Fighting Words – 203

Written by: Matt Witten; Watch Now: – Sorry, not available on Amazon

[The point that the screenwriter, Mr. Witten, was trying to make – and make and make and make – was that the, all to visible, Iraqi terrorists were NOT following the Muslim religious precepts that they profess. Unfortunately, so many points were superficial, and obvious counterpoints so often completely ignored, that the plot seemed contrived and forced, not the standard JAG series quality. The self-serving, sensationalistic reporter was, however, all too familiar – if not an overused character type.]

The SECNAV introduced Major General Earl Watson and his Iraqi counterpart General Mohammed Jabra at a press conference where ZNN reporter Jill Waddington grandstanded and accused Watson of having an offensive attitude toward the Muslims. She claimed that she had “just happened upon” (A lie) Watson’s guest sermon at a Baptist church, where he called it a “second rate religion” and that “we were doing battle with the devil.” The SECNAV ordered a JAG investigation and (surprise suprise) Harm (H) and Mac (M) disagreed on about everything. Watson told M that the religion “has a warrior streak which is too easily appropriated as justification for holy war.”

Mac began her arguments with him by saying that Islam explicitly condemned terrorism. Watson said that Waddington’s reports weren’t accurate or complete. He had spoken that it was “Christian duty to protect people from terrorism” and told the two to ask the congregation for the complete truth. Unfortunately they interviewed seven people who had all seemed to hear the talk completely differently. Turner (T) offered to help M, who was having back pain, on the prosecution side saying that he had never heard his chaplain father say anything against any other religion. Then Waddington brought out never shown, archived footage of another “sermon” Watson gave 4 days after 9/11 over 2 1/2 years previously. Watson had said the US was under attack by people who were following the Koran’s advice to “Fight unbelievers wherever you find them” and that we were “a Christian army who will win this holy war.”

The SECNAV bumped it to an official court of inquiry, closed to the press, who began asking questions like: why didn’t you get your speech approved by public affairs? And why did you wear your uniform? Mac tried to belittle H saying: “why aren’t you offended by his speech?” Harm told her that the general had spent, and nearly given, his life to defend our right for free speech, “now you want to take away his right to freedom of religion and speech – why doesn’t that offend you?” Turner found that Waddington had actually received her tip from a Cpl Hamud who was getting out of the service.

Turner received notice of an investigation into his “anti-Korean bias” charge from Lt. Yi. Chegwidden (C) assigned Bud (B) to investigate saying that if it wasn’t true he wanted T’s record cleared. Bud argued that he had been in the exact same place, having Ts career in his hands, a year ago. Chegwidden quipped “well, fortunately, he survived that experience!” Turner worried to M that his prosecution of Watson was hypocritical. She told him that “you’re far too obsessively rational to be prejudiced against anyone.” Turner took B his notes and information and told him that he “would do a fine job.” Coates (Co) nagged C for a press release and he told her that what the country needed was more baseball heroes. When she said she wasn’t a fan of baseball, he said “I’ve fired people for less.” He dictated a memo to the SECNAV and included the part about baseball heroes, so she said she would write the first draft for his signature. The whole gang cornered Co in M’s office and asked about Meredith. Harm said “we know that you know something.” She told them “yes, I do… and the admiral won’t be saying those two words.” Hamud told M that he had met Waddington doing a story at boot camp. He called her after hearing of Watson’s new appointment because he had been offended by Watson’s “trash talking Islam” at an “interfaith” sermon after 9/11.

The board of inquiry recommended court martial and on the stand Watson said that he had been asked to be a guest speaker at a church meeting, in a chapel, days after 9/11 when emotions were high and did wear his uniform but made it clear his opinions were his own. To M’s caustic examination he said: “I expressed belief that God is not neutral in the struggle between freedom and terrorism.” Mac sniped back that she “thought God would prefer that people didn’t throw his name around quite so much.” Mac called the SECNAV to testify against Watson but H countered all of her arguments. Jabra testified that most Americans “can’t tell the difference between real Islam and the terrorist perversion of Islam.” He said Watson’s remarks didn’t really bother them because they were “just words.” After saying that the people were glad of the help to rid them of Saddam Hussein, he said that he could “cut Watson some slack” because the speech was made after 9/11. He then told the court that he, personally, found Christian ideas odd; so, “if I find your religion a little bizarre, I can’t get angry with you finding mine equally strange.” Waddington reported that she “wondered if the prosecution was really trying to win,” and Mac called her a “stupid twit.”

Turner brought in reverend Haynes, from Watson’s previous speech, to explain the slides he used. One showing Baghdad on fire he said showed “the devil in the smoke.” Watson explained to H that while he was there with his men, in battle, in danger, he believed that “God had permitted him to see the face of the devil” which had given him the strength to go on. He gave H one potential witness for his character. Mrs. Sattar’s husband, Ayman, was killed in a fedayeen ambush and Watson had come to the house to express condolences. When found that she had breast cancer that the Iraqi hospital couldn’t help, he arranged for his church to bring her to America for treatment, let her live in their housing and drive her to the Mosque every Friday for worship. Harm called Watson to the stand and he did well. Mac felt it necessary to give a lesson on Islamic belief’s saying that “Jihad” only meant “to struggle or strive,” only considered “warfare justified for self-defense or liberation,” had rules against killing “children, women, elderly and other non-combatants… including suicide.” She said that “they are not following Islam any more than Timothy McVeigh was following Christianity.” [The authors left out that McVeigh never claimed to be on a Christian crusade or that “official” Islamic leaders aren’t seen to actively refute or “excommunicate” terrorists]

The court found Watson not guilty on the charges; but, the judge recommended formal counseling and ordered not to assert belief’s in public forums. As Watson was walking out with H and M, they saw a news report of 18 killed in a Fallujah suicide bombing by the “fire of Allah” claiming a “glorious victory in this holy war.” Watson excused himself. Harm said “that’s why we need men like the general.” M sniped “or not.”

Yi told B that T had allowed a sailor to antagonize a North Korean skipper and supported him being tied up. He said that T had made statements showing he had little respect for Koreans. Bud told Yi that he had spoken with his father, who had been shot by a black man, and found him to be bigoted against blacks. He asked Yi to tell him honestly that he hadn’t at least once questioned his own motives against T. Yi dropped the charges and B told T that he “wasn’t going to let you down this time.” Chegwidden told Co about the most famous Jew in the 1930’s. Hank Greenberg, AKA “hammerin’ hank,” was a hall of fame 1st baseman and left fielder who took the Detroit Tigers to four world series. Greenberg, C said, did more to combat anti-Semitism in the 30’s than any other man. “What the world needs now,” C said, “is a Muslim who can hit 60 home runs!”

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