Thursday, September 07, 2006

Random Musing

Don't you get the feeling that quite a few folks wish that the Clinton Administration attacked the terrorists with such vigor as he and others on the Left are attacking ABC for the upcoming miniseries The Path to 9/11, which appears to portray the Clinton Administration in a negative light.

Memeorandum has the ringside seat.

ABC relents to the pressure and has apparently made changes to the miniseries as a result of the pressure from politicians and lefties. Nice. Most of those speaking out to pressure for the changes hadn't seen the movie. Still others are intimately involved in the events - whether they are President Clinton, Sandy Berger, or Madeline Albright, whose statement shows that she didn't even see the movie herself, but rather had it explained to her.
The letters pointed out examples of scenes they had been told were in the miniseries, but which they said never happened. Albright objected to a scene that she was told showed her insisting on warning the Pakistani government before an airstrike on Afghanistan, and that she was the one who made the warning.

"The scene as explained to me is false and defamatory," she said.
Let's take this one point at a time. Well, if she didn't see the movie, how would she know whether she was accurately portrayed. She's basing her comments on hearsay. Let's now assume that the miniseries inaccurately portrayed that she wanted to warn Pakistan, and Howard Kurtz appears to have gotten that fact nailed down. So, if Albright didn't make the call, who did - and it was made since the US didn't act. This isn't quite fake, but accurate, but rather an inability to pin down who made the decision since none of the principals are willing to go on the record as being the one who decided not to go after Osama.

We do know that raids were called off on several occasions, and that any of them could have resulted in bagging Osama before 9/11. That's the part that the Clinton officials can't escape. They had opportunities, and let them fall through their fingers because they found excuses not to do what needed to be done.

This isn't about accuracy, but about perceptions. The Clinton Administration did a poor job protecting the United States from 1993 through January 2001. It's a record that is spotty at best, and damning at worst. Indeed, Bill Clinton admitted that he regretted not taking Osama when presented with the opportunity. Mark Levin tracks down two eyewitnesses to Clinton's failures to act at decisive moments when Osama could have been gotten on the cheap.

The Moderate Voice correctly notes that both parties have acted poorly in ideologically driven movies that question their values or interests (see the Ronald Reagan movie for example).

With all the questions swirling around the completeness of the 9/11 Commission in the first place, even attempting to claim that this miniseries is somehow factually accurate is misleading at best. Able Danger was plainly disregarded by the Commission, and the participation of Jaime Gorelick as a Commissioner was unhelpful at best, and torpedoed the accuracy of the Commission's findings at worst. Indeed, she should have been among those hauled in front of the Commission to testify as to her actions in the 1990s. That did not happen, and we therefore have a far less complete picture of what the Clinton Administration did or did not do.

What we do have is a bunch of officials whose involvement in national security affairs during the time period in question trying to play CYA, and attacking the movie despite knowing that they didn't get the job done.

John Miller did see the miniseries, and finds that the Clinton Administration gets lambasted, but the Bush Administration is not without criticism either. He's right, of course. Both Administrations did poor jobs understanding the nature and urgency of the threats. Jonah Goldberg thinks there should be a pox on both Dems and Republicans. For sure.

Gaius at Blue Crab Boulevard and Dr. Sanity both notice the difference between the way President Bush handled the criticism heaped upon him in the docufarce Farenheit 9/11, and the way President Clinton is handling the criticism in this movie. The differences go to the measure of the men, and how they want to be viewed.

And frankly, no one should get their history from Hollywood. After all, this is the same bunch that has the Battle of Stirling Bridge take place on an open field (Braveheart), has massive tank battles take place when none occurred (Battle of the Bulge), dallied in conspiracy theories on prominent historical events (JFK), exaggerated or invented details (Born on the Fourth of July, Saving Private Ryan, Good Fellas, Laurence of Arabia, The Great Escape), and those are just off the top of my head. That doesn't even scrape the surface of problems with Michael Moore's supposed documentary Farenheit 9/11, which had a melange of conspiracy theory, exaggerated and invented details, and outright lies and distortion of Bush's failures.

That said, people are going to watch these movies and take from them whatever they want. Caveat emptor. Buyer beware. It's sound advice.

Others blogging: Ed Driscoll notes that ABC officials were stunned at how folks that they counted on being supporters turned on them swiftly and harshly, Don Surber, AJ Strata, Macranger, The Anchoress, Instapundit, Pierre Lagrande, Rick Moran, Sister Toldjah, and Confederate Yankee.

Allah at Hot Air has a major update. Still others blogging this tempest in a teapot and watching Democrats spinning furiously on how this movie is biased against them: Flopping Aces, Kim at Wizbang, John Hawkins, Jason Smith, Roger L Simon, and Dan Riehl.

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