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January 27, 2009

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Allison

I've never watched the show (shameful, I know) so I can't comment on the content. But I am in full support of the president being named Allison.

Dave

Going to have to disagree here, with all preambles about this being a goofy fictional show in effect:

1. The whole genocide-stopping of the (made-up) country of Sangala (according to Wikipedia, Svengali is the name of a fictional character in George du Maurier's 1894 novel Trilby)was indeed one of President Taylor's justifications for not kowtowing to the whims of a madman, but her main thrust is the policy of not negotiating with terrorists. The writers gave her a humdinger of a speech driving this point home, too. As soon as you give in once, then it's open season on America. Bravo writers.

2. President Taylor (a Republican in the show's mythology by the way) is one of the more conservative fictional characters to hold the office in the show, and her actions in the face of these impossible decisions are stark in contrast to the ass-clown President from the abysmal Season 6, who promised bold action upon the detonation of the SECOND nuclear warhead on American soil.

3. Finally, for all the talk of a softer, fuzzier 24 and a more nuanced Jack Bauer, I'm not seeing it. Jack is as ruthless as ever, promptly swatting down the weak-kneed objections of the limp FBI bureaucracy and proving time and time again that he's always right and if you disagree with him then you're a @#$%&&$*#% Commie whose moronic choices will lead to the widespread death of innocents.

So far, I'm down with this season--and the compelling President.

Charles Martel

I've gotta agree with Dave on this one - I think the much larger point was that we cannot negotiate with terrorists, no matter what their demands or the price.

Making an impossible decision like the (fictional) one presented to the President is why having a person of strong character as President is so important. It would be much easier to back down, to give in and use the reasoning that you provide in your original post.

Saying you did it to save American lives is easy, plays great in the media, and is hard to argue with. Plus, who knows, maybe it'll be someone else's term by the time another attack comes. But it will come, and another, and another.

Whitney

Thank you for your comments! Maybe I'm more of a realist/pacifist than I thought. I should have clarified that I'm not a huge fan of unilateral military action like President Taylor is doing especially if 1) there's no guarantee that military action will result in peace and 2) if innocent civilian American lives are at stake.

I do dig that Taylor is more conservative than past 24 presidents, but I think it's a bit arrogant and unrealistic to expect American military action to make everything hunky dory in Sangala (thanks for the country correction, Dave!).

Charles Martel

Whitney - I guess my take on it is that when a person is trying to force changes in American policy through acts of terror or even threats of terror, it stops being about the right or wrong of the specific policy in question (i.e. - intervening in Sangala) and becomes about giving in to terrorist threats.

A very real world comparison is the attack on Madrid. Terrorists wanted Spain to withdraw their support from Iraq, so they murdered civilians. In direct response, Spain did exactly as the terrorists demanded. Whether or not you believe Spain (or anyone) should have gone into Iraq, all Spain accomplished by giving in was to assure that terrorists are more likely to assume terror will work in similar situations in the future.

Isangeles

While I do firmly believe that as a general rule negotiating with terrorists and giving in to their demands is a very bad idea, I actually have to side with Whitney on this one given the situation on the show. The rationale against negotiating with/capitulating to terrorists is that you don't save some lives now because in doing so you put untold numbers at risk in the future through the further attacks you invite. That calculation only works, though, when a relatively low number of lives are at stake now. If, as Pres. Taylor was, you are facing the prospect of a highly likely catastrophic attack from a threat who you know has the capability of carrying it out, then I think you have to negotiate as the calculation changes. Instead of sacrificing a few now to save many later, you are sacrificing many now. Remember, the president didn't know that the next attack would "only" claim about 300 lives when she made her decision. It could have just as easily been a much larger attack that killed thousands, tens of thousands, or more (like the one that has been commenced for next week's excitement). She was also dealing with a very special circumstance that is (hopefully) unlikely to be repeated by other terrorists -- the capture and use of the device that renders America effectively defenseless.

Chris

I agree with President Taylor. To negotiate with terrorists is to legitimize terrorists. Had she decided to negotiate, it would likely help out the cause of many many more terrorists groups trying to find any leverage they can to also force the US's hand in making them a concession, and thus making them more legitimate.

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