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My Thoughts on the Brouhaha over The Path to 9/11

One of the problems of traveling when the blogosphere is all abuzz over a certain topic is that by the time I sit down to write about it, it seems some other bloggers have already said pretty much everything I wanted to say. Given the malfunction of my cassette player somewhere in the Rockies, I listened to much talk radio during my return journey of well over 1,000 miles. (For some reason when I drive long distances I prefer to hear voices, be it talk radio or books on tape than to listen to music.)

As I listened to the news and commentary on how Clinton’s people were trying in Roger Simon’s words to “suppress ABC’s 9/11 miniseries,” The Path to 9/11, I thought the Democratic former president and his supporters were giving the show free publicity. The controversy the former President was helping generate would make more people aware of the program. On returning home, I found that Roger had already made that very point when he asked, “Is Bill Clinton in the pay of ABC?

Earlier today, Glenn Reynolds referenced a comment with which I also agree “This firestorm is a lose-lose for Dems. Any rational voter can compare the Bush reaction to Farenheit 911 and the current Clinton reaction, and draw appropriate conclusions.

As I headed home on the various interstates of the Southwest, I heard some talk show hosts, who had seen the entire miniseries, point out that the part which focused on President Bush’s first eight months in office showed that that Republicans was also “asleep as the wheel.” In other words, it painted both Administrations in a less-than-favorable light. And only the Democrats were getting upset.

To be sure, as one talking head noted, the Clinton Administration came off worse because that Democrat was in office for nearly eight full years after the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993. That is, the miniseries devoted more time to that Administration than to the current one for the simply reason that it covered a time period beginning just over a month after Clinton began the first of his two four-year terms and ending less than eight months after his successor took office.

Instead of raising a ruckus over the supposed inaccuracies in the docudrama, Clinton might have better served his Administration’s legacy by pointing out all that his Administration had done to fight terrorism, perhaps asking ABC for time after the docudrama aired to “set the record straight.” By behaving in the manner he has, Clinton comes across as a whiner who can’t take criticism, hardly the statesman he aspires to be. As the commenter cited above noted, Bush’s people didn’t get as upset over the distortions in Michael Moore‘s movie.

In Friday’s OpinionJournal Political Diary (available by subscription), John Fund suggested a way Clinton’s people could have better handled the film’s supposed distortions:

Perhaps one way to handle the objections is to follow the example of Showtime, the cable network that eventually aired “The Reagans” after CBS decided the film was too slanted to be salvageable. After the movie aired, it showed a live panel discussion featuring former Reagan administration officials Martin Anderson and Linda Chavez along with Reagan critic Hilary Rosen and the film’s co-producer, Carl Anthony. The group offered much thoughtful commentary on the historical liberties taken by the film and discussed the risk that docudramas might distort the way Americans remember real-life events. It’s fine for Sandy Berger and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to complain to ABC, but here’s hoping they are also willing to step forward and publicly defend their actions regardless of the final version of the film that ABC airs.

Had Clinton requested such a panel, he might have come across more as a statesman and less as a whiner. At the same time, he may have prevented the miniseries from generating the publicity it did.

And people say President Bush is averse to criticism. At least doesn’t dispatch his people to suppress criticism of his Administration. Nor does he badmouth them publicly as does his predecessor.

-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com

UPDATE: In his post on 9/11, Michael Barone, one of the most sober columnists on the right, offers a somewhat sympathetic view of the Clintonites’ protest, concluding that few people, including himself, were really aware of the danger. He cites those who did warn us and concludes:

I don’t feel entitled to furiously condemn the Clinton and Bush administration officials who failed to see what I failed to see. The 9/11 attacks alone were condemnation enough. And not just of certain public officials but of all of us in a position to have an impact on public opinion who did not alert others to the danger we unknowingly faced.

Now just read the whole thing!

UP-UPDATE: Now blogging at Pajamas, thus becoming officialy the Gandalf the blogosphere, Victor Davis Hanson wonders what the furor was about:

This was not a faux-documentary of the typeMichael Moore foisted as truth on a naïve public at election time, purporting to show reality through actual film clips, its corrupt director to be greeted with a prize seat at the Democratic convention.

I heard no Democrat ever complain about Oliver Stone’s numerous mythodramas. And Bob Woodward writes docu-books all the time, with the inner most thoughts of his characters expressed when there is no way a reporter could ascertain their thoughts—and wins a Pulitzer. Look at the recent Cobra II and discover pseudo-footnotes like “unnamed senior official” or “Pentagon staff.”

And with anything by Victor Davis Hanson, the best advice is to read the whole thing!

Patrick Fitzgerald’s “Jaworski Complex”?

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 6:29 pm - September 10, 2006.
Filed under: Bush-hatred,National Politics,Supreme Court

Like many conservative bloggers — and even liberal pundits and editorialists — I have been wondering, since I read that former United States Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage leaked the information about Valerie Plame to columnist Bob Novak, why special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald persisted in his investigation of the leak even though Armitage had admitted “early on . . . to a grand jury” that he had passed the information on.

Ever since Patrick Fizgerald’s appointment, I have read of the respect he enjoys in legal circles as a scrupulous, but even-handed prosecutor. On NationalReviewOnline’s The Corner, Andrew McCarthy consistently defended him. As U.S. Attorney for Northern Illinois, he gained his reputation by investigatng and prosecuting corruption of Democrats as well as Republicans, convicting officials in the Administration of Chicago’s Democratic Mayor and recently sentencing a former Republican Governor. And, as Robbie informed me, he has vigorously gone after the mob.

