Skip to comments.Aftershocks
Posted on 09/10/2003 9:46:36 PM PDT by Utah Girl
In preparation for the 9/11 commemorations tomorrow, I watched last night Lionel Chetwynds excellent Showtime docudrama, DC 9/11. I dont know how others will respond, but for me it very authentically revived memories of one of the most terrible days in my life and not only because a character based on me makes a cameo appearance in the film.
Chetwynd gets details impressively right, down to the exact lamps in the Oval Office. He has found actors who look spookily like the characters they play, including President Bush himself. An d the crux of his story is the essential thing that was visible to all of us who were there at the time: Bushs absolute, unquestioned personal command.
DC 9/11 is a movie with a thesis and in todays context the thesis is a provocative one: that the war on terror was intended and understood from the very start to begin with Afghanistan, but not to end there. For the TV-viewing public, the movie stresses and restresses the connection between Middle Eastern radicalism and Middle Eastern terrorism and that we wont defeat the latter until we have discredited the former. Thats how President Bush saw it from the start, and he was right. The movie has Bush and others saying aloud how radically they intend to depart from the policies of the past and that is right too. The sense of the wrongness of Americas old Middle East ways pervaded the White House after 9/11 and spared a series of confrontations with those officials (especially Colin Powell) who regarded themselves as conservators of the nations policy traditions.
Powell is shown in 9/11 as a rather good-natured but essentially unthreatening personality. That rather sharply contrasts with the way in which many of us perceived him at the time: as a highly skilled bureaucratic warrior, determined to fight as many rear-guard actions as needed to defend the Saudi connection and everything that followed from the Saudi connection, including the survival of Saddam Hussein after Desert Storm.
My one question about Chetwynds movie is that it is so carefully redacted, follows actual events so closely, that I wonder whether TV audiences will find it dramatic enough. It opens after all with Donald Rumsfeld scourging a congressional delegation for a too-stingy defense appropriation! When has such a scene as that ever opened a Showtime movie? But audiences do sometimes rise to a brave film-makers expectations, and that deserves to happen with this painstakingly wrought presentation of the decisive moments of recent American history.
Bombs in Israel
One of the clichés of Middle East reporting is the warning that Palestinian terror attacks and Israeli retaliations threaten something called the peace process or (at other times) the fragile truce. These words describe a pseudo-reality that bears no connection to actual events. The round of bomb attacks over the past few weeks have not disrupted the peace process or the truce or whatever: They demonstrate that this process does not exist. Israel and the Palestinian Authority are at war, have been continuously at war since Yasser Arafat launched his second intifada in September 2000. Wars end when the aggressor either prevails or accepts that he cannot prevail. The Palestinians, the aggressors in this war, wont prevail but the myth and indulgences of the peace-processors protect them from having to acknowledge their defeat. That simply prolongs the fighting. This latest Mideast war will only terminate when the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian population are forced to acknowledge the terrible error they made three years ago and to come to terms. Those outside forces that seek to restrain Israel from victory are not making peace; they are prolonging the fighting.
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Should be declared and some clocks cleaned in PLO-land.