Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Book is Better Than The Movie

Based on the 9/11 Report. It’s supposed to lend credibility to The Path to 9/11. But what if some of the most important and damning scenes in this work which purports to dramatize the actual events never happened? As a writer, I can appreciate the need to make some changes, some conflations in order to represent real events in the constraints of a movie’s timespan. But outright fabricate the climax of the first hour?

The climax of the first hour is this scene:

We are 1 hour 54 minutes into the film, it is the culmination of the entire first two hours of the film. CIA agents on the ground with Commander Massoud have found bin Laden. They have him pin-pointed in a house. They are looking at the house with binoculars. They are on the phone with the CIA, that has patched in Clinton National Security Adviser Sandy Berger. Berger, like a bumbling ass, sits there, looking every which way, refusing to give them clearance to grab bin Laden who is in their literal grasp. The woman at the CIA has to lecture Berger about how intelligence works, like he's some kind of moron. Berger literally looks like a deer caught in the headlights. He's clueless, an idiot, a moron, unfit to serve in any public office - hell, I wouldn't hire the guy to mow my lawn. After a very long pause, the agents are begging Berger to take some responsibility, stop being such a wuss, stop trying to cover his chicken-shit ass, you see Berger reach forward and the phone line goes dead. Clearly Berger has ended the call. Osama gets away. And Sandy Berger is personally responsible for killing 3,000 Americans and bringing down the World Trade Center twin towers.

It's one thing to make up the stuff leading up to it, if you keep things fairly consistent on the broad level. But this is the scene people will take away. To fabricate this to the point of portraying events that never happened is to betray the very substance of the work. You do not put falsehoods in the climactic scene of a fact-based drama.

If you're looking to present your work as fact based, you also don't get the airline, the airport, and the security policies wrong for the the flight the lead terrorist boards on his way to the flight he hijacks.

In addition to that, the film puts the words of a general trying (perhaps foolhardily) to reassure the Pakistanis that they aren't under nuclear attack in Madeleine Albright's mouth.:

Albright called a reported depiction of her in one scene as "false and defamatory."

She said the scene shows her refusing to support a missile attack against al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden without notifying Pakistani officials, whose territory the missiles would have to cross. She said the film depicts her notifying Pakistan of the attack over U.S. military objections.

"Before you air your broadcast, I trust you will ensure you have the facts right," Albright wrote to Iger. (Read Albright's letter -- .pdf file, requires Adobe Acrobat)

It was Gen. Joseph Ralston, then vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who told Pakistani officials that a missile strike was under way against al Qaeda targets in Afghanistan. The disclosure was made to assure Pakistan that the missiles were not coming from their nuclear-armed rival India, the 9/11 commission reported.

I know the standard response of the right is going to be that we are merely trying to keep people from seeing the truth. But as we can objectively say here, the truth is not what people are going to see. What they are going to see is an unfortunate attempt by a set of misguided souls to rewrite history to suit their tastes.

The 9/11 report vividly lays out the true story, and gives us the added benefit of having real facts to go with the accounts presented. It was done in a truly bipartisan spirit.

The same cannot be said for the making or previewing of the film. It is not an accident that the Right gets to preview this film before anybody else, on the mainstream or left.

Our problem here is not criticism of the Administration(which the report has plenty of), but the singling out, and the lengths that are gone to to make this strictly the fault of one administration. This is a distortion of events, and a hijacking of its lessons for the purpose of perpetuating a political myth.

The irony here is that Bush supporters resisted the formation of a 9/11 commission, took potshots at commissioners and tried to undermine the whole affair, and now want to come back and exploit that report for their political benefit without being so kind as to get the facts straight, as written in the report.

With 9/11, the Joe Friday principle works best: :Just the Facts, Ma'am It's inevitable that the film develops a viewpoint, but that viewpoint shouldn't be forced on a film like this. It should develop organically. It should not be the consequence of fabrication and error.

Almost 3,000 Americans died that day, for reasons that had political aspects, but which were mostly about the practical nature of our security apparatus. Many of these faults were carried through administrations both Republican and Democrat, and few of the victims if any, I imagine, were asked or volunteered their political beliefs before the end came. If another attack of this kind comes, regardless of our fingerpointing, the failures will again be practical, and the victims taken without regard to what marks they made on one November day.

9/11, I believe, was useful in waking us up to our common interests, our common identity as Americans. It was never meant to be the political excuse for one side's ascension, nor the other side's vilification. The Post 9/11 era was never an appropriate space of time to start dividing Americans within.

Americans-victims, survivors, and bystanders alike- deserve a response to the tragedy that doesn't seek to scapegoat one side or another, especially with fabrication and inaccuracy, but instead follows up on the definitive report and the definitive recommendations of that commission with action that resolves the problems that brought the buildings to fall that clear September day. We do not need another apology for an approach to terrorism that appeals to partisan fantasy more than it does practical need. We do not need years more of waiting on these issues while we wait for our adversaries to strike again.

We also do not need our picture obscured by fictional myths. However comforting they might be to some, such myths might not only serve to do no good in preventing the next attack, they might help to make the next attack more likely, or perhaps more devastating. Katrina should stand as a warning to what happens when those who seek credit for protecting lives and livelihoods fail to live up to their promise. It should stand as a warning that neither nature nor history shows mercy to the unprepared, to a country that lives in propaganda-dulled complacency. Let's not forget that for eight years after the original WTC attack, we believed we were safe. It only took one day for us to be proved wrong.

Let us not begin any examination of what happened that day by starting out with falsehoods and errors. Let's start our examinations of these events on the right foot.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at September 9, 2006 7:43 PM
Comment #180185

Excellent post Stephen,

My question is, what in the hell is ABC and Disney thinking to let this pile of BS go on the air. What is their motivation? Why do they release it to Limbaugh and Hannity? What in the hell is going on here?

Posted by: mark at September 9, 2006 9:46 PM
Comment #180193


Hey…you’re talking censorship. People can vote to watch this show with their clickers…did you forget that? It’s not required, right?

What’s the bigger issue? Is is 70% accurate? 60% accurate? If so, then the Clinton Administration is that percentage guilty of the event leading up to 9/11.

Can’t have both ways,my friend.

There is a high degree of PROBABLY accurate facts in the show I bet…. (A show,by the way, which I will not watch)….and some of those facts will show that Clinton…and his heirs….are soft on the War on Terror…which apparently was the only thing that was in fact soft during his presidency. :)

Posted by: sicilianeagle at September 9, 2006 9:55 PM
Comment #180203
Is is 70% accurate? 60% accurate? If so, then the Clinton Administration is that percentage guilty of the event leading up to 9/11.

That does not compute (in my best robot voice).

Posted by: womanmarine at September 9, 2006 10:19 PM
Comment #180206

Either it’s accurate or it not, and people have the right to know which one is correct, not be told it’s based on the 9/11 commission report when it is not.

Posted by: mark at September 9, 2006 10:26 PM
Comment #180209

“are soft on the War on Terror”

Thanks for the talking points…

Posted by: tony at September 9, 2006 10:32 PM
Comment #180219

“What’s the bigger issue? Is is 70% accurate? 60% accurate? If so, then the Clinton Administration is that percentage guilty of the event leading up to 9/11.”

You know, before reading the posts, I was going to comment on a segment I saw on Fox today where some moron was equating this movies innacuracies to Clinton lying about a BJ. (My brain can’t do that kind of gymnastics)
But I guess Fox really DOES know their audience.
The sad fact is, the same 50% that still thinks Sadam did 9/11 would cluelessly tune into this “docudrama” and think it’s just another reason to reelect republicans so they can keep Kansas safe from brown people.
Airing it so close to an historically important election is inexcusable for a major network.

Posted by: Observer at September 9, 2006 10:53 PM
Comment #180221

Does no one else notice that the timing for the release of this “docudrama” is quite convenient for a certain political party?

Posted by: jim at September 9, 2006 10:56 PM
Comment #180223

Sorry Observer I see you caught that to, you were posting as I was typing.

Posted by: jim at September 9, 2006 10:59 PM
Comment #180224

So the Fox network is promoting the ABC network movie, well at least we haven’t heard the “mainstream liberal media” yet.

Posted by: j2t2 at September 9, 2006 11:19 PM
Comment #180228

Drama doesn’t work by percentage points. If the climax to the first night of a fact-based miniseries is an inflammatory and false scene, then the percentage of the other material that is gotten right is irrelevant, because the writers have lead it all up to a false conclusion.