So, why did such a respected prosecutor conduct such an extensive investigation which didn’t result in a single indictment on the underlying offense? Tom Maguire who has perhaps followed this case closer than anyone has commented on Fitzgerald’s “investigatory ineptitude” and references Byron York’s theory:

Fitzgerald may have chosen the course that he did — appearing to premise his investigation on what might be called the firedoglake theory of the case — because he was pointed in that direction by the White House’s enemies inside and outside the administration. That might raise questions about Fitzgerald’s judgment — was he spun? — but it is one possible explanation of why things happened as they did.

While York offers that explanation, I offer another, but as I do so, please note the question mark in the title of the post.

I wonder if maybe Fitzgerald had what I will call a “Jaworski Complex”* where a federal prosecutor assumes the “scandal” he is investigating is as substantial as Watergate. And that his investigation will earn him a place in the history books.

I name this complex for Watergate Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski, a man familiar to most Americans aware of our nation’s recent history. I did not need to do a google search to remember his name (though I did do a google search to confirm some of the details of his investigation). It was Jaworski who subpoened then-President Nixon’s tapes, with the Supreme Court ruling that the White House had to release them. As those tapes revealed that Nixon “not only knew of the Watergate cover-up but also participated in it,” When the Supreme Court refused to quash the Nixon Administration’s attempt to quash Jaworski’s subpoena**, it set in motion the chain of events which would lead to Nixon’s resignation.

So, I wonder if Fitzgerald thought that by subpoenaing Bush White House officials, he might uncover information which would lead to a similar chain of events. Did he want to be as Jaworski, a prosecutor who would bring down a top Administration official?

Not only is Jaworki’s name familiar to those aware of our nation’s recent history, but he went on to write a book The Right and the Power: The Prosecution of Watergate which was one of ten bestselling nonfiction books of 1976.

While normally a scrupulous and even-handed prosecutor, maybe Patrick Fitzgerald had dreams of securing a place for himself in the history books as had Jaworski. Just a thought.

-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com

*I realize that I am not the first to put forward this theory, but as far as I can tell no one else has used the term “Jaworski Complex.”

**When the Nixon White House appealed Judge John J. Sirica’s order to turn over the tapes to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, Jaworski sought to bypass the appellate court and make his case directly to the Supreme Court.

Cheney on “Meet the Press”

I just finished watching the entire hour of Tim Russert’s very aggressive grilling of Vice President Dick Cheney on Meet the Press.  I don’t watch MTP on a regular basis, but have always respected Russert’s approach and tough questioning no matter who is guest is.  Despite the premise that Cheney was on as a special guest in concert with the 5th Anniversary of the 9/11 Attacks, Russert asked questions primarily focused on why we went in and remain in Iraq, how (from Russert’s view) Iraq and the Global War on Terror are not linked, and all of the other very tough questions I would have expected the Vice President would get.

As usual, Cheney handled himself with steady intelligence, patience and respect.  I would have blown a vein in my neck.

With his typical dry sense of humor, Cheney closed out the hour with what I believe will become a classic line.  This exchange occurred after a few questions about Cheney’s hunting accident this past February.

Russert:  Should I be glad you didn’t bring your shotgun today?

Cheney:  No, don’t worry.   You aren’t in season.

The contrast is stark between how Cheney can deliver pointed humor in a classy way, while the “loyal opposition” now openly suggests and promotes the assassination of our elected officials.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

September 10th Americans

I don’t remember exactly what I was doing five years ago today.  I know it was a Monday and I know I was working in an office building three blocks from The White House.  I’m pretty sure I remember the weather was the same as the forecast would be for the next day:  blue skies, warm sun, beautiful early-fall day on the East Coast.  And I think the concern on most people’s minds that day in the DC Chattering Class – did Gary Condit really kill Chandra Levy?

What I do remember is that the world I lived in on Monday, September 10, 2001 would never be the same.  Unfortunately, many Americans and many citizens in the West are still living in that world.  They have not yet, after five years, contemplated how our world has dramatically changed and how again, as before in our nation’s past, America must be the leader to protect freedom and democracy and stop the spread of hate and tyranny. 

On the eve of the Fifth Anniversary of the September 11th attacks, I would like to again shine a light on those “September 10th Americans” and ask you to consider where you stand and whose side in this war are you on?  The Islamic terrorists have no doubts….do you?

From the column “Are You A September 10 American” by Lawrence Kaplan….

When September 11 Americans look back at the attacks, they see an event that requires an overhaul of national priorities. When September 10 Americans look back at the attacks, they see an event whose significance is emotional, even spiritual, but most of all historical. What they do not see is the opening salvo of a years-long struggle, much less its implications for politics and policy.

For this disconnect between sorrow and action, some have blamed the media’s gaudy sentimentality. (An “emotional bath” is what NBC’s Tom Brokaw promised us for last year’s September 11 commemoration.) Others have blamed the president for urging too little in the way of sacrifice, for exhorting us in the days after September 11 to “get down to Disney World in Florida” and to “enjoy life.” Whoever is to blame, this much is evident: What Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge calls “the new normalcy” resembles for most Americans nothing so much as the old normalcy.

That most of us have resumed living by September 10 rules would hardly matter but for the inconvenient fact that America’s foes still play by September 11 rules. Alas, the conceit that the war on terror will not require broad sacrifice, which persists even when circumstances do not justify such a conceit, has obscured this unpleasant truth. Preventing a repeat of September 11 will be difficult enough. Even more so if an attack that should have prompted a special vigilance prompts only a glance backward.  

-Bruce (GayPatriot)