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3/20/2007
THE WARNING SHOT
CATEGORY: "24"

When Vice President Daniels proposed a nuclear “warning shot” to be delivered to the home country of Assad and Fayed, the shock around the table of civilians and military advisers was palpable. Could such a thing ever be contemplated?

That question was actually faced by the United States government back in the spring of 1945 as our scientists working on the Manhattan Project informed President Truman that the atomic bomb would be ready for delivery before the end of the summer. Neither Roosevelt nor his successor had faced up to the hard choice of whether or not to even use the bomb. To help him with his decision, Truman called upon a group of wise men drawn from the government, academia, and science to examine the issues surrounding the use of the atomic bomb.

It really was an extraordinary gathering of brains and experience. Called simply “The Interim Committee,” it was chaired by the Secretary of War, the brilliant Henry Stimson and included such giants as Vannever Bush, President of the Carnegie Institution, James Conant, President of Harvard, Karl Compton, President of MIT (his brother Arthur, a great scientist in his own right, was also on the Committee) as well as the head of the Manhattan Project Robert Oppenheimer.

They began to meet in May, 1945 in the greatest secrecy. The story of their deliberations was best told by Richard Rhodes in his Pulitzer Prize winning book The Making of the Atomic Bomb. Rhodes description of the Committee’s discussions is riveting. Their deliberations ran the gamut from the ethical ramifications of using the super weapon to determining which Japanese cities to target. Originally, one of the targets was to be the city of Kyoto. But Stimson pleaded with Truman to spare the city since it was considered by the Japanese to be the most important religious and cultural center in the country.

In the end, the Committee boiled down the options to three choices:

1. Inform the Japanese of the existence of the bomb and threaten to use it unless they immediately surrendered.

2. A demonstration of the bombs destructive power at a remote location.

3. Drop the bombs on Japanese cities with no warning.

In the end, the Committee decided to use the bomb without any warning. The reasoning was that any warning given would allow the Japanese to move thousands of American POW’s into the area where the bomb would be dropped. Plus, it was felt that the psychological effect of the bomb would be lost if any advance notice was given the Japanese. The report also stated that since “we can purpose no technical demonstration likely to bring an end to the war; we see no acceptable alternative to direct military use.”

One of the major problems with a “technical demonstration” was finding a “remote location” that the Japanese would be able to witness the explosion. And we could not be sure that the horrific nature of the bomb could be amply demonstrated unless the potential devastation could be brought home to the Japanese government.

Of course, there has been talk recently of using tactical “bunker busting” nuclear weapons on Iran’s hardened nuclear research sites. Seymour Hersh, in an article last year, wrote that the Bush Administration was seriously contemplating using the bomb for that purpose. But would we ever consider a “demonstration” or “warning shot” attack?

It would be madness. Nuclear fallout would circle the globe. And it would be impossible to find a place in Iran remote enough that a warning shot wouldn’t cause fallout to drift over Russian territory since the Russians share a long border with Iran. What do you think the reaction of Moscow would be to deadly radioactive fallout wafting over their territory? Just ask yourself what our reaction would be to such an event and you can see why using nuclear weapons against Iran for any reason would be folly.

So the warning shot scenario being played out on the show may make for good drama but only a reckless fool would actually order one in real life.

That description would seem to apply to Vice President Daniels. Not only does he want to shred the Constitution but he now wishes to risk a general war just to show that he’s not bluffing. It remains to be seen how Karen Hayes can stop the madness before it’s too late.

SUMMARY

Being treated by a medic at the scene of the carnage at the Russian Consulate, we are told that Jack has some “floating rib fragments” as a result of being kicked and punched by the Russian security guys. Whew! That’s a relief. For a moment, we thought it might have been something serious. But floating rib fragments? Bauer shrugs off injuries like that all the time. Just give him an hour or so and he’ll be right as rain, showing no ill effects of what would cause your or I to double over in pain every time we drew breath.

