Dahlia Lithwick has a great column in this week's Newsweek about the biggest influence on the thinking of members of the Bush administration in regards to its "interrogation" policies: Jack Bauer.
I've writtena ton about this shocking phenomenon over the years, but even I didn't know that John Yoo actually cited the show in his book:
"What if, as the Fox television program '24' recently portrayed, a high-level terrorist leader is caught who knows the location of a nuclear weapon?"...read on
Read her full article because she ends with this.
Rush was actually asking the right question. I laughed at him at the time,thinking he was an embarrassing torture fanboy. But it turns out that the military really was getting ideas from the show:
According to British lawyer and writer Philippe Sands, Jack Bauer—played by Kiefer Sutherland—was an inspiration at early "brainstorming meetings" of military officials at Guantanamo in September of 2002. Diane Beaver, the staff judge advocate general who gave legal approval to 18 controversial new interrogation techniques including water-boarding, sexual humiliation, and terrorizing prisoners with dogs, told Sands that Bauer "gave people lots of ideas."
This probably worries me as much as anything I've heard about the antics of the Bush administration. These people are so fundamentally unserious that they found inspiration in a television show when the stakes were about as high as they could possibly be. It's horrifying to think these powerful people were this daft. But they were.