Saturday, August 01, 2009

THE WANTED Is Not Wanted

Toxic TV, Run Amuck

My attentive and retentive readers know me not to be much of a TV critic. I'm not much of a fan of teevee in general. To put it mildly, I am TV-averse. If the set I'm walking by is not showing LA Dodger blue and white or Rachel Maddow black and gray, I'm switching the idiot box off.

So ... I have to anticipate the question,
What is Vigilante doing, writing a review?
Well, it's less than a review than a preview - because I will never watch this new NBC show, The Wanted. This hour-long show, now two weeks old, boasts of an ensemble team of paramilitary journalists who track down and expose accused war criminals and terrorists who have not only managed to avoid justice, but they are living in the open.

The premise involves NBC News putting together a so-called 'crack team' to track down terrorists and war criminals who are allegedly living "among us," and confronting them or helping authorities bring them to "justice." It clearly aspires to look and feel like a TV version of the Steven Spielberg film Munich, a docu-drama about a team of Mossad assassins avenging the massacre of Israeli athletes by terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

For example, pictured at the right is Mullah Krekar.
His real name is Najmuddin Faraj Ahmad. founder of the extremist Kurdish group, Ansar al Islam. He is currently living openly in Oslo, Norway. Ostensibly wanted by the Kurds, he was first granted refugee status by Norway 18 years ago. Yeah, that was 1991 during the Persian Gulf War. The Mullah was featured in the opening episode of The Wanted on 20 July.

As far as Krekar's presence in Norway is concerned, it's a domestic issue for Norwegians, who want him gone. The Norwegian Supreme Court has ordered Krekar expelled from the country, but officials said international law
prohibits them from extraditing him until they are convinced he will not be tortured or executed. It turns out that as soon as the Kurds can guarantee that he won't receive Abu Ghraib style treatment, they can have him back.

The following Monday (July 27), The Wanted's viewers traveled to Germany on the trail of Mamoun Darkazanli, ostensibly "Bin Laden's financier." Spanish officials indicted Darkazanli in 2003 for providing logistical and financial support to al-Qaida, and have negotiated with the Germans for his deportation.

Spokesmen for the show are exuberant. They say "The Wanted" brings together a cast with elite backgrounds in intelligence, unconventional warfare and investigative journalism. They say the show focuses on real operators, in search of real targets - all in an effort to see evil-doing individuals brought to justice.

NBC News executive producer David Corvo says,
We hope this program sheds light on an overlooked story, It is surprising how many people with serious accusations against them are living openly and avoiding any sort of judicial process.
The show's David Crane, a decorated former US intelligence official and the first American to serve as Chief Prosecutor of an international war crimes tribunal since Justice Robert Jackson at Nuremberg says,
'The Wanted' is about seeking justice for the many victims of terrorism and atrocity around the world. It will start a national conversation, an important dialog about war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and international terrorism, as well as the indifference and political cynicism that hampers international criminal law and the quest for justice. 'The Wanted' drives home the point that the rule of law is more powerful than the rule of the gun."
Roger Carstens who is recognized by the show as one of the world's preeminent authorities on counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency, says,
This is not just a show to me, It's a mission. We're just trying to make this world a safer and better place...
And Adam Ciralski, the NBC producer identified on screen as "investigative journalist", is seen strutting around and saying things like,
Norway is letting justice stand in the way of justice.
"The Wanted" obviously panders to the Reichwing impulse to see all terrorism as international and Islamic and to keep all home-grown, gun-infatuated, native-American, shooting sprees off our DHS radar screens.

Mary Katharine Ham, writing for the Weekly Standard, applauds the show:
The Left is predictably squeamish about the projection of American moral authority via flashy extra-governmental investigations, and the unfairness and psychic pain such uncouth behavior might cause murderous terrorists and the Euro-wimpy bureaucracies that harbor them. They're not nearly as concerned about terrorists and accused perpetrators [of] human rights violations living freely in Western countries with impunity.
I think NBC News is letting reality-show aesthetics get in the way of journalism.

I didn't know anything about this show until
two weeks ago when I heard an inane interview on NPR featuring one of the actors. At that moment I became convinced that such a cheesy show has to have been an idiot's idea. As an American, I became instantly and deeply embarrassed.

Neither the interviewer nor the callers asked the really important questions or pointed out the only obvious point to be raised which could illuminate the truth burning and seething to be aired.

If the show's producers want to find internationally famous unindicted war criminals walking among us, they don't have to go to Norway. They can find one of the top ten in Crawford, Texas. Another in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Another in Taos, New Mexico.

Need I go on?

7 Moderated Comments:

Blogger Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf said...

Rumsfeld is in Taos? I thought it was Santa Fe. About to correct you, but I can't

8/01/2009 07:30:00 AM  
Blogger Commander Zaius said...

I'd like to get all sanctimonious and long winded about this show and how it panders to the proles in the form of black and white cheesy entertainment that make up a scary portion of the American public but three words sums it up: bread and circuses.

Wait a minute...after counting my words I think I crossed over the line slightly about being long winded, my bad.

8/01/2009 07:46:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Whew! I was going to bet Trophy Wife that I would draw a Red Dawn-ish comment from you, Beach!

8/01/2009 07:49:00 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

" ... and we can go get him when we want ..."

Those words in the trailer (?) made me laugh a little. Do these "journalists" with TV cameras think of themselves as law enforcement officers?

Of course, this show could at least partially redeem itself by showing up on the doorsteps of Yoo and Cheney and their ilk, but I expect that's as likely as me having a hot-tub date with Teri Hatcher and Mandy Moore.

I never heard of this show before. Now I feel a bit depressed knowing about it.

8/01/2009 02:14:00 PM  
Blogger Buckeye said...

Well Vig, I hadn't heard of the "show" til your preview, and like you I'll not be watching. Although I'll certainly TIVO the one where they go after Bush-Co so I can watch it over and over and over again.

Jeeze, just when I thought Tee-Vee couldn't sink any lower.

8/01/2009 04:07:00 PM  
Blogger Commander Zaius said...

Vigil, did you win or lose? But for that remark I will dig out my DVD copy of Red Dawn out and watch a bunch of high school kids whip up on the Red Army in Colorado.


Seriously, its really freaky now to see Charlie Sheen in a movie before "Platoon".

8/01/2009 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger Kentucky Rain said...

I saw the pilot of this show. It was the dumbest 42 minutes of TV I have seen in years. Dumb...Dumb....Dumb!

8/03/2009 02:14:00 PM  

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