Say you’d change the constitution

I just saw the Lincoln movie last night and I wondered why Lincoln didn’t just use reconciliation to pass the Thirteenth Amendment.

142 replies
  1. 1
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Because he was too busy killing vampires, duh.

  2. 2
    dmsilev says:

    Heh. Though I would note that it wasn’t the Senate that was the problem, it was the House. Ergo, he should have just used the bully pulpit.

  3. 3
    BTD says:

    He kind of did actually.

  4. 4
    BGinCHI says:

    That’s what he uses in the Vampire Hunter movie.

    Although there “reconciliation” is a really sharp axe.

  5. 5
    Napoleon says:

    I am hoping to see the movie a second time while it is still in theaters.

  6. 6
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    I thought he used the bully pulpit.

  7. 7
    General Stuck says:

    What wingnuts dream of. From the sultry fever swamp, Teh Citadel begins to take shape on the shores of Lake Paranoid.

    “Something that I can’t predict, but am hoping for, is a greater level of social interaction,” the organizer, who blogs under the names Vernon and VJ, wrote. “Neighborhood barbeques, musical jam sessions and plays at the amphitheater or the Citadel Society club house, interest groups, clubs, organized and spontaneous activities of all sorts. I enjoy board games, myself, and used to go to a game club every Friday night. We’ll have some great pubs with local brews, walking and bicycle paths, a firing range you don’t have to drive a half hour or more to get to. Maybe a hill with a rope tow for sliding down on inner tubes in the winter time. Militia training will also have a unifying social aspect to it.

    Yup, nothin like some old fashioned community organizing around the AR 15 personal assault rifle, after a few stimulating board games. Some pointy white hats and a few wooden crosses would be a nice touch for a little weekend fun.

  8. 8
    Robert says:

    Obviously, the answer is the bully pulpit or leading by example (Why won’t he compromise? Why is he making the Democrats and the Confederacy take positions that will hurt them?), but the film said he needed the house to pass it so the South would accept it. It’s easy to lose meaning when you adapt the bulk of a two hour film from less than a page of one giant biography of Lincoln.

  9. 9
    Napoleon says:

    BTW, nice title. Now I will have John Lennon screaming in my head the rest of the day.

  10. 10
    GregB says:

    Militias are socialist.

    Lone wolf is the only way to go. Independent and free!

  11. 11
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    “Militia training will also have a unifying social aspect to it.”

    @General Stuck: With that group of imbeciles it sure will. They’ll be attending at least one friendly-fire funeral a week.

  12. 12
    Brachiator says:

    I just saw the Lincoln movie last night and I wondered why Lincoln didn’t just use reconciliation to pass the Thirteenth Amendment.

    Because he was a center-right corporatist who sold us out!

    @dmsilev:

    Heh. Though I would note that it wasn’t the Senate that was the problem, it was the House. Ergo, he should have just used the bully pulpit.

    Silly Balloon Juicer, the bully pulpit didn’t exist yet. Teddy Roosevelt chopped down a cherry tree with an ax and built the first bully pulpit by hand in 1899.

  13. 13
    chopper says:

    it just goes to show how absolutely terrible Lincoln was as a negotiator.

  14. 14
    jibeaux says:

    @General Stuck: I like Settlers of Catan. Unfortunately for the Citadel, I think more considerably more thought went into designing that society.

  15. 15
    Mike E says:

    Clearly, because of the negritude of Lincoln’s politics, the House members only doing the nation a favor by their white’splainin’ and such. Also.

  16. 16
    catclub says:

    @Brachiator: On San Juan Hill

  17. 17
    dmsilev says:

    @General Stuck: It sounds like the sort of village a 10 year old boy would design. Which, comes to think of it, explains the “sophistication” of the defensive layout.

  18. 18
    redshirt says:

    Hey! Don’t forget today is a potentially big day – does the Senate reform the filibuster in a way that keeps its purpose for minority rights yet prevents abuse by a malicious minority? We’ll find out later today.

  19. 19
    Librarian says:

    If the Beltway media had been around back then, they would have told Lincoln to stop the war and be all bipartisany and compromising and meet the Confederates over a few beers to work out some grand bargain in which both sides would compromise.

  20. 20
    Calming Influence says:

    I just saw the Lincoln movie last night and I wondered why Lincoln didn’t just use reconciliation to pass the Thirteenth Amendment.

    Because he wasn’t from Kenya.

  21. 21
    redshirt says:

    @Librarian: Beer?! Weak sauce. The question back then was “Who would you rather drink a handle of whiskey with?”

    Ergo, US Grant was our greatest President.

  22. 22
    Punchy says:

    They’ll be attending at least one friendly-fire funeral a week.

    Wait a minute. I looked at the plans and see no funeral home planned. So no funerals, apparently.

  23. 23
    General Stuck says:

    @dmsilev:

    yes, I’m not sure how well a dose of the arts from musical jams and plays at the amphitheater will go over with the Red Dawn crowd. But “great pubs” and “local brews” should be a hit, especially when mixed with some friendly gun play at the neighborhood shooting range.

  24. 24
    Cacti says:

    @Librarian:

    If the Beltway media had been around back then, they would have told Lincoln to stop the war and be all bipartisany and compromising and meet the Confederates over a few beers to work out some grand bargain in which both sides would compromise.

    There were plenty of newspaper folks who were doing just that.

    Also too, northern business interests weren’t too keen on seeing slave labor-produced cotton disappear. Hence the opposition of northern democrats like Fernando Wood.

  25. 25
    NCSteve says:

    @Librarian:

    If the Beltway media had been around back then, they would have told Lincoln to stop the war and be all bipartisany and compromising and meet the Confederates over a few beers to work out some grand bargain in which both sides would compromise.

    It did, and they did. Take a look at the 1864 Democratic Platform.

    They were called “Copperheads” instead of VSP’s, however.

  26. 26
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @GregB:

    Lone wolves have this bad habit of being easily picked off by some “organized militia” types.

    Just try going it alone on a World of Warcraft battleground…people complain about “pre-made” groups there. “Pre-made” is how actual armies fight.

  27. 27
    KG says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: No, he used General Sherman, who was much more effective than the bully pulpit.

  28. 28
    El Cid says:

    Also back then Senators were elected by state legislatures, not the population. Wheeling and dealing was different.

  29. 29
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    I just saw the Lincoln movie last night and I wondered why Lincoln didn’t just use reconciliation to pass the Thirteenth Amendment.

    Because it would have automatically expired in ten years?

    Oh, wait…

  30. 30
    Cassidy says:

    They have constructed defenses that would take a Brigade approx. 5 minutess to breach.

