another silly claim by people who seek cheap controversy in cynical political coretness. 

    1.  Step 1: Label something you disagree with as “political incorrectness.”
      Step 2:  ???
      Step 3: Profit!

        1.  You always have the option of being specific about what’s annoying you rather than using stale buzz-words whose only purpose is to rile up political antipathies.

          1. It’s not a buzz word. It’s a serious problem. Why everything becomes a stale buzz word only because it is used often? Of course it will be used often if it’s a current issue.

          2. “It’s not a buzz word. It’s a serious problem.”

            A problem invented to stifle criticism, not protect speech.

          3. “Political Correctness” is code for, “I get to be an asshole but you don’t get to criticize me for it.”  It’s almost exclusively the domain of white, heterosexual men who suffer from malignant self-pity.

      1. Why shouldn’t I be outraged when people with no info on the movie suggest it’s 1) Got secret info from the CIA 2) Is an Obama campaign movie 3) Is pro torture.

        Though to be honest what I’m outraged about is talking out of once  ass. If you’ve seen something than yeah, criticize it. But if you haven’t it makes you look stupid and apparently doing so is the new norm.

  8. Besides the torture issue, as far as I can gather, this film doesn’t seem to address any challenging questions regarding the assassination of bin Laden, which was, for the most part, a desperate last gasp of virility from a country which had morally and financially bankrupt itself killing more innocent people in the War on Terror than were ever killed on 9 11.  The killing was shrouded in misinformation (he had gun! no, he was using his wife as a human shield! oh, wait a minute, no, he was using his underpants as a human shield!), and remains one of the murkiest and most poorly documented incidents in recent American history (no pictures, no coroners report, no DNA match data, no one else on the ship witnessed the burial at sea).  If all this film wants to do is say USA! USA! USA!, albeit in an artistically terse and restrained fashion, then no thanks.

  9. It has a 99 at Metacritic and a 100% at Rotten Tomatoes right now. I don’t think anyone can doubt that this is going to be a phenomenal movie. But being a phenomenal movie isn’t a shield for also being infamous (for example, Triump des Willens or The Birth of a Nation). The real danger here is not that someone made a movie that is torture apologetic in nature. Tons of people have done that. The problem is that a movie that might be one of the greatest ever made can have an enormous cultural effect. If this movie is as good as these early reviews say and if this movie attempts to justify torture, then an enormous amount of cultural damage will occur.

    1. “I don’t think anyone can doubt that this is going to be a phenomenal movie.”

      All this does is make me doubt RT for the first time.

  10. In the 21st century propaganda is sophisticated enough to have its message, (and the framing of that message) “The Staged Killing of the Manufactured Bogeyman” neatly tucked inside controversy, “Torture is the Dark Side of What We Do”, for greater effect. The controversy functions to get those critical of the War on Terror on board, as they already have the gullible. Thus, any critical assessment of torture is not the topic of the film but merely the lure.

  11. As TBogg mentioned earlier, some of these worthies haven’t actually seen the movie. The reviews seem to break along the “haven’t seen it but hate it for the torture porn I imagine it to be/seen it and it’s not what those bozos say it is” divide.

  12. I haven’t seen the movie either, but it appears that it justifies (if not glorifies) assassination (or extra-judicial killing, if you’re a fan of the blunting euphemism). I’ve got a bigger problem with that than the torture elements.

    Secondly: Can someone explain the point of torture in the face of evidence of its poor efficacy? Is this just about preventing peace and keeping the Arabs angry (so there’ll always be a threat, and somebody to be shooting at)?

  13.  So, when will we see any evidence that Bin Laden was killed in that raid?  Just wondering.   I saw plenty of evidence of Saddam Hussein being killed, and of Gaddafi being killed, but Bin Laden?  Just take our word for it. 

    Because the US government has never lied.  Why would they?

    1. But if would be a PR disaster for the US if Bin Laden then turned up in a new video laughing at claims he was dead, why would the US risk it? The only way they could be sure he wouldn’t make them look like fools was if they had very reliable evidence he was dead by other causes (like actual remains in their possession or video of his death) or had captured him but for some reason didn’t want to publicize it, both seem unlikely. Plus, in both cases if they wanted to pretend they killed him, they’d probably be able to present better fake evidence (like if he was captured, they could drug him and have some marines stand by his unconscious body and say it was a death shot).

  14. Watch “Morning Joe” host and former Republican congressman Joey Scar Joe Scarborough tell his MSNBC audience that this film supports his view that information gained from torture lead us to OBL. (Oh, and it wasn’t really torture.)

