The ABC 9/11 film  — “The Path to 9/11” — included lies, which has been covered by liberal bloggers recently, which caused ABC to stop marketing it’s film as “based on the 9/11 report,” add an extended disclaimer during the movie and substantially edit its film while Scholastic stopped promoting the film to students and conservatives and liberals set the record straight on the facts. However, much has been written about the trees in the film while ignoring the forest.

My view of the forest last night was that the film clearly demonstrates just how badly Bush has managed this “war on terror” when compared with even the distorted record of Clinton presented in the film:  

(1) The film ignored the fact that the “war on terror” actually started at least as early as the Reagan administration, and then continued during Papa Bush’s term. In fact, White House Press Sec. Snow recently indicated that 9/11 was caused by Papa Bush’s walking away in the 1991 Gulf War which showed America was “weak and wouldn’t stay the course, and that led to September 11th.” However, the film showed that President Clinton was the first President who  actually acknowledged that terrorism was a serious threat to US national security and developed a multi-faceted strategy that included criminal prosecution with life sentences, military action and economic sanctions as well as enhanced security measures for the Millenium.

(2)  The film then apparently fast forwards to 9/11, totally ignoring the summer of 2001 when Tenet and Clark were ringing alarm bells frantically about a pending attack that was ignored by the Bush team, who did not deem al-Qaeda a serious threat. And, the film apparently ignores Bush was a pathetic, scared “commander in chief” when his “Pet Goat” performance was interrupted with news that the US was under attack. At that time, Cheney stated that no one knew if there were more planes, or attacks of a different nature across the country, but Bush decided to fly around and then hide in an subterranean bunker rather than defend America from the attacks occurring at that time. Bush likes to brag that he has kept Americans safe since 9/11 based on the absence of additional attacks and tag the Democrats as too weak to defend America. But, Democrats did not hide in an underground hole while America was attacked on 9/11.  Moreover, the film showed that after terrorists attacked the WTC the first time, Clinton took security measures which prevented another US attack during his term.

(3)  The film showed that Clinton kept the US safe from another terror attack without imposing draconian restrictions or stripping away of civil rights, or invading privacy with surveillance of Americans etc. It showed that Clinton used rendition to capture terrorists based on evidence, not the mere suspicion used by Bush to render terrorists for gulag imprisonment and torture.  It showed that Clinton prosecuted real terrorists like Ramzi Yousef, not wannabes for thought crimes. It showed that the US had a great working relationship with other countries to find and capture real terrorists. The contrasts in all these areas are not details, but facts which determine just how safe Americans are from terrorists. Clinton waged a real war against terrorists, while Bush is just faking it and wasting our monies and resources.

(4)  The film showed that the major terrorists nabbed by Clinton were turned over by Muslims who did not agree with the terrorists killing innocent civilians.  Each of these men risked their lives to save lives, not to cash in on money, which the Bush team just can`t understand as they keep upping the bounty for bin Laden. Given the world  and Muslim anger and hatred of Bush, how likely is it that Muslims will continue to risk their lives to cooperate with Bush? And, what about the safety of counter-terrorism teams who go to foreign, now very hostile countries to arrest terrorists?  Remember that scene when a crowd of locals gathered when US officials were arresting Ramzi Yousef’s associate? The US agents told the angry crowd, it is ok, we are Americans, or words to that effect. Can you imagine that American identity would provide a free pass today when the US government has to warn Americans not to advertise that they are American when traveling overseas?

Yes, crucial facts are omitted from the film and lies and contrived scenes are included. But, even with these lies (both by commission and omission), the big picture painted is that Clinton recognized that these terrorists presented a serious threat to America, and reacted by keeping us safe without stripping away our rights and privacy, without needing to violate our Constitution and laws, and without demanding that laws be changed to provide him immunity or to authorize torture. The big picture is also that the US has been in a war against terrorists since at least Reagan, but no president has deemed it necessary to hit Americans and the world over the head with such war at every bend and twist except Bush so that he may create the fear he needs to force compliance by a wimpy Congress and scared public.  The big picture is that even this right-winger film spewing out GOP talking points made it clear that true leadership is taking actions that actually will keep Americans safe rather than actions designed for corporate financial gain or GOP political advantage.  We need to write about this big picture — as well as the lies and the boycotts and the legal actions that flow as consequences for ABC’s political propaganda — because the big picture is a study in contrasts between the great Clinton leadership and the fantasy world of Bush.

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