  31. 31
    NCSteve says:

    Hey, he didn’t use reconciliation or the Bully Pulpit, but, at least according to Spielberg, he sure as hell went LBJ on ’em.

  32. 32
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @chopper: It’s Negotiating 101! First, say you’ll free the masters AND the slaves. Then the other side will meet you halfway. Done and done.

  33. 33
    artem1s says:

    @catclub:

    While charging up San Juan Hill.

  34. 34
    El Cid says:

    @NCSteve: Unrelatedly, does it matter that TR meant “excellent” by “bully” rather than “tough guy”?

  35. 35
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I’ve never seen an MMORPG where going to solo a raid by a level-equal PC was ever thought to be anything but stupid.
    Speaking of which, I watched Zero Dark Thirty yesterday.
    The last thirty minutes is a recreation of the actual raid, and it’s clear that the writer and director spoke at length with real operators and most likely real SEALS who were on the raid.
    I’m not an operator, and I never had the toys that they have, but there’s only a couple ways to skin a cat, and I’ve cleared buildings before. It was as slow and methodical as it happens in real life, with all of the attendant shadows, flashes, spooky noises, improvisations, and WTF moments.

  36. 36
    Ben Franklin says:

    @NCSteve:

    he sure as hell went LBJ on ‘em.

    “Get me re-elected, and I’ll give you your damn war”

    Not sure LBJ is your best example.

  37. 37
    SFAW says:

    @dmsilev:

    Which, comes to think of it, explains the “sophistication” of the defensive layout.

    They hired noted security expert, Cletus Spuckler, to test it. When asked whether he could penetrate Teh Citadel’s perimeter, he said “I cain’t. I simply cain’t”

  38. 38

    Thanks for keeping it real Doug! Somebody has to do it. Man, ever since Cole got Lily he has been nothing but a big sloppy sentimental wuss.

  39. 39
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Cassidy: I don’t think you’d need even a brigade for the assault itself. One reinforced battalion with heavy mortars could do it once you reduce the curtain wall in three places with a couple of JDAMs from a single flight of F-15Es.

  40. 40
    mainmati says:

    @Cacti: Great Britain was the really big buyer of slave cotton and, not surprisingly, sided with the Confederacy.

  41. 41
    Soonergrunt says:

    @mainmati: But once Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclimation, it became politically untenable for any of the European powers to openly support the Confederacy.
    That was another brilliant move by Lincoln, reminding everybody and his brother that slavery was the central issue of states’ rights.

  42. 42
    dmsilev says:

    @Soonergrunt: Even that is probably overkill. A brigade of Napoleonic-era troops wouldn’t have much trouble storming that castle. There’s a reason that people stopped building curtain-wall fortresses once cannons were invented.

  43. 43
    David in NY says:

    @KG:

    No, he used General Sherman, who was much more effective than the bully pulpit.

    I actually thought that it was a shame that the movie didn’t bother to mention that Sherman was tearing up the South’s back-country. It’s not made clear in the movie that the “peace” delegation from the South didn’t have much actual leverage given Sherman’s rampage and their rapidly deteriorating position. Although it was made clear that they weren’t offering much.

  44. 44
    Napoleon says:

    @mainmati:

    GB never sided with or recognized the CSA

  45. 45
    Tonal Crow says:

    Bah, you’ve got it backwards.

    Lincoln used Grant and Sherman to achieve reconciliation. Though, in the event, he used too much Grant and not enough Sherman, which I believe is why the reconciliation didn’t completely stick, and thus in part why we’re dealing with so many neo-confederates today.

  46. 46
    catclub says:

    Charles Pierce is on fire,
    vis-a-vis the second term of Barack Obama.

    I am sure you can find it yourselves

  47. 47
    quannlace says:

    Love the Republican reaction to the Prez’s speech. All the whining about ‘not even bi-partisanship or reaching out…” Where have these nits been for the past four years.

    You can’t complain that Obama isn’t offering an olive branch when all you want is one thing more to throw in the wood chipper.

  48. 48
    TOP123 says:

    @mainmati: Really? You would have thought the support of the world’s biggest diplomatic and naval power would have had more of an impact… at least on the Union naval blockade… ;)

    (Sure, many in Britain did lean toward to Confederacy, but many didn’t, and they had their own abolition movement, with earlier successes and whole campaigns by the RN to interdict slave ships and put down the slave trade. That tension is whole chunks of the drama in most Civil War books and documentaries! Can Lincoln secure a big enough battlefield victory to ensure that the cotton votes in Westminster won’t be able to secure diplomatic recognition for Richmond?…)

    ETA: I see Soonergrunt and Napoleon got there already!

  49. 49
    Cacti says:

    @Napoleon:

    GB never sided with or recognized the CSA

    Other than selling them arms and building warships for them.

  50. 50
    gene108 says:

    I believe you can’t get a Constitutional amendment through the Congress via simple majority. You need to a supermajority in both houses to send a Constitutional amendment to the states for ratification.

  51. 51
    El Cid says:

    @Soonergrunt: What will really shatter their defenses will be the collapse in morale once (a) people realize how much time and energy some actual vigilance and guarding will require, especially given that (b) they are shocked to discover that no one cares about them, much less are motivated to storm their lazily-staffed barricades.

  52. 52

    @General Stuck:
    I’ve been observing lately that the conservative tribe are the people who think Leave It To Beaver is the model for America. Look at the list of things he thinks will automatically happen in neighborhoods filled with good people. All he left out are the baseball games in the ‘ol sandlot.

  53. 53
    Chris says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    Yep. Everybody ignores the foreign relations aspect of that war. We would’ve been up shit creek if the British or French had chosen to help out the Rebs.

  54. 54
    Maude says:

    @General Stuck:
    You can just step out your front door right onto the firing range.
    This is going to be fun to track.

  55. 55
    SatanicPanic says:

    @dmsilev: That’s what I don’t get. Why not just construct some “Freedomville” suburb and forget about the defensive wall? Even accounting for the legendary lack of self-awareness of these people, that looks silly. It’s just a big waste of money. Oh wait, there’s some developer hoping for extra $$$, nevermind.

  56. 56
    Brachiator says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    The last thirty minutes is a recreation of the actual raid, and it’s clear that the writer and director spoke at length with real operators and most likely real SEALS who were on the raid….It was as slow and methodical as it happens in real life.

    Saw Zero Dark 30 over the weekend, and the raid certainly seemed to be an accurate reconstruction of this type of raid. I appreciate your confirmation of this.

    And yeah, some after movie buzz could be heard about how much time something like this actually takes, even though it was “only” about 20 minutes or so.

  57. 57
    Chris says:

    @TOP123:

    The best analogy I can think of for the British and the Confederacy in the modern era would be Reagan and Apartheid South Africa. The government wanted to help, but public opinion made it next to impossible.