There was never any such opportunity to kill Bin Laden. There was no such episode, No Bin Laden in binocular range of being killed on Sandy Berger’s order. To make this the end of the first part of the Miniseries is to lead viewers to a false conclusion that many of those people, for one reason or another, may not be well-informed enough to disbelieve.

You call it censorship. Under our laws, though, speech can be regulated. If you were to decide to make a movie of my life, I could probably go to court and file an injunction because you failed to get my permission. You invaded my privacy.

If you had some documentary footage of me smiling at puppies playing, and you spliced it with pictures of puppies being skinned alive and dissected, I could put a stop to your presentation on the grounds that you portrayed me in a false light.

If you make a movie that alleges factually that I am responsible for a series of puppy murders thereafter, and you make a convincing case out of it, aside from leaving crucial facts out or fabricating some, I could sue you for libel, and again put a stop to your film.

Free speech ends when you decide to use falsified facts to cause harm to a person’s reputation. The standards are narrower for public figures, but there’s still a limit there somewhere, and actual malice, I believe, is that standard. If they knew the scene was false, or they didn’t care at all whether it was factual or not, then they can be sued for libel and the material pulled from distribution or retracted.

That is why most filmmakers wanting to avoid trouble make sure that living participants and witness get to see the film, and review its contents. These people don’t have much of an excuse for knowingly disregarding the truth of what happened. They had the report itself, for crying out loud. If they created a story factually inconsistent with the 9/11 report, then it can’t have been accidental. They knew better, and still they pulled this.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 9, 2006 11:53 PM
Comment #180238

Stephen, and anyone,
Very interesting post.
You wrote:

We are 1 hour 54 minutes into the film, it is the culmination of the entire first two hours of the film. CIA agents on the ground with Commander Massoud have found bin Laden. They have him pin-pointed in a house.

Please pardon my ingorance. I know it sounds crazy to be so far to behind, but during that time I was other-wise involved and didn’t pay that much attention to the World News.

What year are you referring to? I haven’t seen the film yet, so I have no idea about what it covered during th first (approx)2 hours. Has the WTC already been hit? Or is this before the attack?

Was there any major (concrete)evidence Bin Lauden was perpared to commit future crimes against the US? Enough to warrant his arrest? Or plan to murder him? Or was it an assumption that he was involved in the first attack on the WTCs?

Thanks for getting me get up to speed.

Posted by: Linda H. at September 10, 2006 12:38 AM
Comment #180240

Stephen, and anyone,
Very interesting post.
You wrote:

We are 1 hour 54 minutes into the film, it is the culmination of the entire first two hours of the film. CIA agents on the ground with Commander Massoud have found bin Laden. They have him pin-pointed in a house.

Please pardon my ingorance. I know it sounds crazy to be so far to behind, but during that time I was other-wise involved and didn’t pay that much attention to the World News.

What year are you referring to? I haven’t seen the film yet, so I have no idea about what it covered during th first (approx)2 hours. Has the WTC already been hit? Or is this before the attack?

Was there any major (concrete)evidence Bin Lauden was perpared to commit future crimes against the US? Enough to warrant his arrest? Or plan to murder him? Or was it an assumption that he was involved in the first attack on the WTCs?

Thanks for getting me get up to speed.

Posted by: Linda H. at September 10, 2006 12:39 AM
Comment #180241

Thanks for the the above information. I don’t feel quiet as far behind as I thought I was.

What is the issue with Clinton? I know I’ve read on the blue side and the red side that the Republicans blame him for not taking action, but I can’t remember what it was over, and when.

Posted by: Linda H. at September 10, 2006 12:47 AM
Comment #180244

Stephen, everything about this movie, from its producers, to its content as reported by critics, as well as its timing speak loudly to this being a conserative backed distraction from the issues Republicans face at the polls on Nov. 7.

It is a clear attempt to take Americans back to the day when America stood behind the President and the Republican Congress to get those SOB’s who caused 9/11. The ironic elephant of a distraction, is that the kingpin responsible for 9/11, is still free. And his organization is bigger and more widespread than ever.

Nevertheless, the movie is a distraction. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted. The voters want answers to today’s problems and they should be reminded how old many of those problems are and how long they have gone without solution by this President and this Republican controlled Congress. That is where Democrats attention and focus should be, not on this stupid fictional distraction to yesteryear when Americans placed their faith and hope in the Republican government.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 10, 2006 2:11 AM
Comment #180245

Oh, and BTW, Bill Clinton is not running for office this November. So let them spew their hypocritical propaganda. On the one hand they want to blame Clinton for 911, on the other hand, they insist 9/11 changed everything. So, which is it? Can Clinton be held responsible for an event that no one foresaw at a time in our history prior to 9/11 when the changes the Bush administration and Republicans now justify in the name of 9/11 had not even taken place yet?

The public is awake now. And they don’t trust Democrats or Republicans. But, they don’t trust Republicans even more, because they are at the controls of all that is not right with America on the ideals that 90% of all Americans agree are desired, prosperity, peace, and liberty.

To the extent that Democrats can deliver on Peace with security, Prosperity for all willing to work their share to their capacity for it, and Liberty for all who respect the liberty of others, Democrats will win out over Republicans.

Pelosi is starting to get it. But the D Party is still in disarray without this clear vision of what it is the American people want and expect, and without a unified common sense plan to deliver to the voters to achieve those ideals. To the extent Democrats continue in disarray, Democrats will fail to achieve majority status in government as Republicans now enjoy.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 10, 2006 2:24 AM
Comment #180251

“Free speech ends when you decide to use falsified facts to cause harm to a person’s reputation.”

Free Speech never ends in America. The system is set up that you can say whatever you want about anyone at any place at any time. You may face consequences in court if that person decide to press charges, but otherwise, citizens are free to spout off at will! Someone can even call for the death of our President, as I have seen on many left wing blogs, but they will face the consequences. It is their right! ABC can show anything they want to, they are a private entity.
A DOCU-DRAMA is just that, based on partial fact and partial drama [entertainment], just because some do not agree with the contents does not impose any legal basis for removal from showing it. Accept the fact that it is being shown and the Democrats are going to take a hit, because as we all know, people believe whatever the see on TV or the Big screen…just ask Michael Moore.
The movie states plainly at the intro “BASED ON THE 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT”..BASED, not entirely 100% factual. That saves ABC from being sued by anyone offended by this min-series. Oliver Stone has made millions upon millions doing the same type of entertainment-NIXON-JFK.

Posted by: Joe at September 10, 2006 7:32 AM
Comment #180253


You are absolutely wrong. Try yelling fire in a crowded theater. See what that kind of speech get you. You can say it. But you do not have the right to say it.

Posted by: mark at September 10, 2006 7:40 AM
Comment #180254

Stephen Daughtery

Please don’t lecture me on defamation. I teach it for a living.

Clinton,since he is a public figure, falls under the defination of “malice” under “New York Times v. Sullivan”…a two pronged test. Thus, he is fair game for a doco-drama.

This is real cry baby stuff by the way.

On the other hand,last night I watched “In the Footsteps of Bin Laden” on CNN by Christine Ampoor. I was happy that that particular channel broadcast OBL’ds own words to remind the mostly liberal audience that back in 1988 he declared on America and said that a uniform was of consequence to jihad. Civilians were fair game.

Want to censor his words too?

This arguement you cannot win. Pop the popcorn,kick your feet back, and watch Clinton get knocked around a bit. I have done that for 5 years with my president.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at September 10, 2006 7:41 AM
Comment #180256
The movie states plainly at the intro “BASED ON THE 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT”..BASED, not entirely 100% factual. That saves ABC from being sued by anyone offended by this min-series.


That’s a bogus argument. Let’s say I make a movie about the life of Joe Whateveryournameis. It shows you using drugs, beating your wife, and cavorting with prostitutes. (I don’t know you from Adam, but I assume you don’t do these things.) I advertise it as “Based on the Report of a Private Investigator Who Followed Joe Whateveryournameis”.

You sue, but I cleverly point out that I only said it was “Based on” your life. I just sprinkled in a few things to make it more exciting…

You miss an important point about Oliver Stone’s movies: They were about dead people. Nixon was dead when Nixon came out. LBJ and Claw Shaw were dead when JFK came out. You can’t libel the dead.

