'ER' Doctor: Those Backing Iraq War “Brainwashed” by “Pseudo-Patriotic Delusion”

On Thursday's ER, a leading character on the NBC drama set in a Chicago hospital, declared in reference to her husband being deployed to Iraq: “My duty is to be a good doctor and to be a good wife, not to be brainwashed into falling in line with some pseudo-patriotic delusion." The blast from “Dr. Neela Rasgotra,” played by Parminder Nagra, came at the end of a scene of a gathering of spouses of deployed soldiers. When one woman, whose husband would not be home for the impending birth of their child, proclaimed that “our loved ones are serving our country, and it's a small price to pay,” Dr. Rasgotra replied: "I think it's a huge price to pay, especially under the circumstances." The woman wondered: “What circumstances?" Dr. Rasgotra explained: "Well, the way the whole thing's been handled, how we got into it, how it's been managed....I still haven't seen any weapons of mass destruction, have you?" As they all sat in a home's living room, Dr. Rasgotra pleaded with the group: "You can't tell me that you believe 100 percent in your heart that we should be in Iraq, can any of you?" (Transcript follows, as well as other instances of left-wing activism on ER.)

Video excerpt (1:28): Real (2.6 MB) or Windows Media (2.9MB). Plus MP3 audio (400 KB)

This isn't the first time ER has taken shots at President Bush or the Iraq war. A November NewsBusters item by Rich Noyes recounted: “About three-fourths of the way through ER on NBC, a character giving a dinner table blessing began her prayer with rhetoric that could have been lifted from MoveOn.org's Web site: 'Thank you, Lord, for the blessings we are about to receive. Look over those now who cannot be with us, including the countrymen who fight to protect us in an overseas war founded on lies told to us by our government.'”

Back in May of 2004, the MRC CyberAlert reported how on ER “two of the characters decided they could not name their baby 'George' because it was 'the name of the current occupant of the White House.' Later in the show, another of the characters was thrilled to hear from a liberal Bush-hating columnist: 'Molly Ivins gave a kick ass speech!'”

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth took down the minute-and-a-half scene from near the very end of the March 16 episode. The dialogue occurs as those speaking at a social gathering, for those with spouses deployed overseas, get food from a buffet table and then sit down in a living room of a home:
Woman #1, referring to Dr. Rasgotra's doctor husband: "So how's Michael doing, back in the saddle again?"

Man: "God bless him, volunteering to go back."

Dr. Neela Rasgotra: "He's fine, doing well. Says he's very busy, misses me."

Woman #2: "Of course he does. He'll be home again soon."

Dr. Neela Rasgotra: "Is Joe going to be home in time for the birth?"

Woman #2, clearly pregnant: "I don't think so. He'd probably pass out in the delivery room, anyway."

Man: "I did."

Dr. Neela Rasgotra: "Seriously."

Woman #2: "Well, of course I want him home. But I knew what I was getting into when I married a soldier: The long absences, the moving for the umpteenth time, the pay."

Dr. Neela Rasgotra: "That's sad he's not gonna be here."

Woman #2: "It's hard sometimes, but that's why I'm so glad I have spouse club and all of you."

Woman #1: "Our loved ones are serving our country, and it's a small price to pay."

Dr. Neela Rasgotra: "I think it's a huge price to pay, especially under the circumstances."

Woman #1: "What circumstances?"

Dr. Neela Rasgotra: "Well, the way the whole thing's been handled, how we got into it, how it's been managed."

Man: "What exactly do you mean?"

Dr. Neela Rasgotra: "Never mind, I'm sorry."

Man: "No, no, no. Go on."

Dr. Neela Rasgotra: "Well, I still haven't seen any weapons of mass destruction, have you?"

Woman #2, trying to change topics: "Who's thirsty?"

Man: "If you don't support the war, how do you justify what Michael's doing over there?"

Dr. Neela Rasgotra: "I don't justify it, and I don't support any war, but I do support our troops, and I am proud of my husband."

Woman #1: "Doesn't sound that way."

Dr. Neela Rasgotra: "You can't tell me that you believe 100 percent in your heart that we should be in Iraq, can any of you?"

Man: "I don't think it helps to talk that way."

Woman #1: "Our duty is to support their duty."

Dr. Neela Rasgotra: "My duty is to be a good doctor and to be a good wife, not to be brainwashed into falling in line with some pseudo-patriotic delusion."
That stuns the group into silence as the camera moves to a wide shot of the group and then the show moves onto another scene.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center