Fighting Words – 203

[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.”
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Crash – 197

[Although completely at odds (surprise, surprise) Mac and Harm investigate the same case in this episode. In a momentary lapse, Chegwidden reveals a rudimentary sense of humor; and, Bud seems to be “growing up”… a bit.]

Lt. James Ross crashed his F18 Hornet onto the ramp of the USS Bennington and was killed. Both Harm (H) and Mac (M) were assigned to do the JAG investigation, and Captain Goldman complimented H on his previous “Seahawk investigation.” They discovered that Ross had been landing on “automatic” but needed to switch to manual because he was too low. Then, they found that most of the plane had been burned, along with the maintenance data tapes. They were told that Ross had been following the glide path programmed into the computer; but, its data was also lost, so they couldn’t check it. PO 1st class Dakey denied any computer error and said that most often problems are due to a misaligned angle of attack vane. The senior chief got defensive and said the vane was NOT out of order, because they had specifically double checked it. Harm asked why he was so defensive and he said he didn’t like to speak ill of the dead. Ross had come back from two weeks leave, very depressed, and said that, because his wife was having an affair, he didn’t care what happened to him anymore. The Sr. Chief said he didn’t believe the crash was an accident.
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The Boast – 191

The SECNAV asked the JAG, Chegwidden (C), to get to the bottom of an accidental “confession” to a reporter of an Iraqi prisoner. Lance Corporal Pete Kelly told Ginny Serrano about shooting a prisoner in the head when she asked him the “million dollar question” (have you killed anybody) in a bar. Unfortunately, she didn’t accept his retraction after he found she was a reporter; and she dug up an identical incident which happened in the compound to Omar Billah. Also, unfortunately, in Serrano’s “yellow journalism” the only thing she needed to run the story is no-one telling her it couldn’t have happened. Kelly didn’t have an alibi for when the incident occurred, and of course she didn’t either ask or believe anyone in the military because they would just “lie.” Kelly told both Bud (B) and Mac (M) that he just made up the story because he was sick of people asking “the question.” Captain Rappaport confirmed there was an incident in the compound which held 200 – 400 EPWs. He also said that although Kelly’s whereabouts couldn’t be confirmed, the security was in chaos with all the influx of surrendering prisoners. One prisoner had been found to still have a gun, and Billah had to be handcuffed because he was trying to incite a riot two hours before he was killed.
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Touchdown – 187

[Very interesting follow-up to a previous JAG episode showing the degradation of the Sturgis Turner character. Harm and Mac still were in parallel stories requiring “flip-flops” which made the plot complicated. Harms story was based upon an actual landing of a C-130 on the USS Forestall by Lt James H Flatley and Lcdr W. W. “Smokey” Stovall on October 30th 1963]

Still flying for the CIA, Harm (H) and Cdr Beth O’Neil were assigned by Blaisdell to “extract” Saed Labdouni, the highest level “asset” in Libya. He had information of government involvement in the Lockerbie plane crash. The only plane available was a C-130 transport and there was no backup or contingency plan. Harm was told he was the “lead” this time, and had to fly down at 200 feet to avoid Russian tracking. He had to turn off his radar to avoid detection and fly “visually” in the dark. At rendezvous one of the nav satellites went out making his GPS inaccurate so he had to turn and make another run before he found the signal. On landing he found that Labdouni had brought his wife, Aziza, mother-in-law, Ismitta and cousin Fadil with his family. Telling him that extra passengers weren’t authorized, they were fired on by machine-gun wielding jeeps so had to board fast. Unfortunately they were shot at during take off and engine #1 began to flame. Instead of “blowing it,” O’Neil insisted on shutting it down, in case they needed it later; H complied and told her that she was “lucky this time.” Just then, they were attacked by a Russian MIG. Not being able to out run it, H had to drop flares to avoid a missile. They didn’t avoid his gun fire however; so, at the last minute, he positioned next to a mountain, and mass fired all his flares at once just at the time of “pull up.” The MIG pilot, using night vision enhancement, was unexpectedly blinded, and crashed into the mountain. Now engine #2 was loosing oil so needed to be shut down or “freeze up.” They then restarted #1 and luckily it didn’t start fire. Harm had to “fight” the plane knowing that they couldn’t abandon because of all the extra passengers, including children, who didn’t have parachutes. Harm asked Blaisdell the coordinates of the Seahawk, and to get help with the captain, from Washington.
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