Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Red, White, and Blue Thriller

Vince Flynn writes about one of my favorite characters - Mitch Rapp who is a CIA operative. I just finished his latest book – Protect and Defend. Mitch is always effective in what he does and in this book it is no different. However, the things Mitch does are not always thought to be the right thing. This is why a lot of the things he does are done in secret. As a reader of these “fictional” accounts, we know what he is doing and, in a lot of cases, why. This makes it easier to accept what he does. He seems to be different from how in general we view the actual CIA. Or maybe it is because the CIA is so secret and we do not know what they are doing (or more importantly why they are doing it and how they justify it) that we have a different view? I think it is easier to accept a fictional account with it’s justifications a lot easier than a real live account where the justifications are a little fuzzy.

Case in point … the book opens with Mitch and a partner tracking down a character from a previous book – Stu Garrett. Only a few people (as well as the reader) know the kind of person Stu Garrett is and what he has done. His purpose was to help a political party elected to the White House but his method was one that was wrong. The wife of the vice presidential candidate (and others) were blown up by terrorists because of him. Is this a justified way to help get the party elected to office? He would use any way he felt necessary to accomplish his purpose. He was a heartless “person”.

Mitch tracks him down, kills him, and makes it look like an accident. If this was not a fictional account and had we not known what we knew, would this be justifiable? I think it is the things you do not know that make some things hard to accept.

There was a secret facility being built to develop nuclear bombs in Iran – sound familiar? Only a few knew about the facility and only a few knew about plans to bomb it. When it was bombed, the powers in Iran pointed the finger at Israel and the United States for doing it. They also indicated it the facility was to develop power - not bombs. In spite of proof otherwise, they proceeded to incite their country and others into a confrontation with the US and Israel.

Irene Kennedy who was Mitch’s boss is sent to quietly defuse the situation. She meets with somebody in the Iran government in Iraq. What they do not realize is that others in the Iranian government know about this and kidnap Irene. Their plans are to discredit the US and to torture Irene and to get top secret information from her. This upsets Mitch and he plans to do anything to get her back. He captures some of the ones who were in the raid that kidnapped Irene. He uses torture to get information about the kidnapping of Irene. While the torture done by the Iranians is considered evil, the torture done by Mitch is somewhat justifiable to those of us who know what is going on.

Anyway, Mitch successfully locates and rescues Irene but this does not end the story. The terrorist responsible for her kidnapping escaped but is hunted down. He is in a prison in Lebanon. Using some influences and bribes, Mitch goes to the prison, confronts the terrorist, and kills him in the interrogation room. Sound similar to the beginning of the book?

Of interest was the way the Iranian government was portrayed in this book. You have the good people and you have the bad people. And then you have those in the government who keep themselves out of the middle of it and wait until they see the outcome before they take a stand. Interesting!!!

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