After some commercials, it's back to the Mess. C.J. has arrived. Josh is saying, "No, no, no, no. You've walked into quicksand." Toby: "You don't ask C.J. about the CIA." Sam: "You just don't do it." Josh explains: "C.J. has a bizarre affection for the intelligence community that we just don't..." C.J.: "Bizarre? How about right?" Josh resigns himself to hearing about it. C.J. says, "This song is called: 'The CIA: Our Maligned Little Brother.'" So far, I think I prefer "The Jackal." Sam mutters, "Oh, God." C.J. begins her lecture: "We need spies. Human spies. Spy satellites are great if you're trying to detect whether or not Khrushchev's put missiles in Cuba, but you want to overhear a conversation over Turkish coffee in Khyber Pass, you need a spy. You guys want to get great jobs after college and serve your country? Study Arabic, Chinese, and Farsi." Toby, pacing around, suggests "Maybe this would be a good time for a chorus of 'Our Maligned Little Brother, Civil Liberties." C.J.: "Liberties, schmiberties." I found this attitude fairly out of character for C.J. But I guess somebody had to be a fan of the intelligence community in this little morality play, and Leo, a more likely suspect, is busy playing the role of Paranoid Bigotry. Anyway, Toby cracks, "C.J. Cregg, ladies and gentlemen." C.J. snaps, "You know a way to do this without tapping some phones?" Toby: "What about illegal searches? What about profiling?" Yes, what about those things, those things that are going on right now and for the last three weeks, and well before that -- things that have happened directed against anybody with the wrong name, the wrong colour skin, the wrong religious background. Well, there are only forty minutes or so and there are a lot of speeches and stuff to get through, so there's no time to go into anything in any kind of truly educational detail, something this show has sometimes done well in the past. Toby asks whether C.J. knows what Benjamin Franklin said. She snipes, "'Hey, look, I've invented the stove'?" Freddy/Billy/ Smitty/whatever his name is contributes, "He said that, 'They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.'" C.J. puts Smitty in her tractor beams and asks, "What's your name?" Josh: "I'm on it." Donna smiles. C.J. says, "Well, I don't think we're talking about a little temporary safety, and it's not like we need to search high and low for clear and present danger." Toby asks what she thinks is the point of fighting terrorism. She replies, "It's to ensure freedom, Pokey. I don't need the brochure." Toby thinks she does: "Because during times of great crisis and threat, America has used Draconian measures before, and I think maybe you've forgotten just how effective they've been. Can you name some?" Toby is so totally my boyfriend. A student: "The blacklist." Toby says he wants C.J. to name them, whereupon C.J. says, "The blacklist." She continues, "Look, I take civil liberties as seriously as anyone, okay? I've been to the dinners." Oh. Well, then. "And we haven't even talked about free speech yet and somebody getting lynched by the patriotism police for voicing a minority opinion." No, we sure haven't, but thanks for bringing it up in passing. Maybe that would be a good discussion to have. C.J.: "That said, Tobus, we're going to have to do some stuff. We're going to have to tap some phones, and we're going to have to partner with some people who are the lesser of evils. I'm sorry, but terrorists don't have armies and navies. They don't have capitals. Some of these guys, we're going to have to walk up to them and shoot them. Yeah we can root terrorists' nests, but some of these guys aren't going to be taken by the 105th Armored Tank Division; some of these guys are gonna be taken by a busboy with a silencer. So it's time to give the intelligence agencies the money and the manpower they need. We don't hear about their successes. Guess what? The Soviets never crossed the Elbe. The North Koreans stayed behind the thirty-eighth parallel. During the millennium: not one incident. You think that's because the terrorists decided that'd be a good day to take off, not much action that day? End of song."
They're grilling Raqim about an arrest two years earlier for holding a rally without a permit; the charges were dropped because he had applied for a permit but it hadn't been processed. Leo asks what he was protesting. Raqim: "The presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia." Leo wonders what Raqim's problem is with this. Raqim points out that Saudi Arabia is the home of two of Islam's holiest mosques (the Ka'aba in Makkah and the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah): "How would you like it if I camped out in front of the Vatican with a stockpile of M-16s?" Leo claims, "I'd like it fine if you were there to protect the Vatican." Yeah, right. One of the agents tries to speak to Leo, but he doesn't notice as he tells Raqim, "We sent troops down there to make sure our friends didn't cross the Kuwait border and seize Saudi territory." Raqim points out that he means Saudi oil. Leo acknowledges this: "Yes, we have oil interests in the Gulf. So does the rest of the world." Raqim objects, "You sent an army composed of women as well as men to protect a Muslim dynasty where women aren't even allowed to drive a car!" Somehow I don't think that was the primary objection to the presence of American troops in the Kingdom. Leo snipes, "Maybe we can teach 'em." They just glare at each other a bit until Raqim says, "Anyway...that's what I was protesting." Leo nods at one of the agents, who asks him about where he went to high school. Raqim confirms the information. Apparently in December of 1994 someone called in a bomb threat to the school. Raqim recalls that there were bomb threats, but he doesn't remember the exact dates. ["He was in high school in 1994? That would make him younger than I am, and I don't see someone younger than twenty-five getting a sweet job at the White House." -- Wing Chun] Apparently his transcript indicates that he was questioned by the police. Raqim mutters, "Yeah, it's on my school transcript...because I wasn't arrested." All this time Leo is just staring at Raqim without blinking. Raqim says that the bomb threat was called in by a couple of football players who didn't want to write a final Chemistry exam. The agent, standing up between Leo and Raqim, says, "So it was a couple of football players but they called you in anyway?" Looking at Leo, and not the agent, Raqim says, "It's not uncommon for Arab-Americans to be the first suspected when that sort of thing happens." I had been wondering whether he was supposed to be Arab, since I think the actor is actually Indian. It's already been made clear he's supposed to be Muslim. (And here's a chorus of "Truth: Our Maligned Little Sister," it goes something like this: "All Muslims are not Arabs. All Arabs are not Muslims." Repeat as many times as necessary.) Leo says, "I can't imagine why." I know Leo is actually representing the attitudes of God only knows how many people, but it sure is sickening. Raqim starts to take Leo to task, but Leo interjects, saying, "No! I'm trying to figure out why anytime there's terrorist activity, people always assume it's Arabs. I'm racking my brain." Yeah, me too, especially since according to U.S. State Department reports on global patterns of terrorism (released in 1997, the most recent date for which I can find statistics), "terrorism originating in the Middle East is sixth in order of occurrence and frequency," as Edward Said points out in his excellent book Covering Islam. Raqim says, "I don't know the answer to that, Mr. McGarry, but I can tell you...it's horrible." Frink can vouch for that. Leo then says something I can hardly believe: "Well, that's the price you pay." I literally gasped and my mouth hung open when he said this. R