Film inaccurate on role of torture
“Zero Dark Thirty” has been nominated for several Academy Awards and is now being shown in Oneonta. It is a very good movie. Unfortunately, it may mislead many viewers to believe that the torturing of suspects by U.S. officials provided information that led to the killing of Osama Bin Laden and some residents in his Pakistan redoubt.
The evidence, according to most authorities, is that it did not. Furthermore, the movie does not include the fact that many U.S. officials both disagreed and protested when torture was practiced for years after the 9/11 attack. In general, there is still widespread agreement among scholars and officials that torture is not only immoral but it is an unreliable method to acquire useful information. People who are tortured will often say anything to end it. Republican Sen. John McCain, a prisoner of war and torture victim during the Vietnam War, is perhaps the best known among countless others who have protested against the practice.
Given the lack of context in the movie, it is also unfortunate that many foreigners overseas (where most people will eventually see it) may easily assume that most Americans are generally comfortable with the practice of torturing suspects. Hopefully, that is not so.