Thursday, February 16, 2006

'Lost': blame U.S. for torture

We're all big fans of the ABC series 'Lost' here, so it was sad to see the plot take a politically correct detour. Last night's episode included more of the backstory of the Iraqi character, Said. He gets captured by U.S. troops during the first Gulf War and finds himself employed as an interpreter during interrogations of other Iraqis. One of these is his former commander, who is believed to know the whereabouts of a downed Amerian pilot. His American handler, a non-uniformed older guy (CIA, I suppose), coerces him into doing something he's never done before: torture a prisoner to extract information. He does it, and then bitterly blames the Americans for forcing this terrible experience into his life.

Never mind, I guess, that Saddam's army had regularly used torture for twenty years before Gulf War I) and taught the finer points of its techniques to thousands of its men, making it by far the more likely place a soldier like Said would learn how to do it. No, let's have him be loyal, good-hearted and decent -- until the evil Americans get hold of him.

I'm not saying Americans have never used torture (and I'm not talking about the Abu Ghraib abuses, which were mainly discomforts and humiliations, but the real thing). But you really have to have a political agenda to have Said be forced into torture by Americans -- the same dreary agenda that all of Hollywood seems to share: Blame America for everything.

The more we let these people control our impression of our country, the more the real bad guys will rejoice.