Monday, January 23, 2006

WorldNetDaily: What would Jack Bauer do?

I don't watch 24, so I only know the hero of that action-thriller show, Jack Bauer, through the accounts of other people. Happily, they all agree: Jack Bauer is a hard-nosed, occasionally dirty fighter who, to borrow a phrase from the late Ian Fleming, has a self-awarded license to kill that no one dares challenge.

I have held off this blog entry to avoid spoiling things for devoted fans of the show--at least until it becomes common water-cooler conversation. But now I'd like to make a comparison that even Mr. Buchanan missed:

Emotional at the death of the president he loved, for whom he had often risked his life, Jack returns. He is intercepted and almost killed by the team that murdered Palmer. Wounding the leader of the terrorists, Bauer interrogates him, warning the bleeding man he will die unless Bauer helps him get to a hospital. The terrorist talks.

After he spills all his information, Bauer starts to walk away. The terrorist demands to be taken to the hospital.

Were you the one who shot President Palmer? Bauer asks. Yes, replies the wounded terrorist, in agony on the floor. Bauer stares at him for two seconds – then shoots him.

I'll tell you what that reminds me of--King David, before he became King of Israel. David had a Jack Bauer moment, when he had before him an Amalekite who killed King Saul on the battlefield. Bear in mind that Saul and David had little love lost between them--except that Saul had gotten the ceremonial oil treatment prescribed by God Himself for kings of Israel, and David respected that. So when he had someone before him who admitted to killing Saul, he asked him whether he really thought he could get away with killing the Lord's anointed one--and then ordered his immediate execution.

As Buchanan admits, 24 is escapist action-adventure fare, and probably unrealistic. But Mr. Buchanan also observes that this show's ratings are consistently high--and I've noticed that several prominent conservative talk-show hosts swear by the program. I think I know why.

Jack Bauer represents the sort of hero that has always captured the imagination of those who love their countries: the troubleshooter, or blunt instrument, having a license to kill at discretion when fighting what is at bottom a secret war. More than that, everyone understands the enemy--everyone, that is, except those who think that America itself is the enemy of mankind.

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