- The Washington Times - Friday, September 8, 2006

The controversy over filming 9/11

I hope that the controversy over ABC’s September 11 movie will lead to a serious discussion of all these so-called “docudramas” (“ABC revises 9/11 film after Clinton criticism,” Page 1, Yesterday)

I don’t approve of shows that purport to dramatize history but reserve the right to fictionalize whatever pleases them. It’s one thing to write or produce something and say, “I believe this is a reasonably accuratedepictionofwhat happened.” Then there can be a clear debate on the truth, or lack thereof, in the work. It’s quite another thing to fictionalize history and say, in effect, “I’m just making stuff up here because it’s more fun this way.”

The docudrama form, to me, is an attempt to have it both ways — to present something that viewers will take as history but to give its presenter a free pass for inaccuracies and distortions. I don’t like Oliver Stone movies for the same reason.

I’m also concerned because they have also been freely distributing advance copies to the Rush Limbaugh crowd while denying them to any party (including those depicted in the film) who might find advance fault with their accuracy. At the same time, an ABC press statement said, “No one has seen the final version of the film, because the editing process is not yet complete, so criticisms of film specifics are premature and irresponsible.”

But of course, they have already distributed a version of it to folks they knew would embrace its every anti-Clinton moment and scream over any excisions that were later made. That’s called stacking the deck.

The people who made it are now balking from claiming it’s what actually happened, issuing statements like “for dramatic and narrative purposes, the movie contains fictionalized scenes, composite and representative characters and dialogue, and time compression.” I’d be more impressed if they offered specific defenses and sources for the alleged fibs.


Iowa City, Iowa

Iraq war goals

Andrew McCarthy seems to misconstrue the aims of the Iraq war (“Why do we go to war?” Letters, Thursday). He says: “War is to be fought to win your own freedom from tyranny. It is not to be fought to win another country’s freedom from tyranny.”

But what if the tyrannical forces that have already attacked your country; killed 3,000 of your fellow citizens; and are permitted to become even stronger in some far-away land where their political leaders publicly and often shout things like, “Death to America”? The fact that those things are happening, and have happened for years, does not mean we are not being threatened. Of course we are.

By Mr. McCarthy’s standard, the United States had no reason to enter World War II.Sure, Japan sank a few of our Navy vessels at Pearl Harbor and the Nazis were marching on Europe, but they were really just acting as tyrants in their own hemispheres. Why should we get involved? After all, we’re all reasonable people here. We can work it out.

Besides, it’s someone else’s problem. Japan threatens us? They’re a Pacific Ocean away; they made one mistake hitting us.We’ve made our share of mistakes; we’re not perfect

Nazis?Let them march around and salute each other.Big deal. Don’t give us your problems. We just got over a depression; go away already.

The world is a crazy place. It seems that until they come here, we’ve got better things to do.


Springfield, Va.

Right decision in the Terri Schiavo case

It was interesting “Revisiting the Terri Schiavo case” with Nat Hentoff in Monday’s Op-Ed section. Like Mr. Hentoff, I am a pro-life person who believes innocent life must be protected, but I see no incongruity with capital punishment for heinous murders. Mrs. Schiavo was innocent, however she suffered a heinous assault on her body.

First, as a medical professional, I work in the same field as Michael Schiavo and have witnessed more than 100 people in the same condition as his former wife over the years.

The current medical profession is great at managing diseases and keeping people alive no matter what state they are in. Ventilators can breathe for people, heart drugs maintain heart rate and blood pressure, plastic tubes can be inserted to feed and we can dialyze waste away. In the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) we can literally keep corpses “alive.”

People can and are being kept alive for years in bed with no purposeful movement and thus have bed sores and infections constantly. However, with all these devices, it is difficult to let people die naturally whether due to old age or terrible accidents (like Terri Schiavo’s).

Finally, insurance companies, hospitals and ultimately taxpayers and insurance policy owners cannot afford the ICU-associated costs of approximately $10,000 a day. The number of patients receiving the care discussed above will only increase with the aging baby boomers.

Doctors can be very certain after two weeks of a prognosis given in favor of the patient, or if a patient will never revive. Ending this type of care is not euthanasia. It is stopping futility of care.

Mr. Schiavo did the right thing. Even though, according to Mr. Hentoff, it may have been for the wrong reasons, 95 percent of the people in the medical profession would have agreed with him if Terri were one of their loved ones.


Severna Park, Md.

Following Bush in the wrong direction

For over three years, President Bush has been selling the Iraq War (“Bush on the War” Editorial, Wednesday). We keep hearing the same old sales pitch with revamped messages periodically thrown in to fit Mr. Bush’s self-serving political needs at a given time. Right now, his message is geared to scare the American people into voting for congressional Republican war supporters in the fall elections.Bush is ratcheting up the “stay the course” rhetoric with hot-button buzzwords likefascists, Nazis, Hitler and communists.

Mr. Bush talks about winninga complete victory over global terrorism. How will we know when victory has been achieved? Does every single terrorist in the world have to be killed before Mr. Bush’s mission is accomplished? Is it really possible to claim total victory in an unconventional war against terrorism? Do we have the right to force democracy on another nation by shock and awe bombing?

Mr. Bush says if we leave Iraq before our mission is accomplished, the terrorists will follow us here.It is impossible to keep terror from coming to America if terrorists desire to bring it. Invading and occupying Iraq has made it more likelythat we will eventually be fighting terror here.

What a shame our brave troops have to die for Mr. Bush’s mistakes. Can we endure two and a half more years of his attempts to justify his failing Middle East policies? As a result of the disastrous Bush doctrine of pre-emptive warfare, the United States has never been feared and hated more by the rest of the world.

As awful and evil as September 11 was, it did not justify our compounding the evil by stirring up a hornets nest in Iraq and the rest of the volatile Middle East.The only way we have of getting Mr. Bush’s attention is to send him a message on Election Day, Nov. 7: We don’t like the direction he has taken us in.


Louisville, Ky.



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