Monday, January 16, 2006

Agent Bauer Saving L.A. Sans Patriot Act

When it comes to espionage thrillers, I prefer George Smiley over James Bond, but I'm still a fan of the FOX 24 hit series which kicked off its fifth season this week. And Kiefer Sutherland is back as Jack Bauer, a crack but controversial US federal agent working for something called CTU (Counter-Terrorism Unit) which for some reason is based in L.A. Over the last four years — one day at a time, Agent Bauer has saved humanity (located mostly on the West Coast) from Serbian and Middle Eastern terrorists as well as drug dealers and nasty guys who usually speak in bad British or German accents. I know. I know. He also beats confessions out of suspects, shooting them in their kneecaps, shocking them, breaking fingers, one by one, without institing on getting in advance the legal protection from the government, emphasizing that he is willing to be punished if and when his bosses conclude that there wasn't any compelling reason for Bauer's brutality, say, a nuclear bomb ticking away, ready to kill millions or a deadly or a canister of an unstoppable virus about to be opened. In fact, Jack Bauer's lack of respect for civil rights has been the subject of many of many serious commentaries, including one that coined the term the Jack Bauer Syndrome. Hey, I just like this television show. And in case you didn't know, this is the only popular television drama that elvated a foreign policy wonk into a sex symbol of sorts. I'm referring to the character Nina Myers, played by the lovely Sarah Clarke (in the first three seasons), in the role of a CTU operator, ex-lover of Jack as well as a mole and a murderer (ouch!). According to a "character profile" and an attached "resume" of "Nina Myers," provided by Fox, she has a Bachelor of Arts, (double major) in Middle Eastern Sutdies and History from Harvard University, graduated from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, served as research analyst at the Rand Corporation, and she even had written a "policy report" for the -- get this -- Cato Insitute, titled, "The Rogue State Doctrine and National Security" as well as another paper for the Brookings Institution. Let's just say that there aren't many female foreign policy wonks in Washington and that the few that exist don't look at all like Nina Myers-Sarah Clark... At least, no one that I've noticed. And in any case, Agent Bauer tortured and killed her in the third season.

Hey, Nina, I didn't see you at that breakfast with Chalabi at AEI

But I did see you, Meyrav (Wurmser, Director, Center for Middle East Policy at the Hudson Institute)