More to the point, Doyle tells Jack to, in effect, get lost, that he can handle things from here on out. I sense conflict coming between those two, especially since Doyle seems to be Jack Bauer without the redeeming qualities of vulnerability and just plain niceness. Jack ignores him and heads back to CTU looking to help in the hunt for Gredenko.

We learn during Bill’s conversation with Daniels that there are actually 5 of the stealth drones, more than enough to carry the three remaining suitcase nukes to their targets. But Gredenko, following his conversation with Markov before he was captured, knows that CTU is now hot on his trail and it’s only a matter of minutes before he’s discovered. He tells Fayed to forget about the other drones, that they will find a way to deliver the rest of the nukes. Fayed comes close to taking out his partner but the two obviously still need each other. Expect that to change before too much longer.

Gredenko then calls one of his accomplices and orders him to get the drone in the air. Working from a remote location, the drone pilot protests that all the evasion protocols aren’t programmed into the drone yet. Gredenko urges him to launch anyway and add the protocols when the drone is airborne.

Indeed, CTU has no trouble following the drone at first. But as Bill and the gang start to vector some F-16’s toward the drone, the track disappears from the satellite image. The drone pilot has accessed one of the CTU computers and is able to change the drone’s course to keep the satellite from finding it.

This has got to be the mother of all hacks. And once again it calls into question a counterterrorism unit that regularly has to purge moles from its ranks as well as deal with site security that is absolutely abysmal (last year’s nerve gas attack). Now we discover that they have been out-geeked by a Russian? Time for Chloe, Milo, and Morris to turn in their keys to the geek washroom if it’s true.

Speaking of Chloe, she confronts Milo and Nadia about Nadia’s use of Milo’s password to get past the security protocols put in place because she’s an Arab. Thus, Chloe becomes complicit in their felony which, judging by what happens later, was probably not a good move on her part.

Back at the White House, Daniels can’t understand why the most sophisticated satellite network on the planet lost the drone in the first place. He calls a meeting with the Joint Chiefs and his national security team to discuss military options against Fayed’s country.

Back at CTU, Jack sees Bill and offers to help going after Gredenko. Bill tells Jack to get fixed up first and that he’ll keep him informed of what’s happening. On his way to the CTU hospital, he sees Marilyn who seems to be recovering nicely from the sudden death of her husband. She makes eyes at Jack, batting her eyelashes like a teenager, coming on to our hero and telling him she “always regretted things didn’t work out between us.” Jack appears to agree but when Marilyn goes for the liplock, Jack demurs. He tells her that he was in love with someone else before he was captured by the Chinese and he would have to talk to her first.

Always the gentleman, our Jack. He feels compelled to dump needle nose Audrey before doing the nasty-nasty with Marilyn. Would that all of us men would follow his shining example.

But Marilyn has the shocker of the night. Somehow, she had heard about Jack and Audrey being an item (please don’t ask where although it is barely possible that her dead husband let slip that news sometime in the last couple of years) and was sorry to inform Jack that Audrey died in a car accident.

Jack is shocked. Not only at the news but also because none of his friends had bothered to tell him about it. He races out to confront Chloe who tells Jack that she never got around to telling him because he was going to die anyway! Jack orders her to get Audrey’s file which, despite the fact that a drone aircraft carrying a nuclear weapon is in the air heading toward an American city, she drops everything to comply with Bauer’s personal request.

What else are friends for?

Meanwhile, Vice President Daniels is breathing fire and taking names. He informs his assembled national security team that he intends to fire a nuclear “warning shot” at Fayed’s country if another nuke is detonated on American soil. Karen quite rightly raises every single logical objection to such a stupid plan including chasing the moderates out of the target government, emboldening terrorists worldwide, and the unknown reaction of Russia and China.

Daniels ignores her and is told that his warning shot will still kill 2,000 innocents and perhaps an equal number due to fallout. Chillingly, the Vice President says “I can accept that.” Glad he can because somehow I think the families and loved ones of those 4,000 condemned souls will have a little more difficulty with the accepting part of the scenario.

