TCS Daily


Cops and Warriors

By Austin Bay - September 18, 2006 12:00 AM

This year, Iran's theocratic dictators celebrated Sept. 11 by banning several opposition newspapers, including Iran's leading "reformist" daily, Shargh.

Shargh had committed political sin and published a cartoon that Tehran's robed dictators found insulting to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Associated Press reported the cartoon featured a chessboard with a white horse confronting a black donkey. "In Iranian culture," the AP opined, "the donkey is a symbol of ignorance. Iranian judiciary officials apparently took the donkey to represent Iran in negotiations with the West over nuclear issues."

Americans may be dismayed, but the urge to censor runs deep in politicians of all stripes. A week earlier, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., threatened to use government powers to censor ABC Television and prevent ABC and its owner, Disney, from showing its "docudrama," "The Path to 9/11."

On his Website, Reid urged Disney/ABC to cancel the miniseries. Reid damned the show's writer-producer, Cyrus Nowrasteh, by name and questioned "the motivations" of the show's creators. He also mentioned invoking the Communications Act of 1934 -- a not-too-subtle threat of government action.

"The usual voices" who claim to defend artistic freedom and free speech didn't speak out for Nowrasteh. Remember their silence next time conservatives gripe about faux-art like Andres Serrano's infamous "Piss Christ." Serrano's unimaginative presentation was lauded by the self-described "arts community" as a great, courageous statement. Alas, if urine on a crucifix is courage, I'd like to see cowardice.

But back to ABC's "Path to 9/11." Reid's threat of censorship, followed by a series of threats and protests by former Clinton administration officials, ensured I'd give the docudrama at least a short look-see.

I can't say I'm not a fan of the "docudrama" genre, per se. Shakespeare's history plays are docudramas of a sort. For the sake of poetry and plot, "Henry V" substitutes imagination for fact, as does "Julius Caesar."

There's a limit, however, to phony facts. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Clinton National Security Adviser Sandy Berger complained -- after a number of journalists and politicians saw the film in preview -- that they never spoke several of the lines attributed to them. Unlike "Henry V," Albright and Berger aren't ancient history, and having actors portraying them speak inaccurate words -- particularly craven words -- is a blow too low. Apparently, ABC edited those scenes, and it should have.

ABC also added a label to its product, informing the consumer that the movie was, well, a movie -- a dramatization, where events and characters were condensed in the interest of storytelling. This might be an encouraging trend. Some of the more execrable television "news" programs, which are little more than sensationalist claims of doom and gloom, need to carry the same label.

So -- with these caveats -- I watched the ABC docudrama instead of the Sunday night football game.

As a thriller, the movie was mediocre. However, its re-enactment of the assassination of Northern Alliance leader and U.S. ally Ahmed Shah Masood on Sept. 9, 2001, was particularly compelling. Mahsood had done far more to defeat the USSR in Afghanistan than any of Osama bin Laden's "Arab Afghans." His murder -- an historical fact -- demonstrated that al-Qaida and the Taliban fear Muslims who don't buy their poisoned brand of Islam, and especially fear them when they are allies of the United States. The movie conveyed that.

The flick wasn't much of a political statement, either, unless the viewer happened to believe Islamo-fascists aren't at war with the civilized world. As for the folks who believe the West or George W. Bush created terrorism, then their own conspiracy theories are far more fictional than this movie.

The movie did dramatize several of al-Qaida's pre-9/11 terror attacks. The 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the 1998 attacks on U.S. embassies in East Africa and the bombing of the USS Cole aren't Hollywood fantasies, they are horrible facts.

It's also a fact the Clinton administration spent eight years and the Bush administration eight months playing cops and robbers, while al-Qaida was implementing unrestricted warfare. Both administrations treated Islamo-fascist terrorism as a law enforcement issue.

Perhaps Sen. Reid still believes in a cops and robbers strategy. If so, then he must also censor history.

Austin Bay is a syndicated columnist and TCS Daily contributing writer. 

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36 Comments

'Death of President' called publicity ploy, cautionary scenario
Britain abuzz over film depicting killing of Bush

"...
"It's a disturbing film," said Peter Dale, head of More4, the television channel that will broadcast the film next month, after its Sept. 10 premiere at the Toronto Film Festival.

"It raises questions about the effects of American foreign policy, and particularly the war on terror," said Dale, who denied criticism that the film made an anti-Bush or anti-American political statement. "It's a fairly attention-grabbing premise, but behind that is a serious and thought-provoking film."

...

"I'm sure they will cloak it by saying there's a serious point to be made," Greenslade said. "But isn't there another way? If it had been a fictional president, wouldn't it have made the same point? It just beggars belief that this is the best way to make a serious point."

