“And it’s one, 2, three, what are we fighting for?” —Country Joe and also the Fish, “I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die-Rag”

If there’s one thing that struck me about “The General,” the seventh episode of The Looming Tower, it’s that the answer to Counattempt Joe MacDonald’s musical question is, as it constantly was, “not a lot.” Not much of worth, anymeans. Ostensibly illustrating the examination into the bombing of the USS Cole off the Yemeni coastline, the episode is in reality about just how interfirm and global strife made a halfmeans decent investigation impossible. Most of the fighting that gets done right here is between world who are intended to be on the very same side. Why are they doing it? As Country Joe put it, “Don’t ask me, I don’t offer a damn.”

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Written by Ali Selim and directed by Michael Slovis, “The General” takes its title from the rank that FBI agent Ali Soufan spontaneously asindicators his boss, John O’Neill, to gain the Yemeni army and also police authorities to take him more seriously as soon as they arrive in-nation to investigate the Cole bombing. About the just person this actually works on is General Qamish, their army liaiboy — a decent dude that smokes cigars, reads voraciously, and is more relocated to cooperate by the pleacertain of O’Neill’s agency than by his imaginary rank. The 2 are kindred spirits, men that view the boundaries of both their countries and also their work serving them, not to mention themselves, but that perform their finest anyway. Any progress O’Neill and Soufan are able to make in Yemen comes down to Qamish caping for them behind the scenes.

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Everybody else is a large asshole. The episode generates its drama by contrasting O’Neill and Soufan with a series of insufferable people who must be trying to aid them yet sabotage them at eexceptionally rotate. Captain Amin, their contact in the local police, condescends to Soufan by refusing to soptimal to him in Arabic, declines eextremely research they make till word comes dvery own from above for him to comply, and cuts their interrogations of suspects as brief as he can; it’s implied that he tips their highest-ranking al-Qaeda targain off so he have the right to flee the nation prior to they catch up through him.

Ambassador Barbara Bodine, a figure of some controversy in 9/11 lore, is a rather unsupposed obstacle. When she and O’Neill initially present themselves, it’s difficult for people who’ve watched as a lot TV as, well, me not to review their vibe as a Sam-and-Diane-style antagonistic meet cute. (Yes, O’Neill has actually a wife and 2 girlfriends currently, yet plainly that wouldn’t speak him.) What’s more, we initially accomplish Bodine (played by the talented actor Jennifer Ehle) as soon as she visits the Cole herself, throwing her weight roughly to ensure the FBI has access despite Yemeni prohibitions against exterior law-enforcement agencies. Her outrage and grief over the strike is plainly intended to be sincere.

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And yet she can’t fucking stand also O’Neill, from moment one. She sees him as a bull in a china shop, insulting and also offfinishing all of the officials she’s dedicated her life to winning over to the side of the USA. Even after helping to get General Qamish to corun via them — a move that yields the name of the Cole mastermind and also a entirety new (as far as he knows) al-Qaeda procedure or meeting in Malaysia, which he happily reports to her — she goes over his head to the Bureau back home and has actually him unceremoniously yanked out of the country. It’s type of funny, actually: We know whose side she’s intended to take, but unfortunately she doesn’t. (The genuine Bodine has long questioned this portrait of personality problem overwhelming expert judgement, but you have the right to watch why the display would certainly go via it.)

Which brings us to the Final Bosses of The Looming Tower‘s moronic infighting: Alec Station chief Diane Marsh and also her banished CIA puppetunderstand, Martin Schimdt. The prompt Soufan calls Toni-Ann Marino, the FBI’s woguy in the Agency, to ask her to ask Marsh to administer them through any kind of information they have actually on the miscellaneous names they’ve dug up and also the Malaysia meeting they’ve heard about, we know it’s going nowhere: Marino’s now Marsh’s creature, and also Marsh is still incredibly a lot Schmidt’s. Sure sufficient, in legalistic banter exreadjusted with the rapidity of spiritual cant, Marsh and also Schmidt reject the idea of giving the Bureau with what they know about the Malaysia summit. The lopsided nature of their details battle is represented via grim black humor by the way Marsh and Soufan are charting the relationships they’re uncovering: Marsh has a whiteboard via dozens of names, photographs, and places, cross-referenced out the wazoo, while Soufan has actually some hastily scrawled notes (one al-Qaeda operative is simply labeled “lengthy name guy” and also “pegleg” for convenience’s sake) that he and O’Neill surreptitiously jotted dvery own on the ago of a window blind in the men’s room of the Aden police department.