  58. 58
    gene108 says:

    @David in NY:

    The issue was how many more people would die, if the South continued to hold out and Grant and Sherman had to meet up and lay siege to Richmond.

    I think a lot of people in the North would’ve accepted conditional Southern surrender, if it would’ve saved a few thousand more Northern lives. EDIT: This was the Southern leverage against the North. They had no tactical advantages to negotiate away, but they could try to placate the North’s desire for ending the war with all due speed.

    Lincoln was all big picture about how slavery had to end, or else it would rear its head again and tear the country apart.

    If that meant a few more battles and delays, Lincoln was willing to push on for unconditional surrender and the end of slavery.

  59. 59
    redshirt says:

    I was taught that the timing of the Emancipation Proclamation was in large part to kep GB out of the war. As has been said, they had a vocal abolitionist movement which was influential enough to keep the GB government in check.

  60. 60
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Napoleon:

    No, but they were leaning that way up until two things happened: The Emancipation Proclamation, and the Union’s two decisive victories in early July, 1863…Gettysburg and Vicksburg.

  61. 61
    Cassidy says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: He saw The Sandlot and that might have been a Mexican, so that’s out.

  62. 62
    gwangung says:

    @Soonergrunt: Yeah, just saw it last night as well. The raid felt authentic. How did folks feel about the rest of the movie? (I was a little surprised how underplayed the whole enhanced interrogation and rough trade craft seemed to me—more “here how it was; up to you to judge it” than anything else).

  63. 63
    TOP123 says:

    @dmsilev: Heck, the Citadel’s design was outmoded at the time of Vauban!

  64. 64
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    The grifters are selling the sizzle here, not the steak.

  65. 65
    Cacti says:

    @Chris:

    The best analogy I can think of for the British and the Confederacy in the modern era would be Reagan and Apartheid South Africa. The government wanted to help, but public opinion made it next to impossible.

    It was more than just public opinion though. The British Isles were a large importer of US grain, shipments of which would have ceased immediately had they openly supported the CSA.

    Also too, it would have opened British Canada as a new front in the war.

  66. 66
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @El Cid:

    Guarding shit is boring. No one likes guard duty. Being vigilant is exhausting…even more so if you’re supposed to do it after humping a fucking 50 pound ruck all day getting to the site.

  67. 67
    WereBear says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: An incredible gap in the understanding of “cause and effect.” It’s a wonder they can dress themselves; I supposed that’s been embedded in their brainstem by now.

    Any one of my four cats demonstrates more logical thinking, any day.

  68. 68
    Napoleon says:

    @Cacti:

    But not formally, and many in GB were very opposed to slaveery.

    Villago, I would basically agree with that

  69. 69
    Mnemosyne says:

    Regarding Zero Dark Thirty, director Kathryn Bigelow addressed the criticisms that the movie glorifies torture, and I think she has some good points. Namely, should we pretend that the US did not torture prisoners after 9/11 and write that out of history, or should we acknowledge that it did happen but did not have much of an effect on the ultimate outcome, which is what she feels she did?

  70. 70
    piratedan says:

    @Punchy: they’ll just toss the corpses outside of the perimeter, because .. you know… zombies.

  71. 71
    Chris says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    As I recall there were four big factors that ended up weighing against Brit intervention;

    1) Slavery

    2) The South embargoed cotton shipments to Britain early in the war, hoping it would force their hand. Instead it only motivated them to grow their own cotton (hello Egypt) and took away the only economic argument in favor of intervention.

    3) Gettysburg.

    4) The fact that while the British had a preference when it came to the war’s outcome, it wasn’t really a vital national security interest. Events in Europe were of more immediate concern.

    (I had to research this stuff in undergrad).

  72. 72
    notgonnahappen says:

    Still kind of torn over Lance Armstrong defender & Fat Bastard Christie lover Cole’s comments yesterday saying how normal and great he thinks the first family is.

    That must mean they suck.

  73. 73
    Chris says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Yeah, I meant to ask for those who’ve seen it – how did y’all feel they treated the torture thing? I’m still debating whether to see it.

  74. 74
    David in NY says:

    @gene108: Good point. I think the movie did make clear that their “leverage” was the desire for a quick end to the war. Though I wonder how people in the North would have felt if that end achieved little more than to restore the status quo ante (which, as the movie has it, was about all that the delegation was proposing). It was all about slavery, after all.

    I guess that my only point was that the movie didn’t make the South’s desperate military situation in the winter of ’65 clear, but maybe that wasn’t so necessary for its purposes.

  75. 75
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: That’s true. This isn’t so much a practical attempt as another goofy theme city likeFelicity California.

  76. 76

    @Cassidy:

    Also be useless against any kind of air power….

  77. 77
    TOP123 says:

    @Chris: Interesting analogy!

    @redshirt: They also had immense and influential mercantile and industrial sectors, of which textiles was only one (very large) part, and a healthy share of world finance. Even the relatively easy victory over the US in the War of 1812 was disruptive to British trade interests, although admittedly they also had someone called Napoleon to worry about at the time, as well.

  78. 78
    David in NY says:

    @Chris: Wasn’t the Union blockade of Southern ports pretty effective? Did GB want to challenge that?

  79. 79
    Robin G. says:

    @General Stuck: Put me down as saying this thing will never be built. The designers are going to take the money and disappear into the night.

    We’ve got trouble, right here in River City…

  80. 80
    Chris says:

    @Cacti:

    I do recall the economic ties to the North – made even more important because unlike the South, they never interrupted said ties.

    Never thought of Canada’s safety as a reason, but you’ve got a point there.

  81. 81
    Chris says:

    @David in NY:

    Yeah, but the Southern embargo happened before the Yankee blockade had even fully taken effect. By the time they realized their mistake, the embargo was in place and they could no longer backtrack.

    (Or could they? Anyone know how effective blockade runners were? I would imagine not very, but maybe I’m wrong).

  82. 82
    taylormattd says:

    Hahahahaha.

    Win.

  83. 83
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    should we pretend that the US did not torture prisoners after 9/11 and write that out of history,

    That doesn’t really address the criticisms.

    Frank Bruni, The New York Times:

    “[I]t’s hard not to focus on them, because the first extended sequence in the movie shows a detainee being strung up by his wrists, sexually humiliated, deprived of sleep, made to feel as if he’s drowning and shoved into a box smaller than a coffin.

    “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.

    “And by the movie’s account, it produces information vital to the pursuit of the world’s most wanted man. No waterboarding, no Bin Laden: that’s what ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ appears to suggest.”

