The Legacy Thugs and the Death of an Optimist?

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Sep 09, 2006 2:20 PM

Nah, she's probably not quite dead, but let's get to the depressing stuff.

My posting of the "Path to 9/11" controversy needs serious updating.

First the new news.

Albright, Berger, and other Clinton aides now want the miniseries cancelled, not just altered, even though ABC has already shown its willingness to change the handful of scenes to which they object. Clinton's lawyers are on the same warpath-- yank the whole thing, even if 98 percent of it is accurate, the two percent that isn't could be corrected, and the whole thing could be a well-watched informative documentary on an important time in American history about which the general public knows very little, probably thanks to the Legacy Thugs of the Clinton years.

Bill Frist suggested that the censors chill out, let the thing run, and let the American people decide what they think.That's what I said here:

As for all this uproar, the lefties should just sack up, let the thing run, and try to make some coherent arguments against it after the fact. That's what we've been doing for years.

Looks like that is not the tack Lefties are taking. They're not even willing to let the thing run with the corrections they deem necessary, and Allah got justifiably hot about it last night.

He calls them thugs, acknowledging that they may wear the label as a badge of honor. Exhibit A:

The Senate Democratic leadership just threatened Disney's broadcast license. Not the use of the word "trustee" at the beginning of the letter and "trust" at the end. This is nothing less than an implicit threat that if Disney tries to meddle in the US elections on behalf of the Republicans, they will pay a very serious price when the Democrats get back in power, or even before.

It's hardball, nutroots style, and it's to be applauded. They're warriors, man, and the Dem Leadership is finally getting with the program.

Intellectual honesty is also not part of the nutroots style. Remember back when "fake but accurate" was all the rage, as long as it illustrated the "larger truth?" It lasted up until this week, as a matter of fact.

An argument could certainly be made that the "Path to 9/11" scenes liberals are complaining about convey a "larger truth" about how the Clinton administration's ineptitude and preoccupation with the Lewinsky scandal meant it missed 8-10 chances to kill or capture Osama bin Laden. Here are the scenes in dispute again:

Berger is seen as refusing authorization for a proposed raid to capture bin Laden in spring 1998 to CIA operatives in Afghanistan who have the terrorist leader in their sights. A CIA operative sends a message: "We're ready to load the package. Repeat, do we have clearance to load the package?" Berger responds: "I don't have that authority."

Berger said that neither he nor Clinton ever rejected a CIA or military request to conduct an operation against bin Laden. The Sept. 11 commission said no CIA operatives were poised to attack; that Afghanistan's rebel Northern Alliance was not involved, as the film says; and that then-CIA Director George J. Tenet decided the plan would not work.

Tenet is depicted as challenging Albright for having alerted Pakistan in advance of the August 1998 missile strike that unsuccessfully targeted bin Laden."Madame Secretary," Tenet is seen saying, "the Pakistani security service, the ISI, has close ties with the Taliban." Albright is seen shouting: "We had to inform the Pakistanis. There are regional factors involved." Tenet then complains that "we've enhanced bin Laden's stature."

Albright said she never warned Pakistan. The Sept. 11 commission found that a senior U.S. military official warned Pakistan that missiles crossing its airspace would not be from its archenemy, India.

But do conservatives, who argued against the "fake but accurate" standard during Rathergate suddenly come down in favor of it now that it serves their political purposes? Here's Ace addressing the first scene in question:

The scene in question is, well, not accurate. I wrote Justin Levine to clarify if the troops were depicted as part of a targeting/recon mission for a cruise missile strike on bin Ladin (which would be close enough to the truth) or actually poised to kill or capture bin Ladin himself. Levine reports it's clearly the latter -- which means yes, the scene is inaccurate.As far as actual troops being in position to kill bin Ladin. But we had plenty of opportunities to kill him through airstrikes...

It should be noted that the scene drawing the most controversy can be edited, I think, to better reflect the actual facts. They don't need to show troops in position -- they can show a man at a cruise missile targeting computer speaking with Berger instead. They don't have time to shoot this? Ah, don't be silly. There is plenty of footage from a million movies that can be used for a brief depiction of the man on the other end of the line, and dialogue can be dubbed/rerecorded to make it clear a Tomahawk cruise missile strike is contemplated, not a boots-on-the-ground covert operative raid.

Patterico:
First, if the changes make the film more historically accurate, that’s a good thing.
Here's Dean Barnett on all the scenes in question:

First, let’s concede the obvious – they have a point. There are “conflations” and “dramatizations” that cast their previous administration in a negative light. If I were Sandy Berger, I wouldn’t be thrilled about my depiction. Then again, if I were Sandy Berger, I’d probably keep a low profile during this entire controversy, figuring the less snooping done into my record on terrorism, the better.

But conservatives should be upset about these inaccuracies, also.

I, for one, am really proud to say that we are upset about them, and many have called for them to be corrected to better reflect what actually happened during the days of the Clintonistas. We even have suggestions, here, here, and my personal favorite:
For instance, if the film included a scene where Bill Clinton said to his staffers, “You know it would scare the shit out of Al Qaeda if suddenly a bunch of black ninjas rappelled out of helicopters into the middle of the camp,” and the camera then surveyed the agape stares of Clinton’s acolytes, that too would have communicated Truth. And it would have reflected an actual event.

All of those scenes, used in "Path to 9/11," would be both genuine and accurate, which is the standard we've supported all along, unlike the Left bloggers who-- you know I gotta say it-- voted for "fake but accurate" before they voted against it. (Buh duh ching! Yeah, I know. Moving on...)

The whole thing's got me, not just angry, but pessimistic. It's not an emotion that often overcomes me. But over the last couple days, I've watched the new face of the Democratic Party applaud two threats (one from the actual Senate) on ABC's broadcast license. I've watched their unabashed intellectual dishonesty in abandoning the "larger truth" argument when it doesn't suit their objectives anymore (yes, it was a flawed argument, but some consistency at least?). I've watched them nominate a 9/11 Truther for Congress , and I've watched "Screw Loose Change," an extensive debunking of the Truthers' arguments. 

It's easy to read this stuff, blog about it, acknowledge it as loopy, and never let the sheer weight of the crazy hit you, you know? Maybe it's some sort of self-defense mechanism for the eternal optimist. But this week? Wow.

Listen, I'm a conservative and a Republican. I'm not exactly one for getting all Kumbaya with Democrats, especially since that ususally means going all maverick and dropping most of your principles. But, I do believe in the need for two, strong, viable national parties to check each other.

On the national security issue, the Dems have been a long way from strong and viable for a long time. They've been coming to the marketplace of ideas with empty grocery bags. Sure, they're cotton and biodegradable instead of plastic or paper, but they're usually empty. And, even though it means Republicans have a chance to win more elections, I'm not particularly excited about the fact that Dems won't sack up and take the greatest threat of our time seriously.

They nominated a man for Congress who thinks our government did this to 3,000 Americans:

He is not a lone nut among their ranks. Hello, pessimism. Maybe I'll feel better tomorrow.

Update: From 9/11 conspiracy film "Loose Change:"

"I think what happened to the World Trade Center is simple enough. It was brought down in a carefully planned controlled demolition. It was a psychological attack on the American people, and it was pulled off with military precision."

Sickos.