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He keeps fighting, of course (he has 24 episodes to fill), but for people, not politics. 24's ideology--Jack Bauerism, if you will--is not so much in between left and right as it is outside them, impatient with both A.C.L.U. niceties and Bushian moral absolutes. This season, Bauer allies with Hamri al-Assad, a (putatively) reformed terrorist leader, to stop an attack. He thus displays a better grasp of realpolitik than has the Bush Administration, which resisted the Iraq Study Group's recommendation to work with Iran and Syria. A fellow agent asks Bauer if it matters that al-Assad has murdered hundreds of people. "I don't know what means anything anymore," he answers. "The playing field has changed."
That playing field can change again, and probably will. On 24, there are a few very good people, a few very bad ones and in between, a lot of question marks who can upend the plot (and the political analogies). That may be the biggest lesson of 24 in the Iraq era: don't stubbornly hang on to your preconceptions when the facts on the ground change. Undoubtedly, Bauer will continue to give liberals and libertarians conniptions before his latest day is over. But if conservatives and neocons think 24 is working for them, they don't know Jack.