Posted by: Woody Mena at September 10, 2006 7:50 AM
Comment #180257


I looked up the case you are talking about in Wikipedia. Noteworthy comment: Since proof of the writer’s malicious intentions is hard to provide, proof that the writer knowingly published a falsehood was generally accepted as proof of malice, under the assumption that only a malicious person would knowingly publish a falsehood.

I’m not a lawyer, but it looks like Sandy Berger at the very least could claim malice. Not that I necessarily support him going to court. It would be better if ABC took responsibility for telling the truth.

Posted by: Woody Mena at September 10, 2006 8:01 AM
Comment #180259

I will watch the show tonight. I like these sorts of things. I used to watch the West Wing every week. The funny thing about whole discussion is the turn around in roles.

When the wildly inaccurate Fahrenheit 911 came out, liberals loved it. It won awards. But you need not look that far. The West Wing, which I enjoyed very much, regularly misstated Republican positions, although usually in subtle ways. In fact, I am not sure the liberal writers always realized what they were doing. They were not trying to be offensive most of the time. From their point of view, the dramatic license was fully justified.

I still have not seen the show, so I am writing only from what I read, but I would say to my liberal colleagues, welcome to the show. How you feel today is we feel much of the time when we watch television. In the spirit of role reversal, I would suggest you just look up some liberal retorts made when conservatives complained about Hollywood bias. What they said goes for you now.


I think Oliver Stone’s Nixon and JFK are WORSE than something about a living person. Sure, they don’t make a living person unhappy, but they destroy the accuracy of history. Many people imbibe their history through movies. Stone’s manipulative mixture of newsreel footage with his fiction was very damaging.

Posted by: Jack at September 10, 2006 8:13 AM
Comment #180262


If Bush administration officials think that Michael Moore was telling lies about them, they should sue him. I doubt they would have much luck, because he is very careful not to introduce falsehoods into his documentaries. (Even many of his critics acknowledge this.) People call him a liar all of the time, but talk is cheap.

The West Wing isn’t even remotely comparable to the 9/11 movie. It doesn’t have real people in it. They even make up countries to avoid misinforming people.

I like on general principle the idea that you can’t libel the dead. At some point, people should belong to history. JFK was a crappy movie. Someone should make a better one. Ironically, it trashes LBJ, one of the most prominent liberals of modern times.

The conservatives got their way with the Reagan movie. Maybe it’s our turn. Alternatively, ABC could show an anti-Bush 9/11 story too. I would love to see the meeting where Bush is informed that OBL is going to attack the US with planes, and decides not to do anything about it.

Posted by: Woody Mena at September 10, 2006 8:54 AM
Comment #180264


To expand on a point a bit more: Yes, it is out of character for liberals to side against what appears to be the side of “free speech”. You might call it hypocrisy. On the other hand, there is the precedent of the Reagan movie being pulled by another major network. In that sense it is a request for equal treatment from the MSM.

Posted by: Woody Mena at September 10, 2006 9:02 AM
Comment #180265

Regarding OBL’s threats in 1988. What did our President at the time, George H. W. Bush, do about it?

Posted by: mark at September 10, 2006 9:13 AM
Comment #180266


“Malicious” udner NTY V Sullivan is publication with recklenss disregard of the truth…..TOUGH to prove…except when,for instance, the National Enquirer would publish a story saying that Carol Burnett gave birth to a 100 pound Martian….THAT”S reckless disregard of the truth.

Knowlege of falsity AND publication with reckless disregard….2-pronged standard.

This is is contrast to when a private figure (say Sandy Berger’s wife,for instance is) defamed…the the “” standard of negligence is used and the plaintiff would then have to establish the elements of a negligence suit: Duty,breach,actual and proximate cause,and harm


Posted by: sicilianeagle at September 10, 2006 9:15 AM
Comment #180267


ummmm…in 1988…Clinton was president. Bush assunmed the presidency in January,2001…9 months before 9/11.

Now,connect the dots.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at September 10, 2006 9:17 AM
Comment #180270


I think you have Clinton confused with a gentleman named Ronald Reagan.

Assuming you are right legally, it is still noteworthy how few docudramas are made about living people. (Especially presidents two months before an election.)

Posted by: Woody Mena at September 10, 2006 9:25 AM
Comment #180271

So, Clinton was President for 12 years? No, George H.W. Bush was elected President in 1988( actually Reagan was still in office), Clinton elected in 1992. George W. Bush took office in 2001(declared President in 2000)

So, what did Reagon And the first Bush do about Binladens threats. Goerge I had four years to take action.

Posted by: mark at September 10, 2006 9:27 AM
Comment #180272

On second thought, I should have said critical docudramas. There are lot of the warm and fuzzy movie-of-the-week sort, and they usually buy rights from the subjects. You don’t see a lot of hit jobs of this sort of living people, with the obvious exception of convicted criminals.

Posted by: Woody Mena at September 10, 2006 9:34 AM
Comment #180277

Would sure love to stick around and here what you have found on what Reagan and Bush the first did to track down OBL, but it’s time to go to church. I’ll check back later.

Posted by: mark at September 10, 2006 9:40 AM
Comment #180283

The sad statement is that GW could have been in office for 7 years and 9/11 would still have happened, and you still wouldn’t hold him responsible for anything.

Posted by: Loren at September 10, 2006 10:15 AM
Comment #180285
I know I’ve read on the blue side and the red side that the Republicans blame him for not taking action, but I can’t remember what it was over, and when.


I believe it was during that time when our Republican led congress was preoccupied with a certain stain on a little blue dress. When Republicans shifted the country’s focus away from world events and bogged us down with the Presidents private sex life. You remember, that multi-million TAXPAYER dollar witch-hunt to find out the President got a BJ? You know Linda, when Republicans were accusing Clinton of wagging the dog for destroying WMD sites in Iraq, the ones Bush can’t find (duh!).

Posted by: JayJay Snow at September 10, 2006 10:21 AM
Comment #180304

I just received this overnight in my email, and thought some might be interested…..especially the part that this could be considered a major political contribution without much subtlety ! This was presented by Charles Sanders, who is seeking to hold his Congressional seat in Ohio. Good posts all…….


The perverse obstinance of ABC/Disney in plowing ahead with their political hit piece on the Democratic party, “The Path to 9/11”, will likely not only subject them to defamation suits from Bill Clinton himself, and from his cabinet officials that they smeared, they deserve to be prosecuted by the Federal Election Commission (F.E.C.) for campaign finance law violations. And if enough of us raise our voices, we can make it happen.

Although it was previewed only to hard core right wing ideologues (even Clinton was refused a request for an advance copy), enough has leaked out about its gross distortions of fact and malicious bias for there to be a mounting groundswell of condemnation of the planned broadcast, and demands that it be pulled entirely. Especially suspicious is the fact that the production, with a reported cost of $40 million dollars, is to be aired without commercials. And if that weren’t bad enough, they are coordinating with the White House to let Bush give a speech right in the middle of the second installment.

In other words, ABC/Disney is providing to their extreme right wing pals a free, prime time, negative campaign commercial of 6 hours intended to influence the upcoming general election with less than 60 days to go. There could not a more blatant or gross violation of campaign advertising law. The production is so riddled with deliberate partisan bias, it cannot be repaired or redeemed. And most despicably of all, ABC/Disney is promoting their conflation of heinous lies as “the official true story”.


Please submit the action page above to send your personal message of complaint to the F.E.C., and all your members of Congress as well. And then if you want to do more, you can file an INDIVIDUAL formal written complaint against ABC/Disney following the instructions at the following link.

Mandatory compliance laws regulate every action of all federal candidates seeking membership to the United States House or Senate. Congressional and Senatorial campaigns can be shut down entirely if any improprieties are evidenced through any filing discrepancies. Acquiescence by the Federal Elections Commission with ABC’s after the fact coup d’etat on the Clinton Administration can only be overcome by our voices. Let us flood the F.E.C. with complaints, and let THAT be the story.

Take action today to declare that the F.E.C. must not be allowed to play favorites with secret, big dollar contributors. As a United States Congressman, I will not ignore such tactics by broadcasters to perpetuate such contemptible and flagrant violations of law which serve to promote under-handed agendas to be foisted on the American public.

