WWJD (What Will Jack (Bauer) Do)?

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WWJD (What Will Jack (Bauer) Do)?

During the presidential campaign, many people worried that a president Obama wouldn’t be able to create new jobs. But I don’t think anyone ever envisioned that in one of his first acts in office he’d actually give the ax to an entire industry. That’s exactly what happened when he announced more than a week ago, “without exception or equivocation” the United States will no longer torture.

If he’s true to his word, what will the Jack Bauers of America do?

Well Jack, no need to worry yet – America’s transgressions over the past eight years have ensured that markets remain robust elsewhere, and America has been powerless to do or say anything about it. So, though the US has been removed from the list of sponsors of torture, there are several other countries around the world that remain steadfast, and still might benefit from your special services. And, who knows, in some of these countries you might even encounter open American accounts. After all, we’ve been outsourcing torture in the form of extraordinary rendition to some of these places* for years. So much for Bush trying to keep good American jobs from going overseas. But now you will truly have to go offshore to keep up your practice. Here’s a brief, non-exhaustive list of the locales:

China
Egypt*
Indonesia
Iran
Iraq*
Malaysia
Morocco*
Nepal
North Korea
Pakistan*
Russia
Sudan
Syria*
Turkey
Uganda
Uzbekistan
Zimbabwe

Sudan and Zimbabwe merit special attention. Ever since the US decided to bring torture out of the shadows, and to make it policy, these two countries in particular have justified their own “enhanced techniques” on the back of America’s dilapidated high horse as it melted to glue.

But now that we’re a nation that no longer tortures, will we turn our attention to the regimes that still do? Will we be able to retake the moral high ground, or is our standing permanently diminished? It’s probably too soon to tell. But one of the reasons the country elected Barack Obama as president, though many may doubt his economic policies, few doubt his morals.


Ross Tuttle is a documentary filmmaker and freelance journalist living in New York. More from this author →