Why do I hate the show "24"? It is because of Jack Bauer. I hate what he represents. What he represents is someone who because of the urgency of the situation, his expertise and competency, and he alone can rescue the nation is above the law. In essence, Jack Bauer is how America sees itself in the world.
Americans, at least their conservative representatives, deny that international law applies to us. It is not that we have never worked within an international framework to resolve conflicts. It is when we violate international law, we say "tough." And this attitude has been an American attitude way before 43 took office.
We have assumed the right to act unilaterally way throughout the Cold War. For example, in 1963, the statesman Dean Acheson, who believed in fighting Communism by using "progressive forces" (http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAacheson.htm), said that there is no "legal issue" when it comes to defending America's "prestige, position, and power" (http://www.americanempireproject.com/bookexcerpt.asp?ISBN=080507967X). Chomsky reports that Clinton's UN Ambassador told the UN Security Council that the US will act "multilaterally when we can and unilaterally as we must" (http://www.medialens.org/articles/book_reviews/dc_nc_rogue_states.html). Indeed we have--from orchestrating coups in Iran (1953) and Chile (1973) to Vietnam to Reagan's and Bush's ventures in the '80s. Thus Bush's unilateralism is not new.
Some conservatives see our right to ignore the international laws as an entitlement that came from our roles in either liberating the world from the Axis powers or saving the world from Communism. For example, New Gingrich told Sean Hannity on Sean's radio show to chide the French for opposing us by asking what language they would be speaking if we had not intervened in WWII. In other words, the free world owes us for restoring their freedom. But if that is a correct assessment of our role in WWII, then, in essence, we did not fight for the World's freedom; we fought for a paternal relationship.
Is the same happening in Iraq? Do the Iraqis owe us a degree of submission because we freed them from Saddamn Hussein? If so, did we really fight to liberate them or did we invade in order to give them a "kinder, gentler" tyrant? The answer would seem to be the later--though Chomsky would note that our feeling of entitlement started with Wilsonian Idealism ("Hegemony Or Survival", pg 42-43).
Now compare our convenient disregard for international law with the view of former Nuremburg prosecutor, Benjamin Ferencz. According to Ferencz, our chance at world peace can be found by writing laws, administering courts, and insuring enforcement (http://www.benferencz.org/arts/89.html). Ferencz laments that the US has "obstinately" prevented the establishment of the first two parts by refusing to recognize the ICC (International Criminal Court) (http://www.benferencz.org/arts/85.html). Ferencz continues by describing the reasons why Conservatives in the government have refused to acknowledge the ICC as "untenable." An example of an "untenable" reason is that Conservatives claimed that American service personnel could be brought before the ICC for political reasons. According to Ferencz, this is not possible because only the "leaders" who were involved with the crimes could be brought before this court.
In defense of the conservative objections to the ICC, think of how the show "24" would turn out if Ferencz was its head writer. BORING! That means that Jack would be subject to a chain of command and would have to abide by the same rules that govern his colleagues. The show would not last more than a couple of episodes!
On the other hand, do we really want to experience a WMD attack on our shores for the sake of drama? The Bush Administration seems to want that. According to Chomsky, Intelligence Agencies agree that the Iraq invasion has increased terrorist attacks. In addition, the Bush Administration's menacing actions are increasing the spread of nuclear weapons by providing incentives for obtaining these weapons (http://www.alternet.org/story/30487/).
It is clear that the show "24" is not good for the country. This does not imply that the show should be cancelled however. That would be censorship. There is another solution. We could put "24" on 7 days a week. Everyone knows that even Jack Bauer cannot handle 24/7. The same cannot be said of the Bush Administration as they are putting an equivalent strain on our military. And if a conflict with Iran is added to the mix, our military would be working "8 days a week." It is time to demand that our government rely on law rather than war, as Ferencz would put it, before it's too late.