Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Par for the Course

I've made a point to avoid every 9/11-themed movie. I have no desire to see a dramatization of events, since they are always colored by some political motivations of either the left- or right-leaning variety. The latest "docudrama", Path to 9/11, is just the latest in a long string of revisioninst history retellings of the incident. The web is abuzz about the show (which has not yet aired, btw) because of transcripts of several scenes which purport to show that Clinton failed to act to capture/kill Bin Laden when CIA were on the ground in Afghanistan, ready to do so, and thus opened the way for the attack in New York.

The problem? The scene -- which makes the incendiary claim that the Clinton administration passed on a surefire chance to kill or catch bin Laden — never happened. It is entirely fiction, made up by the author.

The actual history is quite different. According to the 9/11 Commission Report (pg. 199), then-CIA Director George Tenet had the authority from President Clinton to kill Bin Laden. Roger Cressy, former NSC director for counterterrorism, has written, “Mr. Clinton approved every request made of him by the CIA and the U.S. military involving using force against bin Laden and al-Qaeda.”
In fact, Richard Clarke, former counterterrorism czar for Bush I, Clinton and Bush II, has weighed in on the scene and has this to say:

1. Contrary to the movie, no US military or CIA personnel were on the ground in Afghanistan and saw bin Laden.

2. Contrary to the movie, the head of the Northern Alliance, Masood, was no where near the alleged bin Laden camp and did not see UBL.

3. Contrary to the movie, the CIA Director actually said that he could not recommend a strike on the camp because the information was single sourced and we would have no way to know if bin Laden was in the target area by the time a cruise missile hit it.

The movie is sounding more and more like a carefully orchestrated fictional account meant to make the current president look good and boost ratings around election time. Hey, if we can continue to blame Clinton, then Bush is doing the right thing, right? But like most of the rhetoric surrounding "blame" for 9/11, this is based on lies and distortions.

If ABC airs this "documentary" as is -- on Sep 10th and 11th, to maximize impact, of course -- and shows this as "factual" what they are in fact doing is misleading the public and attempting to sway public opinion by whitewashing the errors and failures in intelligent in the Bush administration that led to 9/11 and "enhancing" the truth about the errors and failures in the Clinton adminsitration. The movie contradicts the findings on the 9/11 commission, on which is supposed to be based. Cherry picking the "facts" is dishonest and manipulative. It is even more dishonest and manipulative to air the show now, with the rhetoric of the war-on-terror being ratcheted up for the election season, knowing that there are discrepencies and a declared bias.

Even the director of the movie admits that the movie is not a documentary. ABC should be airing dislcaimers to that effect during the showing. Most people will only see the movie and accept that is is a documentary-- an objective telling of the events -- and swallow it hook, line, and sinker. Given the importance of the topic, people deserve the truth, at the very least. Present the facts; we can make up our own minds who is "at fault", if anyone.

You can send a note to ABC about this issue from ThinkProgress. I won't be watching, in any case. I can read the 9/11 commission report and get the real data.

No comments: