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GORIN Stand by Cyrus! (And ABC)
by Julia Gorin
[pundit/comedian] 9/14/06

It must be understood that the outcries over "The Path to 9/11," penned and produced by Cyrus Nowrasteh, have much to do with this being the first time that Bill Clinton has found himself on the wrong side of Hollywood's creative pen. "Wrong" in this case meaning not the flattering or sycophantic treatment he's come to take for granted from the entertainment community.

If history will find fault with "Path," it will be that it lets the Clinton administration off easy, hardly scratching the surface of the aggressive non-vigilance, the willful incompetence and outright contempt for matters of national security that the frat party running the country for eight years displayed. Between focusing almost exclusively on domestic pandering priorities, and fixating on the Palestinian-Israeli brokering that brought us to Intifadah 2 (plus making a last-ditch attempt at a legacy by bombing Europe), only Jimmy Carter outdid that administration in castrating the country's security and intelligence apparatuses, tying America's hands behind her back and having a cavalier overall attitude toward matters of security.

Julia Gorin

Pundit, comedian and opinionist Julia Gorin is proprietor of www.JuliaGorin.com and is a contributing editor to www.JewishWorldReview.com..[go to Gorin index]

Recall the time that President-elect Clinton came to Washington in 1992 to meet with the House Democratic chairmen, and future 9/11 Commission co-chair Lee Hamilton said, "Well, Mr. President, we have China. Whatever you do on China, you're only going to please half the people. Then, there's Saddam Hussein—" Clinton cut him off and answered, "Lee, I've been traveling around our country for a year and no one cares about foreign policy other than about six journalists."

Among the Clintonites objecting to the mini-series are Madeleine Albright and Sandy "Socks" Berger. Aside from Albright's fight to ally us with al Qaeda in the Balkans (which the mini-series doesn't get into), here is a reminder of how serious Albright was about national security: After it was brought to her attention that lax security at the State Department left it crawling with spies posing as journalists, Albright joked at a press conference, "If anyone here is a spy, please raise your hand." Meanwhile, about North Korean Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sun, Albright had this to say: "I must say the Foreign Minister was very nice....We had not spoken to each other. He did tell me, however, that I looked younger this year."

And here is what a foreign policy press briefing sounded like during the Clinton administration. White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart, at Camp David in 2000:

The president, the two leaders, and their delegations—somewhere around 40 people—had dinner together in the Laurel Cabin. The president, Prime Minister Barak, and Chairman Arafat sat at one table with about 15 or so of their aides. Secretary of State Albright hosted another table. National Security Adviser Berger hosted the third table, filling out the room. They dined on tenderloin of beef with sun-dried tomatoes, fillet of salmon with Thai curry sauce, roast baby Yukon potatoes, steamed green beans with almonds, a mixed garden salad, fresh fruit, and assorted desserts.

That pretty much sums up foreign policy under Bill Clinton.

If the Clintonites' complaint is that "Path" portrays their administration as incompetent, they should keep in mind that the truth is much worse — and be grateful that the film's implications stop where they do. The much uglier reality is that the administration — from Clinton to Albright to Berger — hadn't even any interest in being competent. As I outlined here in 2002, for eight years the words "national security" weren't uttered, except in the context of AIDS. Clinton didn't answer terrorism, but boy was he tough on that AIDS. (He has since extended the classification "national security threat" to climate change, which he and his former vice president tout as a greater threat than terrorism.)

One wonders what Bill Clinton even needed a security adviser for. To advise him on which brand of condoms was safest? (Just kidding — Clinton doesn't use condoms, according to Gennifer Flowers.)

When blaming Bush is the order of the day, it's understandable how this mini-series could be considered "controversial." A Cox and Forkum cartoon last week said it best: a CAIR representative yells, "Stop associating 9/11 with Islam!" A Democratic Donkey brays: "And don't blame Clinton!" And an incensed peacenik concludes, "Bush did it!"

But three days before the fall of Baghdad, Uday Hussein had this to say to Iraqi television: "This time I think the Americans are serious. Bush is not like Clinton."

Recall that Clinton's biggest public frustration surrounding 9/11 was that he didn't have a bigger role playing grief counselor to the nation, and he repeatedly stated how much better he'd be at dealing with the disaster. (Though he didn't even bother visiting the World Trade Center after the first attack in 1993.) In other words, the regret wasn't that the disaster happened, but that he wasn't in charge when it did.

Despite outward appearances to the historically shallow, George Bush works to prevent death. Bill Clinton, with his non-confrontational approach to foreign policy — from North Korea to Israel-Palestine to terrorism against America to allying us with al Qaeda in Bosnia and Kosovo — did everything to enable it.

I understand what the Clintonites must be feeling right now — a heretofore alien sense of powerlessness and lack of control, as potential disinformation is proliferated and planted in the public mind. Welcome to the club, Clinton et al. Now you know how it feels to be Republican. How do you like the shoe on the other foot?

The glaring difference, of course, is that — unlike the way show business turns truth on its ear in portraying conservatives, "The Path to 9/11" conveys the essence of the truth. Individual facts that have been objected to — such as who said what, and where he was when he said it — are consolidated and altered out of dramatic necessity. As political cartoonist Allen Forkum writes, "If it's essentially accurate in the required summation and fictionalization of events, then the movie should stand whether the particulars match history or not. 'Fake but accurate' is not an acceptable standard for journalism, but it is absolutely necessary for art. And this is a movie not a documentary." CRO

This piece first appeared at JewishWorldReview.com

copyright 2006 Julia Gorin





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