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at September 10, 2006 11:58 AM
Comment #180313

Read the 9/11 report. Clinton did not do nothing. Besides, if he had used your argument during his administration, you’d be roasting him for it now. It doesn’t matter whether Bush has kept us safe for five years if tomorrow we get attacked again. What you advocated is complacency, and complacency is dangerous.

A person can prevent the distribution of libellous material. Otherwise, the law would have no teeth on the subject.

ABC is a broadcaster, and it broadcasts material under license from the FCC. That license can be revoked if they do not serve the public interest. Breaking the law is not serving the public interest.

A Docudrama must respect the facts, or else expose itself to liability.

These people knew going in that the scene never happened. Nonetheless, they put in, representing it as fact despited their knowledge. They were told repeatedly that this and other scenes were factually inaccurate and that revisions were necessary. Instead, they continued on ahead. That sounds to me like actual malice. All quotations I see about it quote it with a disjunctive “or”, which means, a as far as I know, that both need not apply.

Because of the nature of this drama, it’s claims to basis in fact, we have a case here that somebody offended by the representation of a proxy in the West Wing would not.

As for Farenheit 9/11, its not offered as a straight representation of the facts. Anybody going in halfway informed would know who Moore is and what he says. There’s no reasonable expectation of balance. We know this is an op-ed piece by a man with a reputation for showmanship. The expectation of damage is important. The Right has yet to prove that he knowingly falsified facts. Opinions, being unfalsifiable, do not fall under libel statutes.

The Path To 9/11 claims to be factually based, yet one of its climactic scenes is not only a complete fabrication, but defames its subject. It claims to be the story of how we failed to stop 9/11, but that scene creates a false reason why that failure occured, despite the abundance of real reasons out there. The problem is not one of Clinton being criticized. The Report itself offers a great deal of criticism for the administration. It’s maliciously false criticism that’s the problem.

Should we allow malicious falsehoods to be broadcast unchallenged? You still talk about The Dan Rather episode in the last election as if he intended to defame the president falsely from the get-go. If you believe that, but also believe as you do now, could I call you a crybaby because you do not believe the media should assert such falsehoods as facts? Or should we simply admit together that it is both legal and wise to put a stop to the distribution and presentation of malicious falsehoods as facts?

Reckless disregard is provable here, to my amateur eyes. This scene is acknowledged to be made up. Nowhere in the source material does it show up as what happened. In fact, it contradicts the report. Other scenes can demonstrate this reckless disregard by showing damaging actions by participants in events that are misattributed. I mean, it would be news to American Airlines that it’s their security that failed to keep Mohammed Atta off the express flight to Logan Airport from Maine, since U.S. Airways was the responsible airline. Madeleine Albright is given the words of a general in a completely different department.

There’s creative license, and then there’s a complete lack of concern for the evidence. I can understand the first, as a writer, but the second is not only beyond the protections of the first Amendment, it is a dishonor to the memory of the people who died. They need the basic truth of what happened told, not some cooked up scenes meant to vilify the left on truly fictional grounds.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 10, 2006 12:13 PM
Comment #180315

“Free Speech never ends in America. The system is set up that you can say whatever you want about anyone at any place at any time. You may face consequences in court if that person decide to press charges, but otherwise, citizens are free to spout off at will!”

This is an utterly ridiculous argument. ‘You can do/say whatever you want but you have to face the consequences.’ You do understand what laws are and why we have them right? By this logic I could kill someone as an expression of my free speech, and I’d be totally justified unless someone pressed charges. You are not allowed to ‘spout off at will.’ There are legal limits to what you are allowed to say because some things can be harmful and dangerous. Just look at the Patriot Act, which based on your views from you post I’d assume you support, and you can see how the government can limit our speech through the law.

Posted by: alefnought at September 10, 2006 12:16 PM
Comment #180317

Additional revelations: Harvey Keitel becames so annoyed with historical inconsistencies that he hired his own consultant.

For those of you who want the real story on Keitel’s character, John O’Neill, there’s a Frontline Episode on him called The Man Who Knew.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 10, 2006 12:27 PM
Comment #180331


Still waiting .

Posted by: mark at September 10, 2006 1:05 PM
Comment #180333

One more thing that “adds” to the “political” nature of this is that Bush’s primetime address will interrupt the last hour of “Path to 9-11”. When you consider that the program is running commercial free, therefore otherwise interruption free, it certainly adds creedence to this broadcast being political propaganda.

BTW, thanks for the link and info Sandra. I hadn’t thought about this being a possible violation of FEC policy.


Posted by: KansasDem at September 10, 2006 1:10 PM
Comment #180335

Oh, from the Pot/Kettle/Black files:

“Nancy Reagan objects to campaign ad”

Since when does archived news footage of a political photo-op belong exclusively to anyone?


Posted by: KansasDem at September 10, 2006 1:27 PM
Comment #180371

Could it be that the truth is coming out?

Well, mister, first and foremost, the truth already has come out: The 9/11 Report has been published, and you are free to go to the Library and check out a book that doesn’t present the Clinton Administration in whitewashed way. There are numerous books, including those authored by Richard Clarke, Robert Baer, Michael Scheuer, and Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon that document the botched policies of a number of administrations, including Clinton’s.

My point is that you don’t get my point: If you’re going to say we’re lousy on terror, feel free, but don’t rewrite history, inventing an opportunity to kill Bin Laden that never existed, and inventing a cowardly response by Sandy Berger that would have prevented that fictional destruction of our enemy.

Bush had a much shorter time to deal with the terrorists, as you say, but maybe that should have disposed him to take Clinton’s warnings on the terrorists seriously, and led him to take advantage of Clinton’s longer experience. Like many Republican politicians, though, he didn’t jump on that bandwagon until we got hit, and once he did, he thought he knew everything about how to confront terror.

Now at this point, it’s usual for people like you, who support Bush or the GOP to tell us that we haven’t been hit again in the five years since. This dangerously complacent argument fails to consider that as before, the time between the attacks meant nothing when the hammer blow finaly fell again.

We are not prepared for the next attempt. That much is plain according to the 9/11 Commission whose truth you claim we want to cover up.

Let me ask you something: if our President and your party were so keen on revealing the truth about 9/11, why did they stall on creating the commission? Why did they attempt, when the proceedings started getting too close to home, to paint the commission as a partisan tool? And why do Bush supporters like yourself now have the temerity to tell us that we want to cover up the truth, given all that? We just want the truth to come out, both the good and the bad from our perspective. The truth. Not some fictional scene dreamed up by a right-wing writer who doesn’t feel like stooping to drawing on the facts to write this “fact-based” account.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 10, 2006 7:16 PM
Comment #180372


I will ask one more time, what did George H.W.Bush(Bush I) do during his four years in office to track down and stop OSB after, as you put it, in 1988 OSB declared war on America and said civilians were fair game? Your silence so far tells me the first George did little or nothing.

Posted by: mark at September 10, 2006 7:17 PM
Comment #180391

So, Clinton was President for 12 years? No, George H.W. Bush was elected President in 1988( actually Reagan was still in office), Clinton elected in 1992. George W. Bush took office in 2001(declared President in 2000)

So, what did Reagon And the first Bush do about Binladens threats. Goerge I had four years to take action.
Posted by: mark at September 10, 2006 09:27 AM

Don’t be too hard on SE. From his spelling it’s clear he’s illiterate. Seems he’s also dsylexic. And a lawyer too! What’s this they say about those who can, do……..?

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at September 10, 2006 9:36 PM
Comment #180392

Stephen, excellent post. So good in fact, there is nothing for me to add.

The Republicans are always claiming that Clinton did nothing regarding terrorism (completely untrue) while in the White House because he was too busy getting “Lewinski’s.” But maybe the reason that the first President Bush did nothing about terrorism while in office is because he was too busy getting his own groove on in the oval office?
Since you didn’t get an answer from the Sic Eagle, I thought I’d just offer a guess.

Posted by: Adrienne at September 10, 2006 9:39 PM
Comment #180396

—-Stephen—- One good point to observe about
the documentary, will show how many people, who
know the difference between fact or fiction.
I am sure all the pollsters will be out in force
trying to determine whether the docudrama makes
any changes for or against ether party. We will
also see all those who are intellectually
inconsistent of the facts by any increase in any
new polls taken in the next five days or so.

