The television show, 24, will be wrapping up its run at the end of this season. What you may not know is that the show had a far reaching affect on more than popular culture.
In September 2001, the world was shocked by a series of attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The following month, President George W. Bush signed the Patriot Act. In November, 24 premiered with a story about the Counter-Terrorism Unit (CTU) working to prevent the assassination of an African-American presidential candidate on the day of the California primary in 2002. President Bush watches the show with great interest.
“Dick! I need to know about this Operation Nightfall. Did I authorize an assassination attempt in Kosovo?”
“No, Mr. President. You did not. It bears repeating at this point that you are watching a work of fiction.”
“I know that. I just wanted to check. Besides, I wasn’t really President when Slobodan Milosevic was in power, right?”
“That is correct, sir.”
In January of 2002, Guantanamo Bay began being used as a detention facility for prisoners of the war on terror. According to some, President Bush sometime asked about one inmate in particular, a man called Victor Drazen, saying “They failed to kill him in Kosovo…”
Later, the President became increasingly convinced there was a mole in his administration. He was certain it was a woman. He had no good evidence for this, but, he felt sure it was so, and cited “an unusual source,” for his suspicions. In 2003, Valerie Plame was revealed by the Bush administration to be a CIA agent working undercover. From that point on, she was no longer a threat to the administration, nor able to work as a CIA agent.
By 2005, staffers knew not to interrrupt the President while he attended his special weekly “intelligence briefing” which happened every Monday night from January through May.
“Do you ever wonder when they eat? They never seem to stop and eat. They’re running for 24 hours straight, but, they never seem to stop for food or to go to the bathroom. They’re really something, aren’t they?”
“Mr. President, we’ve gone over this. This show isn’t real. We have more important things to do than worry about the morasmus of fictional characters.”
The President didn’t appear to hear. Or, maybe he was completely confused by the word “morasmus.”
“I should get this Jack Bauer to Gitmo. He’d get those prisoners to talk, I know he would. We’d finally know what they’ve been hiding. He wouldn’t even need to use the water-boarding.”
“Tell me what I need to do in Sangala. That situation looks bad. Can we get the UN involved? There are people killing kids there.”
“Mr. President, Sangala isn’t a real country. It’s made-up for the show. There’s nothing we can do.”
“Don’t tell me what I can’t do. I want someone to do something about this situation in Africa. I am the President of the United States of America. I may not be a David Palmer, rest his soul, but, I should be able to do something about a genocide.”
Please note: This is a work of fiction. It would be ridiculous to think that 24, in any way, influenced the Bush administration. Probably.
morasmus / MORE – as – muss / a condition of chronic undernourishment.