24? You have all got to be fucking kidding me.
You people actually watch this crap?
Let me make sure I have this straight: government agent Jack Bauer has saved us over and over again, all by his lonesome and against every order he was given, from every terrorist attack on the US for five years in a row. Only after the last "save," the Chinese (!?!) caught him and threw him in one of their jails. So now the terrorists have been free to operate, because this one guy was being held and tortured? And that is why on the day he finally makes it back home to America, he sees on TV that there have been over half a dozen terrorist attacks just in the last week, killing about half as many people between them as 9/11? And that's before, all on the same day and in the same city, Jack stops one of the three suicide bombers attacking LA that day, the train bomber -- missing the bus bomber and the guy with the suitcase nuke?
Jesus fucking Christ on a floppy rubber pogo stick, does this sound even vaguely plausible to you? Are any of you that fucking dumb?
Have I been wasting my time these last five years trying to explain just what's so fucking stupid about this right-wing fantasy propaganda? I don't care how well made it is, isn't there any point at which Bush administration propaganda, however fictionalized, becomes so obviously stupid that you can't watch it? Eris knows maybe I'm too sensitive to the subject, which is why I never felt the slightest temptation to watch a series whose premise was that stupid. But even those of you who haven't studied it, wasn't there any point at which you realized that this was really dumb, felt embarrassed to be watching it, and turned it off? I know that a lot of you are smart enough to have stopped reading Laurel Hamilton's pornography when the last vestiges of plausibility flew out the window, why are you still sucking at the teat of Dick Cheney's pornography?
Jesus, where do I even start. Jesus, I don't even want to go into how insanely stupid it would be for China to risk jeopardizing their WTO status, let alone risk nuclear war, by torturing an American citizen who is obviously going to go home some day. This isn't 1946, and China isn't North Korea, and our president is famously crazy and China knows it. So that whole plot point is just too stupid for me to even waste any more time on, let's talk about the wave of terrorist attacks.
Many of you have, by now, stared into the faces of Department of Homeland Security employees, whether the increasingly dim bulbs and political hacks at the Bush-disgraced FEMA or the dim-witted chimpanzees in renta-cop suits of the TSA. Exposé after exposé of the incompetence inside the FBI just keeps rolling out; if nothing else, surely you heard about the recent lawsuit by the FBI's only Arabic-speaking counter-terrorism expert complaining about how they're persecuting him, inside the agency, for not agreeing with the neocons' fantasies? If diligent protection were what it took to protect America from more terrorist attacks, the whole country would have gone up in flames years ago. In fact, it would have done so long before 9/11; the botched attack of 1993 would have been followed, all the way back then, by wave after wave after wave of attacks. Instead, not counting attacks by Americans themselves, there were no terrorist attacks in the next 8 years. The next couple of ones after that were much sooner ... and cartoon-level stupid, all three of them, including the most recent one which couldn't have been made to work no matter how smart or well equipped the terrorists had been, because their stupid plan violated important laws of physics.
That, in a nutshell, is why actual meaningful terrorist attacks on the United States are so rare. Not because the Bush Administration is "fighting them over there." Not because of the non-existent brilliance and diligence of our Department of Homeland Security. Not because the American people are breathlessly hanging on every twitch up or down in the Terror Threat Level rainbow chart or because of some mythical Dirty Harry cop who always manages to miraculously torture the right people into only giving honest information. The real reason that major terrorism attacks on the United States are really rare is much simpler than that. It's actually several reasons. First of all, people who want to engage in terrorism are actually pretty darned scarce. Even in the Internet age, it's not that easy for them to get together and plan stuff, because despite our best efforts to make ourselves unpopular and to encourage them to concentrate in one or two areas, they hardly ever can physically meet. Why? Because frankly, most of them are total fucking losers. Dumb as a post and completely dead broke. Which really, really impairs their ability to engage in terrorism attacks, considering that even a clever and on-the-cheap attack like 9/11 ended up costing them, by the time you factor in all expenses, about a quarter of a million dollars, and why even Tim McVeigh's domestic attack that wrecked one building cost him thousands of dollars. There just plain aren't that many people, who are so motivated to kill American civilians that they'll risk their own lives and dedicate their every waking minute to it, who have that kind of money. That's why what we did in Afghanistan was important, and why what Ethiopia is doing lately in Somalia is so important: no serious terrorist attack has ever taken place, in the US or elsewhere, without some government's support.
Which leaves the other aspect of this that I can't believe that people still take seriously: the suitcase nuke.
Know anything about nuclear weapons design? No, of course not, hardly anybody does. But here's one thing you probably didn't know: both uranium and plutonium are tremendously corrosive, even to high quality stainless steel. A functional nuclear warhead requires continuous maintenance, in building-sized facilities, under tighter climate control conditions than a high-end supercomputer needs or that you'd use for open heart surgery. It's not just something that some engineer 20 years ago crammed into a piece of Samsonite and that can, from then on, be carried just anywhere, rattle around in the back of however many car trunks and whatever for 20 years, and then detonate flawlessly on the flip of a switch. The idea violates important laws of physics. I am aware that "suitcase" nukes have been built. But to the best available declassified reports, those "suitcase" nukes were (a) a lot bigger and heavier than any suitcase you ever saw, more the size of a steamer trunk with a weight up around at least 500 pounds, and (b) had an outside-the-facility shelf life of a couple of days before internal corrosion rendered it unable to detonate. If, in fact, any were capable of detonating at all; so far as the seismologists who have monitored all countries' nuclear tests for sixty years have been able to tell, no weapon of that design has ever been test-fired.
But even if you didn't know that, despite the fact that I bring up some of these things all the time, you should have thought to ask yourself this. If it's so easy to carry a nuke somewhere and detonate it, why hasn't it ever happened, anywhere? Government competence? When did any of you acquire this sudden and unprecedented faith that a government that you know to make mistakes all the time has somehow gone 60 years without even once making a mistake in this area? If nothing else, I know that every single one of you knows that literally tons of marijuana, cocaine, and heroin enter the US every year; if there were such a thing as a 50 pound nuke or 75 pound nuke, why didn't someone smuggle one in the same way? And if you knew nothing else, I know because it's been a major campaign issue in the 2002, 2004, and 2006 national political campaigns that you must know that less than 1% of those immense steel cargo containers that are shipped from all over the world into the US go completely uninspected, all the way from their country of origin to the customer that unloads it after taking delivery from some train in any city in America. Any one of those cargo containers could have carried a hundred of these hypothetical suitcase nukes. If suitcase nukes were really something you needed to be afraid of, what's saved you all this time?
Vast middle eastern terrorist networks with unlimited budgets and brilliant masterminds operating in secret within the US are a sick Republican fantasy. Super-competent miracle law enforcement agents who always get the right guy, and who through equally improbably miraculous means always extract truth under torture instead of whatever their victim thinks will stop the torture, are a fascist fantasy. Suitcase nuclear terrorism is a scientifically illiterate paranoid fantasy. None of them exist. So you're all excited about a TV show that had all three of these bits of stupidism as major plot points in a single episode? How much dumber would it have to get before you recognized it for what it was and turned it off?