When the lead actor, Walton Goggins, told Yahoo TV his character Rip Taggart “is a war criminal,” the editorial direction of the History Channel’s new fictionalized drama, SIX, should have been clear. History’s new series artistically blurs the lines between American soldiers and the terrorists they fight, conveniently sweeping aside ideologies with a wand of relativism that turns cold-blooded murderers into righteous crusaders and blames Americans for inspiring foreign terrorism.
In History’s official trailer for SIX, terrorist Michael Nasry (Dominic Adams) tells a captive Taggart he’s “just a Muslim kid from Michigan who found out the American dream was a lie.” Just fifteen minutes into the pilot, which aired on Wednesday, the audience learns why Nasry has so much distaste for his homeland. During a failed raid to take down the prolific terrorist “Muttaqi,” Taggart brutally scalps a dying terrorist. Shortly after the boys witness this atrocity, Nasry’s brother is shot in the leg. Terrified, he confesses that he is an American from Detroit (Nasry's identity remains a mystery until the end of the episode). Taggart responds by killing the brother in cold blood despite knowing he was unarmed and had already surrendered.
The pilot glosses over the inconvenient reality that Nasry and his brother had already abandoned the United States to join a terrorist organization. Far from being “out in two weeks,” once Nasry’s identity and American citizenship were uncovered, he should have been extradited, convicted, and—at minimum—jailed for his crimes. Goggins’ character, Taggart, would have been court-martialed, but when studios are still hooked on antiheroes, that hardly makes for good television.
I’ll refer you again to Goggins’ Yahoo TV interview in which he stated:
"I can tell you right now that if Michael [Nasry]’s journey is not just as important as Rip’s journey, then we have failed. It will just be another piece of propaganda. But if we can humanize the other person on the ideological spectrum, if we can look at him and treat him as respectfully as we treat Rip and the Navy SEALs, then we will have done something that very few people have the courage to do."
If only the SIX writers had as much reverence for our Navy SEALs as they seem to have for terrorists who murder innocent women and children. Instead, they seem more interested in proving America had it coming.
After portraying the most elite special operations force in the world as war criminals and accomplices, they slip right into the left’s favorite trope of pretending we’re only in it for the oil.
In the scene, a “do-gooder oil company” has hired Taggart (now retired from the SEALs) to provide security as they break ground on a new girls’ school in Nigeria. Instead of being grateful for the new facility, the schoolteacher reminds the executive she only agreed to take the money if there was “no publicity,” and declares that Americans “steal our oil and exploit our people and tell us it's for our own good.” Within seconds of the teacher telling the group she doesn’t want “mercenaries anywhere near my students,” the entire school is captured by Boko Haram.
Despite Boko Haram’s history of kidnapping schoolgirls in the name of Sharia law, SIX implies the unpublished PR campaign is to blame rather than the terrorists’ ideological opposition to educating women. If they had just given the school the money, perhaps everything would be fine. Not only is the U.S. soft on home-grown war criminals, in the alternate reality of SIX, Americans can’t even do basic security properly.
It will be interesting to see how the story progresses, but if the remainder of the series follows the pilot’s paradigm, SIX “will just be another piece of propaganda,” as Goggins said.