    Steve Coll, New York Review of Books:

    [T]he filmmakers cannot, on the one hand, claim authenticity as journalists while, on the other, citing art as an excuse for shoddy reporting about a subject as important as whether torture had a vital part in the search for bin Laden, and therefore might be, for some, defensible as public policy. . . .

    The easiest question to consider is what Zero Dark Thirty actually depicts about the part torture played in locating bin Laden. . . . There can be no mistaking what Zero Dark Thirty shows: torture plays an outsized part in Maya’s success . . . . In virtually every instance in the film where Maya extracts important clues from prisoners, then, torture is a factor.

    http://ggsidedocs.blogspot.com.....d-not.html

  84. 84
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Chris:

    Some would say Vicksburg was more important strategically, but I’d contend that Gettysburg was more important politically, seeing as it was more conveniently located for the military attaches of the various European states to observe, and report back home on what happened.

    The European militaries were all intensely interested in the American Civil War, which was expected to be fought in Napoleonic fashion. Too bad that technology had advanced in the 45 odd years since 1815 and changed things so that it was more of a preview of coming attractions in 1914…

  85. 85
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Chris:

    Anyone know how effective blockade runners were?

    Rhett Butler seemed to have made out pretty well from blockade running…

  86. 86
    Brachiator says:

    @redshirt:

    I was taught that the timing of the Emancipation Proclamation was in large part to kep GB out of the war. As has been said, they had a vocal abolitionist movement which was influential enough to keep the GB government in check.

    GB was not going to enter the war. The question was whether Britain would recognize the Confederacy.

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    No, but they were leaning that way up until two things happened: The Emancipation Proclamation, and the Union’s two decisive victories in early July, 1863…Gettysburg and Vicksburg.

    Diplomacy helped as well. After the Battle of Antietam, “It was now obvious that no final, conclusive Confederate triumph could be anticipated. The swift recession of the high Confederate tide was as visible in Britain as in America, and in the end Palmerston and Russell dropped any notion of bringing a mediation-recognition program before the cabinet.”

    But along with this were the efforts of America’s First Minister to Britain, Charles Adams (another one of those Adams).The Confederacy’s delegate was never recognized by Britain. And later, in a fit of pique, the Confederacy isolated itself further with respect to world opinion:

    In 1863, the Confederacy expelled all foreign consuls (all of them British or French diplomats) for advising their subjects to refuse to serve in combat against the U.S.

  87. 87
    patroclus says:

    Gladstone made a rather famous statement about the CSA having “built a nation” which indicated sympathy for the South but the British government never officially supported (nor recognized) the CSA because of the strength of the abolitionist movement there. By contrast, the Brits did recognize the Republic of Texas earlier.

  88. 88
    Yutsano says:

    @notgonnahappen: Herp de Durf.

  89. 89
    Soonergrunt says:

    @El Cid: That’s the big thing right there. Remember that for all their talk of removing themselves from society before the collapse, they WANT societal collapse. They NEED societal collapse. The same with being attacked. I used to passively read some of the right wing boards a few years ago. The National Guard was very concerned about extremist infiltration of the ranks. What I found was that they wanted bad shit to happen. They want the race war they all think is coming because they want to get on the scoreboard with a kill. That most of them don’t want to do the actual work of being Soldiers, or especially being Combat Arms is pretty telling.

    But guard duty is fucking boring most of the time, even in an active war zone. That’s where all the UCMJ and discipline problems happen, in the big walled-in FOBs like Camp Victory and Camp Phoenix. You sit in a tower staring at goats in an empty field for eight hours a day for weeks on end and see how fast it takes you to start doing stupid shit just to break up the monotony–and that’s in trained and disciplined Soldiers in a war zone. This shit? When they actually realize that the rest of us only think about them to make fun of them, it will make them even crazier.

  90. 90
    ericblair says:

    @El Cid:

    (b) they are shocked to discover that no one cares about them, much less are motivated to storm their lazily-staffed barricades.

    The worst things paranoids can figure out. First, they’re not really out to get you: they couldn’t care less about you and your insignificant little acts of resistance. Second, there’s no vast conspiracy in charge of everything and everybody: in fact, there’s nobody much in control of anything at all, and we’re just lurching from one unplanned confusing mess to the other.

  91. 91
    NotMax says:

    Mnemosyne

    Besides her whine being a straw man argument, her choice of baldly and blatantly misrepresenting (directly contrary to even the CIA’s own released interpretations, i.e., lying about) the source and discovery of the keystone piece of information (the actual name of the courier), whether for dramatic effect or not, acknowledges neither and trivializes the reality.

  92. 92
    Robin G. says:

    @Ben Franklin: I haven’t seen ZDT, and don’t intend to — not out of principle, but because I can’t handle torture scenes (I still have nightmares about The Tudors) — but if those criticisms are accurate, that is incredibly disturbing. It’s all well and good to make a movie that focuses on the eternal question of the end justifying the means, but that’s misrepresentation of the facts.

    Question for those who’ve seen it: Was there any discussion of the fact that torturing also provided us with information that ‘justified’ going to Iraq?

  93. 93
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Brachiator: Well, the reports that came out all said 39 minutes on the ground. When you think about the fact that they were dealing with an extensive site exploitation and also destroying a downed aircraft, all the while safeguarding non-combatants and keeping civilians outside their perimeter, it’s pretty impressive that they did it with less than 40 guys on the ground.
    I’ve never seen those quadra-scope IR systems in the real world, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all that they are real.

  94. 94
    patroclus says:

    Merkley and Udall have been “debating” the filibuster change proposal on the Senate Floor all morning, but they’ve stopped for now for party caucuses. Passing the rules takes a mere majority vote and Reid says he intends to keep the first day of the Session going until something is agreed. My guess is that it will take several weeks before the first day of the Session actually ends, but it seems likely that there will be at least some kind of change.

  95. 95
    Soonergrunt says:

    @gwangung: Yeah. There wasn’t somebody standing up and looking into the camera and saying “torture is bad, mmmkay?” Which some slow people would probably need to be hit over the head with that to see it, but it’s pretty clear that no actual useful, actionable information that led to the raid was recovered in the torture sessions, and also the psychological effect it had on the CIA Officers who did it and supervised it.

  96. 96
    Brachiator says:

    @Chris:

    Yeah, I meant to ask for those who’ve seen it – how did y’all feel they treated the torture thing? I’m still debating whether to see it.

    I would say see it if you want to see a good movie.

    @Mnemosyne:

    Regarding Zero Dark Thirty, director Kathryn Bigelow addressed the criticisms that the movie glorifies torture, and I think she has some good points.

    In a way, I think you have to judge the movie on its own terms, and even ignore what the director says.

