Yesterday Leah and I ventured to Seguin to see Zero Dark Thirty, a sobering film depicting the manhunt and eventual assassination of Osama bin Laden. The show was riveting, the drama thick, action sequences well orchestrated, meticulously paced and produced. I am led to believe the story results from interviews and accounts taken from participants portrayed in the film; what you see on screen closely resembles what actually took place on the ground.
Some decry the film because it depicts torture sequences that led agents to Osama bin Laden. Popular sentiment amongst the more gentle natured amongst us suggests torture doesn’t work. Unfortunately, sometimes it does. While true that those being tortured often can and will lie, even lies sometimes reveal truths, as experienced interrogators hear not only what is said, but also what is not and can compare offerings from one detainee with evidence from other sources, playing one against another. Having endured torture myself, I know that when someone applies enough heat to your ass, most if not all will say something. To my personal shame and regret, I squealed on more than one occasion, dating as far back as my own childhood and a couple of wrecked motorcycles….
The more conspiratorial among us will say the whole story of Osama’s demise was a hoax; he died long ago; the fact that no pictures were provided and that his body was buried at sea destroyed evidence of the whole charade.
For what it’s worth, I think Osama bin Laden was killed as depicted by the film, that he did actively plan and participate in a plan to hijack airliners which were then flown into buildings on suicide missions. However, that is only part of the story.
I learned from the film and for that reason, I recommend watching it. But not without issuing a warning: you are being propagandized when you do. I’m not sure that’s the intent of the filmmaker, but it is the effect. As did the lead interrogator pursuing Osama in the film, I learned not only from what the film depicts, but also what it omits.
To begin, there was no plan to capture Osama alive. Period. Why, may I ask, is that?
While each participant may have told the truth to the best of his or her ability, considering the modes operandi of armies and espionage agencies, the requirement that agents and soldiers are told what they know on a need to know and only on a need to know basis, and therefore are rarely cognizant of the big picture (including even the president of the land, I would add), a series of truths may be arranged in a way that supports undeserved and unwarranted conclusions.
The film begins with phone conversations from people trapped in the twin towers, gut-wrenching stuff. In a matter of minutes, viewers are drawn into a man-hunt for the obvious perpetrator and master-mind, without offering much in the way of how this man became the lead suspect in the case.
I will not drag you through conflicting and contradictory evidence refuting the official version of 9-11 events; suffice it to say I do not believe the whole truth has been revealed, not by this film, and certainly not by our government.
Assassinating Osama bin Laden assured that we would never hear his first-hand account of events.
I don’t cry for the man; he was a killer of innocents, in thought and deed. But he shares that trait with people of high repute in our own society.
And the victors write history.
Oddly enough, today, Robert Kennedy Jr. shared that he doesn’t believe a lone gunman killed his uncle, a sitting president. Furthermore, apparently his father, Robert Kennedy, the attorney general of the land at the time, didn’t believe the Warren Commission either.