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September 07, 2006

Chapter And Verse From the 9/11 Commission

Terrific stuff from Texas Rainmaker. Not sure if the film depicts these events precisely accurately, as I haven't seen it. But damning stuff.

It does not seem now that the film depicts something fictitious -- soldiers about to bust in Osama's door. Rather, it depicts the CIA getting targeting information on bin Ladin and Berger refusing to give the go order-- something that did happen. (See Rainmaker's cites.) Update: I may have this wrong. See update at end.

That's from Mary Katherine Ham's excellent round-up of the controversy.

Earlier I said that when someone makes an allegation, and the opponent doesn't deny it, it should be taken as true. But that rule applies to the Clintonites too-- so when they make complaints as petty as whining that a scene showing Sandy Berger denying authorization to go after bin Ladin concludes with him slamming down the phone, and they're up in arms that he never slammed down the phone, well, I take that as a tacit admission that the main point is true.

Here's everyone's favorite stooge, Greg Mitchell ("who?") of E&P, whining about the fictitious, possibly defamatory slamming of the phone that wasn't:

That's it? That's what you're up in arms about? Sandy Berger slammed down a phone in an improvised moment in the movie, whereas in real life he had set it down gently after scuttling yet another operation against bin Ladin?

Oh, yeah. I can see now why this movie is nothing but Reichwing Propaganda. They've got slamming phones, for Christ's sake. That's just wrong.

And the liberals have now pulled Scholastic, Inc.'s prepared materials for discussing the film from schools, stating, "we determined that the materials did not meet our high standards for dealing with controversial issue."

Want to see the sorts of outlandish conservative propaganda Scholastic had been pushing on our kids? According to David Brock's Media Matters, here are the very serious charges against the materials.

The ABC/Scholastic "Student Resource Sheet 1" omits key information, resulting in a distorted account of pre-Iraq war WMD capabilities; misleadingly suggests a tie between Iraq and 9-11; and minimizes the current role of coalition troops in the country.

While providing background information to assist viewers in "becom[ing] familiar with the people, places, and organizations that played a role in the events of 9/11 and those that led up to that tragic day," the resource sheet asserts that prior to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, "[t]he U.S. government believed that [Saddam] Hussein had been developing weapons of mass destruction that he planned to use against American and other targets." But the material omits any mention of the fact that, as we now know, Iraq did not have WMDs. Nor is there any mention of the voluminous and growing body of evidence that indicates that the Bush administration knew, prior to the 2003 invasion, that its claims about WMDs were unsupported.

As Media Matters has repeatedly noted, at least three different U.S. or U.K. government-sanctioned reports have found that, before the invasion, Saddam was not in possession of illegal WMDs and did not have an active chemical, biological, or nuclear WMD program. Further, as Media Matters has documented (here, here, and here), over the past year and a half, substantial evidence has emerged that the Bush administration dismissed clear-cut evidence undermining President Bush's central case for war -- that Saddam possessed WMDs -- evidence that the media have largely ignored.

The material also appears to suggest a link between Iraq and 9-11, by both apparently including Iraq as a "place[] ... that played a role in the events of 9/11," and by later tying Iraq to the "War on Terror." The resource sheet stated:

As part of the "War on Terror," President Bush has led the United States into Afghanistan and Iraq and reorganized the national government in an attempt to combat terrorist activity.

In fact, even Bush -- despite repeated suggestions by Bush himself and other administration members of a link between Iraq and 9-11 -- acknowledges that Iraq had no connection to the 9-11 terrorist attacks. During an August 21 press conference, Bush was specifically asked: "What did Iraq have to do with ... [t]he attack on the World Trade Center?" He replied: "Nothing."

Further, the ABC/Scholastic guide downplays the level of violence still reportedly present in Iraq, noting only that "coalition forces still maintain a presence in the country, battling insurgents who want the United States to pull out." In fact, the Pentagon has noted that violence in Iraq is actually increasing and largely along sectarian lines.

It seems to me that Media Matters, and liberals generally, are arguing with facts (like the fact that Bush believed Iraq had WMDs, a did Clinton and Gore) and demanding that their leftist spin be used in its place.

What will Scholastic offer in place of these materials?


The new guide clearly states that Scholastic had no involvement with developing the ABC docudrama, and that the company is not promoting the program, but that the program can provide a springboard to discussion about the issues leading up to 9/11, terrorism and the Middle East. The guide will focus on three issues:

1. Media Literacy - what is a docudrama; how does it differ from a documentary; what are the differences between factual reporting and a dramatization?

2. Background to 9/11 - what are some of the causes of unrest in the Middle East and other parts of the world that give rise to attacks on the U.S. and other countries?

3. Geography and Culture -- there is a long history of conflict in the Middle East. How well do students understand each of the countries involved and what influences their behavior?

In other words, 1, don't believe anything bad this movie says about Clinton, 2, why do they hate us, and 3, why do we deserve it?

Un. Fucking. Beleivable.

Update: I'm emailing with a guest blogger at Patterico's, Justin Levine, who's seen the movie, to find out precisely what the contentious scene shows. He says there ARE operatives shown near the house, but I'm not clear if those are recon/target-painting operatives to assist a cruise missile strike or soldiers there to kill bin Ladin themselves.

If it's the former, or even if it's ambiguous, then the scene is accurate enough.


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posted by Ace at 08:18 PM

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