    The movie shows torture, and depicts it as one of the standard methods that the CIA deployed. I don’t know if in real life, anyone in the agency debated the use of torture. Within the world of the film, it is clear that often no one knows whether any particular approach aids in accomplishing anything. And although the film does not make this explicit, one could make the case that attempting to extract information from detainees distracted agents from accurately assessing other information.

    Even though some critics and even some viewers focus on the issue of torture in the film, another line in the movie, about WMDs and Iraq, presents everything the CIA and similar agencies do, in an ironic focus. And this revelation is clearly for the audience, not for any characters in the film.

    On the other hand, in one interview on the BBC Radio 5 film show, Kathryn Bigelow always refers to “harsh techniques,” never torture, and a couple of times implies that these techniques may have been effective.

    But it is beyond clear that she is not endorsing torture, and the film is more even handed than even her statements in the BBC interview.

  97. 97
    TOP123 says:

    @Chris: Yankee? That’s United States, Secesh… ;)

    I think you’re right here. I’d always understood the self-imposed embargo to be one of the big mistakes the Confederacy made (in a long list of them), in that, by the time the blockade was in place, the cotton shortage had already been seen in effect by Britain. As far as breaking the blockade, the CSN had nothing with which to compete with the USN at the beginning of the war or for the remainder of it, and after Hampton Roads, the US just started cranking out ironclads at a rate that was entirely unrealistic for the CS to even think of matching. Blockade running was an impractical solution (as far as I understand it; I’d welcome input!) if only in terms of the numbers of ships that could successfully do so versus the volume of cotton needed to sustain trade with Britain in numbers that would have an effect–they weren’t running gold!

    Again, this is only my understanding, but after the blockade was in place, the RN would, in practical terms, have actively had to escort British-Confederate trade, which, as in the case of the Battle of the Atlantic, would have amounted to intervention, not just recognition.

  98. 98
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Robin G.:

    If you can get Peter Bergen’s Manhunt, it is a far better way to understand the sequence of events.

  99. 99
    gwangung says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    Yeah. There wasn’t somebody standing up and looking into the camera and saying “torture is bad, mmmkay?” Which some slow people would probably need to be hit over the head with that to see it, but it’s pretty clear that no actual useful, actionable information that led to the raid was recovered in the torture sessions, and also the psychological effect it had on the CIA Officers who did it and supervised it.

    Yeah, that was definitely there, though again definitely underplayed. The dots aren’t connected, and the thematic sledgehammer isn’t brought out (though it seems clear to me that a thematic sledgehammer is only for the good of the progressive audience and not the people who really need to learn).

  100. 100
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Brachiator:

    But it is beyond clear that she is not endorsing torture

    Maybe not explicitly, but the film’s advisors and her decisions made it an implicit, and necessary route to getting OBL.

  101. 101
    chopper says:

    @Brachiator:

    the thing is, while the information they got from a detainee did eventually lead to bin laden, it wasn’t very direct. it took many years in the story to go from that one bit of info to something substantive enough to find the guy, and ultimately more effective info was gleaned from things as trivial as stumbling on a file that had already been there the whole time as well as literally tracking a dude around town.

    it’s kinda stupid to watch the movie and walk away thinking that torture above all else was what got bin laden found.

  102. 102
    Chris says:

    @ericblair:

    Yep. I’m convinced that the obsession with the danger of race war and whites being enslaved is in large part them just fantasizing about their special whiteness. The reality, that there is no race war or white slavery on the horizon, all that’s happening is that being white no longer marks them as special snowflakes and no one much cares about what used to be their one marketable trait, is what’s driving them mad.

    @TOP123:

    Yankee? That’s United States, Secesh… ;)

    Wear the name with pride. I’ve always thought it was awesome that the word “Yankee” which everywhere else means “American,” means “Northerner, especially East Coast Northerner” when you get to the United States.

  103. 103
    David in NY says:

    @Chris: @TOP123: The Embargo, assuming England would come crawling, expelling foreign consuls in pique …. The New (or Continuing) Confederacy seems to be following the same kind of nuanced strategies used by the Old Confederacy (cf. debt-limit showdowns, midnight legislative shenanigans, etc.).

  104. 104
    Brachiator says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    Well, the reports that came out all said 39 minutes on the ground. When you think about the fact that they were dealing with an extensive site exploitation and also destroying a downed aircraft, all the while safeguarding non-combatants and keeping civilians outside their perimeter, it’s pretty impressive that they did it with less than 40 guys on the ground.

    Agreed. One of the things that impressed me about this segment, is that it clearly gives you an idea of what is going on, and all the stuff that the team had to deal with. And it also gives you a clear idea of the physical space and the movement of the characters within it. And doing it with night scenes.

    There are directors who don’t know how to direct action or give you any sense of the “where” in which the action takes place.

    I’ve never seen those quadra-scope IR systems in the real world, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all that they are real.

    I also saw somewhere on the web (and of course I can’t find it now) that the film is the closest that we will come to seeing the secret helicopters that were supposedly actually used in the mission.

  105. 105
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Ben Franklin: The problem there is with the statement “it’s set up as payback.” We know from any number of places that soldiers and interrogators often _did_ think about their harsh methods, including torture, as “payback.” But it’s certainly possible to stage that wrong thought process without validating it. King Lear banishes Cordelia for refusing to play his game, but we’re not supposed to side with Lear.

  106. 106
    gwangung says:

    @Brachiator:

    Agreed. One of the things that impressed me about this segment, is that it clearly gives you an idea of what is going on, and all the stuff that the team had to deal with. And it also gives you a clear idea of the physical space and the movement of the characters within it. And doing it with night scenes.

    Oh, yes. This flew by me while watching it, but thinking about it just made me impressed on how well it was set up and told, and still kept to a dramatic narrative.

  107. 107
    Chris says:

    @David in NY:

    Yes, blind nationalist stupidity, the assumption that the rest of the world recognizes them for the special snowflakes they are and will act accordingly, and a gargantuan sense of entitlement all seem to be lasting features of that part of the spectrum.

  108. 108
    Ben Franklin says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    it’s certainly possible to stage that wrong thought process without validating it

    Whether or not payback is a valid thought process, it is disingenuous to portray torture as the true path to OBL. IMO, that’s the crowd-pleasing element this film employs.

  109. 109
    David in NY says:

    @Chris: Nicely put.

  110. 110
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Robin G.: To your Iraq question: Yes, a couple of times. As a matter of fact, that particular failure was used more than once to justify not acting on intelligence that the advocates of given actions thought to be solid.

