ABC In The Middle

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It has been kind of instructive watching the kerfluffle over the ABC miniseries The Path to 9/11 develop over the past few days. It seems that several darlings of the left are quite exercised over the whole thing because it does not present the approved story line as they have tried to define it. In other words it does not present 9/11 as entirely and solely George Bush's fault.

In other words it does not repeat the approved lies. Geeze, ABC may lose its honorary membership in the fellow travelers club over this.

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 5 — Days before its scheduled debut, the first major television miniseries about the Sept. 11 attacks was being criticized on Tuesday as biased and inaccurate by bloggers, terrorism experts and a member of the Sept. 11 commission, whose report makes up much of the film’s source material.

The six-hour miniseries, “The Path to 9/11,” is to be shown on ABC on Sunday and Monday. The network has been advertising the program as a “historic broadcast” that uses the commission’s report on the 2001 attacks as its “primary foundation.”

On Tuesday, several liberal blogs were questioning whether ABC’s version was overly critical of the Clinton administration while letting the Bush administration off easy.

In particular, some critics — including Richard A. Clarke, the former counterterrorism czar — questioned a scene that depicts several American military officers on the ground in Afghanistan. In it, the officers, working with leaders of the Northern Alliance, the Afghan rebel group, move in to capture Osama bin Laden, only to allow him to escape after the mission is canceled by Clinton officials in Washington.

In a posting on, and in a phone interview, Mr. Clarke said no military personnel or C.I.A. agents were ever in position to capture Mr. bin Laden in Afghanistan, nor did the leader of the Northern Alliance get that near to his camp.

“It didn’t happen,” Mr. Clarke said. “There were no troops in Afghanistan about to snatch bin Laden. There were no C.I.A. personnel about to snatch bin Laden. It’s utterly invented.”

Mr. Clarke, an on-air consultant to ABC News, said he was particularly shocked by a scene in which it seemed Clinton officials simply hung up the phone on an agent awaiting orders in the field. “It’s 180 degrees from what happened,” he said. “So, yeah, I think you would have to describe that as deeply flawed.”

I have always disliked Clarke's partisan spin on the whole situation. He obviously has an ax to grind on this. The fact is the operation that al Qaeda pulled off on that sunny September morning five years ago had been in planning during Mr. Clarke's watch. He knows it and he has been actively trying to duck any responsibility for that for years. The man who chaired the 9/11 commission has a different take than Clarke:

Former Gov. Thomas H. Kean of New Jersey, the chairman of the Sept. 11 commission and a consultant on the miniseries, defended the program, saying he thought the disputed scene was an honest representation of a number of failed efforts to capture Mr. bin Laden.

“I pointed out the fact that the scene involving Afghanistan and the attempt to get bin Laden is a composite,” Mr. Kean said, adding that the miniseries format required some conflation of events. But, he said, “The basic fact is that on a number of occasions, they thought they might have been able to get bin Laden, and on those occasions, the plug was pulled for various reasons.”

Mr. Kean conceded that some points might have been more drama than documentary. “Some of the people shown there probably weren’t there,” he said.

I am not sure if I will watch it or not. I am, in general, not a fan of "docudramas". But it has been very amusing to see this whole thing develop they way it has. Several people are sure protesting an awful lot, aren't they?

UPDATE: Dean Barnett takes issue with it.

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