Reality Check

The United States Military Academy at West Point yesterday confirmed that Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan recently travelled to California to meet producers of the show, broadcast on the Fox channel. He told them that promoting illegal behaviour in the series – apparently hugely popular among the US military – was having a damaging effect on young troops.

Are you kidding me? ITS A TV SHOW! At the risk of painting with too broad a brush, if this is the state of military training today, we need to be worried.

I reject the idea that even the rawest recruit cannot separate the fantasy world of 24 and reality. This might be the Playstation generation, but I would bet any amount of money that every troop regardless of Service or MOS gets a block of instruction or twelve on the laws of war and the Geneva Conventions, with particular attention paid to this disgrace called Abu Garhib and what is and is not acceptable behavior towards prisoners or detainees.

And if that is not the case then I am aghast that an institution with as long and historic a reputation for forging honorable warriors out of myriad malcontents considers itself so ineffectual that it has to ask the producers of a TV show to dial down the gore because they cannot exert the kind of control and demonstrate the kind of leadership necessary to prevent imaginations from getting carried away.

Somewhere my drill instructors are weeping.

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