Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Why All Liberals Should Watch '24'...

This isn't a review of the TV series -or a claim that '24' is a right-wing show...it's not (Remember, it was a faction of the American government that started a war for oil in the second season) But, it does illustrate poignantly the fact that there is a huge scope of gray area involved in governing a country.

It's the Right-wing that is always accused of seeing everything in black and white, but yesterday as I watched HBO's Abu Ghraib documentary (The Ghosts of Abu Ghraib) it was clear that those on the left saw no shades of gray. Torture is equivalent to anything that isn't breakfast in bed --secrecy is always wrong --etc. But it's just not that easy.

Jack Bauer is the embodiment of that gray area. He is willing to break rules and overstep bounds, but always for the higher purpose of protecting the larger population and the greater good of mankind...he will even sacrifice himself for that goal. He loves his country, but doesn't judge the hard (and sometimes revolting) decisions that must be made. I think that's why the show is appealing to the right. Jack Bauer is everything we would want in someone fighting terrorism. I hope we have people that are really like that...

Do I want the average car thief in Abu Ghraib raped with a broom stick? Of course not. Do I care if they torture one of Osama's daughters in front of him to get the location of a cell that is about to launch an attack? Of course not. GRAY AREAS. There is never one right answer...each situation calls for it's own unique solution. Our "policy" should be no torture (though I do believe we need to define that word), but the "reality" should be --if there is imminent danger that could cause the deaths of many...anything goes.

It's easy to talk about in the abstract --and seeing some of those photos from Abu Ghraib was very uncomfortable (mainly because it looked like a freaky sex party instead of a serious interrogation attempt) --but watching '24' (though predicable and at times a little cheesy) you do get a chance to feel how those unpopular and covert decisions are a real necessity...

That being said, Kiefer Sutherland has been asked to talk to cadets at West Point to offset his character's use of torture.

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