    And the idea that something somebody said in a near-delusional state in an interrogation (seven years before it became useful) is an endorsement of the use of torture is pretty obtuse to me. I have to wonder if those people saw the same movie I did. We know of at least one review where that is emphatically not the case, because the ‘reviewer’ didn’t even see the movie at all, he reviewed what he thought might be in the movie, and excoriated the writer and director for his imagined sins.
    Like I said, some people might need to be beaten over the head with something obvious, like
    [stop action, fade to white screen] actors face the camera: “this is bad and so ineffectual that whatever useful information we got was only anecdotal at best, and now back to the program”
    [fade into set, resume action]
    and some people might need for others to be beaten over the head like that, but it doesn’t change what was actually shown, which was the truth of the matter that our government tortured people, in some cases extensively, and that very little of tactical or operational use came out of it, certainly not worth the political costs and the costs to the persons doing it as well as the victims themselves. In fact, the actual scene where the torture victim gives up information that is kind of useful to finding Bin Laden’s courier, occurs after they stop torturing a guy, and tell him “hey, you don’t remember it because it was in a haze right before you passed out, but you gave us some useful information with which we’ve stopped a terror attack (this was a lie,) here’s some food and sunlight and a cigarette, and by the way, what can you tell us about this person?”

  111. 111
    chopper says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    have you seen the movie? cause i didn’t really get that at all from the film.

  112. 112
    gwangung says:

    Whether or not payback is a valid thought process, it is disingenuous to portray torture as the true path to OBL. IMO, that’s the crowd-pleasing element this film employs.

    I don’t privilege that above my own opinion, which is different.

    On the other hand, I won’t say that your opinion is wrongly held, either.

  113. 113
    Brachiator says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    RE: But it is beyond clear that she is not endorsing torture

    Maybe not explicitly, but the film’s advisors and her decisions made it an implicit, and necessary route to getting OBL.

    I don’t agree. I don’t know, and don’t care, what the film’s advisors believed, not with respect to this film. And the movie does not show that torture was a necessary route in getting to OBL.

    You cannot use this film, which is ultimately a work of fiction, as an argument about the use of torture.

    And note that I clearly believe all the real world evidence that says that torture does not work.

  114. 114
    chopper says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    likewise, this piece of information didn’t really become useful until someone, years later, stumbled upon a file by sheer luck and gave it to chastain’s character who as luck would have it was still chasing that one lead even after having been told that the guy was in fact dead. followed by a bunch of old-fashioned shoe leather (of the sort that reminded me quite a bit of the search bloc that found escobar).

  115. 115
    TOP123 says:

    @Chris: Haha! Duly noted. Wait, East Coast Northerner? Yankees are from Connecticut, though I suppose the term could be generously loaned elsewhere… ;) (I admit I was trying to make a joking point that one side was the United States, and the other a sectional faction… which reminds me of something… oh:

    @David in NY: You nailed it! Yes, the same deep wisdom that considered a Roman Empire-style latifundia economy a plausible match in a showdown with a British Empire-style manufacturing economy has echoes in today’s Fireeaters House GOP.

    Edited to clarify, hopefully!

  116. 116
    Brachiator says:

    @gwangung:

    RE: Agreed. One of the things that impressed me about this segment, is that it clearly gives you an idea of what is going on, and all the stuff that the team had to deal with. And it also gives you a clear idea of the physical space and the movement of the characters within it. And doing it with night scenes.

    Oh, yes. This flew by me while watching it, but thinking about it just made me impressed on how well it was set up and told, and still kept to a dramatic narrative.

    Although this is kinda film weenie stuff, I get annoyed at directors who cannot direct action sequences well. You sometimes see directors “cheating” by using dumb edits, slow motion (or speeding scenes up) because they do not know how to deal with physical space, and movement within the scene.

    BTW, an early absolute master of this was silent comedian and director Buster Keaton.

    I will bet good money that James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow influenced each other in how they deal with action and physical space. By the time you get to the sinking of the ship in Titanic, you have an excellent idea of where people are, where they are trapped, how far they have to go to get to possible safety, and the degree to which the ship is submerged.

    In ZD30, by the end of the film (set up well with replications of satellite photos), you have an idea of the physical dimensions of the compound, the various sections (e.g., the goat pen), how far the team has to go, what physical obstacles they have to deal with, and the various rooms, stairways, levels and rooftops of the house they are attacking.

  117. 117
    Ben Franklin says:

    @chopper:

    Yes.

    Film is one of the most powerful forms of propaganda. The opening scenes of devastation and human suffering on 9/11 went to black, then immediately fades to a torture scene.

    History and context, or exploitation? Hey, I know film is big bizness, and the buzz from a film can kill it or make it. I understand all that…..just sayin’

  118. 118
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Brachiator:

    you have an idea of the physical dimensions of the compound,

    I agree it gave a ‘You are there’ feel to the event and was compelling. But I think I got a great deal more from reading Manhunt.

  119. 119
    chopper says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    i saw that stuff too. of course, i also sat there for the better part of two and a half hours that followed that kinda had a lot to do with the chain of events that led to the dude’s death.

  120. 120
    Brachiator says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    RE: you have an idea of the physical dimensions of the compound,

    I agree it gave a ‘You are there’ feel to the event and was compelling. But I think I got a great deal more from reading Manhunt.

    Movies and books are different animals with different aims. Don’t see much point in comparing the two.

    The opening scenes of devastation and human suffering on 9/11 went to black, then immediately fades to a torture scene.

    Are you talking about ZD30? This is not the opening of the film that I saw.

  121. 121
    Trumandem says:

    I just saw the Lincoln this past weekend as well. Someone above mentioned a constitutional amendment would need a ‘super majority’ and not just a 50% plus 1. If you watched the movie closely enough the super majority was in fact the goal of the Republicans and thats why they neeeded to turn a few more Democrats to their side.

    What I find more than interesting about Lincoln after reading several biographies and histories of the era is the fact where ever he was he was always the smartest man in the room politically. Every time.

    I thought the movie was brilliant and I hope it wins every nomination for an Oscar. The two guys who stole the picture for me was David Strathairn and James Spader. I already want to see it again.

    I do want to thank Speilberg for sparing us a gory detailed reenactment of the assasination and instead having it announced in another theatre venue. After sitting for nearly two and a half hours and getting emotionally caught up with Lincoln the character I was thinking I didn’t want to sit through that. This is one of Spielberg’s best.

  122. 122
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Brachiator: There are no “opening scenes of devastation and human suffering on 9/11 went to black” because it starts out black screen, and plays audio for a couple of minutes of 911 calls and phone messages to loved ones by 9/11 victims. This fades into a torture scene, but the very first thing we see is the torture seen. The whole thing implies that revenge was a primary motivator for the torture, even more so than the collection of intelligence.

