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Thread: Bin Laden film attacked for 'perpetuating torture myth'

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    Re: Bin Laden film attacked for 'perpetuating torture myth'

    Quote Originally Posted by Andalublue View Post
    No probs. And, btw, I really like Saving Private Ryan.U-571 not so much, and Pearl Harbour and Braveheart sucked rhinos' gonads.
    Saving Prvt Ryan... great
    U-571... agreed
    Pearl Harbour... utter crap
    Braveheart... are you outa your Vulcan mind, man! (Best McCoy impersonation)
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    Re: Bin Laden film attacked for 'perpetuating torture myth'

    Quote Originally Posted by Bodhisattva View Post
    They are movies to entertain... it is not a conspiracy.
    Actually... movies have been used since the start of the movie industry to form opinions and paint specific pictures.... aka propaganda. The American movie industry is no different and has been especially bad to rewrite historical fact to portrait the US in a different light. May it be Cowboys and Indian movies (where American's were seen as the victims of savage native American Indians.. when in fact it was the other way around for the most part) or war movies, they have always shown (for the most part) the American's as heroes and saviors.

    Now there is nothing wrong in that per say, but you have to remember that when watching American made movies (and other countries for that matter). They are basically "nationalistic propaganda" movies often that goes out of their way to paint a positive picture of the country. The Brits were good at it too back in the day when they made war movies.

    Now there are exceptions... Band of Brothers comes to mind.. a clear propaganda series showing the glory of the 101st airborne, but it also showed the gruesome parts of war and even American war crimes (the new company leader that shoots German POWs). This was quite different than the usual American war movies that always shows the American solider as the almost angelical savior of mankind and the "enemy" as brutal and almost inhuman.

    So movies are not always just for entertainment... they are also more than often a means of propaganda hidden in a form of entertainment.
    PeteEU

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    Re: Bin Laden film attacked for 'perpetuating torture myth'

    Quote Originally Posted by PeteEU View Post
    Actually... movies have been used since the start of the movie industry to form opinions and paint specific pictures.... aka propaganda. The American movie industry is no different and has been especially bad to rewrite historical fact to portrait the US in a different light. May it be Cowboys and Indian movies (where American's were seen as the victims of savage native American Indians.. when in fact it was the other way around for the most part) or war movies, they have always shown (for the most part) the American's as heroes and saviors.

    Now there is nothing wrong in that per say, but you have to remember that when watching American made movies (and other countries for that matter). They are basically "nationalistic propaganda" movies often that goes out of their way to paint a positive picture of the country. The Brits were good at it too back in the day when they made war movies.

    Now there are exceptions... Band of Brothers comes to mind.. a clear propaganda series showing the glory of the 101st airborne, but it also showed the gruesome parts of war and even American war crimes (the new company leader that shoots German POWs). This was quite different than the usual American war movies that always shows the American solider as the almost angelical savior of mankind and the "enemy" as brutal and almost inhuman.

    So movies are not always just for entertainment... they are also more than often a means of propaganda hidden in a form of entertainment.
    Sometimes they are... but more often then not a movie is mistaken as propoganda when it is just appealing to its market. When filming a war movie Americans generally want to see Americans win. I don't want to watch a movie about My Lai. I want to watch a movie where there are challenges that we face, overcome and win. I don't watch Saving Private Ryan to watch some Germans win and get Ryan.

    Also, movies are changing. People want more truth and accuracy in their movies than ever before. I think that a lot of this started with the classic, The Outlaw Josey Wales. The Natives were not bad guys. Whites were bad guys and good guys. It was confusing. It was real.
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  4. #124
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    Re: Bin Laden film attacked for 'perpetuating torture myth'

    Quote Originally Posted by Gonzo Rodeo View Post
    And those are all very good points. However, we don't find any credible reason for child or spouse abuse. There is no justification that anyone has come up with to make it "ok." We have, however, justified such things forced kidnapping and confinement, segregation and isolation, and even killing. Has it ever been impressed upon you that humanity has multiple words for "killing," that denote differences in legal status? For example, "murder" is an illegal (unjustifiable) killing, whereas "manslaughter" is used for accidental or unintentional killing, often through demonstrable negligence. Then there is "combat", the killing "enemy combatants," which is justifiable on the world's stage and even in religious texts. We also have "capital punishment," which is the sanctioned killing of a citizen by their government (sanctioned, of course, by that government). The end result is the same - a dead person - yet there are various ways to label the act that all have different connotations.

