Reading List: Critical Pieces on the Depiction of Torture in “Zero Dark Thirty”

“Zero Dark Thirty,” which opens across the country next month, is a pulse-quickening film that spends its first half hour or so depicting a fictionalized version of the Bush Administration’s secret U.S. interrogation program. In reality, the C.I.A.’s program of calibrated cruelty was deemed so illegal, and so immoral, that the director of the F.B.I. withdrew his personnel rather than have them collaborate with it, and the top lawyer at the Pentagon laid his career on the line in an effort to stop a version of the program from spreading to the armed forces. The C.I.A.’s actions convulsed the national-security community, leading to a crisis of conscience inside the top ranks of the U.S. government.

From: “Zero Dark Thirty: new torture-glorifying film wins raves:”

Can a movie that relies on fabrications to generate support for war crimes still be considered great?

Hollywood recently endorsed this notion by producing films that glorify the use of torture. For instance, Zero Dark Thirty, a recently released movie, focuses on the fantasised utility of torture; in this case, on information derived by torturing Ammar, a terrorism detainee. This intelligence, we are told, eventually led to the capture of Osama bin Laden.

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