In response to:

The Surprising Gift of 'Zero Dark Thirty'

JustMC Wrote: Jan 18, 2013 3:35 PM
"there will be two kinds of people-- those who grasp that enhanced interrogations save lives, and those who do not." People might want to consider the shoddy math here. No consideration is given to the downside of such interrogations, to weigh it against the upside. Certainly, it would be intellectually dishonest to claim that no lives could be saved from information gained by torturing people. Information gained in ANY way, including torture, can of course be instrumental in saving some specific lives. The question all must consider is the downside risk, to weigh against that upside. How many murderers could be caught if we searched every house in the US without a warrant? How many criminals could we jail...
JustMC Wrote: Jan 18, 2013 3:37 PM
if we didn't allow defense attorneys? How many confessions could we extract from murderers if we just tortured the suspects? Or even, tortured people we think might know something?

Without weighing the negatives, the whole discussion is intellectually dishonest and morally bankrupt.

(And for those who want to challenge my use of the word torture? Here's my definition: anything you'd call 'torture' if Islamists did it to our troops or other captive citizens. Viewed that way, it's pretty obvious and pretty inarguable.)
BBBrad Wrote: Jan 18, 2013 3:49 PM
Have to disagree.
One, these are not US citizens randomly picked up off the street. These are war criminals with specific, actionable information. We are at war.
Second, ever been waterboarded? I would not call it torture. No long term negative effects and certainly not the same as say, having bamboo shoved under your fingernails or your arms broken and twisted behind your back. Many of our troops have been exposed to waterboarding and other techniques. Ever heard of SERE training?
DevinDenver Wrote: Jan 18, 2013 5:31 PM
I find it interesting that you have failed to list any of the purported "downsides" of "such interrogations". Please illuminate us as to these downsides.
JustMC Wrote: Jan 18, 2013 11:41 PM
One cannot equate experiences in training with the real world. A key aspect of torture is the uncertainty of the victim in where it will lead, how it will continue, how it will end. I have friends who have been waterboarded in training. It is not the same as being waterboarded continuously for months until they talked. Which has happened, and might well have continued for a decade but for the subject breaking. This is clearly a completely different experience from what happens in training. The only way to truly simulate it would be for the soldier to BELIEVE he had fallen into enemy hands, completely unaware that he was part of an exercise.

Everyone who goes through Basic gets tear-gassed (or used to). They know it's going to...
JustMC Wrote: Jan 18, 2013 11:43 PM
last about a minute, not more than two. This is, I think you would agree, utterly different from being continously tear-gassed for months. I believe even sleep deprivation is officially considered torture by us, and we treat it as such if done to our people. I guarantee we would consider waterboarding torture, if it were done to our troops.
JustMC Wrote: Jan 18, 2013 11:44 PM
Dev, do you believe there is such a thing as torture? Are you opposed to the US committing acts which you would define as torture? If so, why? Clearly if you are, you must believe there are downsides.

Now take those same downsides you listed...

When it comes to Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty,” there are two kinds of people-- those who have seen it and those who should.

Emerging from any theater afterward, there will be two kinds of people-- those who grasp that enhanced interrogations save lives, and those who do not.

As a longtime member of the first group, I was gratified to the point of surprise that a product out of Hollywood depicted our harshest interrogations without an accompanying ham-fisted condemnation.

But the even greater praise for “Zero Dark Thirty” is that nor does it grab you by the lapels and...