    As to why the movie might be seen as “pro-torture”, the New York Times op-ed piece linked above notes:

    But the torture sequence immediately follows a bone-chilling, audio-only prologue of the voices of terrified Americans trapped in the towering inferno of the World Trade Center. It’s set up as payback.

  15. Anyone who claims to have a valid opinion about an unseen movie, or an unread book, etc., has immediately discredited himself, as Greenwald and others here have. In order to claim that a movie contains “fabrications about the benefits of torture,” one must first watch the goddamned movie, THEN feel free to fit the facts to one’s pre-existing analytical framework. I don’t want these clowns on my team. 

    1. Anyone who claims to have a valid opinion about an unseen movie, or an unread book, etc., has immediately discredited himself

      Starting a war over unseen WMDs on the other hand…

      1. I’m sorry, what’s your point? Did I argue for some war over unseen WMDs just now? I made a point about offering opinions about movies one hasn’t seen, so I fail to see how that somehow equates to some sort of Rumsfeldian warmongering doubletalk. Call me a crazy empiricist, but I’d like to think honest criticism requires honest engagement with the source material. Don’t condescend to me. I was out there with millions of others protesting the Iraq war that cold winter’s day, and at a number of other protests as well, including the show of anger against the coldblood use of 3,000 dead fellow NYers as a backdrop to the 2004 Republican convention. I’m as disgusted by some of the things the CIA has done around the globe as anyone here. But none of that has anything to do with the basic Criticism 101 notion that one must at least have seen the film being discussed to have an informed opinion on it. That’s a position-neutral statement. Straw man replies only buttress my original comment about intellectual dishonesty, and as a daily reader for the better part of a decade, I really want more than that from BB.

        It’s simple, really. You can’t fight bullshit with bullshit, and reviewing a movie one hasn’t seen is some straight-up bullshit, no matter what one thinks of the issues, Greenwald, Bigelow, or Elmo’s insatiable lust for twinks. None of that has anything to do with meeting the minimum requirements for useful commentary.

        1.  Chill, dude.  I think Antinous was just pointing out how much is actually at stake when people review a movie without seeing it: approximately nothing.

          1. Is that a fact? I’m having a hard time reading it that way. And what’s at stake when people review a movie without seeing it is the work the people who have made the movie put into it, and the movie itself as a cultural artifact or work of art. Film matters, as does criticism. And criticism requires first-hand engagement with the source material. Arguments otherwise are non-starters.

          2.  Not a “fact”, that’s why I said “I think”.  I personally have no trouble reading it that way.

            Reviewing a movie without having seen it undoes the work of the people who made the movie?  Ruins the movie itself?  Rubbish.  The movie is what it is; the only effect of reviewing a movie one hasn’t seen is to impeach one’s own credibility.  Assuming it’s even enough of a deal to call a “problem,” it’s a self-correcting problem.

    2. Gland,

      Greenwald has a message for you:

      Anyone wishing to claim that I’ve reviewed this film without seeing it would be well-advised to re-read this sentence as many times as is necessary for the clear, simple and obvious point it expresses to click:
      I have not seen this film and thus am obviously not purporting to review it; I am, instead, writing about the reaction to the film: the way in which its fabrications about the benefits of torture seem to be no impediment to its being adored and celebrated.

      It’s not a review of the film. It’s a critique of the viewpoints expressed by reviewers and the filmmakers. Anyone claiming I’ve reviewed this film is plagued either by severe reading comprehension problems and/or a desire to distort.

      1. So, according to Greenwald he’s merely opining about the film’s “fabrications” which is completely different from reviewing it.

        No doubt Glenn found this line of reasoning just as irresistible when previously used to distinguish between waterboarding and torture.

        1. So, according to Greenwald he’s merely opining about the film’s “fabrications”…

          No, he’s not opining about the film’s fabrications; he’s opining about the response of various film critics to the fabrications. Maybe Greenwald should be writing for, because he’s  saying his piece is a meta-review.  A review of the reviews.  He needn’t watch the film to do this, he just has to read and consider the comments of those critics who have seen the film.

          1. If you try substituting the word “fabrications” in your post with the phrase “things Glenn Greenwald thinks are in the film (although he doesn’t really know because he hasn’t seen it)” then that might clarify how Greenwald isn’t being quite as meta as he claims.

          2.  If person A has seen the film, reviews it, and mentions that event X occurred in that film, it makes perfect logical sense for person B to assume that event X occurred in the film even if person B has not yet seen the film.