Dale defended the use of Bush's image, rather than a fictional president, because using a fictional character "wouldn't have the same kind of resonance."

"It's absolutely legitimate to deal with contemporary named figures," he said. "I would urge people to see the film and see if they think it is fair."
..."

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/09/02/MNGL5KU7MO1.DTL


I think the Right is far more tolerant of self expression than is the Left.

out to lunch


Senator Reid and others wanted ABC not to broadcast Path to 9/11 because it was a lie. It was full of "inaccuracies" invented to make Clinton look bad and Bush look good. Reid felt ABC was violating US law forbids explicit political programming on broadcast TV.

What?
US law forbids explicit political programming on broadcast TV.


Hey delusion boy- what law is this?

yeah I want to know too
how about implicit political programming?

Then Again
Reid's pretty selective of the lies he becomes indignant about- nary a word when Reagan was pounded by the pathetic James Brolin characture a few years back.

LG and lies
That Clinton made many mistakes is a historical fact. It is not a lie.
The film did nothing to make Bush look good. It showed that he too made mistakes.

In LG's world, anything that doesn't claim that all Republicans are evil, and all Democrats pure and faultless, is a lie.

Just where the heck is this law that prevent political programming on broadcast TV? If it truely exists, than how did "West Wing" and that madam president show make it on the air?

Just junk
I didn't know the brain-dead could speak, let alone type. Guess this proves that theory wrong.

This is about the dumbest thing I've seen posted here; and that is really saying something!!

that title is misleading
I was expecting a serious examination of the battling theories between police vs. military as the best way to "fight" terrorism. Instead this is just a silly review of a movie.

Its not correct to compare the "Path to 9/11" movie as an artistic expression with the "**** christ" sculpture or whatever it is. "**** Christ" is a piece of "art". "Path to 9/11" is a fictional movie about factual events. And factual events of very recent history that scarred and changed America, to boot. You can define both as "art" (you can define anything as art), but they're on different levels at the least.

"Path to 9/11" simply put, is a moronic idea and unfair to Americans already confused and scared from the event and the politics that surround it. Wrong movie at the wrong time. All the reasons I've read from the creators and ABC about why to air such a movie are BS. The only reason that makes sense to show this movie are to either confuse people more about the events leading to the attack, or to score political points. They showed it commercial-free and I'd say the firestorm over it hurts their PR, so making money from it doesn't seem to be a reason either.

you are funny
declaring what is or isn't art.

you write like a little girl.

do left wingers
all think like well educated little girls?

It gets tedious.

thank you
perhaps you missed my sentence that you can define anything as art.

In what way is my writing like a little girl's? Or did I say something you don't like? Explain yourself.

Its easy to insult people without backing it up.

Confused Morons
I would say that the morons are the ones who are confused by the events and politics surrounding 9/11.

Fops and Liars
Austin Bay's attempt to portray Harry Reid as a would-be censor of ABC's "The Path to 9/11" is laughable in an odious sort of way, like one of President Bush's fart jokes.

Read the letter, signed by Reid and several other senators, and decide for yourself if they betray the slightest ignorance of or desire to circumvent US law regarding prior restraint or the 1st Amendment.
http://reid.senate.gov/newsroom/record.cfm?id=262624&&year
=2006&

As intellectually challenged as Harry Reid gives every indication of being, even *he* knows that he has about as much ability to censor non-sexual content in the US media, alone or in concert with others, as George W. Bush has to speak truthfully in public.

As to ABC's slimey behavior in advertising its miniseries as being based on the 9/11 Commission Report and then distorting key elements of the Report and fabricating others, it demonstrates to what depths ABC has further sunk in the already rankly polluted waters of US corporate media propaganda.

As to Mr. Bay's credibility, if this little smear-piece, in which he equates the Democratic leadership with the totalitarian regime in Iran with respect to their positions on free speech, is at all representative of his work, the less said the better, for Mr. Bay.

In the land of the liberals, there is never time for the truth.
Why is it that the only theory that ever makes sense to a liberal, is the theory that everyone else is evil.

you shouldn't be so hard on yourself
I've read Reid's letter, and it's quite obvious that he is threatening to take steps to prevent ABC's license to air from being renewed, if ABC does not pull the special.

what a *****
"...
Its not correct to compare the "Path to 9/11" movie as an artistic expression with the "**** christ" sculpture or whatever it is. "**** Christ" is a piece of "art". "Path to 9/11" is a fictional movie about factual events. And factual events of very recent history that scarred and changed America, to boot. You can define both as "art" (you can define anything as art), but they're on different levels at the least.
..."

