Saturday, February 14, 2009

"Foyle's War"

I've become quite sensitive to films and TV shows which depict situations vaguely analogous to our nation's current struggle against Islamofascism and which subtly (or not so subtly) chide us for our approach. An instance of this obsession occurred today as I watched with my wife a DVD of the 1st episode of "Foyle's War", a PBS (already suspect) Masterpiece Theater production. The show is actually quite good.
The storyline involves a police detective in 1940 Britain operating amidst the backdrop of the start of the war. The plot of the episode is nicely complex but simply described it's about Foyle attempting to solve the murder of a German woman who had been married to a wealthy, influential British man. The underlying theme here is the potential injustices that Germans, even those opposed to the Nazis, might face because of the British citizenry's understandable anger towards them. (One character is a German music teacher who is summarily arrested and detained on shaky grounds). This is one allusion to current events.
At the end, Foyle is faced with a moral dilemma. Does he arrest the man he discovers to have committed the murder (actually two) and for which he would probably be hung. Or, does he let him go because the man, it turns out, is vital to the upcoming war effort and his absence could result in the preventable deaths of British servicemen.
Foyle turns him in because, as he explains to his (female) driver and sidekick, (Foyle doesn't drive - haven't found out why yet) he's a policeman, he has to follow the rules, if the rules are broken then we become like the Nazis themselves. Allusion number two.

In our current war, Americans have shown remarkable tolerance for ordinary, innocent Muslims. A very few incidents occurred in the days after 9/11, but none (that I know of) since and there certainly hasn't been any widespread anger or hatred shown. Muslims have not been denied basic civil rights. Don't even think of bringing up Guantanamo - that virtual hotel, housing terrorists and enemy combatants - hateful ideologues who broke every convention of warfare, are some of the most dangerous people in the world and none of whom are U.S. citizens.
As for breaking rules and behaving uncivilized, viewed outside the context of the war, the Allies certainly did commit atrocities. Doing so did not turn them into Nazis. It did help defeat them. In our current war, we haven't come anywhere near the brutality of the Allies in WW2 and hopefully we won't have to. Still the Eurocentric, peace at any cost, appeasement first left is shocked and horrified by (OMG!) waterboarding!!! One major attack of say ten or one hundred times (or more) the impact of 9/11 and civility will necessarily go out the window. It won't bring us down to the level of our enemies.

Anyway, that's what I mean by being quite (overly?) sensitive to these things. "Foyle's War" is authentic looking, well acted and has interesting characterizations. It's fun to watch and I'm looking forward to the subsequent episodes.

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