Posted by: DAVID at September 10, 2006 10:09 PM
Comment #180403


Thanks for the link. Where was Matt Drudge when we needed him?

Guess the Mighty Eagle flew the coop.

Posted by: mark at September 10, 2006 10:51 PM
Comment #180405


Here I am…broke down and saw the docu-drama.

First off, my apologies…I mis-read your post above…I thought you had written 1998, not 1988. As far as Bush I and OBL, the fact that infidels were on Saudi soil set him off and over the next decade he became a foe. Remember, we helped him against the Russians.

As far as the film…I thought it was entertaining. They certainly had enough disclaimers to skip any FCC issues,I think.

Albright’s character was a bitch, and Sandy Berger’s character was also. The Band of Brothers guys were terrific, so as a “drama” it was entertaining.

Between that show tonite and CNN’s “Footsteps of Bin Laden” earlier, the Republicans probably picked up 2 seats in the house. :)

Paul in Euroland.

Sorry about the typos..typing with feathers is difficult. Plus, I was laughing at the tenor of some of these posts while responding…a tear musta got in the old Eagle eye.

Posted by: siccilianeagle at September 10, 2006 10:54 PM
Comment #180406


Did we help OBL against the Russians or did he help us?

I’d still like to know what, if any, steps Bush 1 took against OBL after he declared war on Americans, including civilians, as you said.

Posted by: mark at September 10, 2006 11:06 PM
Comment #180410

My favorite part of the show tonight were the subtle drop-ins about how nice it would be to work without pesky warrants or how much information they could get if they were just allowed to torture suspects.

Lovely stuff.

Posted by: Burt at September 10, 2006 11:25 PM
Comment #180412


Great mystery. I bet that we helped him since Russia was stuck in a quagmite in Afganistan. He went off the reservation though,then by the late 90’s he developed a God complex.

Those scenes in the show on the camps gave us a glimpse. perhaps accurate too, of the type of people who are trying to kill us.

Like I said all along: very few noticed when he declared war on us. Our intel community was gutted by that time anyway.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at September 10, 2006 11:31 PM
Comment #180415

“are soft on the War on Terror”

Thanks for the talking points…

Posted by: tony at September 9, 2006 10:32 PM

Ever noticed how conservatism sounds like an echo in that they both seem rather mindless?

Posted by: expatUSA_Indonesia at September 10, 2006 11:45 PM
Comment #180416

——Stephen——Do you believe the effects of this
Docudrama are beginning to show already. The above post may be a good indication.

Posted by: DAVID at September 11, 2006 12:16 AM
Comment #180417

If you really read the report, you would know Clinton did a great deal. It just wasn’t good enough. Bush, on the other hand, did next to nothing. The question here is not whether I’m capable of accepting bad news about Clinton, but whether you can accept such about Bush.

For example, do you know what Bush’s response to the Cole was, when word came down that we knew it was him?

Nothing. Additionally, Bush didn’t have his first cabinet level meeting on the issue until September 4th. That, by the way, only involved the Cabinet Deputies.

There’s also an interesting fact about Bush’s claim that he saw footage of the first plane hitting the twin towers, the morning he was in the wings waiting to read My Pet Goat.

The video of the plane hitting the first tower did not show up until later that afternoon.

He was quoted as saying he thought it must have been some kind of accident, but if he saw any footage of the towers being hit that morning, he would have had to have seen the second tower get hit, and not even realize that both towers had been struck. He knew, or should have known we were hit even before he walked out and greeted the kiddies.

Clinton did more than bomb a few buildings. When the Iranians hit the Khobar Towers, he burned their intelligence networks to the ground. When the first terrorists went after WTC, we rounded up the whole gang. He held meetings on the subject regularly, and made his Counterterrorism lead a cabinet level position.

One element of what went wrong with 9/11 was that episode you described, but it went deeper than just Clinton. You had people across the board in congress who were marching to the Airline’s beat. Believe me, what I read isn’t flattering, but then again, I’m not rationalizing Clinton’s failures. Congress failed us, too, by both being hyperobsessed with the impeachment and the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and by being to cozy with business to smack them around on things when it was in the public’s interest.

As for the reduction of the military, you should ask Cheney about that as well. You did know, didn’t you, that he oversaw much of the downsizing of the military from its Cold War Strength. He’s also the one that entangled our military with KBR and others in areas like logistical support. The Cold War had ended when Clinton took office, and both parties were cutting the military because a war had ended, and by that logic, demobilization was the name of the game. If you’re that concerned about what Clinton did with the military, you should be even more concerned with our current readiness, due to Bush’s combination of stubborn insistence on continued combat, and his stubborn refusal to ask for the resources he needs..

As for your name calling? I’ll just let that speak for itself, while my extensive body of work on this site speaks for itself as well.

The gutting was multi-generational, starting with the Church Committee and getting worse in the aftermath of the end of the cold war.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 11, 2006 12:35 AM
Comment #180420

“My favorite part of the show tonight were the subtle drop-ins about how nice it would be to work without pesky warrants or how much information they could get if they were just allowed to torture suspects.”


Real subtle huh?


Keep up the good work.


Posted by: KansasDem at September 11, 2006 1:13 AM
Comment #180421

Well, After all the publicity I decided to watch the path to 9/11. Seeing it was based upon a book called “The Cell” I would think artisitic liberties would be acceptable. What I got out of the first half of this mini series is as follows

First, No commercials was great. Thank you ABC for picking up the tab.

Second, it seems the partisan politics of the mid and late nineties kept us from getting ahead of the battle. The persecution of Clinton by the repubs in Congress has definetly come back to hurt America.

Thirdly,The Northern Alliance commander appears to have been a true friend to this Country. His battle against the Taliban fundamentalist should be commended by all in this Country.

And lastly, it seems our friends in Pakistan are not our friend in Pakistan, why do we treat them such?

Posted by: j2t2 at September 11, 2006 2:08 AM
Comment #180425

—-Jay Jay— Caught the fox 10:21 by the tail. Yak YUK (.^.)

Posted by: DAVID at September 11, 2006 3:25 AM
Comment #180429

——Stephen——Do you believe the effects of this
Docudrama are beginning to show already. The above post may be a good indication.

Posted by: DAVID at September 11, 2006 12:16 AM

Like I said, like a mindless echo.

Missed the ABC 911 fairy tale… was not shown in Indonesia.

Posted by: expatUSA_Indonesia at September 11, 2006 4:59 AM
Comment #180430

—-expatUSA—- I missed it to, I don’t read or
do trash! I doubt you missed much.

Posted by: DAVID at September 11, 2006 5:11 AM
Comment #180431

—-expatUSA— I was referring to some one else’s
post an I am sure Stephen knows who I meant. I
guess if the shoe fits you should wear it?

Posted by: DAVID at September 11, 2006 5:29 AM
Comment #180432

—-expatUSA— I was referring to some one else’s
post an I am sure Stephen knows who I meant. I
guess if the shoe fits you should wear it?

Posted by: DAVID at September 11, 2006 5:33 AM
Comment #180433

————-sorry about two posts-got- stuck in transit!

Posted by: DAVID at September 11, 2006 5:38 AM
Comment #180441

Apparently our work did some good. Still, this never should have happened this way as Thomas Kean, who was the consultant from the 9/11 commission on the film said:

If people blame Bill Clinton after seeing this, then the miniseries has failed,” said Kean, the former Republican New Jersey governor. “That’s wrong and it shouldn’t happen.”

He recommended that people see the film, and seeing the second half is a choice I leave to others, my sentiments already known. But that statement above, more than anything else should be our standard, because the 9/11 report spread the blame around.

Each side wants to carry the torch for 9/11, but we must acknowledge that this was a general failure of our nations defense of itself, and so with the glory of seeking to do justice in the victims names, we must all bear the burden of having failed to keep them safe.

Those who support Clinton must acknowledge the mistakes of that administration, the failure of will to push past resistance both political and bureaucratic to do what needed to be done.

Those who support Bush must acknowledge that he had the wrong theory on where the next threat would come. America would not be attacked by rogue states, not by Iraq, not by North Korea not by some missiles, but by a transnational terrorist organization based out of a failed state. They must also acknowledge that by comparison to his predecessor, his attention on the problem was lacking.

Republicans and Democrats must acknowledge that in the wake of 9/11, we have our warning, we have our reason to take this threat seriously. That our government was unable to figure this out in either of our party’s hands last time was tragic. That we might fail to do so again would be even more tragic, because this time we know better what we should be doing.

