Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Keep her away from the military, please

Captain Holly isn't a big TV watcher. Other than the Military Channel, Outdoors Channel, and occasionally ESPN, there's no such thing as "must-see TV". Even when I do feel like watching I'm often too busy to sit down and watch.

So it was with curiosity that I read a review for the upcoming Geena Davis series, Commander in Chief. Now obviously, any show about a female President that is produced in Hollywood will be heavily skewed to the left. But based on the description of the plot, this one can best be described as science fiction (I would have watched it tonight but alas, I was too busy).

Before pointing out the sheer stupidity of the plot, some background. Nigeria is a country about the size of Texas. It is Africa's most populous country, with some 120 million inhabitants. Roughly half of its population is either Christian or animist; the northern portion of the country is mostly Muslim. In recent years it has taken tentative steps towards western-style democracy.

It is also the pre-eminent military power in West Africa, with a large and capable army and air force. If I remember correctly we export about 10% of our crude oil from Nigeria, so it is a significant trading partner as well.

In short, it is not a tiny, tinpot African-backwater dictatorship. Got it?

One of the main plot lines in the show's premier was a "situation" in Nigeria, one that demands US military intervention. In a contrived effort to show how strong a woman president could be, we find that the US is threatening to send in Marines to teach those Nigerians a thing or two. And why are we risking war with such a large, important country?

Because a adulterous woman is going to be stoned to death.

Now, I'll say right here that I'm not a big fan of Sharia Law. But let me get this straight: The show's writers want me to believe that a woman president would be willing to send thousands of Marines into a large, populous, hostile, militarily powerful country in order to save a single woman?


If that's so, then I'll never even consider voting for a woman president. Or Vice President. Or even Senator, Representative, or Dog Catcher. Keep those double-X chromosome types as far from the levers of military power as possible, please.

Does anyone in Hollywood even have a frickin' clue about military matters? It would take substantially more than a single MEU (a reinforced Marine battalion, the standard "on-call" floating unit) to pacify Nigeria, it would take several armies. Heck, we needed roughly eight divisions to subdue a weakened Iraq, a country with one-fifth the population of Nigeria. Yet in the show President Davis brashly summons the Nigerian ambassador and demands he release the woman. Or else the Marines will land.

I'd like to think that this some cleverly-disguised parody, but the writers appear to be serious. Didn't they see Black Hawk Down? Do they know what would happen if we tried to land an MEU into a hostile Muslim area of Northern Nigeria, some 500 miles from the coast?

It occurs to me that the type of people who wrote this script are the same ones who planned the aborted Somalia mission. Or the ones who gave President Clinton the idea he could have a Delta Force team infiltrate Afghanistan and kidnap Osama Bin Laden. In this light the script makes perfect sense. These people have never been in the military. Their perception of the military has been created by movies, not by experience, and so they have no realistic understanding of what the military can, and cannot, do.

Just as I keep my young daughters away from my guns, I think I'll keep Geena Davis and other left-of-center women away from the presidency. It's too dangerous to let them have control, especially for our Marines.


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