You are asserting that because art can be anything it is everything and nothing and on something called levels.

This is girl talk or gay talk.

shmuck
"...
The Communications Act of 1934 provides your network with a free broadcast license predicated on the fundamental understanding of your principle obligation to act as a trustee of the public airwaves in serving the public interest. Nowhere is this public interest obligation more apparent than in the duty of broadcasters to serve the civic needs of a democracy by promoting an open and accurate discussion of political ideas and events.

..."
Google
Results 1 - 10 of about 6,590,000 for Communications Act of 1934 . (0.14 seconds)

Sounds like that act is a liberal wet dream.

lot's of criticism of the act and calls to shut down the FCC entirely.

sounds like that wiener Reid, was levling a veiled threat.
What ABC has no lawyers?
They need Reid to do their legal work?

amen to that
I totally agree. People don't pay attention, and particularly don't pay attention to politics. Thats why the quick sound byte has become the popular method of political messaging, it works.

Confusion and fear surrounding 9/11 is the single biggest base reason for Bush getting re-elected. You may notice its also still the main message Republicans are using for the 06 campaign. Fear and confusion worked for Republicans in the last 2 elections, its their only chance in this one too. (That, and localizing the election, are their 2 viable methods)

I don't mean that as criticism, its just how it is.

We do have something in common with Iran!
"the donkey is a symbol of ignorance"

That's true in the USA as well!

It was full of "inaccuracies"
"It was full of "inaccuracies" invented to make Clinton look bad and Bush look good." It doesn't take fiction to do that!

If you don't have to lie . . .
> "It was full of "inaccuracies" invented to make Clinton
> look bad and Bush look good." It doesn't take fiction
> to do that!

OK, maybe ABC didn't have to lie to make Clinton look bad, but they lied anyway.

And I soooo loooove the wingnuts who think liberals write like girls, or like girlymen. I guess truthtelling is feminine and lying stupidity is macho.

truthtelling
It may not be macho, but it is apparently more than you can manage.

Sniper
Bin Laden knows the western psyche better than we. He knew that by pulling off a spectacular atrocity, that leadership will be attacked and blamed by unwitting pawns. Look how the leftists reacted in the U.S., Spain, and Britain. While Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and other jihadists do their best to create confusion and fear, their moronic citizen accomplices serve to create confusion and fear of their own leadership. You, bobjones, are a perfect example of a moron, easily duped into downplaying the external threat and sniping at your own democratic system and leadership.

My first thought as well, let the donkey bray!
An enduring symbol of stubborness, fecklessness and mindless selfishness personalised by the person of the DNC chairman himself, LET THE DONKEY BRAY "Ieeeeeeeee".

some how I keep seeing the scene from pinochio where the children are all turned to donkeys, something about Howard Dean on stage, halfway converted like a wher-donkey "IEEEEEEE"!

Now I'm seeing a cartoon of Howei dean & Achmedinajackoff as fellow wher-donkeys braying in choiris, think THAT would get another cartoon intafada going? Or just another stab at the "unfairness doctrine"?

Liberals as girlymen
I love it Goody. Guess you never saw the West Wing.

Boobie as a girlieman
Truth in advertising.

Get out those high heels
My vote is for the girlieman style for Boobie.

Heavy handed Dems caught
Exactly what was the Dems objected to? That their quotes were exact? That is wasn't "is?" From the party that has used censorship whenever and wherever it could such censorship should be expected as well as the wingnuts that defend them.

Mabe you are confused and scared
But we're alert, aware, oriented and resolute.

thats really a very interesting post prospector
You've managed to take 3 separate issues and merge them into one, one big orgy of ignorance and fear.

First, 9/11.
"Bin Laden knows the western psyche better than we. He knew that by pulling off a spectacular atrocity, that leadership will be attacked and blamed by unwitting pawns."

Virtually NO ONE attacked and blamed after 9/11. The whole world, including leftists, supported and assisted America after 9/11. The world felt compassion for us, and supported us in invading Afghanistan and going after terrorist networks worldwide, including leftists. But then, before this job was even close to being done, we turned on Iraq.

