I haven't gotten mine yet, but someone was kind enough to send me a scan of a GOP mailer that is going to houses around here claiming that Democrats want to “surrender” to terrorism. This particular copy was sent right to the heart of FL-18, Annette Taddeo's district.
The content of this thing is pretty ugly. Here's a shot of the worst page. You can click on it for a larger .pdf version of that page.
This is accompanied by a smiling photo of Governor Charlie Crist, along with a message warning that terrorists want to kill us, and that we should vote for Republicans to “help keep America safe.” (You can download a .pdf of the entire mailer, if you want.)
Got that? The State GOP, which paid for this thing, and the formerly post-partisan Governor, are saying that Democrats want to surrender to terrorists. Talk about low-class smear jobs…
Does anyone actually think that Democrats want to surrender to terrorism? Most Democrats want to make an orderly exit from Iraq. So, the polls tell us, does most of the country. (And, for what it's worth, during the second Presidential debate it was Obama who took the more bellicose approach towards chasing down bin Laden, not McCain.)
It used to be that we only saw stuff like this in the last week before election day. But the GOP wants absentee ballots, and early voting starts soon, so here we go.
The FBI has blocked two of its veteran counterterrorism agents from going public with accusations that the CIA deliberately withheld crucial intelligence before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
FBI Special Agents Mark Rossini and Douglas Miller have asked for permission to appear in an upcoming public television documentary, scheduled to air in January, on pre-9/11 rivalries between the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency.
I have no idea how significant this is, if it all. Given that Bush ignored a report saying bin Laden was ready to strike at the US, you have to wonder whether live action movies of the strike teams doing a dress rehearsal would have done any good.
The Supreme Court is supposed to announce interesting decisions today. I'll discuss them later today or early tomorrow. At this point, though, I'd like to highlight some less presently preoccupied writing.
Academic writers are, among other things, supposed to develop points of view that help their readers think about not only the most immediate and concrete aspects of events but also their more general and maybe more lasting dimensions. Mark Tushnet is an especially dry-eyed master of this sort of thing. In “The Political Constitution of Emergency Powers,” just published in the Minnesota Law Review (91: 1451), he emphasizes the narrowness of the Supreme Court's decision in Hamdan holding that the President could not set up military commissions of the sort he wanted without congressional authorization: That's all, nothing more. The Court's insistence that there need be legislation involved no substantial judgment about what commission procedures should look like. But this otherwise empty insistence also put in motion the “political constitution,” familiar congressional/executive dealings that serve generally as the mechanism through which decisions about commission procedures, for example, are reached. See, e.g., the Military Commissions Act. Tushnet shows at some length how those dealings are organized by parts of the Constitution. But he celebrates nothing (neither the Constitution nor Hamdan).”[I]f Hamdan is a triumph of the Rule of Law, so much be the Military Commissions Act. (Now apply the logical rule of contraposition.)” (1472)
Having now seen the first night of this fiction, it is clear that the edits made to the film did not address the factual errors that we brought to your attention. “The Path to 9/11” flagrantly ignored the facts as reported by the 9/11 Commission and invented its own version of history. The result, in our judgment, is irreparable damage to the Commission’s work. More importantly, it is a disservice to the American people.
That the film directly contradicts the findings of the 9/11 Commission is troubling. That it defames dedicated public officials is tragic. But the fact that it misleads millions of people about the most tragic and consequential event in recent history is disgraceful.
As someone who was directly involved in almost every event depicted in the fictionalized docudrama, “The Path to 9-11,” I believe it is an egregious distortion that does a deep disservice both to history and to those in both the Clinton and Bush administrations who are depicted….
Although I am not one to easily believe in conspiracy theories and have spent a great deal of time debunking them, it is hard to escape the conclusion that the errors in this screen play are more than the result of dramatization and time compression. There is throughout the screenplay a consistent bias and distortion seeking to portray senior Clinton Administration officials as holding back the hard charging CIA, FBI, and military officers who would otherwise have prevented 9-11.
The exact opposite is true. From the President, to all of his White House team, and NSC Principals (Lake, Berger, Albright, Tenet, Reno) there was a common fixation with terrorism, al qaeda, and bin Ladin. The President approved every counter-terrorism operation presented to him, including many that CIA proved unable or unwilling to implement. He increased counter-terrorism spending by 400% and initiated the first homeland security program in forty years. Even though the US had taken relatively few casualties from al qaeda at the time, the President repeatedly authorized the use of lethal force against bin Ladin and his deputies and personally requested the US military to develop plans for “commando operations” against
them. Even though he knew the timing of an attack aimed at killing bin Ladin would be labeled by critics as a political diversion, Clinton decided to follow the advice of his national security team and pay the price politically.
“It’s just a movie?” If there is libelous content in the show by the time that it’s aired, I don’t see how even a disclaimer during the show could undo the effects of this advertisement, one which promises us the shocking truth. I don’t know exactly where this ad is being shown, but if it is being shown in England or in Australia or New Zealand, it could prove to be an expensive choice.
Then again, the writer at Daily Kos speculates that ABC/Disney may edit the most libelous scenes in the ‘The Path to 9/11’ in order to obfuscate who is doing what — in other words, leave the fabrications in place so as not to upset the blame-Clinton narrative which is apparently the core of the show (“how they could have wiped bin Laden out; they didn’t, but why? …”he’s right there”; how one decision changed our world…can’t you give the order?…I don’t have that authority”), but fuzz the parts identifying people by name that might be most actionable.
ABC/Disney should wake up and pull this horror before they trash their brand. Disney is a diversified company with a market capitalization of almost $62 billion. Even so, I wonder how long before this starts affecting the stock price.