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In defense of “24″

Several readers wrote impassioned and knowledgeable responses to Paul’s post linking Diana West’s column regarding the FOX series “24″ yesterday. Jonathan Burack wrote:

I am second to none among those I know in denouncing even the tiniest signs of dhimmitude when I see them. I therefore cannot believe Diane West really paid much attention to 24 on this score.
Yes, of course, there were Americans involved in the Islamist Marwan’s plot in 24. Does Ms. West not think such fifth columnists exist? And yes, the temporary president in the show was also caste as a fly in the ointment — but not because he was in on the plot, but because of his inept readiness to APPEASE it. Does Ms. West really not recognize that this fool of a “president” was being made fun of by the show PRECISELY for trying to stop Jack Bauer from applying maximum force to the real suspects. Moreover, the idea that Jack Bauer’s actions in this regard were meant to illustrate moral equivalence between himself and Marwan is absurd. Only someone who failed totally to register the heavy irony in a show rich in humor as well as tough reality could interpret this in this way. Bauer and President Palmer who backed him to the hilt in this use of torture were depicted as heroes and were seen as such by everyone I knew who watched this show.
In fact, Marwan remained the key focus of the CTU’s effort to thwart the plot to the very end. And the CAIR pressure earlier in the show did NOT in fact lead 24 to moderate in any way its view of the hideous Muslim suburban family featured in it at that point. (They were the focus of CAIR’s original complaint.) That family remained the Islamic Munsters they were to the very end. True, as the show promised CAIR, two good Muslims were included. However, they turned out to be “good” because, as two gun shop owners, they enthusiastically JOINED in the battle against the terrorists. The entire show stuck with the radical Islamic essence of the main plotters to the end. (Did Ms. West really find Marwan’s “You wake to a new reality” speech all that murky? Amazing.)
What Ms. West may reveal is her own squeemishness at Bauer’s over the top use of force. I did not find this extreme behavior by them to be making the case for “moral equivalence” at all. Instead, the show did a fine job of making clear how UNLIKE the terrorists Bauer was in his use of this preventive violence. The points where Bauer uses this pressure are clearly set up so as to enlist maximum sympathetic understanding on the part of the audience. Proof positive of this is the fact that President Palmer, accorded all his usual dignity, is the one who makes the central case for going all out when he tells the pathetic temporary President, “We did not bring this crisis on ourselves, but we WILL resolve it ourselves.” I relished the scenes like this one, which force all of us to consider what we would be willing to do in the face of the ultimate nihilism we confront. The central theme of this show was that, in the age of terror. ALL choices are bad ones, but you must make the right ones anyway. Is Ms West ready to do what Jack did? If so, I think that should be enough to make the point clear to her.
And, oh yes, and finally, if Ms. West thinks the Chinese are not ultimately next in line as a major adversary, she is as na

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