Second, Iraq. You didn't specifically mention Iraq, but its obvious its in your perspective, because thats when the criticism and blame started to show itself, and thats what you're whining about. What you don't understand, is that the criticism is justified. First the Administration had to do its best hard-sell job to garner support to invade Iraq, they used faulty intelligence (not widely known at the time, granted), hand-picked to make the case, but they got it done enough to go forward. In the meantime, for example, General Shinseki tells them they'll need several hundred thousand troops to stabilize Iraq after the invasion, they respond by forcing his retirement. So we stomp Iraq, taking control of the country even faster than expected. Except, we didn't really take control, lawlessness and looting ensued because we didn't have enough troops. Terrorists flooded the country, looting weapons caches because we didn't bother securing them... I think you get the picture. There is plenty that is worthy of criticism for our leaders and their effort in Iraq. That criticism has nothing to do with the war on terror, except perhaps the fact that we diverted from the war on terror to go after Saddam.

Third, Hezbollah. Why even mention Hezbollah in this discussion? The war in Lebanon has nothing to do with 9/11 or Iraq, or America for that matter. Hezbollah is not Al Qaeda or Osama, but in your manic fear you somehow lump them all together as the same.


I'm not creating confusion and fear about our own leadership, they do that on their own, I'm pointing it out to express my deep disatisfaction with their shifting goals and policies and implementation.

I don't need to be duped into downplaying the external threat. I'm not scared. Is that simple enough for you? It doesn't matter how many times Bush and the Administration tell me to be scared. I'm not. I'm content with how our government is doing going after terrorists. Are you? I mean, if Bush is doing such a good job, why are you so scared? Could it be because thats the Republicans' ongoing message? Now whos the moron, easily duped. Its ironic really, their job is to assure you its safe and keep you safe, yet they pump you with fear. Do you ever ask why?
I also don't live in a high-target area, if I lived in a big city and rode the subway everyday I might be a little more paranoid. What are YOU going to do anyway? Its not your job to pursue terrorists. You keep aware for unusual things, unusual people, not much you can do other than keep high awareness of your environment. What will be, will be. In the meantime you can rest assured that the President will illegally wiretap our phones and hold potential suspects in jail indefinitely, as he pursues terrorists.
I'll repeat, (other than violating our laws to do it) I'm content with how he is doing hunting down terrorists. Except he let Osama go of course, the guy who actually pulled off 9/11. But that doesn't matter much anyway in my opinion. I just wanted to hit you over the head with it.

You would flush your country down the tubes to express your loyalty to a President. You disgust me, and its not because you're a rightist, its because you've got the FEAR. The irrational hubris of a person in FEAR. Well, thats the message you've been fed, so you really should think twice before calling someone else "a moron, easily duped".

no he didn't
"...
You've managed to take 3 separate issues and merge them into one, one big orgy of ignorance and fear.
..."

You insist on separating them. He sees them that way because they are that way.

You see them the way you see them because you have been trained to think like a woman.

Who?
You are wrong that the three are not related. That is your very fatal mistake. Hezbullah? Who attacked the Marine BAQ in Lebanon? You are also wrong about the history after 9/11. Who helped us to invade Afghanistan? Please list the leftists who helped us invade Afghanistan. Which leftist intellectuals defended the invasion? I think that it was only the Anglo-alliance (Britain, Canada, & Australia) who sent very small forces. The good-will after 9/11 you fantasize about lasted briefly... only until it became clear that Bush was actually going to use force to oust the Taliban. Then the Bush-bashing that had been the norm for the previous nine months started up again. Apparently you do not recall the anti-war demonstrations and the conspiracy theories about the gas-pipeline from the 'stans.... oh and all the criticisms of Bush & Cheney about being chickenhawks. I remember this well because it was the moment of my alienation from my closest friends who not once ever called for bin Laden's head, but still scream for the heads of Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush, Wolfowitz, and so on and so on. I'm sure you are very familiar with this syndrome. I also recall the opinion pieces and editorials in our own country blaming the U.S. and our policies for bringing the atrocity on our heads. Many defended bin Laden then, demanding proof of his involvement in planning 9/11. This chorus only grows and you and your ilk feed it. Your rhetoric is the same as Chavez at the podium. You are the shameful one inventing history and it is you who contribute to changing this country into one that no one would defend.

You nailed the troll!
If you haven't noticed by now Boobie and the truth have never met. Boobie also is one of those hate-America trolls who lurk here.

bummer - lowest common denominator is back
I thought you disappeared titbits. You're the most worthless rightie I've ever seen. No offense meant to righties.

I don't hate America dummy.

You're good at making insults and delusioned comments about lefties, but thats all you ever talk about. What a sad existence.

We agree, that's what I thought as well, when I saw that you were posting again.
...

Boobie wanted to show off his IQ to you Mark
You can always depend on Boobie to demonstrate how chant, illogic, and bad manners can be substituted by some people in place of reason and civility. But without Boobie you'd have no one to demonstrate not only how prevalent psychosis is among the Left but also how good his tinfoil hat looks.

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