Much of my focus on the errors of this government in handling things over these five long years has been motivated by the wish that this not happen again. Whatever responsibility Bush or his successor can ask Clinton to shoulder for 9/11, the responsibility for the next attack will point back to him, because it was his responsiblity, his opportunity to change things for the better.

It is quite obvious that people like myself were not satisfied with Bush’s performance, and that we tried to fire him from his job. Given the current state of things, the most we can ask for is for him to get back on track, even at this belated point.

Bush still has a chance to do some good here. His time in office is not over. In the meantime, Democrats like myself intend to make sure in the future that politics pays homage to the facts, not the facts to the politics.

Ultimately, if we don’t stick to the facts in determining policy, if we don’t observe things and fit our policies to what works, what serves America’s good name, we will suffer for the discrepancy. It is the aim of many like myself that we bring the politics back into line with the needs of this country.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 11, 2006 8:45 AM
Comment #180444


I agree with you about spreading the blame around….it was an institutional failure, plain and simple.

However, BOTH sides need to share the blame, not just the right.

One question since I am on your side:

Is the Democratic Party now an anti-war party?
Which is it….more boots on the ground in Iraq…or over the horizon.

You seem to be pandering to both elements of your party,now I’d like you to pick a path.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at September 11, 2006 10:11 AM
Comment #180450

There should be a disclaimer running across the bottom of the screen during this entire “movie” stating that it is historical fiction…

Calling it a docudrama leads people (falsely!) to believe it is true.

Posted by: Lynne at September 11, 2006 11:59 AM
Comment #180454

Look, I didn’t write those things out of some need to strategically appeal to others. I honestly believe what I said. There is no need to spread the blame to Clinton. People did that themselves, without the urging of the right. The Right, though, is trying to make Clinton almost entirely responsible for something that happened on Bush’s watch, and also under the watch of a Republican majority that was in place for three quarters of Clinton’s tenure in office.

We can blame Clinton for being preoccupied with scandal, and politically hesitant to do more on terrorism, but we must look on the mirrorside of that and point out the Republican’s actions. What good did it do the country for congress and the senate to distract and occupy the president over land deals that never occured in office, and an affair that had little to do with Bill Clinton’s duties as president? Additionally, the Republican majority of those years must answer for their inaction on the terrorism issue. What were they saying to the airline lobbyists, when they balked at reinforcing cockpit doors, beefing up security?

They have to answer for the adversarial way they dealt with Clinton’s attacks on the terrorists. The common refrain there wasn’t “the President is doing what he should, defending the U.S. from terrorists. No, he was told he was trying to distract from more important things, like whether he ever told Miss Lewinsky she tasted good. He was told he was trying to distract from the impeachment. Can you honestly tell me that such a congress would have let him pre-emptively attack al-Qaeda?

My path has always been one path. Whether I favor or disfavor a war has nothing to do with a general pacifism. Go look back through the archive of my work, and you will not see somebody who says peace at all costs. I am no appeaser, I am no protestor at an airport heat-seeking a soldier to spit on.

Even though I consider the war in Iraq a poorly chosen battlefield, I am for us doing all we can do to repair the damage of our mistake and Saddam’s despotic generation of rule.

I do not want this war to continue as it is, because I believe Bush’s foreign fails to deal with the priorities necessary to get us out of this war.

My position is what we could call “The Tire-Changing Principle” That is: we put in more support to take the pressure, the weight of the situation off of a weak or dysfunctional part, and with the support in place, we do what we need to do fix things, then we withdraw the auxilary support, now made redundant by what we fixed. Bush is currently like somebody trying to fix a tire without using a jack.

For Bush, bringing in more troops is an admission of failure. Bush is phobic about admitting failure. We stay the course because otherwise, he has to admit that his plan hasn’t worked. He has to admit defeat.

Can Bush and his supporters put the good of the war, and ultimately the good of the country ahead of their hatred of admitting defeat? Or will they continue to conflate their success and failure with that of the country?

On the path I pick, people are meant to realize that the triumph of one party or another does not necessarily translate to the triumph of the nation, or to its safety or security. We get off our high horses, ditch the false comforts of image-based politics and plausible deniability, and we get our hands dirty doing what needs to be done. It’s an idealistic goal, but ultimately it’s also the only way to keep our eye on the ball.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 11, 2006 12:14 PM
Comment #180455


It appears so far that our efforts may not have been entirely in vain. I’ll definitely be watching the second part. I thought as the first part ended it was rather odd that, as far as the political angle, they cut almost directly from the Clinton administration failures to the terrorists adorning themselves with their trademark red scarves. Unless I blinked and missed something????

Of course we’ll see tonight. It will also be interesting to see just how the editing works around interrupting the film for Bush’s primetime speech. Basically the verdict is still out without having seen the conclusion.

Just one example of Monday morning quarterbacking: When they showed Madeleine Albright getting grilled for warning Pakistan of missiles crossing their air space, well duh! I don’t doubt that several nations were warned, not doing so could have dire consequences. I thought they were at least somewhat honest in portraying a concern of starting a potential nuke exchange between Pakistan and India.

Also some of the “not so subtle” suggestions about “our” weaknesses reminded me of seeing GW at least twice in late 2000 and early 2001 saying, “a dictatorship would certainly be easier”. Or words very much to that effect. Of course he came across as being quite jovial but the words are still permanently etched in my brain right next to his references to “crusades”.

I do think they should have made at least slightly more mention of the criticism Clinton underwent everytime he did take any military action against anyone.


Posted by: KansasDem at September 11, 2006 12:15 PM
Comment #180457


Ok…you are not in the over the horizon group or the anti war group. Agreed.

Now, I’d like to hear from others on your party…as clearly there are three different philosophies in play here…the anti-war group…the horizon group…and the let’s get it right group.

So,which one is going to carry the Democratic standard?

Posted by: sicilianeagle at September 11, 2006 12:50 PM
Comment #180461

This is why we Democrats will never win an election again. All we do is whine, but never do anything to right the wrong, or to hold the other side responsible for their actions / comments. I have a zillion examples of this, and one of them is this episode of “The Path to 9/11”. Are we going to hold Disney responsible for their actions? Are we going to find out why Disney refused to distribute Fahrenheit 9/11 because it thought it to be too partisan, but did not budge after days of pressure from Clintonites and others regarding the release of this fiction filled sham? Couldn’t Clinton, Berger, and others wrongly portrayed in this film sue Disney and the creators of this film for libel, as Stephen mentions in one of his comments? What are we going to do about this is the question!!! How are we going to reach the millions of Americans who need to know the truth about this?

I received plenty of e-mails from groups like the DNC,, etc, regarding this issue, but these e-mails only reach a couple of million Democrats, and certainly does not reach the general public like an ABC show can. The damage has been done!!! “What are we going to do to un-ring this bell” should be the focus of us Democrats.

Posted by: George at September 11, 2006 1:30 PM
Comment #180462


First of all I’ll just remind you that I was opposed to the Iraq war. I think we should have heeded the words of Hans Blix, but there is no turning back time.

You can definitely put me in the “get it right” group. To do any less will result in creating another terrorist safe haven and given the situation in Sudan we can’t allow that to happen.

So how do we get it right? One step at a time and the first step should be replacing Rumsfeld. Why?

Army official: Rumsfeld forbade talk of postwar

I quote here:
“Scheid said the planners continued to try “to write what was called Phase 4,” or the piece of the plan that included post-invasion operations like security, stability and reconstruction.”

“Even if the troops didn’t stay, “at least we have to plan for it,” Scheid said.”

“”I remember the secretary of defense saying that he would fire the next person that said that,” Scheid said. “We would not do planning for Phase 4 operations, which would require all those additional troops that people talk about today.”
End quote.

And Rumsfeld can’t just be replaced with another “Yes Man”, unfortunately Bush would have it no other way. It’s time for the cold, hard truth and the truth really stinks sometimes.

In this case the truth is that we NEED hundred’s of thousands more troops. I’m not basing that on just our current needs in Iraq but the “wide world view”. Look at Sudan! Consider the potential but substantial threat of Iran! Islamic extremism is growing and spreading throughout more and more of the world.

