Maybe I spoke to soon yesterday when I utterly dismissed the notion of comparing George W Bush to a fictional vigilante. Apparently he is the real life equivilant of 24 super-agent Jack Bauer. Dahlia Lithwick over in Slate reminds us of all the time Republican insiders made the comparison:
"According to British lawyer and writer Philippe Sands, Jack Bauer was an inspiration at early "brainstorming meetings" of military officials at Guantanamo in September of 2002."
"Michael Chertoff, the homeland-security chief, once gushed in a panel discussion on 24 organized by the Heritage Foundation that the show "reflects real life.""
"John Yoo, the former Justice Department lawyer who produced the so-called torture memos—simultaneously redefining both the laws of torture and logic—cites Bauer in his book War by Other Means."
"Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, speaking in Canada last summer, shows a gift for this casual toggling between television and the Constitution. "Jack Bauer saved Los Angeles. … He saved hundreds of thousands of lives," Scalia said. "Are you going to convict Jack Bauer?""
Great. No wonder we don't have a reality based government. Our leader's role model doesn't exist outside of a flatscreen. And, of course, as you'd expect from the type of person who would base policy on pretense, they screw up their analogy. As Lithwick points out:
"Jack Bauer operates outside the law, and he knows it. Nobody in the fictional world of 24 changes the rules to permit him to torture. For the most part, he does so fully aware that he is breaking the law... Bauer is also willing to accept the consequences of his decisions to break the law. In fact, that is the real source of his heroism—to the extent one finds torture heroic. He makes a moral choice at odds with the prevailing system and accepts the consequences of the system's judgment".