View Poll Results: Do you agree with the general implications of this quote.

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Thread: Is this famous movie quote generally correct?

  1. #21
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    Re: Is this famous movie quote generally correct?

    I will note, in regards to the quote in question, the person "questioning" Jessep is not a private citizen, but a military lawyer. Frankly, this is what I think needs to be happening in cases more involved with national security and such; the military/law enforcement, and those in government that are supposed to oversee them, monitoring their own and taking action. I'd much rather that then it being thrown to the public to be decided by mob mentality based more off emotion than facts and circumstance.

    Quote Originally Posted by celticlord View Post
    It is, if you will, an alternate take on Juvenal's famous question "Quis custōdiet ipsōs custōdēs?" Not so much "who watches the watchmen?" but "who is qualified to watch the watchmen?"
    No one after the first weekend.

    Last edited by Zyphlin; 05-04-09 at 03:25 PM.
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  2. #22
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    Re: Is this famous movie quote generally correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by Redress View Post
    We have to strive to not just do what is best militarily, but morally, to the best of our ability.
    The great challenge is identifying what is the "moral" position. In the current debate on waterboarding, what is the moral stance? If waterboarding produces information that helps preserve American lives, is that moral? If not waterboarding led to an intelligence failure, producing another 9/11-type attack and costing American lives, is that immoral?

    For myself, the moral argument is simple and straightforward: Protect my home and family, protect my friends, protect my country, and only then protect the rest of humanity. Even then, I am disinclined to offer any protection to anyone who seeks to harm family, friends, or country. I do not argue that any of these are morally superior to any other family or country, merely that they are mine, and are thus of far greater importance to me. While I would not go so far as a Colonel Jessep to demand a "thank you," I do easily make the moral exchange of the comfort of a detainee at Gitmo for the security of my family. If waterboarding gets the information, then let's have at it and with a vengeance. To my mind, that is the morally proper thing to do.

  3. #23
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    Re: Is this famous movie quote generally correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zyphlin View Post
    So, I am curious what the people on the forum think of this quote and the general philosophy surrounding it.

    (Context; a high ranking military officer is on the stand answering questions in regards to the death of a soldier who had undergone an unofficial means of punishment for failing to meet the requirements that his superiors had for him in the service)
    I understand you've put tried to put this in some context. But as one who's seen the film, I have a difficult time dismissing the actual context... a Hollywood production in which these words were uttered by a fictional villainous military character who bears little resemblance to the service members most of us have come to know and love in our real lives.


  4. #24
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    Re: Is this famous movie quote generally correct?

    Interesting thing with Morality too is its so hard to judge at times. Lets take an age old story.

    Robin Hood.

    Is stealing moral? Many people will say one could not make a blanket statement in regards to the morality of stealing, stating the circumstances matter. Others will say it always is morally wrong.

    If circumstances come into play, what are those? How much one steals? Why one steals? From who one steals? How often one steals? Do different answers in these things change the "morality" of stealing?

    And if morality is not gray, but black and white, and stealing is always morally wrong, does that mean one should not do it in any circumstance. Can something that is "morally wrong" also be understandable or perhaps even "correct" to do?

    I see these "interrogation techniques" or "torture" much in the same way as I see stealing, or even killing. I don't believe many things are simply "morally" wrong or "morally" right in a universal sense. I DO think circumstances and the many different factors revolving around it to matter. If you can say that stealing is not always morally wrong, and killing someone is not always morally wrong, and lying is not always morally wrong, and imprisonment is not always morally wrong, than how can one say that "torture" in any and every form is always morally wrong?

    And, more than that, I shall draw off another thing of pop culture...

    South Park (oh how I love this show).

    They had an episode some time back parodying both the anti-war and the pro-war crowds. The "lesson" of the show (let me put my Kyle hat on, "I learned something today") was that essentially the Founders had created a way to all the country to be morally ambiguous, to do things that were necessary for its survival while at the same time showing itself, through the hearts and minds of some of its people, to still be decent moral people.

    I do not believe that if a member of our military does an attrocity, or someone in law enforcement steps over the boundry far to often over a length of time, that it somehow ruins the morality of all of this country. I applaud those citizens that would decry some of those things because it shows that America, at its heart, still is a nation that truly does wish for peace and for the best in all men. At the same time, I curse those that seek to allow information to be revealed to the public that frankly they don't need to have at the time because it is beyond the comprehension of the public in regards to the potential necessity or benefit of something. It essentially puts the two possabilities at odds, disallowing the government to sometimes take the necessary steps to insure the thing it was put in place to insure...the safety of the country and her citizens...if its to also allow for the ability to let its population retain its morality.