We NEED to reinstate the draft! Will that be popular? Hell no. Neither is paying the taxes neccessary to balance the budget. When it comes to accepting responsibility we, and I mean the ‘collective” we, have become very spoiled.

A very good example of “our” being spoiled is the complaining we still hear about the horrible inconvenience of increased airport security. Just imagine if either Clinton or Bush had increased airport security to current levels before 9-11. People would have absolutely gone ballistic.

It’s time to tell the American people the truth.


Posted by: KansasDem at September 11, 2006 1:35 PM
Comment #180482

Rhetorically speaking, you could say there are three different philosophies here, but I think there is mainly one: getting things right. What constitutes right, though, is uncertain.

The better distinction might be between those who believe following an ideology will guarantee the best result, and those who believe it’s more complicated than some pre-existing ideology.

I think, for example, KansasDem has nailed it on the draft and taxes. We’ve gotten soft about such things, and such irresponsibility and cravenness is costing us. People are weighing their inconvenience in the short term more substantially than they are their long term interests.

Until we are willing to face up to the fact that not every solution to a problem is one we’re going to like, we are going to have a tough time keeping America safe and prosperous.

I’ve seen the attention this has gotten. Maybe its a few million people, but- well, think about the phrase “a few million”. It’s almost a contradition in terms. Bush won office by about a hundred thousand in 2004. We’ve put the inaccuracies on the front page of the news networks. What we got to do is smack the lies and mistruths down everytime we see them-

In the most genial, charming, yet firm manner. Our problem is not that we’ve failed to be as obnoxious and pushy about these things. We’ve simply failed to get across the fact that we believe these things strongly, that we believe them on principle. We’ve also failed to tackle these things with sufficient originality so that people don’t simply gloss over.

So what do we do?

We convince people that what we say is sincere, genuine, not just a political position.

We do so in a matter that reflects well on our integrity and our character We make sure people know that these things reflect not a weakness of ambition or drive, but instead a strength of purpose that cuts out the dishonest garbage.

We also make sure that our politics, both in what we say and what we do touches on current events and other subjects in a way that is fresh and innovative. We should not be the party of status quo at this moment. We should be the party of reform and reorganization.

To be quite certain, I think your complaints themselves are unwarranted. We forced the network to carve about half an hour of footage off the movie, to soften up this piece of propaganda. That means we have some pull. I think we should build on that, force them to return to the neutrality that the networks should have, given the public trust given to them by their broadcast license. We should make it a priority to return to fairness doctrines, requirements of balance, and counteract this pernicious concentration of the media in the hands of a few that allowed this travesty to come to pass.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 11, 2006 3:29 PM
Comment #180485


Your second link is broken due to a missing leading h in http://…

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at September 11, 2006 3:37 PM
Comment #180486

Stephen and Kansas Dem

So, both are you are proponents of widening the conflict by sending in more troops and starting a draft.

Is that the Democratic position?

If so, I frankly believe neither of you.

That’s the issue…there are three seperate and distinct philosophies within your party, and my job is to expose this so people can make an informed decision in November.

Thus, the anti-war crowd should be pretty pissed at your positions…it certainly isn’t their’s…they are the opposite end of the spectrum!

Posted by: sicilianeagle at September 11, 2006 3:43 PM
Comment #180488

Good response Stephen, but what I was getting at is that we complain about all the things Republicans say and do, but we are not willing to match them, to stoop as low as them, and that will continue to be a problem for us. Did you watch “Meet The Press” yesterday. Well, Cheney pretty much bet Tim Russert that Republicans will hold on to their majority in congress. How can he be so sure as to be willing to bet? Maybe they have the elections cooked up in some of the districts. Maybe they are willing to do anything to maintain power, even cheat! Do you know who the owner of the Diebold voting machines is? Have we done anything to ensure that we have an upperhand when election day comes? I’m sure the Republicans are making sure they do!!! Being nice may get you to heaven, but not in power!!!

Posted by: George at September 11, 2006 3:59 PM
Comment #180490


Calm down…now you ‘re sayin that the right is going to cook the elections? No need.

They will (as usual) snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

That’s why they call them Democrats. :)

Posted by: sicilianeagle at September 11, 2006 4:04 PM
Comment #180497


ummmm…in 1988…Clinton was president. Bush assunmed the presidency in January,2001…9 months before 9/11. Now,connect the dots.

First WTC bombing took place February 26, 1993…Clinton had been president since January 20th 1993, a month and a week prior to 2/26/1993…now connect the dots…

Posted by: Lynne at September 11, 2006 4:24 PM
Comment #180499

What is the purpose in fictionalizing a major terrorist event that almost every citizen of the U.S. lived through just 5 years ago??

Posted by: Lynne at September 11, 2006 4:27 PM
Comment #180500


ummmm…in 1988…Clinton was president. Bush assunmed the presidency in January,2001…9 months before 9/11.

Now, connect the dots.

There is not dots to connect as Bush 41 was president in 1988, not Clinton.

Plus, when you’re (and even bragging about it) in charge, you ARE in charge.
After all if they knew (and were bragging about it) they could defeat in 3 weeks Saddam Hussein army, 9 months seems way long enough to allow Bush team and there “balls” in charge to stop OBL terrorists cells ASAP, no?
They did find enough time to work on a Irak attack plan during these 9 months, could’nt they spare one or two weeks on Al Quaida too?

Bush and republicans don’t only inheritaded bad things from Clinton presidency. They never refuse taking charge of his public surplus inheritage AFAIK, right? Then they are also in charge of all the rest.

BTW, blaming other people for something you don’t either succeed to do yourself is stupid. Where is OBL, again?

I know blaming is the political game, but at least during these 9 months Clinton can’t do anything more against OBL that Bush could have done far easier, having gained all powers. Sadly, the later did nothing regarding OBL. But he rather like to focus on Saddam, the guy who tried to kill his daddy, threat. Bad luck, this “threat” is still nowhere to be found. Bad choice, Bush.

Bad choice …. americans. Now that’s dots americans would connect, one day or another. Hopefully in next November.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at September 11, 2006 4:34 PM
Comment #180501

The Democratic position tends towards phased withdrawal/timetable oriented, if you read the polls. This notion that we just want to cut and run is merely political rhetoric. Your side, in an attempt to paint us as cowards perpetually emphasizes the words and attitudes of the pacifists and those within our party who propose immediate rather than graduated withdrawal.

While this makes for good television, it distorts the perspective of folks like yourself.

Always be careful of generalizations that group people distinctly on complex issues. If you delve into the complexity of the issues, you’ll find the borders don’t resolve so sharply. What does it tell you that you had to revise your hard and fast categories upon KansasDem’s and my own responses to you?

My changing-the-tire metaphor should have clued you into my angle: we need more troops to bolster our efforts. We’re trying to do too much with too little. I believe if we want out sooner rather than later, with better results, we might have to push this hook all the way out before we can snip off the barb.

Let me be honest: I think your party has made this war much more painful for the country by taking such a partisan, divisive tack on it, and by being so stubborn about changing dysfunctional policy.

In my experience, negative politics tend to isolate people from reality, from fairminded address of politics. I’m not talking about being nice. I’m talking about being well-mannered, leaving positive impressions with people. People are at the low point of sympathy for politicians right now. What they are looking for are charismatic folks who know what they are doing.

But also, another thing: our party has to stop being intimidated. We have to stop being pushed into stridency or submission by these folks. We have to stand for ourselves on a center they can’t knock us from. It’s time to give a shit less about who owns the voting machines, and start worrying about who has the votes. They can try and cheat, but sooner or later people screw up, or the margin of victory becomes too great. If we fill our minds, though, with dark notions of invincible cheaters, we’re going to stay home, and get others to do the same, and just who does that benefit?

We have to start standing up for what we believe in regardless of whether victory is certain. If we do so at the right times, many uncertain outcomes will become victories.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 11, 2006 4:38 PM
Comment #180506

It’s frustation talking on my behalf at this point. These guys have been screwing up for 6 years now, and nobody has held them accountable. We need something to rally around, something that will bring out the vote come November. I always remember a quote by Stalin which says: “it is not important who votes, but who counts the votes”. If we don’t win soon, the supreme court, the branch of government to which all disputes are ultimately deferred to, will be stacked with neo-conservatives, and then what do we do? This is serious business, and I don’t think we have the time to let the American public catch up with reality. It is our responsibility to show them the way, and I don’t think we are doing a great job at it. The neos outnumber us in the political talk shows almost 3 to 1. It’s almost as if our own party is deserting us. What’s going on?

