- By Henry Bowles
In its latest effort to dissuade troops from following the example set by 24‘s Jack Bauer, the Army is asking Kiefer Sutherland to explain to West Point cadets why they shouldn’t imitate the Fox show’s torture-happy protagonist. Sutherland, probably alarmed by the slew of reports that interrogators are adopting the Bauer approach to torture, has agreed to pay the cadets a visit. The Army is hoping Sutherland will have better luck than West Point professors, whose in-class attempts to explain that “Jack Bauer is a criminal” have yet to resonate, as revealed in the New Yorker‘s critical profile of 24 creator Joel Surnow:
Yet the motto of many of [retired West Point Professor Gary Solis’ former] students was identical to Jack Bauer’s: “Whatever it takes.” His students were particularly impressed by a scene in which Bauer barges into a room where a stubborn suspect is being held, shoots him in one leg, and threatens to shoot the other if he doesn’t talk. In less than ten seconds, the suspect reveals that his associates plan to assassinate the Secretary of Defense.
The failure to temper future soldiers’ enthusiasm for the Bauer approach—in addition to reports that interrogators in Iraq plagiarize tactics displayed on the show—had previously led West Point’s dean to make a bizarre, on-set appearance before begging 24‘s producers to be gentler with the show’s almost exclusively Muslim torture victims.