This is my a prequel to my review of Zero Dark Thirty. My review of Zero Dark Thirty was written later.
The radio advertisements for Zero Dark Thirty are insulting. “We all remember where we were when Bin Laden was killed”. No we don’t. I didn’t and that event doesn’t merit that much mental real estate. That being said, I plan to see this film, directed by Kathryn Bigelow who also directed Hurt Locker, a well made and entertaining but apolitical and overrated film. On IMDB Hurt Locker received many bad reviews by US Military veterans and by people who know movies, so I was not alone in my opinion and was grateful for the company. From the bad reviews for Zero Dark Thirty so far (and I actually don’t usually read reviews or base my movie going choices on them), I will walk into the theater with lowered expectations. So hopefully I will be entertained and possibly even informed. Yes, I am for the Seals and glad they got Bin Laden. What I’m not for is elite movie makers having access to privileged interviews with CIA officials on company time then going on to tell a tale of torture that is not true.
Kathryn Bigelow and company had access to the CIA to obtain background about the Navy Seal raid on Osama bin Laden. See: Los Angeles Times post about Kathryn Bigelow and Bin Laden.
The Navy Seal raid was an inevitable action taken by the US military in the quasi-feudal state of Pakistan although it arguably violated international law. Bin Laden should have been arrested and tried.
The access by Kathryn Bigelow to CIA data about that raid is an insult to normal people and a testimony to the absurd amount of power and influence held by oligarchs and those who kowtow to the oligarchs.
I don’t often find myself agreeing with Republicans. But here’s a case where just plain normal people would surely come together in accord. The statements by Senator John McCain about Bigelow’s misportrayal of the use of water boarding are a case, one of few, where I can applaud McCain.
One last thing. “We” (I must quote here) don’t need to torture people to get to the Bin Ladens of the world. They are not worth it and lowering ourselves to their level of activity is a travestry of our so-called values. Instead, we need to change our system to not be sponsoring the future Bin Laden’s (as our system has done and continues to do). That change to the system will not be easy. Kowtowing to the logic of torture is not a start down that path. (To be continued).
All that said, I’ll be viewing Zero Dark Thirty this week and will most likely enjoy it, while conscious of my own duplicity.