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Zero Dark Thirty

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Topic: Zero Dark Thirty
Posted By: abuayisha
Subject: Zero Dark Thirty
Date Posted: 23 February 2013 at 6:27pm

‘Zero Dark Thirty,’ Through a Theological Lens


Published: February 22, 2013

Almost nine years ago, journalists on “60 Minutes II” and at The New Yorker revealed a trove of photographs showing the abuse and humiliation of Iraqi detainees by American soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison. The images of inmates variously stripped, hooded, leashed like a dog, piled into naked heaps and forced to simulate oral sex then spread widely, causing international outcry.

Even on the patriotic home front, the revulsion was widespread. President George W. Bush called the Abu Ghraib episode “abhorrent.” Senators across party lines, having been shown more than a thousand photos, described them as “appalling” and “horrific.”

At the 2013 Oscars on Sunday night, one of the nominees for best picture, indeed one of the most lauded films of the year, contains scenes of prisoner treatment that closely recreate the Abu Ghraib tactics. Yet in “Zero Dark Thirty” the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” including waterboarding, forms part of a heroic narrative, as a valiant C.I.A. officer tracks down Osama bin Laden.

There has been much debate about the film, primarily about its historical accuracy, but one might say not the right debate, not the deepest debate. Aside from a few Hollywood dissidents like Edward Asner, it has been left largely to theologians to call the film into question not on the pragmatic ground of its fealty to facts but on the moral ground of its message: that torture succeeds, and because it succeeds we should accept it.

“Our culture has almost lost the ability to have a genuinely moral conversation,” said Prof. David P. Gushee, 50, a Southern Baptist who directs the - - National Religious Committee Against Torture . “Torture has been normalized since Sept. 11 in a way that’s unimaginable.”

That normalization can be measured in specific ways. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by Mark Boal, “Zero Dark Thirty” has grossed $88 million at the box office and received the top prize from the - - Steve Coll assailed “Zero Dark Thirty” for taking fictional liberties from the factual record, all the while asserting on-screen that it is “based on firsthand accounts of actual events.” Among the real episodes omitted, Mr. Coll pointed out, are the objections to “enhanced interrogation techniques” by certain military and legal officials during the Bush presidency.

Senator John McCain, a former prisoner of war, joined with his Senate colleagues Carl Levin and Dianne Feinstein in writing an open - - An Evangelical Declaration Against Torture .” While condemning Al Qaeda’s attacks on the United States, and while affirming the nation’s right to self-defense, the declaration stated near its end:

“When torture is employed by a state, that act communicates to the world and to one’s own people that human lives are not sacred, that they are not reflections of the Creator, that they are expendable, exploitable, and disposable, and that their intrinsic value can be overridden by utilitarian arguments that trump that value. These are claims that no one who confesses Christ as Lord can accept.”

At least one such person offered a prominent rebuttal. Keith Pavlischek, who was then a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, - -

Posted By: Matt Browne
Date Posted: 10 March 2013 at 8:34am
What does it say about American culture that torture has become a form of entertainment for us?

Torture is horrible and wrong. Seeing it as entertainment is even worse.

What does it say about traditional Islam that torture is part of Sharia law?

Torture is horrible and wrong. Executing it in the name of religion is even worse.

Where are all the peaceful Muslims organizing demonstrations against the Sharia and for a Sharia-free modern Islam.

A religion that's intolerant of other religions can't be the world's best religion --Abdel Samad
Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people--Eleanor Roosevelt

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