The Veep casually assures Karen that he’s thought it through and that in his opinion, nothing bad will happen. This proves too much for Karen who sputters that the issue is too important to rely on the judgement of one man. Looking a little peeved (and thus giving us an inkling of what might happen to Karen later) the Veep informs Karen that her objection has been noted but that his decision is final.

Back at CTU, Nadia tells Milo that she sloughed off some of her work to Morris which causes Milo to question Morris’ fitness. He wonders if he’s been tippling - giving himself some liquid courage to face the job. He asks Chloe to check.

Now you or I might sidle up to the employee in question and get close enough that we would be able to tell if they had been drinking. But you and I are not Chloe. She takes the direct approach, giving her ex-husband a passionate kiss (well, passionate for Chloe anyway) to find out if he’s been sneaking a drink. When Morris asks what that was for, instead of telling a little fib about just wanting to do it or saying that it looked like you needed it, Chloe comes right out and says “I was checking your breath,” at which point Morris speaks for all of us when he says sotto voce “Got to love this place.”

Back at the White House, Karen tries to enlist Tom in her campaign to thwart Daniel’s warning shot plan. But Tom will have none of it, saying he serves at the pleasure of the President and that the Vice President is now Acting Commander in Chief. He tells her that she better pray the President wakes up from his coma before the warning shot is launched because that’s the only way she’s going to stop it.

Back at CTU, Chloe has some disturbing news; someone is accessing a CTU computer and following their satellite tracking efforts. Thus begins the Sixth Annual Great CTU Mole Hunt.

The contestants this year? In the lead thanks to the fact that she’s an Arab and a “Mooslim” as Doyle points out rather crudely is Nadia. But Milo, who is smitten with her, defends Nadia by playing the PC card. Just because she’s a Muslim doesn’t mean she’s helping the terrorists.

But Bill is much more practical. Since she’s already been profiled by Homeland Security what better place to start than Nadia’s workstation? And Chloe, who is not politically correct when it comes to doing her job, has been comparing the computer leak info with Nadia’s workstation even while Milo was arguing against it. And what do you know but she gets a match right out of the box. And Nadia appears to be toast.

Of course, anyone familiar with the First through Fifth Annual Great CTU Mole Hunts knows full well that the traitor is never - I repeat never - caught this quickly. Suspicion will have to fall on one or two more suspects before the traitor is revealed - usually someone we least expect.

But Nadia is in deep doo-doo. CTU security grabs her and Bill orders them to take her to the most dreaded room at headquarters - that chamber of horrors, the holding room.

Now minutes away from success, Gredenko calls the drone pilot and asks for an update. We learn that the target is San Francisco and that the nuke will detonate once it reaches coordinates preprogrammed by a GPS tracking device attached to the bomb.

I could say something very, very politically incorrect about maybe perhaps serious thought should be given to accidentally on purpose sort of kind of forgetting about that drone for a few minutes and then pretending to be surprised and shocked when it went off over the most leftist city in the United States.

But I would never say anything like that. It would be wrong and besides, the politics of the people aside, it is without a doubt the most beautiful city in the country. (I guess even just thinking about it will get our lefty friends in a tizzy. But worse things were said about “Red State America” in the aftermath of the 2004 election.)

Back at the White House infirmary, the doctor tells Karen that the President is in an induced coma in order to combat some swelling in his brain. When she asks the doctor to bring the President out of it, the doctor says he’s not authorized to do so, that only a family member can give that kind of permission. (One would think the Secret Service might have something to say about it as well.) And waiting anxiously for news about her brother, Sandra Palmer is seen peering through a door into the President’s room while we know that Karen will eventually have to ask her to wake him up for the good of the country.

Back at CTU, Morris works some of his geek magic and is able to trace the signal from Nadia’s workstation back to its source. Bill gets CTU Tactical on alert while Milo goes to CTU holding where Little Ricky is having some fun with Nadia.