    Certain acts of "torture" are no different. Solitary confinement is torturous, yet it has the tacit approval of those not within the prison system. So, if we as a society decide that something like waterboarding isn't torture... does that mean it isn't? I sense this is the thrust of your argument, where the due process part stemmed from anyway. And it is a good thrust. But it is naive.

    Take the act of killing, for example. I am going to assume that you do not wish to kill anyone with your own hands, for any reason. But imagine someone is holding you hostage as part of a bank robbery... would you not be grateful for a resolution to that conflict, even if someone else had to kill the person holding you hostage (in order to prevent that person from killing you)? A part of you DOES support killing, on some level, if there is an immediate and direct benefit to you. You may not want to get your hands bloody, but some part of you is no doubt grateful that there are "good guys" that are willing to do it for you.

    So why would you shut the door on things you label "torture", if there is a similar benefit to you as a result? That was one of the chief arguments against waterboarding back when that controversy was blowing up - it doesn't work, so there is no reason to do it. The problem with that argument is that it is wrong. Enhanced interrogation techniques do work, or else they wouldn't be used! But there is a moral argument to be made against the use of such tactics, I readily agree. The "should" in this case is the entirety of the argument. And I can easily paint a picture where "should" can be justified. Again, this isn't support for such action, but to play devil's advocate, it is easy to concoct a situation where the efficacy of what you call "torture" can ethically justify it's use.
    I might not want someone to die to end a conflict, even at might expense. However, all of that really only clouds the issue. The things we have deemed illegal remain illegal. We don't really redefine murder or rape to suit us. Not in the way some have tried to do torture. I don't buy your argument. I still think you are confusing different things. I commend you for a much better discussion than I expected, but they are still very different things.

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  5. #125
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    Re: Bin Laden film attacked for 'perpetuating torture myth'

    Quote Originally Posted by Bodhisattva View Post
    a movie is mistaken as propoganda when it is just appealing to its market.
    The two are not mutually exclusive, in fact they are often exactly the same thing. Where the two might depart is when the intention of a film may not be to propagate propaganda, but it turns out that way because of ingrained cultural assumptions. Intention different, effect identical.

    Pete's right about British war movies of the Fifties and Sixties. A lot of them were pure propaganda i.e. intention plus effect e.g. The Dambusters, 633 Squadron. Some others were inadvertent propaganda created by in-built cultural assumptions, even when the intention of the movie might have been the opposite of propaganda e.g. Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia.
    When filming a war movie Americans generally want to see Americans win.
    Nothing wrong with that, provided you don't make over-blown claims about historical veracity.

    I don't want to watch a movie about My Lai.
    I would like to see that, not because I want to see the US military at its worst, but because it's a story that ought to be told, seeing the protagonists on both sides. I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for Hollywood to option it though. How about Oliver Stone?

    I want to watch a movie where there are challenges that we face, overcome and win. I don't watch Saving Private Ryan to watch some Germans win and get Ryan.
    Well, that's honest.
    Also, movies are changing. People want more truth and accuracy in their movies than ever before.
    But not you?