  123. 123
    chopper says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    indeed especially given, as you pointed out, that the name was not obtained by torture but rather by fooling a detainee into thinking the CIA had stopped an attack he was involved in.

    if you walk out of the movie thinking that torture got that particular piece of information directly, you probably walked into it with certain preconceived notions which your memory bent the movie to fit.

  124. 124
    El Cid says:

    @Chris: We did help — we aided South African apartheid forces enormously. That was a big part of our paying and leading the thug forces of Angola and Mozambique, and the Reaganites’ continued denunciations of the ANC as Communists and terrorists, and not giving a tinker’s damn about the South African fascists working on a nuclear weapon with the Israelis. No one paying attention at the time was confused as to whom the Americans were backing, subterfuge or not.

  125. 125
    geg6 says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    That’s not what is the impression left by her propaganda for the Cheney version of the Geneva Conventions.

    I’ll never pay a penny to see another film made by this amoral piece of garbage. I though The Hurt Locker was a pretty good film, but every single person, bar none (none of these people are politics junkies like we are), who I know who have seen ZD30 have come crowing back to me that the movie shows that torture worked. This is true even of my liberal but not political/news junkie acquaintances.

    Fuck Katherine Bigelow. She’s a whore to the CIA and their war criminals, AFAIC.

  126. 126
    Brachiator says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    There are no “opening scenes of devastation and human suffering on 9/11 went to black” because it starts out black screen

    Yeah. I wasn’t sure if the other poster had actually seen the film, or whether (more unlikely), there had been an earlier edit of the film.

    I thought that the audio-only opening was particularly effective because it brought home the confusion and the suffering of those trapped in the buildings, most of whom probably had no idea of what was going on. The stereo sound effects at the theater where I saw the film were well done.

    The whole thing implies that revenge was a primary motivator for the torture, even more so than the collection of intelligence.

    Or desperation.

  127. 127
    Cassidy says:

    I haven’t watched ZD30. I had no interest in The Hurt Locker or Act of Valor. The Kingdom made me jumpy, but I also made the mistake of watching it very soon after returning form my first deployment. I prettymuch avoid OIF/ OEF movies, which sucks as I really like some of the actors.Joel Edgerton is amazing. If you haven’t seen Warrior, you’re missing out.

  128. 128
    El Cid says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    Remember that for all their talk of removing themselves from society before the collapse, they WANT societal collapse. They NEED societal collapse. The same with being attacked.

    Not really. They’re the same as Evangelicals. They want comfortable lives but they want to live with the continual feeling that they’re under attack, no matter how much dominant power they may have.

    They don’t want societal collapse, they just want to live perpetually on what they believe is the edge of societal collapse.

    Just enough to justify a constantly fear-dominated maintenance of rigid and unquestioning hierarchy to the chain of male and patriarchy-supporting females, to in-group loyalties (“Real America” and ‘traditional’ white values) versus out-group deviants (them folks), to sustain a fictional life narrative which is exciting and heroic and threatening and above all far more interesting than the prosaic lives they are otherwise trapped within.

    Oh, and of course, to justify an endless parade of grifters who sell the dopes a variety of products and hokum and thereby profiting from the very fears they are stoking.

    It’s not a coincidence that when the number of Americans owning guns continues to shrink, and the number and power and price and feature-set of guns purchased by that shrinking population of gun-owners continues to increase, we find that an industry whose profit is based upon that latter tendency does everything it can to make that shrinking demographic views life in ways which necessitate more guns, more powerful guns, fancier guns, peer-group pleasing guns, entertaining ammo, warfare and collapse simulation shooting scenarios, you name it.

    If your profits depend upon fewer people replacing and/or adding to the perfectly well-functioning firearms they have in the form of greater and greater expenditures on goods and services, you’ve got to do your part to give them a worldview in which they’re driven to do just that.

    And it helps a successful case being made even further if you believe exactly the same things as is in your interest to promote to your marks customer base.

  129. 129
    dmbeaster says:

    @Librarian:

    There was plenty of media of that time that made the argument repeatedly, although perhaps without the beer part.

  130. 130
    imadoc says:

    My understanding is that Antietam, not Gettysburg, was the battle that ended all serious consideration in GB for entering the war. Lincoln had been wanting to issue a Proclamation since summer of ’62, but was waiting on a Union victory to pin it on. Antietam was that victory, though McClellan screwed it up and missed an opportunity to destroy the Army of Northern Virginia and end the war in 1862

  131. 131
    Brachiator says:

    @geg6:

    but every single person, bar none (none of these people are politics junkies like we are), who I know who have seen ZD30 have come crowing back to me that the movie shows that torture worked. This is true even of my liberal but not political/news junkie acquaintances.

    You might consider getting a smarter bunch of friends and acquaintances.

    I’ll never pay a penny to see another film made by this amoral piece of garbage.

    A great number of artists might be described as amoral. They just disguise it well. The worst of this bunch do work that requires that you think for yourself, rather than be comforted with pre-digested conclusions.

    BTW, you best stay away from Lincoln, The Gangster Squad, Argo, Django Unchained. I hear that they are all flawed with respect to actual history.

    And Peter Jackson doesn’t know anything about real hobbits.

  132. 132
    PaulW says:

    @Librarian:

    If the Beltway media had been around back then, they would have told Lincoln to stop the war and be all bipartisany and compromising and meet the Confederates over a few beers to work out some grand bargain in which both sides would compromise.

    Um, they were like that back in 1861-65. The Blairs in the movie were all for Peace Before Emancipation, and the Blair-led faction were the “moderates” of the day.

    Half the media was all “free the slaves, glory hallelujah” and the other half was “OMG we’re losing the war, sue for peace, let the South go and everyone will be happy forever”. Horace Greeley, if you ever read him, could be both sides of that argument in the same newspaper issue.

  133. 133
    Chris says:

    @El Cid:

    Originally, yes, but if memory serves, that ended with an embargo imposed by the U.S. Congress by a resounding majority over Ronald Reagan’s veto. He wasn’t too happy about that :D

    There are times when the 1980s Congress makes me drool, as a child of the 9/11 era. No fucking way could I picture liberals being able to force something like that through today – or the various bans on military aid to the contras that forced Reagan and his goons to go entirely outside the law, done for something as quaint as the “human rights” of the people in that region.

    @El Cid:

    This. All of it.

    Especially this quote;

    to sustain a fictional life narrative which is exciting and heroic and threatening and above all far more interesting than the prosaic lives they are otherwise trapped within.

    Captures their mindset and motivations exactly.

    (Used to be that people bored with their own lives would write novels or make movies. Nowadays they have to play-act).

  134. 134
    gwangung says:

    if you walk out of the movie thinking that torture got that particular piece of information directly, you probably walked into it with certain preconceived notions which your memory bent the movie to fit.

