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Broken “Path”

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By Michelle Malkin  •  September 8, 2006 09:36 AM

***scroll for updates***

From the nutroots in full-blown Rove Derangement Syndrome mode…

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To the top of the Democratic Party

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…the protests against ABC’s 9/11 docu-drama, “Path to 9/11,” have become completely unhinged.

The Ostroy Report says this morning:

In a story in Friday’s New York Times, former Governor of New Jersey and co-chair of the federal 9/11 Commission, Thomas H. Kean, said he was surprised by the current outrage over ABC’s plan to air the controversial “The Path to 9/11” docudrama Sunday and Monday, on which he served as a consultant, because former President Bill Clinton had spoken directly with Disney CEO & President Robert Iger about the film last week. This is a startling revelation, and it comes just a day after we exclusively reported that the two men had spoken and that Iger agreed to Clinton’s edit requests.

Hugh Hewitt reports:

“The Path to 9/11” is a superb condensing of the American non-response to terrorism’s growing threat beginning with the bungled surveillance of the first World Trade Center bombers right through the devastating attacks of 9/11. I spent most of yesterday’s three hour program with the program’s writer/producer Cyrus Nowrasteh, and no serious observer could listen to this interview and conclude that the movie is other than a deeply serious attempt to recount the events leading to the massacre of five years ago, primarily through the eyes of John O’Neill, the FBI agent who had taken over security at the World Trade Center just weeks prior to the attack and whose actions that day are believed to have saved thousans of lives.

For the Clinton team to demand cancelation or edits of the movie is to once again see them elevate their own pesonal vanity above every other interest, especially over the interests of John O’Neill and th emany other public servants who saw the threat clearly and did their best to stop it. The objections of various Clinton-era figures –Berger rightly argues he didn’t hang up a phone in one scene, for example– are absurd complaints about the tiny details used to compress eight years and eight months into five hours of drama. From these complaints they have built a tissue-thin demand for an Orwellian memory-hole moment.

…There is no reasonable case to be made that the film distorts history or slanders public figures in any significant way.

(“The Path to 9/11” doesn’t even raise the most damning charge made against Clinton –that he fumbled an Osama hand-0ff from Sudan.)

If ABC caves to the vanity of Bill Clinton and his band of defenders, the network can give up any claim to being other than an extension of the DNC. That it would consider doing so over such a powerful film on so important a subject on such a meaningful pair of days is hard to imagine. Those who are urging the network to do so are disgracing themselves, not the picture or its makers.

Hugh also takes on the left’s faulty Reagan biopic analogy.

Allah has a reminder of a true-life Clinton bungle on Osama that didn’t make it into the movie, but should have:

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Missed opportunity

Bryan Preston remembers the Stolen Honor fiasco and has a prediction:

Sinclair Broadcasting owns 62 local TV stations around the country. It planned to air Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal on about 40 of them in October 2004. That would be right before the presidential election. But the Kerry campaign got wind of it and threatened Sinclair that its licenses might be in jeopardy if it aired the doc and Kerry happened to win.

The polls were close, so Sinclair caved. It ended up airing just a few minutes of Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal inside a bromide wrapper.

I’m of the opinion that ABC will likewise cave, Friday evening.

The Democrats will have stomped on the First Amendment, again, just ahead of a national election. Like the man said in A Few Good Men, they just can’t handle the truth.

Contact ABC here.

***

Podhoretz has a slightly different take:

Does the movie misrepresent events, conversations and policies of the Clinton administration?

Yes and no.

Ex-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s anger is unquestionably justified. The version that I saw has her self-righteously owning up to actions that effectively tipped off Osama bin Laden to a strike against his Afghan training camp. “We had to inform the Pakistanis,” the movie’s Albright insists.

The real Albright says she neither did nor said such a thing and that the meeting we see in the movie never took place. The 9/11 Commission report, on which the film is partly based, says it was a senior military official who told the Pakistanis.

The portrait of Albright is an unacceptable revision of recent history and an unfair mark on a public servant who, no matter her shortcomings, doesn’t deserve to be remembered by millions of Americans as the inadvertent (and truculent) savior of Osama bin Laden.

Samuel Berger, Clinton’s national security adviser, also seems to have just cause for complaint. The version of the film I saw portrays him as having ruined the CIA’s one clear shot at bin Laden himself.

“Do we have clearance” to shoot, the CIA asks Berger, with Osama in their sights, and Berger responds, “I don’t have that authority.” That scene never took place in real life. The imputation that an actual living person named Sandy Berger refused to give a specific OK to an operation that would have put an end to Osama bin Laden three years before 9/11 is a libel.

If, as reported, ABC has revised that scene to conform more closely to reality, the network has done the right thing.

The one person who has no grounds for complaint is Bill Clinton himself.

“The Path to 9/11” gives the impression that, as president, Clinton never took bin Laden’s declaration of war against the United States and the West seriously enough. And that is simply the unvarnished, undeniable truth.

Still, even here “The Path to 9/11” gets it wrong. The real truth about the failures of the U.S. government under both Clinton and Bush is not, as “The Path to 9/11” would have it, that the diabolical nature of the al Qaeda threat was obvious and unmistakable and that it was ignored by fools, charlatans and other downright unpleasant people who refused to listen to the Few Who Knew the Truth (meaning the late FBI official John O’Neill and that legend in his own mind, former counterterrorism official Richard Clarke).

The simple fact of the matter is that, with a million other things going on all at once – all of which seemed more pressing at the time, the threat went uncomprehended.

Pam at Blogmeister USA remembers John Kerry’s words:

John Kerry said the following about Republicans earlier this year, but he may as well be talking about his own party today:

America has always been stronger when we have not only proclaimed free speech, but listened to it. Yes, in every war, there have been those who demand suppression and silencing. And although no one is being jailed today for speaking out against the war in Iraq, the spirit of intolerance for dissent has risen steadily, and the habit of labeling dissenters as unpatriotic has become the common currency of the politicians currently running our country.

Dismissing dissent is not only wrong, but dangerous when America’s leadership is unwilling to admit mistakes, unwilling to engage in honest discussion of the nation’s direction, and unwilling to hold itself accountable for the consequences of decisions made without genuine disclosure, or genuine debate.

The word of the day, the book of the day, from David Limbaugh:

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Says it all.

***

Justin Levine at Patterico’s has been all over the story. Read this thorough post referencing the 9/11 Commission report and see also the podcast he recommends from KFI’s John Ziegler. Patterico notes the LA Times’ overlooking of Dem thuggery against ABC.

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