Is Doyle a Jack Bauer without the vulnerability and nice guy personae? I think he is. Nadia intimates that Doyle actually enjoys torturing people though where Jack approaches leg breaking with a much more utilitarian attitude - doing what’s necessary to get the job done. Another reason why I think those two will butt heads in the not too distant future.

After Milo tells Doyle that they’ve found the drone pilot’s hideout, Nadia pleads with him to believe her when she says she’s not assisting the terrorists. Milo’s silence echoes the fact that everyone else thinks she’s guilty as well.

Meanwhile, Jack is in CTU medical getting his floating rib fragments fixed up and reading Audrey’s file. The gruesome pictures of her car crash seem to be proof of her death although for a fleeting second it appears that the shade of doubt crosses his mind. Just then, Jack sees the CTU TAC guys on their way out the door. When he finds out what the mission is, he sees Bill - first confronting him with regards to not telling him about Audrey’s death (”Sorry, Jack. We were asking you to die and didn’t think it was right to tell you.”) and then begging his boss to let him go on the TAC mission. Jack tells him that Audrey died trying to save him in China and that after he’s done killing the terrorists here, he’s going to kill the people who murdered Audrey. Bill doesn’t even blink. He not only relents, he makes him point man for the operation.

Quick cut to Gredenko who checks in one more time with the drone pilot. We are told that the drone is starting its descent and that San Francisco will glow in the dark in about 3 minutes.

Jack and the TAC team make it to the pilot’s location in record time. (6 minutes by the clock from the time Jack was told he could go with the team to the scene where the TAC guys are waiting outside the building.) Making quick work of the guards, Jack shoots it out with the pilot who goes down before he can set off a grenade.

Sitting at the console, Jack tells CTU that the target is San Francisco. After patching CTU into the drone’s screen, he learns about the GPS trigger and tries to turn the plane. Just barely avoiding a stall, Jack successfully maneuvers the plane out of harms way but in the process, somehow loses control of the aircraft. Chloe helps Jack land the plane in an industrial park where the fire department shows up and, realizing there’s a nuke hazard, backs off and waits for the hazmat crew.

Back at the White House, there is great relief when the news is relayed about thwarting Gredenko’s plans. But Daniels is obsessed with sticking to his warning shot scenario. First Karen and then even Tom tries to tell him that the situation has changed and that firing the nuke is unjustified. But it’s like talking to Mr. Potato Head - the Veep is bound and determined to have his little nuclear fireworks show.

Daniels orders the sub to move into position and launch the missile.

BODY COUNT

A good night for Jack as he gets two confirmed kills and one almost certainly on the way to hell just as soon as he can torture any information about Gredenko out of the dying man. However, his bullets expended to number of kills ratio continues to plummet as it took him 6 shots to get his three Russians.

We will only count the two dead guards this week.

JACK: 13

SHOW: 386

By: Rick Moran at 10:49 am
17 Responses to “THE WARNING SHOT”
  1. 1
    Jennie C. Said:
    11:27 am 

    I know someone (he’s my pastor, in fact, his education was nuclear physics) who worked on the Manhatten Project. He would’ve been quite young at the time (in his 80’s now), but he was involved somehow.

    Okay, Tom Clancy is my source for this, but he usually does his homework: I thought there was a 2-man rule, that the President couldn’t launch a nuke without someone else’s concurrence. Lennox wouldn’t do, he’s only chief of staff. But Karen, as NSA, would. Of course, she wouldn’t do it. Which leaves the other civilian, Senate-vetted people in the room, meaning SecState/SecDef. Does our little community think they’d agree with the order? I don’t know, I don’t think we know them well enough.

    I really REALLY hope Morris isn’t the mole. But wouldn’t that make the ramifications of his providing the trigger (or even insisting on going to see his brother in the hoax hospital call) interesting?

    Personally, I haven’t ruled Milo out. He undermined Chloe at a crucial point (tho he came through on that), and he gave Nadia his access.

