x Although thinly disguising the case by making Brits, rather than Canadians, the victims of the friendly fire, the facts in tonight’s show were extremely close to those of last year’s tragedy, which in real life resulted in guilty verdicts for the U.S. airmen, despite the fact they were forced into taking government-issue amphetamines to ‘enhance their performance’ just before their error.

In the JAG version, the airmen were exonerated, thanks to a TV deus ex machina (electromagnetic spark that ‘could have’ been mistaken for high-level ground fire, an invention added for the TV show presumably to allow a different verdict).

If that obfuscation of the important real issues in this case weren’t enough, the show featured a fictionalized editorial by real-life wacko Bill O’Reilly urging that American troops not be made scapegoats for the ‘errors of incompetent allies’. Even in drama this obnoxious jerk manages to be offensive. Should have shown him with the weeping victims’ families and shouting at them to ‘shut up, shut up, cut the mic!’

For those not following the real case, the grieving Canadian families are split over the verdicts and what the airmen’s punishment should be. On the one hand, there seems little doubt that the airmen exercised bad judgement, but on the other, that judgement was compromised by drugs that you can be jailed for driving under the influence of, by what appears to be inadequate training, and by incompetent intelligence procedures, all of which are the responsibility of higher-ups who, as usual, are getting off Scott free.

Ironically, David James Elliot, the judge in the fictionalized case who had to confess to bias in favour of the defence, is in real life a Canadian . It would be interesting to hear what he thought of this script, and what he would say if he now met the families of the victims of the real tragedy.

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  1. Charly Z says:

    I’ve never watched JAG; it looks to me like too much TV pap, specially the way the military always seem to, as you say, “[get] off Scott free.” But this? This sounds like they finally sold their soul to the top brass.

  2. Dave Pollard says:

    Charly: I don’t normally watch it either, but my wife thinks D.J.Elliott is a hunk, so it was on while I was working. Other episodes I’ve seen have been dramatically interesting but, like this one, missed the opp to make interesting and illuminating points about life, law and the military. But the brass don’t always get shown in the best light, and the pols in the series are portayed as pond scum. Better than watching FoxNews anyway.

  3. xian says:

    it’s a decent soap opera, with plots “ripped from today’s headlines.” there’s Harm for the gals and the marine colonel for us het-guys to lust over.i didn’t see him admitting his bias, btw.and i totally agree, o’reilly gave me hives even in his fictional line readings.

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