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Jack Bauer is going to West Point

In its latest effort to dissuade troops from following the example set by 24's Jack Bauer, the Army is asking Kiefer Sutherland to explain to West Point cadets why they shouldn't imitate the Fox show's torture-happy protagonist. Sutherland, probably alarmed by the slew of reports that interrogators are adopting the Bauer approach to torture, has agreed to pay the cadets a visit. The Army is hoping Sutherland will have better luck than West Point professors, whose in-class attempts to explain that "Jack Bauer is a criminal" have yet to resonate, as revealed in the New Yorker's critical profile of 24 creator Joel Surnow: 

Yet the motto of many of [retired West Point Professor Gary Solis' former] students was identical to Jack Bauer’s: “Whatever it takes.” His students were particularly impressed by a scene in which Bauer barges into a room where a stubborn suspect is being held, shoots him in one leg, and threatens to shoot the other if he doesn’t talk. In less than ten seconds, the suspect reveals that his associates plan to assassinate the Secretary of Defense.

The failure to temper future soldiers' enthusiasm for the Bauer approach—in addition to reports that interrogators in Iraq plagiarize tactics displayed on the show—had previously led West Point's dean to make a bizarre, on-set appearance before begging 24's producers to be gentler with the show's almost exclusively Muslim torture victims.

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Morning Brief, Thursday, March 1

2008

Yes, Senator John McCain is running for U.S. president

Middle East

U.S. troops have begun spreading out to smaller bases in Baghdad as part of the new counterinsurgency strategy. 

Iran's deputy foreign minister traveled to Beijing for talks on—what else?—Iran's nuclear program. Can China reprise its role from the six-party talks? And President Ahmadinejad heads to Riyadh on Saturday. Don't get too excited about diplomatic contacts between the United States and Iran, the White House warns.

Israel's military operations in the West Bank city of Nablus entered their fifth day.

Asia

Asian stock markets slid again today, but appear to have stabilized after positive comments on U.S. growth by the head of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke.

China is reconsidering its current use of re-education camps.

No, the Great Wall of China is not visible from space.

India will boost its military budget by 7.8 percent next year, a fact noted in Beijing and Islamabad.

Europe

French presidential frontrunner Nicolas Sarkozy's foreign policy: Keep the Iranians down, the Turks out, and the United States close. 

This just in: Chechen authorities use torture in prisons.

Chances that the United States will extradite wanted CIA operatives to Italy to stand trial for kidnapping are slim to none

The European Commission is gunning for Microsoft again. 

Elsewhere

New York's city council wants to forbid the use of the word "nigger." 

Arthur Schlesinger, respected U.S. historian and confidant of the Kennedy family, died at 89

Sales of new U.S. homes fell dramatically in January.