    I think that a lot of this started with the classic, The Outlaw Josey Wales. The Natives were not bad guys. Whites were bad guys and good guys. It was confusing. It was real.
    And a classic.
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  6. #126
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    Re: Bin Laden film attacked for 'perpetuating torture myth'

    Quote Originally Posted by Boo Radley View Post
    I might not want someone to die to end a conflict, even at might expense. However, all of that really only clouds the issue. The things we have deemed illegal remain illegal. We don't really redefine murder or rape to suit us. Not in the way some have tried to do torture. I don't buy your argument. I still think you are confusing different things. I commend you for a much better discussion than I expected, but they are still very different things.
    We define "murder" all the time. The courts handle this. Did that guy with a .08 BAC who ran a red light and killed that girl a murderer, or did he plead down to manslaughter? How about the guy who shoots his wife in the leg after he catches her cheating on him with another man? Attempted murder, or is that assault with a deadly weapon?

    Any individual act comes under the subjective microscope. In a few cases we can draw a pretty clear line - the Sandy Hook shooter, for example - yet, if the guy had lived... would he have been tried under the fullest extent of the law, or would an insanity plea get him out of the worst of the punishment? We'll never know, but it just goes to show that even in our most drastic examples there is still some wiggle room for interpretation of a given act.
    "Political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. . . . Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness."
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    Re: Bin Laden film attacked for 'perpetuating torture myth'

    Quote Originally Posted by Gonzo Rodeo View Post
    We define "murder" all the time. The courts handle this. Did that guy with a .08 BAC who ran a red light and killed that girl a murderer, or did he plead down to manslaughter? How about the guy who shoots his wife in the leg after he catches her cheating on him with another man? Attempted murder, or is that assault with a deadly weapon?

    Any individual act comes under the subjective microscope. In a few cases we can draw a pretty clear line - the Sandy Hook shooter, for example - yet, if the guy had lived... would he have been tried under the fullest extent of the law, or would an insanity plea get him out of the worst of the punishment? We'll never know, but it just goes to show that even in our most drastic examples there is still some wiggle room for interpretation of a given act.
    No, we measure what was done against the definition of murder. We don't all of the sudden decide that it isn't murder any more, as was done with water boarding. We don't take an already defined and certain act and then change the definition. No.

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    Re: Bin Laden film attacked for 'perpetuating torture myth'

    I used to attend, enjoy and appreciate movies. I consider cinema to be an art form. I also consider documentaries to be a n excellent channel to convey factual information.

    Unfortunately it's all been conflated and hollywood and the capitalist economy has thrown money into the mix. I don't care for the *movies* and don't waste my time and money. At my age (old) I've read and seen so many stories (fictional) that it seems that there's not much new. An occasional piece is created which is new in interesting.

    The movie in question... pure garbage and not worth seeing nor worth the attention is getting. All making the producers bank account swell. Whether accurate or not... it furthers all the wrong memes we are drowning in.

    We really need to move away from the hideous notion that war is good... that people are good and evil and the good can kill and SHOULD kill the evil. Evil is a religious notion. Yes you have severely disturbed and aggressive people. And yes they've managed to poison the minds and control others to do their bidding.

    It's all rather mad isn't it?
    Nothing is as it appears.

  9. #129
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    Re: Bin Laden film attacked for 'perpetuating torture myth'

    Quote Originally Posted by Bodhisattva View Post
    Sometimes they are... but more often then not a movie is mistaken as propoganda when it is just appealing to its market. When filming a war movie Americans generally want to see Americans win. I don't want to watch a movie about My Lai. I want to watch a movie where there are challenges that we face, overcome and win. I don't watch Saving Private Ryan to watch some Germans win and get Ryan.

    Also, movies are changing. People want more truth and accuracy in their movies than ever before. I think that a lot of this started with the classic, The Outlaw Josey Wales. The Natives were not bad guys. Whites were bad guys and good guys. It was confusing. It was real.
    I agree up to a point, but you miss the fact that "what people" want is often the wrong view of things. Fox News (yes I brought that in) is a classic example. They "make" the news the viewers want... truthful or not. It is no different than the movies. A western from the 1930s portrait the Indians as savages that need put down by the heroic US military. That was the view of the American people, thanks to biased history books and basically a whole country in denial. The reality is that the US military and politicians of the time were brutal mass murderers that committed genocide. Problem is, over the century and a half, the people involved.. Custer, Grant and so on, are seen as American hero's who battled the evil Indian and that view is hard to change. The Japanese are another classic example.. their WW2 record. In total denial.

