Gosh, the MSM piling on about supposed inaccuracies in a movie they hadn't seen. I did see both episodes and, having read the 9/11 Commission Report and a few books on the run-up and aftermath, I must say that the movie appeared "metaphorically true." The double standards employed by the MSM and their crusade against conservatives and neo-cons and the USA in general have prevented them from looking into with any curiosity just which documents convicted felon Berger was hoisting out of the National Archives. Just like Plamegate disappeared, with arch-prosecutor-wannabe Chris Mathews not even mentioning the affair after his 27 on-air pieces concerning the size of the hallucinated Rove/Cheney conspiracy to "get" Wilson were outted as the run-of-the-mill leftist paranoia they always were. The NYT is also silent after more than 50 articles on Plamegate asserting some sort of plot by the GWB underlings.
The International Left was conceived in a lie at the first Comintern back in the 19th century when the minority rad-left named itself the "Bolshevik" majority after losing overall, but winning one committee vote. It then called the majority "Mensheviks," which means minority. The lie stuck, just like the MSM today makes many lies stick through creating shibboleths and propagating them as the truth, a habit JEHoover used to call "the big lie." Hitler and Stalin also employed the tactic of constant repetition until utter falsehood becomes accepted as common knowledge. Bill Clinton is doing his snide underhanded version of the same with his usual narcissistic style:
In his desperation for ongoing favorable attention from the media and his churlishness about any negative trope about him, Bill Clinton and his minions have made an enormous fuss about an ABC docudrama, "The Path to 9/11," and its treatment of his administration's almost nonchalant response to a series of Al Qaeda assaults on American targets: the first attempted bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, various attacks on U.S. personnel in Somalia and Saudi Arabia from 1992 to 1995, the 1996 truck bomb murder of 19 American troops that also wounded 379 other servicemen at the Khobar Towers in Dhahran (apparently a rare ecumenical venture between Shia Hezbollah and Osama bin Laden's Sunni fanatics), the plan to shoot down civilian American aircraft over the Pacific, the 1998 carnage at our embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam with 234 fatalities and more than 5000 maimed and wounded, and the successful targeting of the USS Cole in October 2000 that claimed 17 dead and at least 40 wounded. This list does not exhaust the strikes, actual and failed, by organized Sunni jihadists during the Clinton years.
Peretz in his blog linked above goes on to delineate much of the 9/11 Commission Report in detail and outline the "innocence" [irony fully intended] of the Clintonista B-List running the show before the tragedy.:
Maybe we were still living in innocence. In an eloquent and touching online piece for The New Republic, Mark Lilla shows us the new world that 9/11 revealed. But it was with us for nearly a decade before. That is another of the stark truths the Commission unveiled. The innocence of Clinton and his team are the basic subject of the more or less hundred pages after page 95. Below is a seriatim sampler:
"1. Secretaries of State after George Shultz took less personal interest in terrorism. Albright's predecessor, Warren Christopher, was so oblivious to terrorism that he wanted to subsume it under "a new bureau that would have also dealt with narcotics and crime" (p. 95). "The role played by the Department of State in counterterrorism was often cautionary before 9/11" (p. 95).
2. The State Department was "focused more on lessening Indo-Pakistani nuclear tensions, ending the Afghan civil war, and ameliorating the Taliban's human rights abuses than on driving out Bin Laden." Marine General Anthony Zinni agreed with State's views (p. 111). And why would a general be having influence over political decisions?
3. "Berger focused most ... on the question of what was to be done with Bin Laden if he were actually captured. ... [T]here was a danger of snatching him and bringing him to the United States only to have him acquitted" (p. 113).
4. "On May 20, Director Tenet discussed the high risk of the operation with Berger and his deputies, warning that people might be killed including Bin Laden. Success was to be defined as the exflitration of Bin Laden out of Afghanistan ... Cabinet officials thought the risk of civilian casualties--'collateral damage'--was too high ... They were ... worried that 'the purpose and nature of the operation would be subject to unavoidable misinterpretations and misrepresentation--and probably recriminations--in the event that Bin Laden, despite our best intentions and efforts, did not survive" (p. 114).
5. "They had reason to worry about failure: millions of dollars down the drain; a shoot-out that could be seen as an assassination; and, if there were repercussions in Pakistan, perhaps a coup" (p.114).
