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Shooting in the dark?

Usually people from the right are the ones who attack films they haven't seen yet. So I find it a refreshing show of bipartisanship to see similar outbursts from the left.  In the "Guardian," Glenn Greenwald, admitting he didn' t see "Zero Dark Thirty," cites and interprets the responses of other people who have seen the film. Based on that, he condemns it as a jingoistic glorification of torture, concluding categorically:

"What this film does, then, is uncritically present as fact the highly self-serving, and factually false, claims by the CIA that its torture techniques were crucial in finding bin Laden. Put another way, it propagandizes the public to favorably view clear war crimes by the US government, based on pure falsehoods."

Kind of a big leap to say this about a film you haven't seen, even if you make a point of stating that you haven't seen it. Anyway, his article was picked up by other people who also haven't seen the film, like the usually reliable Andrew Sullivan, who quotes it in his blog, and so a giant  backlash has risen up against the film initiated by people who are admittedly ignorant. Though there are also many who have seen the film and who, in my opinion, have totally missed the point, misreading it according to their ideological prejudices. 

On a more positive note, Sullivan has since posted a link to "Wired" writer Spencer Ackerman's more enlightened (ie: he saw it) take on the film. It doesn't do much to dislodge Sullivan's skepticism, though he says he will give the film a "fair shake," when he gets around to seeing it. Forgive me if I am skeptical about that.

As for Ackerman, I agree with his assessment. All I can say is that I left the screening even more appalled by so-called "enhanced interrogation" than I was before.The fact that the director Kathryn Bigelow makes no overt condemnation of the atrocities forces viewers to come to grips with the reality without someone belaboring the "moral" of the story. That restraint makes the point more emphatically, at least it did for me.

Also, as far as I can tell, the irony is that in the film it seems that none of the information that was obtained by torture directly led to finding bin Laden. Instead, it seems the crucial information came from the old fashioned methods of bribery and tracing phone calls and exhaustive research. But the film is so densely detailed I might be wrong, so I plan to see it again. Which is two more times than some of those who have condemned it have done.

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