Inspection- The Other Problem with “24”

I wrote: Inspection- The Problem with 24, well over two years ago. My basic assessment has not changed…

Those who use 24 to justify what is jokingly refer to as “enhanced interrogation” are more than a bit off-base: to be polite. Especially when they use that ticking time bomb scenario to justify using torture which has nothing to do with what they are actually defending: the right to torture… period: not some twice past the twelve scenario. Yet they can’t resist…

“But what if we had 24 hours to find a thumbtack nuke stuck under a squirrel’s paw…”

Well, more than likely, no matter who we torture; we wouldn’t find it. Not even considering less than sarcastic squirrel-based locations. Even if we beat some actual “Col.” Achmed Mustard the Terrorist “bloody” with his own candlestick wrapped up in a prayer rug. Saying whatever translates into “stop” does not auto equal getting anywhere near to the truth; anything we need to know.

The 24 scenario is also used to excuse dumping of basic principles we have accepted as a free society since our own forefathers fought for them. Doesn’t matter whether those we torment are, or aren’t, Americans… I’m specifically thinking of Jose Padilla here, amongst others. Washington himself made a point of treating those who battled against us well; even if they were British.

And as my previous column pointed out, those who use 24-type scenarios seem to conveniently forget that Jack Bauer pays every time: and pays personally, for violating rights. While some join in the action, he is mostly a lone wolf. Why would they skip over this rather obvious part of the scripting in 24 ? Because they’re not really defending any Jack-like characters out there who did what they thought they had to as the final minutes ticked by. Instead what they are often demanding: not even asking for, is the right to do this en mass: as officially approved policy: even if it gains little to no usable intel.

No.

I cannot put it any clearer.

No, damn it.

We are better than this. We have to be better than this. Otherwise we’re simply joining the ranks of those who commit terror: doing whatever is convenient to our agenda at the time.

I do watch 24. It is entertaining, though they’re too caught up each year in trying to outdo the last year. That’s a common trend in shows that rely on a lot of angst; pushed forward plot-wise by a hell of a lot of twists; driven by an increasing number of deus ex machina big booms. To say it’s gotten more than a bit absurd would be a vast understatement… and the point of this edition of Inspection.

I have spent a lot of time arguing on debate sites with those who defend torment, torture and the necessity of any big change in the freedoms we have here in America that might possibly “protect” us. I have noticed a good portion of these folks use 24-driven arguments are also huge fans of the show. They also have a lot of not so pent up hatred for what they refer to as “Truthers” and “Deniers:” those who question what happened on 9/11.

I’m not quite in either camp. I do think there are questions regarding 9/11; but the important ones are regarding ignored warnings: intentional or not, and a certain large chunk of change that disappeared into the Taliban’s hands shortly before 9/11 with no accounting for it. Did it wind up funding 9/11? I’m guessing we’ll never know either way.

Conspiracy theory doubters have some real good points. If any theory requires a lot of people being quiet and contingency planning, it’s probably too complex to be completely true. Probably. I totally dismiss little; except complete theories so convoluted an idiot could see they are, at best, poor scripting.

Which brings me back to 24. If you’ve avoided it, let me get you up to speed without a lot of filler. After a few weeks episodes, every year, it always looks like Jack has finally uncovered the conspiracy and all’s well…. problem solved! But… (Wow! Wow! Who saw that coming?) …they had a contingency plan, or someone we didn’t suspect was also part of it. And off the conspiracy goes at a right angle, or even a 180 degree spin. Every few weeks that cycle repeats to the point where you have a vast number of people who had to keep it all quiet. And the, plotters have to make a multitude of plans in case plan A, B, C, J, Z or Pi Squared to the millionth power falls through.

Wait. Wait, isn’t this the same damn thing they complain about when they face off those whom they deride as “Truthers,” “Deniers,” conspiracy nuts and wackos? So they use a program in their core arguments that offers an increasingly twisted, and an increasingly convoluted plot line year after year. All of this would make even some of the most “out there” conspiracy folks scream, “Give me a friggin break.”

Give me a frackin break.

What does this say about those who are quick to sneer at those who questioned what happened, yet they willingly suspend belief when it suits their purposes? 24 simply is a bad example to base such a major change in how we treat each other on.

And if you have a problem with complex conspiracy theories, don’t use a TV show that specializes in them to support your own arguments. Otherwise you’re just another crackpot wearing a big tinfoil hat.

-30-

Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.

Copyright 2009
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
All Rights Reserved