Amph Zero Dark Thirty

Discussion in 'Community' started by Adam of Nuchtern, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. I Are The Internets Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2012
    star 7
    Deuce Bigelow hunts for Osama Bin Laden? I would see that 367 times.
  2. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 7
    I'd prefer the Harold & Kumar version.
  3. Condition2SQ Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 5, 2012
    star 4
    And you don't have any reason to say he told them not because of the torture. Your argument that misinformation is sometimes or even often given is completely meaningless, essentially akin to something like this

    "Guess what, I flipped a heads five times in a row"
    "No you didn't"
    "Yes I did...why don't you believe me?"
    "Because statistical forecasting shows that there is a very low probability of that happening. Ergo, it didn't happen"

    It is also nonsensical to say that the statistical unlikelihood of an outcome from a given action renders any successful instances meaningless. For instance, let's imagine that a patient's condition is deteriorating rapidly to an infection that cannot be identified. Desperately, the doctor prescribes a broad-spectrum antibiotic that has an exceedingly low chance of being effective, but turns out to be. Was this lucky? Yes. Does that mean that the antibiotic "didn't work". No.

    More importantly, what would the man himself give as the reason he gave up the information? "While they were mercilessly beating me, I--for no real reason--decided to quit with the tough guy bravado and, based on a dispassionate cost-benefit analysis as well as some moral reflection, decided out of the goodness out of my heart to give up the information". Really?

    I'm rather interested to hear what completely benign techniques were on the table in the 20 minute window.

    Fair enough; let's examine them.

    This seems about as close as you can get to explicitly admitting that there weren't any other options left, but moving on...

    Bribery cannot work because the second party to act has no incentive to actually uphold the deal after procuring the desired information/goods, and both parties know this. Furthermore, the seductive police officer illustrates the issue of moral culpability very well. Say a female police officer is in fact in charge of this interrogation, and volunteers to give the suspect oral sex in exchange for the information. Is it unethical for her to do this? No, it is positively heroic that she is willing to subject herself to this to save the life of a child. What actually would strike me as unethical would be any male officers present simply allowing the woman to do this--subjecting herself to torture, essentially, from which the morally culpable person derives extreme pleasure, when it is actually possible to instead torture the person who is morally culpable for his own predicament.

    Your drugs option seems to hinge too much on the use of the word "illegal", so I'll pass it over for now, pending further clarification from you. The use of "truth serum" to extract verifiable information (not a confession) about a crime we know the suspect is guilty of does not strike me as at all unethical, and certainly more humane than torture.

    Should even that prove unethical or ineffective, is there any reason at all not to torture the suspect except for the reason that "torture is wrong"?

    If you think so, why? Do you think torture is "always wrong."? If so, then just say that. I'll be free to think you're crazy, you'll be free to think I'm crazy, and we can both rest easy. It will save us both a lot of time. If it is not "always wrong", then how wrong is it? For example, almost all chess players are familiar with the relative value system of the pieces, "pawn=1, knight=3, rook=5 etc." which allows one to make rough strategical cost-benefit analyses. For a human being, assigning a value to the King is utterly meaningless since its capture results in the loss of the game. Since computers inherently cannot "internalize" this "concept", some Chess computers assign an arbitrary, enormous value to the King, simply to guarantee that the computer will never, as a result of its statistical cost-benefit analyses, choose to "sacrifice" its King. If you don't think torture is "always wrong", then you ascribe a certain negative value to its use. However high you place this value, it has some relation to the value you ascribe to a person being killed by a stranger with no specific grievance. Therefore, there is not, in principle a reason why you would never torture someone if the parameters are narrowly enough defined.
  4. I Are The Internets Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2012
    star 7
    Ooo and Neal Patrick Harris can play Bin Laden. No one would be offended at all.
  5. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    I will after to give a more complete answer at a later date. In the interval, though, a few brief notes. You said in your post that there were no other options left. This, in spite of my listing several. Why aren't those real options? Why is torture dramatically so much more preferable to them? Likewise, while the original article you posted seems to want to highlight how all other options were exhausted, you seem to be pretty dismissive of any attempt to explore whether they were or not. You've tried to find an example that necessitates torture, and yet you've not really put forward any convincing argument why torture alone was needed. Without this, you don't really have an example, and without an example, you can't even claim the beginning of an argument.
  6. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    "And you don't have any reason to say he told them not because of the torture. "

    Reread this sentence, Condition. Reread it. Reformulate it. And try again.

    "Guess what, I flipped a heads five times in a row"
    "No you didn't"
    "Yes I did...why don't you believe me?"
    "Because statistical forecasting shows that there is a very low probability of that happening. Ergo, it didn't happen"

    This is not at all what I'm saying. It's more akin to:

    "Guess what I flipped a heads five times in a row"
    "Well you got lucky. this shouldn't normally happen"
    "No I didn't. It happened, therefore it's not unlikely to happen."