    Movies themselves dont have to be 100% factual per say, but when you make a movie about a historical point in history, then some sort of accuracy is a must.. else it is just another tired propaganda movie....

    Let me give you a good example. Many American's believe they won WW2. They were the heroes coming to save their poor European cousins. War movies are always from the American point of view and rarely do we have one from the British/Canadian/French let alone the German. The American trooper never does anything wrong and we both know that is simply not the truth or factually correct. This view is because of their history books and their movies.. especially their movies.

    Now the actual factual part of WW2 is a whole different picture. Yes there were many American troops in Europe, but in sheer numbers there were more Russian, and the Brits also had almost 6 million under arms in WW2. And on the battlefield it was the Brits and Russians that were the unsung heroes of the war... take the breakout of Normandy. Movie after movie depicts the brave American GI being the key to breaking out Normandy and start the German retreat across western Europe. Now the reality is that it was actually the British that made it possible because they held a huge amount of German troops in check and defeated them at Caen. The American's basically met very little resistance once they got of the beaches... and yes here they got a lot of resistance. But no one talks much about the battle of Caen in the importance of D-Day and the break out of Normandy. It is the stories of the 101st Airborne, or the 82nd Airborne, or the stories from Omaha and Utah beaches that are used over and over, where as the British and Commonwealth landings on Junno and Sword and Gold are rarely talked about. And when talking about Omaha and Utah, it is rarely mentioned that much of the hardship on those beaches was due to American incompetence rather than planned German resistance. Once in a while it is mentioned in D-Day movies, but is quickly glossed over. Or look at the Mulberry harbors... ever heard of them? British invention, highly successful and key to the landings... the American's dismissed these harbors and the one they had was destroyed to American arrogance and incompetence (they basically did not follow the instructions... ). But without the British Mulberry harbors, then the invasion would have failed. Or the funny tanks that cleared mine fields, or the floating tanks.. all British inventions and yes the American's thought they were failures... because they lost a lot of troops in them.. and they never mention that the troops died because the tanks were released too far from shore... and yet today... the US armed forces use the very same designs in their tanks to clear mines or get tanks to shore.. ironic eh?

    Take one of my favorite war movies.. Patton. At the time of the release it was heavily criticized by many because of some of the context. The Battle of Kasserine, one of the biggest defeats in American military history is mentioned in the movie as it is the key part for the appointment of Patton. They show dead GI's... wtf! They show dead GI's being stripped by the locals. They show incompetence undisciplined American troops. All factual and all shocking at the time. And yet they dont in the movie go so far to state that the defeat was due to incompetence from the military brass at the time, combined with lack of training and basic arrogance. But they do portrait the American solider in a negative light.. well barely, which at the time was revolutionary. Up to this movie.. Kasserine was rarely mentioned.. wonder why..

    Ever wondered why there are so few movies about America's involvement in WW1? Think about that a bit..

    It is things like this that over the last 100 years of cinema history (and especially American cinema) has formed false views of history that we only now are slowly trying to change.

    More and more movies are more and more accurate and differ from the usual set view of historical events... there is a long way to go but it is a start.
    PeteEU

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    Re: Bin Laden film attacked for 'perpetuating torture myth'

    Thank you Pete for the history lesson AND the perspective.

    All media.. so called news and infotainment and entertainment misrepresents reality... Welcome to the Truman show. This was the allegory of our times. It's hard to accept that we live in a world which we have very little understanding of and one which we feel we NEED to have a solid basis for reality. It seems real... it seems to make sense.. It DOES make sense... but it make sense as much as any fiction.

    It is so interesting now to observe people trying to make sense out of what they get from the media... 9-11... Newtown... any event. They BELIEVE they can get it right and see through the PR... catch the liars in all the tricks... assuming that everyone is an actor playing some role which was given to them.

    It's refreshing to read actual factual accounts occasionally.
    Nothing is as it appears.

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