Zero Dark Thirty and Torture

April 1, 2013

. I held my peace during the controversy over Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty because I was working on an extended consideration of the film and preferred to make my case fully in that venue. Suffice it to say as brief introduction that I think the criticisms of the film, those that accused it of […]

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Zero Dark Art vs Journalism

December 26, 2012

. There is a quite extraordinary article on Huffington Post today by G. Roger Denson. It addresses the controversy over director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal‘s film Zero Dark Thirty and the matter of torture. It is somewhat extraordinary for its length, by HufPo standards, but truly for for the quality of its perceptions and the […]

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William Colby and the War on Terror

September 26, 2011

. William Colby, according to the new film by his son Carl Colby, The Man Nobody Knew: In Search of My Father, CIA Spymaster William Colby, was the quintessential intelligence agent. He was daring and courageous behind enemy lines with the OSS during World War Two in Europe . He fought the good fight, and won, against […]

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Torture Doesn’t Work (and by the Way, It’s Wrong)

May 13, 2011

I’m a longstanding admirer of James Fallows, whose varied and always substantive and incisive blogging at the Atlantic is worthy of your attention, but even he today succumbs to the meme of the moment (and the last and the next) on torture. Congratulations to Sen. John McCain for his brave op-ed in the Washington Post […]

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Torture and American Exceptionalism

May 12, 2011

Since la crème de la GOP decided to use the death of Osama bin Laden as the basis for a renewed defense of torture (and other virtues that form the basis of their overweening national pride), I’m offering this week from the none-too-dusty sad red archives the best this blog has had to offer on […]

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This Whole Debate Is Torture

May 11, 2011

Given that the dark matter is once again exercising its invisible pull on the national consciousness – come, let me show you something my little darlings, its right here, just around the corner, you’ll like it, a little further now – and attempting to use Osama bin Laden’s long goodbye as renewed justification for torture, […]

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Eight Bad Arguments for Torture

March 5, 2010

I believe in American exceptionalism. There, I said it. Now let me make clear what I mean. I believe the American advent, the American idea, and the American experience are exceptional: a nation of laws, and not of men and women, a constitutional democracy founded in and devoted to the liberty of its people, a […]

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September 2, 2009

One of the most misused and abused forms of argument is that by analogy. One thing is compared to another, the first intended to be understood in terms of the other as a way of facilitating understanding. The reason for arguing by analogy is that understanding complex subjects and arguments is hard: the analogy, like […]

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Tortured Argument

May 8, 2009

The next several years of the torture debate will be variously instructive, not least in what we already see in the low form and manner of important public political argument among figures who should have been schooled to a higher level. The debate will last at least a few years, and it will distress in […]

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The Reckoning Will Come

April 29, 2009

Others will not let us forget – as they shouldn’t – even if we want to. The Spanish, through Baltasar Garzon, held Pinochet to account decades later. Now they turn the scrutiny of the law on the U.S., which has long and often sought to hold others to account. Who will we be in the […]

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Journalistic Cowardice

April 27, 2009

Andrew Sullivan, of whom I have been quite critical of late, is nonetheless pursuing the U.S. torture issue – multiple times daily – with diligence and courage. He focuses not just on the lies and current self-serving campaign of Cheney and former Bush administration officials, but also on the cowardice and incompetence of even the […]

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Torture and a Time of Reckoning

April 17, 2009

The final memos are out, another smoking gun, demonstrating how the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), through the “analyses” of its officials, Jay Bybee, Steven Bradbury, and John Yoo, provided legal cover for the Bush administration’s desired regime of torture. A very telling example, not of the specifics of the authorized torture, available […]

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