    In fact, this is pretty much the sum of your argument.
  7. Cosmo Viking Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2012
    You have a terrible taste.
  8. I Are The Internets Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2012
    star 7
    How do you know? Are you a cannibal?! :eek:
    Ender_Sai likes this.
  9. Cosmo Viking Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2012
  10. I Are The Internets Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2012
    star 7
    A zombie then? Have you ingested bath salts lately?

    Anyway I can't wait to see this even though it's getting released in January here. [face_sigh]
  11. AAAAAH Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2012
    star 4
    yeah! gyro jerk tasty!
  12. Adam of Nuchtern Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 4
    Saw it on Wednesday. It's late, so at the moment I'm just going to mention some things with regards to the film's use of torture:

    On the one hand:

    1. The characters get part of the courier's name through the threat of the torture.
    2. There's at least one scene where a guy being tortured identifies what the CIA believes is a photograph of the courier.
    3.There's one other scene where a detainee (the guy who says "You won't find him. He's one of the disappeared ones") gives up information after Maya (Chastain's character) threatens to hand him over to the Israelis for torture.


    On the other hand:

    1. The torture scene at the beginning of the film is primarily about a planned attack on a hotel in Saudi Arabia (I think). The guy being tortured doesn't give up any info and the attack is carried out as planned. There is not a single instance in the film that suggests that the ticking time bomb scenario can be solved via torture.
    2. The photograph that the guy in the first #2 point identifies is actually one of the courier's siblings, who was killed in Afghanistan.
    3. Following the information gained through torture/threat of torture provides little, if anything in the way of significant results.
    4. The courier's full name and an accurate photograph are sent to the CIA from Moroccan Intelligence services. We are given zero reason to believe that the information was obtained via torture. We're told that the CIA had this information on hand for years but never acted on it due to "a lot of white noise after 9/11" and "human error."
    5. It's only after acting on the information in point 4 that the CIA begins to make real progress.
    6. The location of the compound is discovered due to a combination of bribery, phone taps, and boots on the ground surveillance.
    7. It is made explicitly clear that the use of torture is discontinued under Obama's administration.
    Last edited by Adam of Nuchtern, Dec 30, 2012
    Arawn_Fenn likes this.
  13. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 8
    Condition, torture doesn't actually work. Stop arguing otherwise.
  14. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Ender, that discussion happened like 5 years ago. Why are you necro-posting about it?
  15. Condition2SQ Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 5, 2012
    star 4
    I posted a legit article in which torture is used to save the life of an infant and your rejoinder is that "torture doesn't work". Impressive. Care to explain why it didn't work in this case, or why it was unethical to torture the car thief? (Which seems a bit to me like trying to explain why the sky is red, but no matter). Or, you know, you and Wocky can continue to high-five each other and congratulate yourself on being categorically against torture, roasting infant children be damned.

    Anyway, I saw the film today. While the film certainly isn't as didactically pro-torture as the controversy thus far suggests, it certainly doesn't confront the issue head-on, or at all, really. It's just sort of depicted matter-of-factly. Now, torture was grotesquely commonplace during the time period depicted, so that part is accurate, but the film doesn't seem to be taking any kind of moral stance against the torture program. It mostly just weaves together footage of different torturees giving up the name of Bin Laden's courier, as if that were the sum of the entire effort. The low-point is probably when Obama during an interview denouncing torture on a television in the background and the three seated characters annoyingly roll their eyes.

    The thing is, even aside from the mishandling of the torture issue(by not handling at all, really)(torture is only depicted in the film for the first twenty minutes or so), I thought that, strictly as a film, it was pretty weak. We're never really given any sense of what drives the Maya character; she's just a Very Headstrong Woman who is Very Determined to Find Bin Laden. And Chastain's portrayal is pretty anemic for the most part, in my opinion. The storytelling is rather clunky as well. The intelligence leads and the deductive leaps made therefrom seem totally arbitrary . I know thematic profundity has to take a backseat to narrative and historical accuracy to some degree in films like this, but the film is still lacking a solid, compelling central figure to really anchor it all down. The raid sequence is captivating, of course, but it's pretty much the only bright spot in the film, in my opinion. Overall, I thought it was a very by-the-numbers treatment of this material and in no way should this film be considered Oscar material.
  16. Legolas Skywalker Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2012
    star 6
    Isn't this movie about hunting down Bin Laden?
  17. AAAAAH Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2012
    star 4
    no. it is about a man that loves bears. i mean really, really, really LOVES them.
  18. Condition2SQ Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 5, 2012
    star 4
  19. Adam of Nuchtern Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 4
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  20. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    What is up with movies trying to over-dramatize recent world events or otherwise turn them into entertainment? Like that 9/11 film we had a while back...it just feels really messed up.
  21. I Are The Internets Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2012
    star 7
    Regardless of my political stance on torture, I'm very excited to see this next Friday when it opens here.