    Its an extremely tricky situation, and one that I think many of us...including even those that were in the military but in it many many years ago...can not TRULY and FULLy grasp.
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    Re: Is this famous movie quote generally correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by grateful heart View Post
    i understand you've put tried to put this in some context. But as one who's seen the film, i have a difficult time dismissing the actual context... A hollywood production in which these words were uttered by a fictional villainous military character who bears little resemblance to the service members most of us have come to know and love in our real lives.

    you just can't handle the truth!

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  6. #26
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    Re: Is this famous movie quote generally correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grateful Heart View Post
    I understand you've put tried to put this in some context. But as one who's seen the film, I have a difficult time dismissing the actual context... a Hollywood production in which these words were uttered by a fictional villainous military character who bears little resemblance to the service members most of us have come to know and love in our real lives.
    Colonel Jessep, as a fictional character, is an archetype. He takes a moral perspective that is not uncommon among military personnel to an extreme. No, most military personnel do not think as he does, but I dare say most military personnel can at least grasp where he's coming from.

  7. #27
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    Re: Is this famous movie quote generally correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zyphlin View Post
    you just can't handle the truth!

    Ok, confess....you've been waiting all this time to do that.

  8. #28
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    Re: Is this famous movie quote generally correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by celticlord View Post
    The great challenge is identifying what is the "moral" position. In the current debate on waterboarding, what is the moral stance? If waterboarding produces information that helps preserve American lives, is that moral? If not waterboarding led to an intelligence failure, producing another 9/11-type attack and costing American lives, is that immoral?
    I agree that identifying the moral thing is not easy, and it is easy to second guess those in the firing line, who have to sometimes make snap decisions. As a general rule, I tend to allow a whole lot of leeway to those in our military who are in harms way. Of Course, as a military vet, and a vet of the first gulf war, I am somewhat biased when it comes to our military.

    When it comes to waterboarding and other torture/interrogation methods, I have argued against any prosecution of those involved, despite the fact I think that torture(and I do consider a large number of the techniques used as such) is wrong. We need to clearly set out the rules, remove the ambiguities that led to the debate we are having these days on the subject, so that our soldiers and CIA operatives and whoever know for sure what is expected.

  9. #29
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    Re: Is this famous movie quote generally correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by talloulou View Post
    The point is whether your criticism should have any weight. Should you be privy to bits and pieces and then render judgment that bears weight when you have no real framework from which to see or understand the whole?
    Yes, criticism from civilians does carry weight.

    For example, the people doing the torturing at Gitmo are only privy to bits and pieces of information themselves. Chances are, they haven't studied sociology to understand how torture and/or the prison conditions at Gitmo affect people. They've probably never studied criminology or been part of an FBI unit to understand whether or not "enhanced interrogation" actually produces the desired result, and if so, which forms of interrogation are the most effective. They probably don't have law degrees to understand the legality (or lack thereof) of their actions under the US Military Code of Conduct, federal law, or international law. They've probably never studied international diplomacy to understand how their torture of prisoners might alienate our allies and make cooperation on other issues more difficult, or how it might result in our enemies using it as justification to torture Americans. Similarly, I've never been a part of the US Military to understand the conditions that soldiers face when confronted with ideological extremists.

    Since very few people have done ALL of those things, nearly everyone "renders judgment that bears weight when you have no real framework from which to see or understand the whole," as you said. In light of that, I don't see how my opinion is any less valid than theirs. It's not like THEY have all the answers just by nature of their position. And they certainly aren't above criticism. Granted, their frame of reference is different than mine...but that doesn't mean their frame of reference is BETTER than mine.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 05-04-09 at 03:51 PM.
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    Re: Is this famous movie quote generally correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by celticlord View Post
    Colonel Jessep, as a fictional character, is an archetype. He takes a moral perspective that is not uncommon among military personnel to an extreme. No, most military personnel do not think as he does, but I dare say most military personnel can at least grasp where he's coming from.
    It's absolutely not an uncommon sentiment among our military, and it is definitely taken to an extreme. I think that people who have not been in the military really don't grasp what it's like(and why in some ways I would love to see a national service based on the military model for every 18 year old for 4 years). People have these bizarre ideas about soldiers. I remember when that airliner exploded off the coast of NY I think it was, there were people who where convinced that the Navy accidentally shot it down, and just would not listen as I tried to explain that there is no way that those sailors would not just keep quite on it if ordered to do so. Almost every one I met in the military was what I would describe as good people, but often working under stress that most people just don't ever deal with just during peacetime let alone at war.

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