6. Attorney General Reno "expressed concern about attacking two Muslim countries at the same time" (p.117).
7. In 1998, Albright refused to designate Pakistan as a "state sponsor of terrorism" despite the fact that, in the face of Pakistan's assurances to the contrary, "the country's military services continued activities in support of international terrorism" (p. 123). Her refusal came just two days before the embassy bombings in Africa.
8. Some administration officials questioned whether a proposal to ask the Saudis to give a huge bribe to the Taliban would pass muster with "either Secretary Albright or First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton--both critics of the Taliban's record on women's rights" (p. 125).
9. "I am sure we'll regret not acting last night," a professional wrote to a colleague, criticizing superiors for "worrying that some stray shrapnel might hit the Habash mosque and 'offend' Muslims" (p. 131).
10. Janet Reno argued against assassinating bin Laden, warning of "possible retaliations" (pp. 132, 144).
11. The president's guidelines about bin Laden were that he "preferred that Bin Laden and his lieutenants be captured," not killed by the "tribals." Moreover, "he would receive a trial under U.S. law and be treated humanely (p. 132). If bin Laden couldn't be taken alive, he could be killed.
12. In February 1999, pending a similar deal with the Northern Alliance, Clinton removed the killing option (p. 133).
13. "Policymakers were concerned about the danger that a strike might kill an Emirati prince or other senior officials who might be with Bin Laden or close by" (p. 138).
14. "In his handwritten notes ... Berger jotted down the presence of 7 to 11 families in the Tarnak Farms facility, which could mean 60-65 casualties" (p. 141).
15. Funding was an orphan in the administration's efforts at countering the mobility of terror (pp. 185-187).
16. Even after Berger and Richard Clarke, the administration's top terrorist expert, had assured the president that "al Qaeda had planned and directed the bombing" of the USS Cole and on evidence from CIA Director Tenet and Reno, the White House "didn't really want to know." A State Department counterterrorism official queried Defense officials, "Does al Qaeda have to attack the Pentagon to get their attention?" Albright was counseled--and accepted the counsel--that a military response might inflame the whole Islamic world. Defense Secretary Cohen shared her misgivings. And here's a howler: Since the assault on the Cole was the subject of a criminal investigation, the administration was fearful bin Laden's defense attorneys might obtain evidence in court that the government would not want them to have (pp. 195-196)."
Peretz finishes his blog saying much what I mentioned in a recent blog entry. Clinton's chase after a Nobel for another Middle East peace treaty and the "magical realism" he imagined would then remove the incentive to hate and attack American interests---this displays a naive fairy godmother view of history, which now "mocks" Clinton, as Fouad Ajami describes in his book "The Foreigner's Gift."
On the evidence, "President Clinton, Berger and Secretary Albright were concentrating on a last minute push for a peace agreement between the Palestinians and the Israelis." They wanted nothing to interfere with this enterprise. This is reported by the Commission as Clarke's insight. The fact is that Clinton and company assumed that settling the historical and religious conflict between the two sides would buy peace in the entire region and in the Islamic orbit beyond. But settling this conflict would be possible only if Israel were to imperil its very life. Still, and even if it did precisely that, the wars of the Arabs and of the non-Arab Muslims, too, would not cease. They will fester and flare up, as the routine mass killings in Iraq are still with us after a thousand years.
As Ajami says in "Dream Palace of the Arabs," we are dealing with a "broken civilization" with failed attempts at transitioning to modernization and westernization. The inertia of centuries and the Islamic predominance of patriarchal institutions make any future development toward modern and post-modern environments by the core Middle East very aleatoire, as the French say. Conditional to the violent and confused history of the region for the last millenium, or at least since the Mongol conquest by Helagu of Baghdad in 1258, a genocide from which Mesopotamia, at least, has never really recovered.
The Ba'ath Party means "rebirth" or "renaissance" or "risorgimento." But a peaceful Islam does not seem to be in the offing in the very near future, no matter what sort of diplomacy and negotiations are put forward.
A return of the Democrats to power having learned nothing and fingerpointing all the time would just postpone any real progress toward a real resolution based on Reagan's apt motto "Trust and Verify."