Late to the party

I watched Zero Dark Thirty last night and I thought I’d share…

It was better than I thought it would be.

Coming from Hollywood, I was surprised that it showed the trade-offs of things like discontinuing torture and the detainee program, rather than just painting them as completely ineffective.

Though, I think some could think that the film depicted this either way with torture. Some might say, they tortured, but weren’t able to stop some significant attacks, so torture was presented as ineffective.

However, the information they did piece together out of some of the ‘torturing’ did lead to useful information — but they had to be smart enough to piece it together.

So, one might conclude that torture may not be that great at getting extreme radicals to give direct information, but it did seem to illicit useful information if you knew how to read it.

I was interested to see how much reference there was to logic and biases as they discussed what the various bits of information meant. They tried to stay aware of their own biases. Unfortunately, one of the agents died because of her own confirmation bias. I was disappointed that none of friends really seemed to check her on that.

I would be in hog heaven if more people talked about fallacies, though.

It’s really tough to believe that the entire OBL thread came down to one person sticking to her guns, while the rest of the world moved on.

I found the attack scene interesting, just how business-like they were. They eliminated threats and that was it. The goofy dude from Parks & Recreation was a stud.

I am often put off when movies featuring elite trained personnel make basic errors like turning their back on someone before they have verified the kill and separated him or her from their weapon. That wasn’t an issue here.

4 thoughts on “Late to the party

  1. Hi Seth. Since you mentioned logic and bias………

    From the standpoint of those of us inside the US, we readily expect and recognize differences between presidential administrations – even though many (Libertarians) have pointed out that the real difference between the Republicans (or at least the “establishment” Republicans) and the Democrats is big government with covert cronyism and bigger government with unabashed cronyism. For those in other countries – especially those outside the Anglosphere – there is often no distinction made between the various parties or administrations. Just as “we” often view them as a homogenous group, so they often view us.

    With that in mind, can one but wonder the confusion created in the Middle East when we permitted Saddam Hussein to repeatedly delay UN inspections regarding WMDs yet now the Obama administration is rebuffing the Syrian government’s concession to allow foreign inspectors in because they delayed FIVE DAYS!!!!

    “If the Syrian government had nothing to hide and wanted to prove to the world that it had not used chemical weapons in this incident, it would have ceased its attacks on the area and granted immediate access to the U.N. five days ago,” the U.S. official said. “At this juncture, the belated decision by the regime to grant access to the U.N. team is too late to be credible, including because the evidence available has been significantly corrupted as a result of the regime’s persistent shelling and other intentional actions over the last five days.”

    I vividly recall during the Bush administration that many on the Left – including Senator Obama – claimed that there was no evidence that the Iraqi government had WMDs because they claimed that the UN didn’t find any (actually, there was evidence that the Iraqis had WMDs, but the MSM and the Left glossed over the facts) AFTER GIVING THE IRAQIS MONTHS TO HIDE THE EVIDENCE (I still maintain that the satellite evidence indicates or suggests that the Iraqis transported the WMDs to Syria – how ironic!!!). Now the Obama administration is refusing to give credibility to UN inspections of Syria for evidence of WMDs because they had FIVE DAYS to hide the evidence. If this all seems a bit hypocritical, that’s because it is.

    Because he new that wars end up being unpopular with voters, Mr. Obama chastised and berated Bush and the Republicans regarding this issue during Bush’s tenure. Now that he’s in charge, he’s doing the same things. The only thing that’s different is that he doesn’t have the cajones or the convictions to call a spade a spade. He makes decisions based on personal political ramifications rather than what’s right or what’s wrong – because he lacks a moral compass and really doesn’t understand the difference.


    For the purposes of full disclosure, I don’t think we should interfere in this situation. While the Assad regime may be cruel from the perspective of Western eyes, from the Middle Eastern perspective, it has been a very tolerant regime allowing its people many freedoms not enjoyed in neighboring nations. The rebels probably had some legitimate grievances initially, but their revolt has been hijacked by Islamist jihadis including AQ factions who ultimately have a separate purpose, that being a transformation of Syria to a radical Islamist state intent on eliminating Christians and the annihilation of Israel. When the US intervenes to get rid of someone who we view as “bad”, we often don’t consider that “bad” will be replaced with “worse”.


    “The Russian Foreign Ministry drew a parallel between reports over the Assad government’s alleged use of chemical weapons and Washington’s 2003 intervention in Iraq following U.S. accusations that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s government had weapons of mass destruction.”

  3. I’m not really into conspiracy theories, but I’m also not naive enough that when Obama says he wants to attack Assad because he (Assad) used chemical weapons that that’s the real reason (especially when one considers Obama voiced no objections to Saddam’s use of chemical weapons in 1988). I’m also not naive enough to believe Putin. The old adage “follow the money” usually makes sense.


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