  2. 2
    logprof Said:
    11:35 am 

    Quote:

    “And it would be impossible to find a place in Iran remote enough that a warning shot wouldn’t cause fallout to drift over Russian territory since the Russians share a long border with Iran.”

    While the old USSR did have a long border with Iran, the Russian Federation now has no border with Iran, unless the marine border of the Caspian Sea is included. However, of course the former Soviet republics constitute a sphere of influence for Russia, so the overall strategic point remains.

    Speaking of Nadia as the traitor, I think it would be bold and dairing nowadays to actually have her written as the culrpit! As regards these moles, _24_ has already become like an M. Night Shamalayan movie, where the twist is so expected that playing it straight would be more of a shock than anything.

  3. 3
    EE Grimshaw Said:
    12:18 pm 

    Since Nadia was basically working with Milo’s information, doesn’t that make HIM the mole? And why hasn’t anyone in CTU explained why Milo was in part of Season 1 and then disappeared for four seasons? So confusing, this show.

  4. 4
    Steve Said:
    12:41 pm 

    I was a little disappointed that the Logan storyline wasn’t concluded or, at least, a status given on his health. Last week’s ending gave us the impression that he wasn’t going to make it, but it seems like there is more to his story yet to tell. Hopefully he’s still with us.

  5. 5
    Jo Said:
    1:57 pm 

    At least Doyle (Ricky) was only up to hand persuasion before Milo (aka my suspect for the 6th Annual Mole) walked in on Nadia and him. If it had been Jack in there instead of being shoved to the back of the story-line into medical, he would have started with the medication right out of the barrell. So Ms. Nadia is safe. For now. And yes Rick, even on my blog entry I noted that first suspect sent to the “holding room/arrested” as being the mole is NEVER the mole. Someone get these guys an exterminator in there please. We have a company here called “Just Buggin’” maybe he can help. :)

  6. 6
    scoopa Said:
    2:54 pm 

    Rick,
    Too funny - I got a big chuckle out of your San Francisco comments because my husband and I said the exact same thing last night!!!! Of course, immediately followed by a ‘we don’t really mean it”. Another choice was Vermont, but we ruled that out since we live in Maine, haha! It’s fun to play in a pretend world sometimes.

  7. 7
    golfer1 Said:
    4:15 pm 

    Marilyn looked like she was ready to do the Big Nasty with Jack right there in CTU headquarters. Looks like she’ll have to wait, though. Jack will take off in pursuit of whomever was responsible for needle-nose’s demise…If she is actually dead. And what if she’s not dead, and turns up during the final episode…that would be one heck of a end-of-season shocker, wouldn’t it?

    I still think the “just checking your breath” should have been your Cloeism of the week.

  8. 8
    Chloe fan Said:
    5:21 pm 

    To #7
    “I still think the “just checking your breath” should have been your Cloeism of the week.”

    That was Chloeism of the year!!!

  9. 9
    Mark H. Said:
    5:50 pm 

    “I was a little disappointed that the Logan storyline wasn’t concluded …”

    Me too Steve, me too. I need to see if my wild conjecture comes true! Mebbe next week.

  10. 10
    Lars Said:
    6:17 pm 

    Morris seems the likely mole, but I hope not, he probably suffered enough being married to Chloe.

  11. 11
    Wes S. Said:
    7:54 pm 

    “Just checking your breath” has got to be the Chloe-ism of all time, not just of the week…*snork*

    …No, Awwwdrey can’t be dead. Remember back in Season One, when Teri’s car went off the cliff with Kim trapped inside, and we all cheered at the thought Kim had been permanently put out of our misery? Of course the little brat survived.

    So I’m not going to consider Awwwdrey dead yet. No doubt Awwwdrey is actually trapped in a Chinese gulag, undergoing torture or brainwashing, and she’ll show up just in time for the conclusion of this season or next season. Or she’ll show up for the “24″ theatrical movie that is supposed to start filming as soon as they wrap up the current season.

    Either way - sadly - she’ll be back.

