The Path Less Traveled

You’ve got to love the Conservative banter ripping liberals over their outrage concerning ABC’s docu-drama “The Path to 9/11”. Claims that the anger is over how the film paints former president Bill Clinton in an unflattering light and places a lot of the blame on him for the attack seems to be the main focus of these Conservatives. But what gets lost in their condemnation is the fact that though Clinton was far from innocent in the pre-war on terror policies, many of the scenes are not based on facts but instead on screenwriter Cyrus Nowrasteh’s imagination.

1. Contrary to the movie, no US military or CIA personnel were on the ground in Afghanistan and saw bin Laden.2. Contrary to the movie, the head of the Northern Alliance, Masood, was no where near the alleged bin Laden camp and did not see UBL.

3. Contrary to the movie, the CIA Director actually said that he could not recommend a strike on the camp because the information was single sourced and we would have no way to know if bin Laden was in the target area by the time a cruise missile hit it.

In short, this scene — which makes the incendiary claim that the Clinton administration passed on a surefire chance to kill or catch bin Laden — never happened. It was completely made up by Nowrasteh.


Mr. Berger’s character is also seen abruptly hanging up during a conversation with a C.I.A. officer at a critical moment of a military operation. In an interview on Wednesday with KRLA-AM in Los Angeles, Cyrus Nowrasteh, the screenwriter of the movie and one of its producers, said that moment had been improvised.“Sandy Berger did not slam down the phone,” Mr. Nowrasteh said. “That is not in the report. That was not script. But you know when you’re making a movie, a lot of things happen on set that are unscripted. Accidents occur, spontaneous reactions of actors performing a role take place. It’s the job of the filmmaker to say, ‘You know, maybe we can use that.’ ”

Now not all conservatives are in agreement with the airing of this docu-drama, Deacon over at Powerline has a suprisingly fair comment on this issue

My take (or prejudice) is that docu-dramas as a genre are unworthy of our time unless they present only the actual words and actions of the “players.” In my view, if you use real names when employing this idiom, you have to use real words.

And conservative blogger Jon Swift also has a wonderful view on this as well.

I was relieved to find out that instead of making an animated version of the events of September 11, Disney was actually making a live-action film in the tradition of such live-action Disney classics as Son of Flubber and The Shaggy Dog. I still wasn’t sure that America was ready for September 11 to be turned into heart-warming family entertainment but at least some of my worst fears were allayed. Considering that Disney produced the wonderful Chronicles of Narnia and was planning to produce a miniseries about the Holocaust helmed by Mel Gibson, I thought, how bad could it be? I was further reassured when I learned that the Republican chair of the 9/11 Commission, Tom Kean, was a paid consultant on the film, director David Cunningham was once an evangelical Christian missionary and screenwriter Cyrus Nowrasteh was an avowed conservative who had spoken at the conservative Liberty Film Festival.

No matter what side of the fence you are on, you have to admit that the fact that the producers of the show sent hundreds of copies out to Conservatives for screening but would not extend the same courtesy to their counterparts on the left should have sent out red flags right away. But once Rush Limbaugh, who happens to be a good friend of Nowrasteh, came out with glowing reviews of the show, his conservative kool aid drinkers automatically assumed that it must be the greatest thing since sliced bread and from then on the battle lines were drawn.

Bill Clinton and his administration can be blamed for a lot of the problems that led up to 9/11 but taking such poetic license and including outright falsehoods that make Democrats look worse than they actually were so close to the November elections is nothing more than a blatant attempt by those involved to influence those that don’t know any better.

Of course all this could be a moot point as ABC is wavering on their decision to air the show and President Bush himself has thrown a monkey wrench into ABC’s plans by asking for network airtime during the second night of the showing but either way, if you are going to make a documentary on such an important historical event so close to when it happened, use the facts and leave the political agendas at the door.

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