    Well. There are a lot of people like that.

    Like I said, very underplayed.

  135. 135
    geg6 says:

    @Brachiator:

    Bullshit. This film is very thinly veiled CIA propaganda. And that’s just fine, Bigelow has every right to make propaganda films if she likes. But there, at least, should be a disclaimer that the torture scene is just that, propaganda, and actually had nothing to do with catching bin Laden. Instead, she and her partner have been going around talking about their “journalistic” approach: http://www.motherjones.com/mix.....re-defense. Unlike, say, Ben Affleck has.

    FWIW, I wouldn’t see Gangster Squad if you paid me and Django Unchained will be fine viewing in the comfort of my home. But neither of them could ever be mistaken for “reality.” They are obviously fiction. As for Argo, it actually is pretty accurate, if by accurate I mean that no truth is so distorted that people who aren’t experts in that crisis would get the complete wrong idea of what actually happened or the sequence of events. Unlike, say, ZD30.

    And go fuck yourself for being so insufferably patronizing.

  136. 136
    Brachiator says:

    @geg6:

    This film is very thinly veiled CIA propaganda.

    No, it’s not. And it is a very good and well made movie.

    People who get all knotted up over the depiction of torture in the film are just as wrong-headed as the people who can’t watch Django Unchained because of its use of the N word, or the violence in the film.

    Also, anyone claiming that the film is CIA propaganda has to explain some of the spectacular CIA failures shown in the film. Again, rather than deal with this, those with an axe to grind would rather fall back on the issue of torture, because it is the only thing that they can see, and the only thing that they want to see.

    As for Argo, it actually is pretty accurate.

    There are a number of people, especially the Canadians, who would vehemently disagree with you. And it’s funny, I’ve read recently that the Iranians are thinking about making a film that would tell the “real truth” about the events depicted in Argo.

    That said, I think that Argo is also a very good film.

    People who don’t see these films on the big screen, especially Django Unchained, are missing out.

    And go fuck yourself for being so insufferably patronizing.

    I am joking with you. You really should relax a little. It’s only movies. If I were being patronizing, I wouldn’t take time responding in some detail.

  137. 137
    geg6 says:

    People who get all knotted up over the depiction of torture in the film are just as wrong-headed as the people who can’t watch Django Unchained because of its use of the N word, or the violence in the film.

    The only reason I’m pissed off about this is because of the reaction that other people, real people, have had to the torture. I have no problem with depicting the torture, much as I don’t like it. What I have trouble with is not making it perfectly clear that torture had no role in getting bin Laden. It just cements the whole lie that the CIA and Bush/Cheney/minions have fed the public about the efficacy of torture. Nothing I say and no evidence to the contrary will now make a bit of difference with people who have seen this film and heard the “journalistic” director speak about her method. It’s now on film that torture worked and that is how it will go down in collective memory and history. I’m not into making excuses for or paying money to people who have knowingly validated the Bush terror regime.

    As for Argo, the quibbles being made about it are more bout what was left out, not with how it was depicted. Every film based on real events has some fictionalization that happens in the course of making an entertaining film. Argo, from all I’ve read, gets it as right as any film of its type can. At least, as far as any criticism that I have read. And no one connected to the film, least of all its director, has made any sort of claim that it is “journalistic.”

  138. 138
    Brachiator says:

    @geg6:

    The only reason I’m pissed off about this is because of the reaction that other people, real people, have had to the torture. I have no problem with depicting the torture, much as I don’t like it. What I have trouble with is not making it perfectly clear that torture had no role in getting bin Laden

    The movie makes it clear that torture was not responsible for getting bin Laden. What it does not satisfy are some people’s ideological concerns.

    As for Argo, the quibbles being made about it are more bout what was left out, not with how it was depicted.

    It is much more than a quibble. The omission of the role of the Canadians and of other foreign embassies distorts the role of the Americans. Shouldn’t people be pissed that the movie does not make it perfectly clear that the Americans had no significant role in getting the hostages out?

    And even the people who made the film admit that certain scenes were added to make the film more dramatic. So, it’s not just about what was omitted.

    BTW, one review that I totally discount, on the public radio film show filmspotting, claimed that Argo was not only historically inaccurate, but also that it was racist in depicting the Iranians as malevolent “others.”

    And as I noted, we don’t have the Iranian side of the story.

    I loved Argo. I just would not try to defend it as a more accurate depiction of history with a few quibbles. But your defense of one and condemnation of the other is wildly inconsistent.

  139. 139
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Brachiator: I don’t know about “inconsistent.” I think geg6’s claim is that creating a film that can leave an impression that torture works is more harmful to good history and even ethics/morality than a film with another kind of “inaccuracy.”

    My hunch, though, is that any apparent demonstration of the efficacy of torture is supposed to be (in the design of Bigelow and co.) a red herring in the larger drama about careful planning and old-fashioned police work — but that they may have pulled it off too well, to the point where they blundered into making it _actually_ look effective rather than _apparently_ look effective.

    But I confess I haven’t seen it yet myself.

  140. 140
    Soonergrunt says:

    @FlipYrWhig: As I said, there’s not moment where one of the cast members says “hey, we just wasted all that time, and did all that illegal heinous shit to no value.”
    There IS a scene after the torture is done happening where a senior CIA officer tells a room full of staff that “we’ve spent billions of dollars, years of time, and we are losing! We’ve accomplished NOTHING!” [Slams hand on desk]

    But there’s no “hit-you-over-the-head-obvious” statement that torture is wrong and ineffective.

  141. 141
    gwangung says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Hm. I think any points would be best made by people who’ve seen the movie.

  142. 142
    Brachiator says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I don’t know about “inconsistent.” I think geg6′s claim is that creating a film that can leave an impression that torture works is more harmful to good history and even ethics/morality than a film with another kind of “inaccuracy.”

    Films, even the most meticulous film “based on true events” have absolutely nothing to do with history. Nothing. Sorry.

    This is true of all art. It is always a problem. For example, the 2000 film U-571 won an Oscar for Sound Editing.

    In the film, a World War II German submarine is boarded in 1942 by disguised United States Navy submariners seeking to capture her Enigma cipher machine.

    One problem: The Americans had nothing to do with this. In fact, what was depicted in the film, “inspired by true events,”never even happened.

    Is it harmful to good history for Americans to claim more competence and glory, feeding jingoism and false patriotism?

    But coming back to ZD30, I reject the claim that the film seeks to prove that torture works. And I note, with respect to geg6, that some people are not looking for a movie, but an essay which loudly declares that torture is always wrong.

    But I confess I haven’t seen it yet myself.

    See the movie and then revisit your hunch.

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