  12. 12
    The Unabrewer Said:
    3:32 am 

    I wouldn’t want to be Doyle, then, in a confrontation with Jack. Jack killed friggin’ Curtis when the SHTF; I think he would not only kill Doyle if he needed to, but he would wash it down with a Jamocha shake.

    There are only a finite number of possibilities on the mole’s identity, based on named cast members: Chloe, Milo, Morris, Bill, Nadia, Marilyn, and Doyle. I mean, they’re the only people even in the building, right? Most of them can be crossed off logically, so I’m with Jo in thinking it’s Milo. Morris and Doyle are the only other ones that would make sense, and they’re pushing it.

    Or, the system was being hacked from outside, and there is no mole.

  13. 13
    Chris Said:
    2:52 pm 

    Rick, I can’t help but notice that you follow the conventional wisdom being meted out by the writers. Just why would nuking a country automatically bring radicals to power? I would think that if the U.S. actually conducted such a warning shot, which of course is just a threat to obliterate the population if sufficiently motivated, would have the opposite effect. I would think that a populace whose government has no effective counter to a nuclear attack would be remarkably focused on not attracting any more attention from the now (for all intents and purposes) psychotic Great Satan. Indeed, I think it would be more likely that an immediate roundup of the leading a$$holes would take place, if for no other reason than for the ruling elites to protect their own backsides, along with their positions.

    There is something to be said for clarity of action. Isn’t that why this show is so popular, because of Jack’s propensity to engage in hyperbolic action to get what he wants?

  14. 14
    Mike R. Said:
    8:48 pm 

    I’m still trying to figure out exactly what good Karen Hayes thinks waking up Palmer for five minutes will do. From the way the doctor spoke, there’s no way he could be kept awake for any useful amount of time, and it’s not like he can just fire the V-P, who is an elected official.

  15. 15
    wooga Said:
    3:18 am 

    Maybe we find out next episode that “Milo” is short for “Milosovich” and he’s been trying for years to exact his revenge on Jack (resurrecting the ’serbs hate jack’ arc from past seasons). We’ll probably get some lame explanation that Milo’s four year long ‘bathroom break’ was spent on some radical commune, and he ‘returned’ to CTU just for this single mole purpose.

    Seriously though, I can’t imagine the writers are going to have yet another mole in CTU. A less ridiculous explanation would be that somebody was able to figure out Nadia’s code/password/whatever. And that story line will probably involve some strung out relative showing up at CTU and confessing that he/she was tricked by his/her dealer into stealing Nadia’s magic CTU card. Still a recycled plot line…

  16. 16
    Link to 24 recap « Midwest Prognosticator Pinged With:
    8:30 am 

    [...] March 23, 2007 at 8:30 am · Filed under Entertainment Wow, it’s been a busy week for me! Usually I’d have had the Right Wing Nut House recap of 24 read before lunch on Tuesday… [...]

  17. 17
    DevX Said:
    9:56 am 

    I vote for Milo being the mole. In his younger days he hung out with freako artsy Claire, having sex in the back of a hearse. Nuff said. I cannot take him seriously in CTU. I want him dead, and I think I’ll get my wish.

    I wish they hadn’t cut this scene.
    “Mr. Vice President, we have identified the target of the drone. It’s going to hit San Francisco.”

    “Hmmm. What are our options?”

    “The pilots are nearing intercept. But these are Stealth Drones. They won’t be able to target them except by eyesight.”

    “Interesting,” the Vice-President muses. “So if the drone were to succeed, we’d hardly be to blame, right?”

    “Mr. Vice-President!”

    “I know, I know”, he said, waving his hand deprecatingly. “I was just speaking hypothetically. Karen?”

    “Sir?”

    “Um… by the way, in which direction *IS* the wind blowing in Northern California today?”

    “Mr. Vice President!”

    “Okay, okay. Just wondering. General!”

    “Sir!”

    “If we were to shoot at the drone with missiles but accidentally hit the anti-war protesters in the Mission District, could we claim the missiles were fired from the drone? And then shoot the drone down?”

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