Posted by: George at September 11, 2006 4:57 PM
Comment #180508

One big question, who funded it? Have heard it is an extremist right wing christian wingnut group? Since when do special interest groups pay to put on propaganda on prime time. Government sponsored media is one of the characteristics of what form of government???Clue: not democracy.

Posted by: logicaldog at September 11, 2006 5:05 PM
Comment #180513

just finished watching the second part of the road to 9/11. I haven’t seen all of the first part yet, as I recorded it yesterday. At the conclusion of the second part, the 9/11 commission rated the governments responses to its recommendations. I just managed to take note of some of them - the government received 5 f’s, 12 d’s and a D for governent information sharing. If this is expected to give the government a free pass in the Nov elections, then God help them!

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at September 11, 2006 5:34 PM
Comment #180521

to stephen and kansas dem.
i agree with kansas dem. a couple of thousand troops with a draft is just what we need. that will show us that just as in vietnam and korea it will mean more casualties on our side and theirs. when that happens the outcry of those families will force our powers that be to find another solution to this quagmire we have gotten ourselves into. and lets not make this a dem. or rep. fault so we don’t get bogged down in accuseing each other.

Posted by: albert at September 11, 2006 6:13 PM
Comment #180523

I do not suggest that people simply lay down for that sort of stuff. What I believe is that we should get hard evidence of that stuff and then wack the responsible parties over the heads with it in the media. If we perseverate over this too much, we’ll only serve to make ourselves look like sore losers. Hard facts, calm tone, firm resolve. That’s what’s going to win elections

As for letting the American public catch up with reality, I think they do just fine. We just have to present them with a compelling narrative that casts them as the offended parties in all this. We have to tell them what they don’t know, hit them with a strong emotional impact.

Look above: ABC is marketing this as a docu-drama, yet crucial scenes are fictional and they defame officials falsely. They are manipulating you, people!

That’s a lot better than simply saying things are inaccurate. It gets better if you can point to exactly how things got wrong. One example is the airline thing. That demonstrates a reckless disregard for the truth or falsity of the information being related.

The Republican method tends to be to spring some surprising or shocking fact (true or false) on you and then get high and mighty on it.

Our method, if we want to do things better, is to assemble a logical, tightly wound narrative that step by step entraps the malefactors. Don’t level emotional charges outright. Capture people’s attention and draw them in.

We have no shortage of material. What we have, though, is no shortage of other information to dig through. We have to hook folks early and draw them in with a logical sequence of facts that invite people to a conclusion.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 11, 2006 6:16 PM
Comment #180544

Guys, guys, guys. This debate can very easily be resolved.

Which administration received a memo entitled “bin Laden Determined to Attack America”?

Posted by: The Decider at September 11, 2006 7:43 PM
Comment #180562

————-sorry about two posts-got- stuck in transit!

Posted by: DAVID at September 11, 2006 05:38 AM

Stuck in transit my ass, mindless echo conservatism, exactly my point.

We do not wear shoes in Indonesia.

Posted by: expatUSA_Indonesia at September 11, 2006 8:29 PM
Comment #180657

You are correct! Thank you, thank you!!! I missed almost all of the stuff about Clinton because I was busily trying to ingore the mess about his morals. Not because I thought he was a moralman, but because I still thought and still do that no one should’ve been involved except thse he honestly hurt: Hilary and Monica.
I figured that such behavior in the White House is almost common-place by then.

Now I would like or someone to explain what “staying the course” actually means. It apears to me that “staying the course” is a way of saying nothing That AT ALL is going to change, Iraqies and Americans are going to continue to die.

Frankly, I’m not sure what the Democrats have in mind, but whatever it is, I hope no one uses the term “staying the course”, or anything that could have a similar meaning.

Posted by: Linda H. at September 12, 2006 12:16 AM
Comment #180682

“So, both are you are proponents of widening the conflict by sending in more troops and starting a draft.”

Mr. Eagle,

Just how in the hell is “sharing the burden” equal to “widening the conflict”?

Your favorite “puppy” Bush widened the conflict when he diverted our resources from crippling Al Quaeda and Bin Laden to occupying Iraq which has been a monumental failure.

Why couldn’t you address my concerns about Rumsfeld? I would think your legal skills would put you far ahead of the pack my Sicilian friend.


Posted by: KansasDem at September 12, 2006 2:22 AM
Comment #180685

—-George—- I enjoy your posts an have the same opinions, the only problem is we have way too
many spinmeisters, here on this blog. site. like
the the second post (^.^) up. I believe you an I along with about seven other people hear, are
truly concerned whether the Democrats win or not. I doubt these spinmeisters even vote! I am
sure with your knowledge an intellect, you will be a good spokesperson for the Democratic
party if you can keep on going with out lowering
your self to those spinning trouble makers!
sorry about complaining, I just can not deal well
with adult children.

Posted by: DAVID at September 12, 2006 3:08 AM
Comment #180738

David - very kind of you. I am still recovering from Bush’s speach last night. I can’t believe this man is still saying the same things he was saying 5 years ago….”a clash of civilizations…world war III….they hate our way of life….if we leave they’ll follow us home”. It is really sad that people eat this crap for breakfast. It is pretty disgusting if you ask me!

Posted by: George at September 12, 2006 10:09 AM
Comment #180742

George, maybe his speeches writer had noticed that nobody listen anymore Bush speeches but kool-aid drinkers, so reusing the same old text make his day work shorter…

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at September 12, 2006 10:26 AM
Comment #180745


Thanks for writing this. I had no idea the movie was that bad. I have been asked to sign a petition. I guess I will do it. It should be shown on Fox. If I watched that movie, I would assume that someone had an inside scoop and that it was basically factual. For the next two or three election cycles a large percentage of the American people will be thinking Clinton had bin Laden and let him get away. It will become an urban myth. Clinton probably did let him get away, but it was not that clear cut, and he let bin Laden get away because the Republicans had succeeded in crippling his Presidency with their cheap partisan below the belt investigation. Now we cannot even investigate issues of real substance on the idiot gun slinger. The idiot gun slinger did apparently have bin Laden cornered in Tora Bora and sent bin Laden’s former comrades in arms to get him - people bin Laden pulled out from underneath Soviet tanks. Nobody crippled the idiot gun slinger’s Presidency. He is just a mental cripple (organic brain disorder from the inbreeding - no doubt).

Posted by: Ray Guest at September 12, 2006 10:37 AM
Comment #180764

Sandra Davidson,

Thanks for the action page link.

Posted by: Ray Guest at September 12, 2006 12:04 PM
Comment #180797


I just saw your post. Somehow I missed it yesterday. What exactly do you mean? You lost me.

Posted by: George at September 12, 2006 1:23 PM
Comment #180806


You seem happy to go to war for whatever purpose your neo-con leaders give you. Are you a RWA (right wing authoritarian)? Do you submit to established authorities with no questions asked, like the Nazis did prior to WWII? Do you think that perpetual warfare is the way of the future? How long can America keep up with your ideology of “you’re either with us or without us”? It seems to me that people like you are the real danger facing America today. Democrats don’t see things black and white like you neo-cons do, that’s why they don’t all say the same thing, unlike the conservative party, which prepares talking points for the neo-con crowd, whether it’d be for Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Condi Rice or Dick Chenney. Democrats debate issues, whereas neo-cons can’t think on their own, therefore need talking points. Please be a bit original! Good day.


Posted by: George at September 12, 2006 1:37 PM
Comment #180814


Glad you asked. I see this as a life or death struggle with people who want to kill us because we do not believe in their form of religion. With them it’s non-negotiation….just kill the infedel…including you by the way…because you are not one of them. Kill or be killed. Pretty simple to me.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at September 12, 2006 2:00 PM
Comment #180908

The terrorists are human beings, which means that some can be gotten to. There are people within al-Qaeda that don’t have as much devotion as others. We can use them as the wedges to break apart the organization. We can turn some of them as agents and use them to disrupt operations and gain information. The key is to understand that these folks are only human. They have pressure points, we find one, and we squeeze, and one by one, al-Qaeda can be peeled apart, adulterated, frustrated.

We can endure being disparate of purpose and politics much better than al-Qaeda can.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 12, 2006 9:06 PM
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