back to article Torture and '24' - because it hurts us less than the real thing?

The terrorism action show "24" is now thought to be such heady stuff to the average American, media sources have decided to complain about it. And what is the objection? The contrived plots or the utterly unrealistic grasp and use of technology? No, it's the torture. New Yorker magazine just spun out a longish piece on how Joel …

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Competance

OK - so the torture scenes are unrealistic.

But the one thing that makes 24 so much better, is that you know that everything Jack does is for a good purpose, is well thought out, does what needs to be done, doesn't let management/government(s) interfere, and he gets the job done with the care, attention, and consideration of a Midwife who works part time for Amnesty International.

Now... the US Military....

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Months of torture

It is worth bearing in mind that one reason why the show "24" doesn't show months of interrogation is that one entire series is supposed to represent just "24" hours. A single month of interrogation would span 12 series, which would amount to a rather slow-paced show.

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24 Torture doesn't work!

As far as I've seen on 24, torture doesn't work! Pretty much every attempt at getting information by *torture*, as opposed to threats/intimidation fails miserably - either the information is plain wrong, or the suspect/informer doesn't give in. Jack can't get his brother to tell him the truth even with all the CTU's torturing gear. People who say that 24 promotes torture clearly don't watch the show! The same has been true for the earlier series as well - the best way to get the information seems to be to trick the other person, or just pay them off...

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Doesn't work?

Season 1 - Jack walks in, shoots the suspect in the knee cap, and the suspect blabs like he's got verbal diarrhoea.

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Agree with Alastair

This guy is right. Everytime I can think of they either torture the wrong person or they have to torture and trick them. Torture never yields the real answers on 24. Its quite difficult to credibly criticize something you've never actually watched.

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Torture and '24'

Watching a primetime U.S.A. TV show has much more to do with masochism than perceived torture.

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"Operationally Useful"

It's useful to study the remarks of Craig Murray, ex British Ambassador to Uzbekistan. When he pointed out that 'confessions' to terror crimes obtained by torture (a favorite technique is apparently to immerse entire limbs in boiling water) are almost certainly false, the CIA spook repeatedly told him that it didn't matter because the confessions were "operationally useful".

The implication is that if Bush and Blair can say "We have intelligence about X" they aren't lying. The intelligence doesn't need to be factual to be "operationally useful" - i.e. useful as a pretext for war.

http://www.craigmurray.co.uk/archives/2006/05/exambassador_sk.html

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