          3. In reply to wysinwyg: The rebuttal is that person B has not seen the film, and so therefore cannot say with certainty what “fabrications” it contains or not. Especially when there are competing interpretations from reliable critics who HAVE seen the film. It’s quite simple. People really shouldn’t offer opinions – such as that a movie contains “fabrications” – without having seen that movie. I don’t know what’s so hard to get about this. No one is arguing Greenwald’s point about this, because no one can: none of us have seen the film, and besides, it has nothing to do with his being wrong or right – it’s that, until he sees the movie, he can’t say it contains falsehoods. And neither can anyone else who hasn’t seen the film. I’m increasingly convinced that Greenwald doesn’t have readers; he has followers.

          4. @ApostateGland:disqus The quote in question:

            What makes this so remarkable is that, by most accounts, the film glorifies torture by claiming – falsely – that waterboarding and other forms of coercive interrogation tactics were crucial, even indispensable in finding bin Laden.

            See that?  Greenwald is specifically referencing accounts from those who have seen the movie, not the movie itself. 

            Tell me again what’s wrong with talking about people’s reactions to a film as reactions to the film.

            I occasionally read Greenwald editorials but pretty rarely.  So in my case it would be hard to make the case that I’m a follower rather than a reader.  This is really about you and others abusing logic because you hate Greenwald and you’re looking for any excuse to bash him.

          5. @wysinwyg, he qualifies it a couple if times but he soon drops the pretense when he gets down to brass tacks:

            What this film does, then, is uncritically presents as fact the highly self-serving, and factually false, claims by the CIA that its torture techniques were crucial in finding bin Laden. Put another way, it propagandizes the public to favorably view clear war crimes by the US government, based on pure falsehoods.

            Meta-analysis, my ass!

  16. Captain Archer’s Enterprise, 24, Lost, King of Thrones, The Walking Dead, etc.: 
    For the last ten years torture porn has been a cherished part of American popular entertainment. It would be great if TV producers would end this sadistic decade.

    1. What about the 2012 “holiday” movie season itself? Check out the films currently in theaters not including upcoming releases.  The least dour of the bunch seems to be Anna Karenina & Wreck-It Ralph. Also, I count at least 9 out of 20 posters contain protagonists holding weapons?  Seriously we live in a truly dead/doom/gloom based entertainment era.

    2. “It would be great if TV producers would end this sadistic decade.”

      Ending fictional products will not end this sadistic decade.

  17.  I am excited about this movie, not particularly for the subject matter, but I do enjoy Katherine Bigelow’s films and wish more female directors were given the means to direct films that aren’t “chick flicks”

  18. I realize I’m the odd duck on this one, but how is anything other than the way bin Laden died supposed to have happened? What was justice supposed to look like for him? I certainly don’t take great delight in his demise, but I’m glad he isn’t around. That doesn’t seem wrong to me.

      1. If that isn’t a possibility-which seems highly likely in this case- what would work in its place? Anything?

        1. If that isn’t a possibility

          Apparently, Mr. bin Laden was so magically powerful that measures that worked for the Third Reich wouldn’t be able to touch him.  I wonder where he gets his supervillain powers from.

          1. It’s a nice theory that everyone gets a fair trial, but then the practical happens; and if you question why someone wouldn’t have received a fair trial, one often gets responses like yours which are usually vapid because they lack legitimate comparative content but make up for this because they are wonderfully pithy. Another way this is noted is in that polite shrug people give when they can’t answer why there is a discrepancy between what we’d all like to happen and what we all know is going to. 

            I don’t think its strange to ask what justice would look like for someone who wasn’t going to receive a fair trail. I would have accepted answers such as execution, put in a zoo, imprisonment, torture, community service, working for the public, writing letters of apology etc. Whether these things are just is debatable and even asking the meta question as I’m attempting to do, once was around here. Perhaps I’m not formulating it well.  

            For the record, I think it’s horrible he didn’t get a fair trial, or a trial at all- but only from a purely theoretical perspective. My concern in this instance is solely in what was practical, especially in light of our failings. What was the best he was going to get? I think the answer one gives to this is revealing, but I suppose others think its silly to ask because some procedure wasn’t done or because it offends some notion they can’t articulate a response to. Or something.
            In any case (trial or no), we’d have the same result, I think.

          2. What other parts of the last thousand years in the development of law would you like to throw out because it’s inconvenient?

  19. What’s up with all the propaganda films lately? This one, the one with the real marines in it, Battle: Los Angeles. It’s really disturbing.

  20. Oh Boy! A film about the assassination of an abandoned ex CIA asset who was living in fear at the ass end of the world. Boy the USA sure must be a bunch of bad asses to take down a guy with 100 chickens and a cow.

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