Are we ready to say unequivocally that political correctness, one of the many poisonous offshoots of our radicalized academy, helped facilitate the 911 attacks? Michael Tuohey, the American Airlines agent who first checked in Muhammed Atta was on Oprah yesterday (it may have been a repeat). He related how he had felt something was decidedly wrong with Muhammed Atta when the latter presented himself for check-in at the Maine airport on September 11, 2001, to get his connecting flight at Boston to New York. Tuohey said he felt a chill in his very being. The man’s anger was palpable, something we can see in that photograph too. But Tuohey admitted that he stopped himself with a good slap of political correctness, chastising himself for harboring some amorphous bigotry toward Arabs, even though he had checked in many Arabs through the years and never felt what he felt that day. This is how PC has crippled so many Americans, causing them to stifle the sane responses they would otherwise have to the threats we face today, and is another example of how academic trends spill out into the general society, contrary to what many have said through the years.
Also, throughout the superb Path to 911, we hear repeated invocations of the same. When someone wants to zero in on one suspect or another, someone is right there at his side to tell him that that will mean big trouble, it would be racial profiling, and so on, since the suspect is a Muslim or an Arab. I’ve read of this elsewhere too, so I think the film is not exaggerating here.
The Path to 911 was absolutely riveting and deeply moving. The part on the death of Massoud, the Lion of Panjir, when his body is carried about and mourned by his people, was like something out of the Iliad. And that was just one of many moving scenes. And the film looked fair and balanced to me. The Clinton Administration clearly took every opportunity to miss an opportunity–that’s just history. The portrayal of Ambassador Bodine in Yemen by Patricia Heaton rang so true as a certain type of liberal consumed with her own superiority, who has imbibed every cliche from leftwing academia about her own country, who thinks she knows better how to confront danger through sympathy with the “other,” and who has utter contempt for the yeoman-like lawmen who are just trying to keep us safe.
The Bush Administration did not have as much chance to miss opportunities, but they are also portrayed as having ignored things, and then made to look dazed and unready when disaster hits. Condoleezza Rice especially was made to look like a clueless, self-important know-it-all. (She hasn’t complained; she’s a good sport.) And yet even there, they fairly showed that she was trying to address the Al Qaeda threat, at the behest of the president, only practically at the moment the planes were flying into the buildings. (And all the actions Bush took after 911 are a different story, of course–he learned fast–but that was not the subject of the film.)
One funny note. Why is it they always portray Cheney as such a doddering old man? This was also true in the Lionel Chetwynd film on 911 a while back. It’s getting to be like the traditional portrayal of St. Joseph in many medieval and Renaissance paintings, like an ancient graybeard, even though Joseph was probably a vigorous 30 or 35 or so at the time of Jesus’ birth. (The whole idea is that he was meant to protect Mary and the baby. The way he looks in some of those paintings, it’s a wonder he ever got them to Egypt.) Cheney wasn’t that old on 911 and despite some health difficulties still looks pretty good!