Podcast Corner: The Line looks at the actions in Iraq of Donald Trump’s favourite Navy Seal – Irish Examiner

Posted: April 27, 2021 at 6:26 am

The ethics/morality of war was a theme that cropped up in the dispiriting second season of Serial and is evident in The Line, an ongoing six-part series from Apple TV/Jigsaw Productions.

It focuses on a US Navy SEALs team led by special operations chief Eddie Gallagher, who was convicted in July 2019 of posing for a photograph with the corpse of a 17-year-old Isis fighter in Iraq. Gallagher was subsequently acquitted of having killed him.

Former US president Donald Trump pardoned Gallagher, and they were later pictured together, with their wives, at Trump's Florida Mar-a-Lago resort. None of this is a spoiler for The Line, which rather seeks to explore the sheep/wolves/sheepdogs moralities of the commando units (the SEALs mostly think they're the good sheepdogs; some call themselves lions, out to get any bad guys). It's a series that Call of Duty gamers might well savour.

Gallagher's conduct in Iraq was reported by former members of his unit - their testimony was published by the New York Times, the audio of which is played in The Line alongside interviews of various soldiers. Among those we hear is Gallagher, who posits in episode three that it was all a conspiracy by his team, who set him up by deleting the video.

The Line is narrated by Dan Taberski (Missing Richard Simmons), who's got an idiosyncratic, humorous interviewing and presenting style that includes references to Charlie Sheen in the 1990s film Navy SEALs, and prodding the grudge between a journalist and scholar over who coined the term "forever war".

An interesting note about The Line is that it's not just a podcast - a four-part limited documentary series will premiere on Apple TV in the autumn. The podcast is stimulating in itself; with two more episodes to come, will the TV series just be going over the same material or will the podcast leave us on a cliffhanger?

The BBC did a similar audio/visual tie-in recently with I'm Not a Monster, a 10-part podcast series/Panorama documentary. Apple TV also had a bonus 'official podcast' for its series For All Mankind. Expect more such companion series to follow in the years to come.

LOOKING AT CATASTROPHE

Slow Burn has returned for its fifth season. After focusing variously on David Duke, Watergate, Tupac vs Biggie, and the Bill Clinton scandal of the 1990s, the acclaimed Slate show is turning to the Iraq War, asking how did "the catastrophe" happen, and what was it like to watch the US make "one of its most consequential mistakes".

It's hosted by award-winning reporter Noreen Malone and available wherever you listen to podcasts.

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Podcast Corner: The Line looks at the actions in Iraq of Donald Trump's favourite Navy Seal - Irish Examiner

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