Morality play: Unthinkable (the movie)

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Syzygys, Jun 16, 2010.

  1. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    This thread is about discussing hypothetical scenarios like the one presented in the movie Unthinkable. There will be spoilers, so if you plan to see it you might want to skip this thread.
    To participate you don't really need to see the film, although that helps.

    Anyhow, the movie is not really a thriller as it is advertised but a morality play on torture. I will number a few for easy reference:

    1.Who can be tortured by whom, when and by what authority?
    2.Is torture useful and can achieve anything?
    3.Where and what are the limits?

    Those are the main moral questions in the movie...

    The premise is the usual nightmare scenario: A terrorist puts 3 nuclear bombs in 3 big US cities, and threatens to explode them (there is a timer on them) unless his demands are met. The terrorist is actually captured by US agencies, they know that he is the right guy and he has the information and the ability to stop the bomb.

    How to get him to reveal the locations or stop them exploiding? That is the moral question of the movie.

    Now for the sake of the thread, don't bother with the plausibility of the scenario, just work with it, OK?

    In the movie, Samual L. Jackson plays the main torturer, who wants nothing but results. He gets all the best lines too, and interestingly pretty much what he says is true.

    For example he mentions WILLINGNESS. As long as criminals, terrorist, whoever are willing to do bad things, but the good guys (kind of questionable sometimes, but let's work with it) are not, then the bad guys win.

    Not an issue in the movie, bit I will bring it up, if criminals are willing to kill, but society doesn't, who wins? If terrorist are willing to massmurder but authorities are unwilling to use ANY tools (including torture) to save lifes, who wins??

    Spoilers: Answering some of the 3 questions above, torturing the main character wasn't effective. But the threat of torturing his kids were. My answer is that it can be effective if it is used the right way, which is usually not the person with the information....
    danshawen and pascal like this.
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  3. pascal Registered Member

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  5. danshawen Valued Senior Member

    Truth serum never really worked as advertised, which as far as I am concerned is too bad, because it would have eliminated the need for torture of individuals by society, almost always indefensible from a moral standpoint. But technical means for overcoming covert criminals defenses like the one described and getting to the truth behind their intentions may not be very far off. Monitoring the activities of suspect individuals via the Internet has already paid off, but even better technology is on the way.

    Criminals torture society, and they definitely don't care if it is moral or not. Criminals do not have a right, moral or otherwise, to commit crimes, and society sets those limits.
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