Last night, I wrote about the Democrats’ effort to prevent the ABC miniseries The Path to 9/11 from seeing the light of day. My basic point was that, however harshly the series portrays the Clinton administration’s response to the terrorist threat, it could hardly overstate the case. I included a long list of terrorist attacks that occurred during the Clinton administration, to which that administration made no serious response.
Earlier today, Glenn Reynolds made, as usual, sensible observations on why he hasn’t much criticized the Clinton administration:
[T]hat’s why I’ve never been too critical of the Clinton Administration, or the pre-9/11 Bush Administration. Hindsight is 20-20, but not many people took the threat of Islamist terror seriously enough before the World Trade Center attacks, and I certainly didn’t.
Glenn also quoted James Lileks:
Just so you know: 9/11 reset the clock for me. All hands went to midnight. I’m interested in what people did after that date, and if the movie shows that before the attack one side lacked feck and the other was feck-deficient, I don’t worry about it. It’s like revisiting Congressional debates about Hawaiian harbor security in November 1941. Y’all get a pass. The Etch-A-Sketch’s turned over. Now: what have you said lately?
I agree with Glenn and James. I would also note that President Bush has, to my knowledge, never said a critical word about his predecessor’s failure to deal with the threat posed by al Qaeda and similar groups. If the Democrats had been willing to put aside their fecklessness after 9/11 and participate constructively in defending our security, I, too, would have little or no interest in revisiting the events of 1993 to 2001.
But there is a huge problem with this magnanimous approach. The Democrats are, today, trying to dismantle our efforts to fight the terrorists. They are trying to block the NSA from intercepting terrorists’ communications; they are trying to force our armed forces to treat captured terrorists with the same deference they would accord to a member of our own services; and they are trying to block the confirmation of John Bolton as U.N Ambassador so that he can be replaced with someone who will offer meaningless platitudes instead of aggressive advocacy of American interests.
What the Democrats are trying to do is return to the hunker-down and hope for the best days of the Clinton administration. They are trying to sell the American people on the absurd proposition that the terrorist threat we face today is mostly George Bush’s fault, and that if we only abandon his tough approach to national security, everything will be fine.
That is why I think it is critically important that the American people not be deceived about how we got to the pass we arrived at on September 11, 2001; and that is why, I think, the Democrats are so hysterical about The Path to 9/11.
We’ve been down that path before. Let’s not try it again.