Did the Dems Threaten ABC?

The Democrats have gone nuts over the ABC miniseries, The Path to 9/11. But it’s a little hard to see why. Maybe it’s because Disney and ABC have been reliably pro-Democrat in the past, so the Dems feel betrayed.

Looking at the big picture, though, it’s a little hard to see what the Dems are complaining about. I haven’t seen the miniseries, but I take it that it doesn’t portray the Clinton administration as having taken very effective action against the growing threat from Islamic terrorists. What I don’t understand is how the Democrats think they can rewrite history to challenge that characterization.

There is no doubt about the fact that the terrorist menace grew and became increasingly obvious during the Clinton administration. To note just a few highlights:

* January 25, 1993: Mir Aimal Kansi, a Pakistani, fired an AK-47 into cars waiting at a stoplight in front of the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Virginia, killing two CIA employees.

* February 26, 1993: Islamic terrorists try to bring down the World Trade Center with car bombs. They failed to destroy the buildings, but killed 6 and injured over 1000 people.

* March 12, 1993: Car bombings in Mumbai, India leave 257 dead and 1,400 others injured.

* July 18, 1994: Bombing of Jewish Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, kills 86 and wounds 300. The bombing is generally attributed to Hezbollah acting on behalf of Iran.

* July 19, 1994: Alas Chiricanas Flight 00901 is bombed, killing 21. Generally attributed to Hezbollah.

* July 26, 1994: The Israeli Embassy is attacked in London, and a Jewish charity is also car-bombed, wounding 20. The attacks are attributed to Hezbollah.

* December 11, 1994: A bomb explodes on board Philippine Airlines Flight 434, killing a Japanese businessman. It develops that Ramzi Yousef planted the bomb to test it for the larger terrorist attack he is planning.

* December 24, 1994: In a preview of September 11, Air France Flight 8969 is hijacked by Islamic terrorists who planned to crash the plane in Paris.

* January 6, 1995: Operation Bojinka, an Islamist plot to bomb 11 U.S. airliners over the Pacific Ocean, is discovered on a laptop computer in a Manila, Philippines apartment by authorities after a fire occurred in the apartment. Noted terrorists including Ramzi Yousef and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed are involved in the plot.

* June 14—June 19, 1995: The Budyonnovsk hospital hostage crisis, in which 105 civilians and 25 Russian troops were killed following an attack by Chechan Islamists.

* July—October, 1995: Bombings in France by Islamic terrorists led by Khaled Kelkal kill eight and injure more than 100.

* November 13, 1995: Bombing of OPM-SANG building in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia kills 7

* November 19, 1995: Bombing of Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan kills 19.

* January 1996: In Kizlyar, 350 Chechen Islamists took 3,000 hostages in a hospital. The attempt to free them killed 65 civilians and soldiers.

* February 25 – March 4, 1996: A series of four suicide bombings in Israel leave 60 dead and 284 wounded within 10 days.

* June 11, 1996: A bomb explodes on a train traveling on the Serpukhovsko-Timiryazevskaya Line of the Moscow Metro, killing four and unjuring at least 12.

* June 25, 1996: The Khobar Towers bombing, carried out by Hezbollah with Iranian support. Nineteen U.S. servicemen were killed and 372 wounded.

* February 24, 1997: An armed man opens fire on tourists at an observation deck atop the Empire State Building in New York City, United States, killing a Danish national and wounding visitors from several countries. A handwritten note carried by the gunman claims this was a punishment attack against the “enemies of Palestine”.

* November 17, 1997: Massacre in Luxor, Egypt, in which Islamist gunmen attack tourists, killing 62 people.

* January 1998: Wandhama Massacre – 24 Kashmiri Pandits are massacred by Pakistan-backed Islamists in the city of Wandhama in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

* February 14, 1998: Bombings by Islamic Jihadi groups at an election rally in the Indian city of Coimbatore kill about 60 people.

* August 7, 1998: Al Qaeda bombs U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya, killing 225 people and injuring more than 4,000.

* August 31 – September 22, 1998: Russian apartment bombings kill about 300 people, leading Russia into Second Chechen War.

* December 1998: Jordanian authorities foil a plot to bomb American and Israeli tourists in Jordan, and arrest 28 suspects as part of the 2000 millennium attack plots.

* December 14, 1998: Ahmed Ressam is arrested on the United States–Canada border in Port Angeles, Washington; he confessed to planning to bomb the Los Angeles International Airport as part of the 2000 millennium attack plots.

* December 24, 1998: Indian Airlines Flight 814 from Kathmandu, Nepal to Delhi, India is hijacked by Islamic terrorists. One passenger is killed and some hostages are released. After negotiations between the Taliban and the Indian government, the last of the remaining hostages on board Flight 814 are released in exchange for release of 4 terrorists.

* January 2000: The last of the 2000 millennium attack plots fails, as the boat meant to bomb USS The Sullivans sinks.

* August 8, 2000: A bomb exploded at an underpass in Pushkin Square in Moscow, killing 11 people and wounding more than 90.

* August 17, 2000: Two bombs exploded in a shopping center in Riga, Latvia, injuring 35 people.

* October 12, 2000: AL Qaeda bombs USS Cole with explosive-laden speedboat, killing 17 US sailors and wounding 40, off the port coast of Aden, Yemen.

Between 1993 and 2000, everyone who was paying any attention knew that the threat from Islamic terrorism was grave and getting worse. The catastrophic losses that occurred on Septimeber 11, 2001, could just as easily have happened in 1993, when the first plot to destroy the World Trade Center was carried off successfully, but the terrorists had miscalculated the effect of their explosives, or in 1995, when the plot to destroy eleven American airplanes in flight was thwarted by counter-intelligence work in the Philippines. What did the Clinton administration do in response to this grave threat? Essentially nothing. Worse, Clinton tried to sweep the problem under the rug, lest it disrupt the surface calm and prosperity for which he was eager to claim credit.

However Path to 9/11 portrays the Clinton administration, it can be no worse than the reality.

Now top Democrats have written a letter to ABC that can reasonably be read as a threat to pull the network’s broadcast license if it shows Path to 9/11:

Presenting such deeply flawed and factually inaccurate misinformation to the American public and to children would be a gross miscarriage of your corporate and civic responsibility to the law, to your shareholders, and to the nation.

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. ***

We urge you, after full consideration of the facts, to uphold your responsibilities as a respected member of American society and as a beneficiary of the free use of the public airwaves to cancel this factually inaccurate and deeply misguided program.

Blue Crab Boulevard calls this letter an “enormous miscalculation.” Blog of the Week Riehl World View agrees that the Democrats will pay a political price for their heavy-handedness:

[T]he ramifications of the current move by Dems to pressure ABC are going to have consequences far beyond a docu-drama. Americans don’t like people, especially politicians, messing with their TV. And the other big issue facing Republicans in the run up to the coming elections besides Iraq was firing up their base. I say was because the Dems have just saved the Republicans from having to go to the trouble.

The Democrats’ shameless maneuvering now going on on behalf of Clinton brings back, not only the animus Republicans have always felt for Clinton, while drawing attention to their general weakness in foreign affairs, it also reminds everyone of the scandal ridden side show that was Democrat Clinton’s presidency.

Well, one can always hope. But it’s hard to think of an instance of bully-boy tactics by the Democrats causing them any serious problems.

UPDATE: ABC says that it is still making changes in the program, evidently in response to the Democrats’ attacks, so we won’t know how effective the Democrats’ tactics have been until the program airs.

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