I have recently been catching up on the US TV series ‘Homeland’, prior to the start of the new series last Sunday. Whatever you think of the big TV companies, and the output of US programme makers, this series actually manages to show some of the possible behind the scenes goings-on of the CIA, FBI, and Homeland Security. In so doing, it does not show them in a good light, and raises many issues about the way that they imprison, torture, and murder suspects. Based on the original Israeli TV show, with an identical theme, it tells the story of a former captive, returned from his incarceration after eight years. During his time as a prisoner, this soldier has been ‘turned’ by radical Muslims, and even converted to their religion. He becomes a ‘sleeper’, an agent waiting to be used for a terrorist attack in mainland America.
One of the CIA operatives does not believe his story, and suspects that he may well be planning something. As this is a TV series, she eventually falls for him, and despite finally exposing him as a potential attacker, offers him a deal to be a double agent. To cut a very long story short enough for this post, he is eventually ‘framed’, when his car is used to detonate a huge bomb, wiping out most of the CIA in their own headquarters. He goes on the run, assisted by his CIA lover. Now, the new series begins.
The powers that be, decide to get their revenge, by a coordinated attack on six top terrorists, all taking place at the same time, over three continents. This revenge operation is a great success, and restores the credibility of the CIA, FBI, and all other agencies, from the public viewpoint. Watched by satellite, the ‘operations’ all go smoothly, and are completed in a very short time, with no repercussions on those involved in the killings. Drone strikes, ground teams, and individual assassins are all deployed, with complete success.
I then watch the news. ‘Real life’, so I am assured by the BBC. The actual government of the US has announced two operations against terrorist suspects, in Somalia and Libya. The objective was to capture these individuals, and presumably hold them for questioning, or put them on trial. I immediately got the feeling that they had watched this episode of the TV series, and thought,’that looks like a good idea’. They managed to seize the man in Libya, despite not telling the Libyan government what they were doing. However, the team of Navy Seals that attempted to do the same in Somalia, were beaten back by well-armed militia soldiers, and had to escape empty handed.
Life imitating Art? Perhaps next time, the US government should get some tips from the producers of ‘Homeland’.
It all went off a lot easier on that TV programme.