West Wing 2/5

Okay, I have one question.

The Kundu people are sleeping in each other’s homes. The Prez learns this, nods knowingly.

Whoosh to ivylass.

Prez mentions this to Toby, who also nods knowingly.

Whoosh II.

Prez mentions this to Josh, explains a bit more.

Sorry, still Whooshed.

Josh mentions it to Charlie. AHA, thinks ivylass, now we will get an explanation.

Josh explains they’re swapping family members to rape to save their lives.

Okay, I still don’t get it.

Ivylad thought it was a way for women to possibly get impregnated with biracial babies, but I can’t believe the ethnic cleansers are going to wait nine months to see what color the child is.

Can anyone explain this one to me?

And isn’t it a little late for an inauguration?

I think what’s going on here is that the rebels (or whomever is attacking these people) are entering houses and demanding that the people in the houses rape each other in order to spare their own lives. They are swapping houses so that the people they are being forced to rape are not their own family members (so that, for instance, a brother would not have to rape his own sister, etc.)

Oh, Dear God.

That thought hadn’t entered my mind.

Please tell me such things don’t really happen.

Yes, of course such things happen. What world do you think we live in?

The “Kundu” situation is obviously based on the civil war in Rwanda in 1994, in which (if I recall), about 400,000 people were slaughtered. A great deal of this was done with machetes. The incident mentioned on The West Wing, in which hundreds of people taking refuge in a church are systematically murdered with machetes, happened in Rwanda.

I don’t know if the Hutus ever forced Tutsis to rape each other, but there was definitely plenty of raping going on.

While all this was going on, neither the U.S. nor any other major power chose to step in.

In the alternate world of The West Wing, we have a president who seems to be determined that America should project power based on core values and beliefs, and not just on our political/economic interests. In other words, the writers of the show seem to be developing a Looking-Glass counterpart to the policies of the Bush administration.

The “Bush Doctrine” is the proposition that the U.S. retains the right to attack any country it even thinks might be a threat, regardless of international opinion. It’s a doctrine based on small-minded fear, with an admixture of base hypocrisy. (You may recall Bush telling troops that if we invade Iraq, it’ll be because Iraq is a dictatorship and “America loves freedom”.)

And just to drag down the tone of the thread, I thought this was one of the better episodes this season. (I don’t even think we had a thread two weeks ago for that C.J. thing.) Everyone was with it: Will Bailey’s idea to force the experience that would make him a good speechwriter for the President; Donna knowing enough to be aware that Jack’s transfer wasn’t all fun and games; Leo screwing up and Josh not letting him off the hook.

The only thing I found odd was that C.J. couldn’t get Danny off her back about the pilot so she used her sexuality. Very un-C.J., I thought, but then, she’s also in the very un-C.J. position of a) having no idea what’s going on and b) knowing what’s going on.

I can’t recall the details but somewhere in Africa this all actually happened. In that society a woman who has been raped is considered unclean and unmarriable, and if you do that to entire villages you see an immediate decline in population and therefore a decline in your enemy’s ability to fight back.

The idea makes me sick.

Argh!! I missed it!! I wasn’t home! Will they ever release any of the seasons on DVD?

Why this order?

The mass rapes of women by soldiers in Bosnia makes sense (in a sick twisted way, but I can see why the order was given.) I can’t see the logic behind the demand. What are the soldiers trying to accomplish with the order?

amarinth, it’s all about power. Whether it’s raping women or having family members rape each other, it’s all about what will you do to spare your own or your family member’s lives. I don’t see how any type of raping or killing makes sense in any book.

Back to the ep, I was also a little confused about why the inauguration was happening now. Admittedly, I hadn’t seen all the shows this year since I am working nights and am VCR-less. At first I thought this was a re-run until the guy from Sports Night showed up. BTW, what a great casting choice, he is a perfect fit in this ensemble. Why not just get him hired on full time already!?

I missed the part about Donna’s boyfriend. Who is he supposed to be, anyway?

I wasn’t clear on the “neighbor’s house” thing either. This story line is clearly a reference to the genocide in Rwanda where the genocide killed an estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 Rwandans while the world looked on.

Sexual crimes against Tutsi women were particularly rampant with an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 rapes. For some background on this here is a very good website: http://academic.udayton.edu/race/06hrights/GeoRegions/Africa/Rwanda01.htm This site also mentions why rape was so devastating. Although it says that the women were raped after watching their family members killed. So there is a chance that in the show what they were really doing was having the women stay in the neighbor’s house so as not to have to witness the murder of their own family members before their own rape.

