Sunday, October 28, 2007

Proportional Blowback?

It was West Wing night, a few weeks back, and we were watching Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc which ends with an American plane shot down…
What was first thought to be a mechanical failure was then claimed by a fundamentalist group after a keyhole satellite sent back a record of a heat stream coming from what’s called an F.I.M. 92, which is a shoulder-mounted surface-to-air missile launcher. In the last 90 minutes or so that’s been debunked as well. Hard intelligence is telling us the order came from the Syrian defense ministry.
…which led me to think, FIM 92?! That’s a Stinger! In other words, it’s an American missile. The writers of the West Wing are smart enough to have done that on purpose (and after all, it would’ve been easy for them to make it a Russian SA-7; those are ubiquitous). In the next episode (which we watched tonight) they debate the merits of a Proportional Response. A great episode. I just wish they’d done something with the fact that it’s an American-made weapon. It could’ve been a good plot twist, and raises important issues. After all, the problem with sharing weapons technology is that weapons often have a longer shelf-life than friendly alliances. If only my favorite TV show had noticed that point. They came so close.