Ethics Bob and Zero Dark Thirty


Ethics Bob and Zero Dark Thirty

Ethics Bob
Ethics Bob

This is Ethics Bob’s take on the recent movie, Zero Dark Thirty. As with all of his work, it merits reading.

James Pilant

Zero Dark Thirty: Did torture lead us to Osama bin Laden? « Ethics Bob

For many years before Zero Dark Thirty, arguments raged about whether torture was acceptable, and the arguments turned largely on whether torture—euphemized into enhanced interrogation because torture is illegal—was effective. Arguing for torture was the CIA; opposing it was most of the FBI. FBI agents reported that detainees that were treated decently, even kindly, were founts of valuable intelligence until CIA interrogators took over and turned to torture, at which point the detainees clammed up.

Bigelow’s and Boal’s sources were largely CIA, so it figures that they were told that torture played an important role. Had their sources been FBI the movie’s depiction of the interrogations would have different.

So did torture lead us to UBL? I’m inclined to think that it was of little help, but I can’t really know. See the movie and keep an open mind.

Zero Dark Thirty: Did torture lead us to Osama bin Laden? « Ethics Bob

Here is the trailer –

What’s my take? Torture is against American and International law. If an American uses torture, he should be prosecuted for the crime or handed over to international authorities for punishment.

James Pilant

From around the web –

From the web site, Daily Speculations:

Is it worth a come-see? Assuredly. By the fanatic long lines even late at night, this is the pic to see. And probably 90% went out satisfied. But is it /all that/? Not so sure. Bigelow earns her stripes/, *The Hurt Locker*/ won Best Pic of 2008, and merited it. Moreover, probably few directors could have landed this baby as well as she. But somehow I think the hype is selling this sizzle more than the steak.

From the web site, People’s Blog for the Constitution:

Just to reiterate the consensus: torture did not help national security. The chairs of the Senate intelligence and armed services committees, in addition to a recent Republican presidential nominee and torture survivor, and the acting head of the CIA, have all publicly announced that the film’s depiction of torture exaggerates its usefulness.

In fact, as they have all confirmed, the information that led to the death of Osama bin Laden was gained through traditional intelligence methods, not the unconstitutional “enhanced interrogation” human rights abuses illegally concocted by former Vice President Dick Cheney, Ninth Circuit Judge Jay Bybee, and others.

Not only was torture unhelpful as an interrogation method, it was actively counterproductive: it fueled the recruitment of new terrorists by our nation’s enemies, and undermined our nation’s moral standing in the world, degrading the “smart power” that was responsible for our triumph over the Soviet bloc and the relative peace in the decades following WWII.

And, finally, from the web site, Indies Unchained:

In my opinion, Zero Dark Thirty does not glorify torture. The film is very objective. It shows us what happened and it’s up to us to determine how we feel about it. I think a lot of people are used to being told what to think and mistake the clinical representation of these events as condoning torture. However, showing and endorsing are not the same thing. A lot of people are misinterpreting what’s happening in the film, have already made up their mind before they’ve seen the film, or worse, actively lie about what happens in the film to better support their own arguments. After all, how can we confront them when we haven’t seen the film? Many have claimed this is the sequence of events in the film: Chastain’s character and the CIA physically and mentally torture prisoners, get information, find Bin Laden. This is not true. Chastain and the CIA torture a prisoner in the beginning of the film, but he gives them no information. Over and over he refuses to tell them anything. They get the information from him by tricking him.

You can argue the film says they were able to trick him because of all torture he was subjected to, but in a scene where Chastain watches countless interrogation tapes that involve and don’t involve torture the film goes out of it’s way to show that she found the same information from many people who were not tortured at all. Every prisoner that was tortured in the tapes said nothing. Plus, the film shows multiple terrorists attacks that happen while the CIA is still using torture techniques. Wouldn’t a pro-torture film ignore those events to perpetuate their pro-torture agenda? In the context of the whole film it seems pretty obvious Zero Dark Thirty is not pro-torture. Furthermore, the idea that is glorifies torture is asinine. These sequences are disturbing and sickening. There’s nothing enjoyable about watching these scenes, and if you understand cinematic language it’s glaringly obvious we’re meant emphasize with the people being tortured. The CIA agents are the monsters.

 

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Is Wal-Mart a Criminal Enterprise? Read Ethics Bob’s Take on the Subject!


Vast Mexico Bribery Case Hushed Up by Wal-Mart « Ethics Bob

The headlines are from Saturday’s New York Times. The news article details how Walmart de Mexico—that nation’s largest employer—regularly paid huge bribes to Mexican government officials to approve permits for new stores; how senior management of the Mexican subsidiary was party to the bribery; how Walmart headquarters in Arkansas investigated the allegations of bribery, and how, when the investigations turned up hard evidence, hq proceeded to bury it.

Vast Mexico Bribery Case Hushed Up by Wal-Mart « Ethics Bob

Ethics Bob is using Wal-Mart’s recent bribery problems as a subject for class discussion in his business ethics class. I am using it in my business classes as well. I would be curious as to his classes’ response. Mine has been that there will be long term consequences for the company. Ethics Bob is tough on the company and he’s teaching business ethics where I am teaching the more generic business law. He may be getting a more critical response than I.

James Pilant

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Ethics Bob has a book out!!


The Ethics Challenge

The newspapers (and our blog) are full of unethical politicians; the sports pages full of rule-breaking players and parents; the business news full of sleazy companies and greedy CEOs; the education pages full of students who cheat on exams.  What’s a person to think?
Perhaps you really do have to cheat to win.  Perhaps you need to shade the truth to get ahead.  Good people hear that “everybody does it,” and wonder.

The Ethics Challenge

It is a great pleasure for me to offer a plug for Ethics Bob’s book. Please go the web site (click the link above) and consider buying a copy.

James Pilant

This is a video from the same author –

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Ethics Bob Takes on the Topic of the Wall Street Protests


I consider Ethics Bob to be a buddy. We often write about the same topics. Here is his take on the wall street protests.

James Pilant

From Ethics Bob,

Ethics Bob

entitled –

 Take “Occupy Wall Street” complaints seriously, don’t use force to disperse them

Americans pay attention when a lot of people turn out. And so there’s lots of attention for “Occupy Wall Street,” or OWS for short. Thousands of people, mostly of the Millennial generation (born since 1982) are camping out in Zuccotti Park, just two blocks from Wall Street’s New York Stock Exchange.

The Right doesn’t like OWS: “I think it’s dangerous, this class warfare,” Mitt Romney opines. “Growing mobs,” snarls Eric Cantor. “Anti-American,” Larry Kudlow charges. “The beginning of totalitarianism,” warns Ann Coulter.

OWS comprises lots of people, diverse in temperament, opinion, and goals, but they are engaging in old-fashioned American protest, this one against corporate greed, social inequality, and joblessness.

Some dismiss them as incoherent, but that’s a mistake. They’re angry about the way our society has moved away from the American dream and toward greater and greater inequality. Like them or not, OWS is a growing force. Our country needs to take their complaint seriously. They may be as consequential as Tahrir Square. Or more. Or maybe not.

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