As to the timing of the Inaugural, remember, this is Bartlett’s second term. Thus this is the second inauguration.

Donna’s boyfriend is a Navy officer whom she met when she accidentally voted for the wrong candidate by absentee ballot, and went to the polls to “trade” votes with someone who was going to vote for the opposition. She got him to vote for Bartlett to cancel out her vote. He ended up working in the White House as an aide to some military big-wig.

This is one of those shows where TiVo is invaluable as the dialog is so often garbled, especially by Leo.

Played by Christian Slater, right?

And he got transferred because he worked on the Force Depletion report the Prez asked for, bypassing the Sec of Defense?

Played by Christian Slater, yes. Character name of Jack Reese. He was an aide to Nancy McNally, who is Nat’l Security Advisor.

And yeah, that’s exactly why he got transferred. Two for two, ivylass.

So, now the question is, how much longer can they hold off on the Josh/Donna thing? With Jack and Amy gone, and Josh clearly recognizing his jealousy, I think they’re going to have to get together soon.

As opposed to which administration?
You are singling out Bush, but which administration did NOT act on America’s political and economic interests?
Frankly, if a President or Congress DOESN’T act first and foremost for America’s political and economic interests, they should be IMPEACHED because that’s why they are in office. We elect representatives to act in OUR interest, not the interest of other nations. Acting in the interest of France is the job of France’s politicians, not ours, for instance.
And in those rare cases where we’ve made half-hearted stabs at acting in the “best interests” of the locals without regard to our own it’s invariably been a HUGE fiasco—witness Somalia, Kosovo, Lebanon.
I think you’re right in that the West Wing is through the Looking Glass…anyone who thinks that our elected representatives should be acting in the best interests of other nations rather than our own is living in a fantasy world.

So just why would Reese have to get transfered? If the Commander in Chief orders you to do something, you do it. So the Secretary of Defense is upset? Last time I checked, the President outranks him.

And if the Secretary of Defense seems to have such a fractious relationship with the White House, wouldn’t he just be told to take his business elsewhere? I just don’t see Donald Rumsfeld getting into a shouting match with Karl Rove and coming out the winner.

I also wonder now if we are actually going to see a real person playing the Secretary of State. So far that cabinet member doesn’t have a name or face.

Whatever happened to Amy, btw?


We have values and principles as well as interests. When we act in ways that seem in the short term to protect our interests, but which go against our stated core values, it turns out badly. (E.g., the CIA helping to topple democratically elected governments in Guatemala and Chile in favor of military dictatorships.)

If we only at on the basis of short-term economic and political interests, without regard to the things we say we believe in, then we (as a nation) aren’t worth defending. I don’t believe that’s the case, most of the time.

Ditto, missed the Amy gone thing, unless it was just meant that they’re no longer dating. Personally I don’t like Josh fawning over Donna like that; it’s extremely unprofessional. Also found the bible storyline overplayed and distracting. I missed the first few minutes, but what did Leo screw up and Josh not let him get over on?

Yeah, but preparing the force depletion report pissed off the Sec. Def., and so now the Secretary has a personal dislike for Reese, and so he says, “Transfer Reese”. The president, worried about the inaugaration and the situation in Kundu, hasn’t noticed, or decided to worry about Reese’s tranfer. Therefore, Reese is counting polar bears in Alaska.

Leo screwed up by letting the Sec. of Defense know that the President had asked for the force depletion report. The idea was they were going to go below the radar and get the info, no harm, no foul. And Leo shot his mouth off, so there goes Reese.

And I agree, ShibbOleth, it was very unprofessional, but I thought that her disrupting his junk with her “what’s happened to my boyfriend?” junk was not entirely in the office’s best interest, either.

I think you guys are right, Amy hasn’t been officially declared missing. I jumped the gun. Sorry.

Well, it wasn’t that bad. They sent him to Italy.

But the poor guy was put in a no-win situation. Someone was going to get pissed off by his preparing the report. And I would always err on not pissing off the president.

But it does seem that there is a lot of hostility between the Pentagon and the White House. A couple of episodes ago, Charlie was investigating a case of someone in the military who had to go on food stamps and the Pentagon sent back a whole report on how crappy its budget was.