letters | controversy over ‘zero dark thirty’

For some, film may send unhealthy message that torture is useful

I found Neal Gabler’s Jan. 12 op-ed about the film “Zero Dark Thirty” highly irrelevant (“Hard facts vs. big truths”). The distinction between facts and truth sounds sophisticated, but the real question has to do with propaganda vs. truth. If it is in no way true, according to many reliable sources, that torture led to the killing of Osama bin Laden, then putting a scene suggesting the contrary in a popular movie is unhelpful to the discussion that we, as a country, need to have, about whether we torture.

Unfortunately, many Americans seem to have concluded, since the so-called war on terror started after Sept. 11, 2001, that torture may be necessary to keep us safe. It’s hard for me to imagine our having gotten to this point, and I hope that we will change our collective mind soon. But it will only be harder to do that if the idea that torture is useful gets even more support as a result of a movie like “Zero Dark Thirty.”

Susan McLucas


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