A healthy serving of propaganda

CBS’s ‘Seal Team’ portrays a world in which one of the most elite military forces in the world support corrupt dictators and vile governments that have brought the neo-genocide to innocent Armenians.

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A healthy serving of propaganda

"U.S. Marines help with the filming of CBS's Seal Team at Camp Pendelton, California."

1st Marine Division

"U.S. Marines help with the filming of CBS's Seal Team at Camp Pendelton, California."

1st Marine Division

1st Marine Division

"U.S. Marines help with the filming of CBS's Seal Team at Camp Pendelton, California."

Rafael Aroustamian, Business Manager

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I love military shows as much as the next person. They are action packed, full of grit and suspense, and in the end they leave you feeling like a war hero while you sit on your couch munching on popcorn. And a lot of shows on the military tend to lean towards the idea of an alternate world, a fictitious universe where many things are different from the world we live in today. 

One of these such shows is CBS’s Seal Team, a military action drama created by Benjamin Cavell, which first aired on CBS on Sept. 27, 2017. The show has since been met with overall positive reviews, including a 7.3/10 on IMDB and 70 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. The musical score for the show has also been praised, being nominated in the 2018 Emmys for Outstanding Musical composition for a TV series.

And understandably so. The musical composition of a drama-packed series like Seal Team must be executed in great detail to get the most out of heartwarming and heart wrenching moments in the series. The third season is currently being aired, and I will admit to being a watcher of this series. Well, at least I was . . . until a certain episode rocked and rattled me into turning off the TV almost instantaneously. 

In the third episode of Season 3, a scene is portrayed in which the SEALS are gathered around a map of Armenia and Azerbaijan. Ensign Lisa Davies (portrayed by Toni Trucks) starts off by saying that “12 hours ago Armenian Armed forces violated the ceasefire with Azerbaijan, in the disputed Nagorno Karabakh region.”

After some small talk between Master Chief Special Warfare Operator Jason Hayes (portrayed by David Boreanaz) and Special Warfare Operator first class Sonny Quinn (portrayed by A.J. Buckley), Davies states that “Azerbaijan is our only ally within the Caspian region.” I remember myself immediately turning off the TV after hearing those words, staring at the blank screen as I tried to comprehend what they had just said. Only ally? Armenia attacking Azerbaijan? I was utterly shocked. 

Many people might argue that the show itself is based in a fictitious universe, and well, I disagree with that completely. Although there might be minor changes to who and what the SEALS are fighting at times, their adversaries are ones to be expected: ISIS, Al-Qaeda, pirates, etc.

But Armenia? A country that has never had any bad relations with the United States since their release from the communist Soviet Union. A country that almost became a United States mandate under President Woodrow Wilson has been painted the bad guy once again.

But not by Azerbaijan, or by Turkey, for once. By the United States, a country that is seen as a beacon of democracy by almost all other countries. Yet the Azerbaijan government was responsible for the Four-Day War back in April 2016 that led to the loss of life of over 100 Armenian soldiers and countless civilians trying to defend their country which they won rightfully back in the war for Artsakh. Azerbaijan was originally gifted the regions of Nakhchivan and Artsakh regions by Stalin, the corrupt dictator of the Soviet Union. (The Artsakh region and the Nakhchivan Region were both rightful Armenian lands before the days of the great empire underneath Tigranes the Great, yet Stalin saw this as a way to punish Armenians for wanting to uphold the right of self determination as well as not siding with the Soviets after the First World War.)

Yet during the episode, Special Warfare Operator first class Sonny Quinn (Buckley) brought up a very good point during his discussion with Ensign Lisa Davies (Trucks). “Why the hell should I care about turf wars between countries I can’t even spell?” This statement, I feel, is what many Americans think about the Artsakh War and the following ceasefire put in place between the two countries. (Granted, it isn’t really a ceasefire, since Azerbaijan is known to violate the ceasefires on a nearly daily basis.)

Americans don’t understand and know the deep seated violence between the two nations. The average American won’t know the history behind how Armenians living in Artsakh and Baku were constantly harassed and killed by the Azerbaijani government. Some notable examples include the burning of their capital to the massacres of Armenians in Baku. Seal Team got around 4.77 million views on the second episode of the second season, and I can guarantee at least 95 percent of all viewers have never heard of the Artsakh War or the current circumstances surrounding the two countries.

This will immediately put the Armenian government and Armenian people in a bad light, as the show seems to clump the Armenian armed forces with the likes of ISIS and Al-Qaeda. Not so fun fact, but both ISIS and Al-Qaeda members fought in the War of Artsakh before forming their terrorist organizations. Needless to say, the writer(s) of this episode need to go back and do their research on the wars and who was the aggressor and who was the defender, to show at least a small bit of realism. The idea of Armenian forces attacking Azerbaijan preemptively and violating a ceasefire is the most far-fetched idea I have ever heard from a show that I enjoyed up until now. 

Unless the writers decide to retcon the whole thing or make the story sound even a tad believable, I will stop watching this show. And I encourage others to do the same, as if people continue to watch the show they indirectly support the ideals of the corrupt Azeri government and their vile dictator, as well as supporting the painting of Armenians in a bad light in western media.