Work and Days

Five Years and Running

More Whining From Osama

I watched bin Laden’s commemorative tape released shortly before the fifth anniversary of the attack today. All the usual stuff was there: mention of lost honor, the same pathological lying about taking credit for mass murder that he once denied, more gripes about Kosovo, Chechnya, etc.

Do any Americans finally see through these killers? On Monday they are mad about East Timor, on Tuesday Kosovo. Wednesday they wake up and shout about Israel, while on Thursday it’s American troops once in Saudi Arabia. Does anyone see a pattern here, especially when they talk of lost “honor” and “humiliation”? War-torn Rwandans are humiliated. There is no honor in Serbia. But what in God’s name is the complaint of radical Islam, when billions of windfall profits accrue to the Middle East, to countries like Iran or Syria or the Gulf States, who pump oil someone else found at $5 and sell it at $60, and can’t make or mend on their own any of the apparatus needed to profit?

“The Path to 9/11”

What was the furor about, when the ABC docudrama last night ran captions of “docu-drama” almost constantly? This was not a faux-documentary of the type Michael Moore foisted as truth on a naïve public at election time, purporting to show reality through actual film clips, its corrupt director to be greeted with a prize seat at the Democratic convention.

I heard no Democrat ever complain about Oliver Stone’s numerous mythodramas. And Bob Woodward writes docu-books all the time, with the inner most thoughts of his characters expressed when there is no way a reporter could ascertain their thoughts—and wins a Pulitzer. Look at the recent Cobra II and discover pseudo-footnotes like “unnamed senior official” or “Pentagon staff.”

What are we to make of Bill Clinton raging that he only wished the truth were to be told, Sandy Berger screaming about violated protocols, or Madeline Albright fuming about partisanship? And where is the ACLU or the Harvard Law Faculty coming to the rescue of film producers threatened with censorship and coerced changes? Saddest was the input of a “worried” history profession, whose big-guns expressed concern. Again, this comes from a discipline that nearly wrecked itself over postmodernism and the banality that all truth is relative and constructed, and predicated on questions of race, class, and gender. Objecting to docu-dramatic, fictionalized account on grounds that dialogue either didn’t happen as it appeared on screen or was enlarged and expanded is like complaining that Gates of Fire is not Herodotus or that Mary Renault deviated from Arrian.

The portions of the film I watched last night were well-scripted, the actors good and often bearing eerie resemblances to their real-life counterparts. So what was the hysteria about?

More political “preemption” perhaps, but once again also evidence of Democratic confusion. If this shrillness keeps up they just might shout and whine themselves out of another “sure” election.