Free Kiefer Sutherland!!! by mattsteinglass
February 13, 2007, 12:24 am
Filed under: Iraq, United States, Vietnam

For the past six godforsaken years, Kiefer Sutherland has been playing a character on television named Jack Bauer who commits atrocities and crimes against humanity in the name of the United States of America.

Sutherland himself is, on his own account, a moderate left-winger. He should be. His grandfather, Tommy Douglas, was the leader of Canada’s Socialist Party. More importantly, there is his father, Donald Sutherland, who hit the prime of his acting career during the Vietnam War. Donald Sutherland managed to keep his real-life and onscreen personas somewhat more in political skew than his hapless son has. Onscreen, he portrayed Hawkeye in the original film M*A*S*H (1970). In real life, meanwhile, he was touring the globe with Jane Fonda and a cast of others, playing shows for American GI’s just outside army bases, persuading them that if they chose to follow their consciences and opt out of the senseless slaughterhouse of the Vietnam War, America would forgive them.

Here’s Donald Sutherland’s response to a senseless war, 1970:

Sutherland MASH

Here’s his son Kiefer’s response to a senseless war, 2007:

Bauer Runs Maniac

Somehow I prefer the guy who acknowledges the whole thing is completely idiotic to the one who runs through the streets brandishing a handgun and shooting at everything that moves.

Anyway, according to Jane Mayer’s wonderful article in the current New Yorker, Kiefer Sutherland recently met with a delegation of actual US Army interrogators, who showed up on the set of “24” to explain that the show’s positive depictions of torture are causing actual young Americans who join the military to, you know, think positively of torture. The interrogators explained that torture does not actually work; that when US government personnel torture people, it is a. a war crime and violation of both international and US law and b. causes people to turn into terrorists who want to kill Americans; and that, in real life, Jack Bauer would be facing multiple life sentences in a “super-max” federal penitentiary, if not in fact the death penalty, if not permanent confinement in the Arkham Institute for the Criminally Insane.

All of this led Kiefer Sutherland to become quite upset. What he thinks he’s been doing over the past 6 years, I don’t know; but it evidently did not cross his mind that he was giving young Americans, the kinds of young Americans who join the military and go overseas and are given power over Iraqi detainees and possible insurgents and terrorists, the impression that torturing such people for information might be a good idea.

Which leads us to our final point: Free Kiefer Sutherland!!!

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