Zero Dark Thirty. The movie.


Have you seen Zero Dark Thirty? The movie, about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, has received rave reviews — it's going to be an Oscar contender — and if you enjoy a thriller, you should see it.

But as you watch, you should know that the movie has generated controversy because it leaves a mistaken impression: that the CIA's torture of prisoners "worked" by providing information that led to bin Laden. Some will use the movie to argue that the CIA's torture program was justified.

Of course, as I can tell you, movies are entertainment, not fact. And especially on an issue as important as torture, we shouldn't mistake fiction for fact.

The fact is that torture did not lead to bin Laden. The Senate Intelligence Committee spent four years investigating the CIA's torture program and according to three of its leaders, Senators Diane Feinstein, Carl Levin and John McCain, who know the facts, the torture program didn't lead to bin Laden.

These senators said, "The use of torture in the fight against terrorism did severe damage to America's values and standing that cannot be justified or expunged. It remains a stain on our national conscience."

The problem is that the Senate Intelligence Committee's findings — in a 6,000-page factual report — have been adopted by the Committee, but not released. They are sitting in a Congressional vault and with the CIA.

As a concerned American who wants to make sure our nation never takes the wrong path again, I believe it is essential that we all have the truth. Because when it comes to torture, the national conversation should be based on the facts — and not what makes the most the exciting story.

We should watch Zero Dark Thirty as entertainment, but when we talk about torture, we should have the facts.


Susan Sarandon