DC 9/11: Time of Crisis (review)

That’s Our Bush!

[warning: written by a member of the vast left-wing media conspiracy]

It’d be laughable if it weren’t so disgusting. George W. Bush, who never fails to invoke 9/11 and the spectre of terrorism in aid of everything from savaging the environment to cutting taxes for his rich buddies, now has the mother of all abhorrent usages for the deaths of 3000 Americans: Reelection propaganda. Here we have, courtesy of screenwriter Lionel Chetwynd, a two-hour campaign commercial for Bush, one based upon “countless hours” spent with the likes of Karl Rove and Ari Fleischer, Condi Rice and Andrew Card, and interpreted by an admitted supporter of Bush’s first presidential campaign and of the Bush administration. If you get Showtime, just consider September’s subscription fee a donation to the Bush 2004 election campaign.

If any attempt had been made to be even a little bit objective, the fact that someone pro-Bush is responsible for the film might have been moot. Of course, there’s the ready-made excuse that you can’t fit every event of a period of 10 jam-packed days into a two-hour film, but it’s the choice of which real, documented, factual events were omitted that’s, ahem, interesting.

For instance, you’d never guess, from DC 9/11: Time of Crisis — which might well be called Vote for George: He’s a Tough Guy Sent By God to Save America From Itself — that this is what the Commander-in-Chief, the President of the United States, the Leader of the Free World, did while he knew full well that people were dying in New York City and that America was under attack:

That’s right: Even after he was informed by Andrew Card that a second plane had hit the second tower, Bush continued to read a book about goats to elementary school students. But not here. No. Here we cut from “Card” whispering in “Bush’s” ear to “Bush” standing up importantly — you know, like something of vital national concern had just happened — and striding seriously from the room to begin being Fearless Leader. There’s a teensy, weensy bit of a fade in the transition, so director Brian Trenchard-Smith will be able to say, “Hey! Look! That fade means some time has passed, so we’re not lying! We’re not misleading!”

But, oops. Bush was not allowed to be Fearless Leader, we’re led to believe, not because he was tucking tail and running to an Air Force Base in the middle of nowhere, but because there was a “credible threat” against his person that he had to be protected against. And so he couldn’t return to Washington. “They used today’s code word” for the president’s plane, we’re informed, but that presents only two possibilities: Either there was a terrorist mole inside the security apparatus of the United States, one deep enough to know supersensitive code words, or the threat was a fraud, a lie, an excuse for the president to hide. Since no one here seems concerned about a terrorist spy, what other conclusion are we to draw from these events? Then again, the actual administration — as opposed to the cheaply dramatized one here — hasn’t seemed terribly bothered by the issue, either, and is remarkably unconcerned with treating its bosses, the American citizens, like morons, and that’s far more worrying than a mere filmmaker treating us so.

One moment that was not omitted: The one in which the photographer snaps the images of Bush on Air Force One, speaking solemnly on the phone with “Cheney” or “Rumsfeld” or someone. You know, the photos that were later used in Bush fundraising efforts to show how Fearless Leaderish he was on that day. It’s ironic — or maybe it’s intentional — that specific emphasis was given to this moment over, perhaps, a line or two of dialogue about why fighter planes were not dispatched to protect the airspace over New York and Washington as soon as multiple planes were known to have been hijacked.

I could go on and on, but I’m worried about my blood pressure. Suffice to say that this appalling glowing and uncritical depiction of President Bush — portrayed, rather amusingly, by the same man, Timothy Bottoms, who’s played comical (as opposed to nauseating) Bushes in the short-lived TV series That’s My Bush! and the Crocodile Hunter movie — ignores serious questions about the national response to 9/11, both politically and militarily. Hidden agendas are ignored — although Paul Wolfowitz (Stephen Macht), architect of the odious Project for the New American Century, lurks in the background, rubbing his hands together gleefully; he’d been salivating for just such an event in order to put his policies into play. Important allies are protected, no matter what their involvement may have been — though “Bush” snarls, “We’re not just going after terrorists — we’re going to target anyone who pays ’em, supplies ’em, feeds ’em, or harbors ’em in any way,” the possibility that Saudi Arabia may come into the crosshairs is instantly dismissed; surely the fact that most of the hijackers were Saudi is “not an official Saudi connection!” “Bush” cries, but no, no, he is assured that it is not.

Among the snide remarks about “the Europeans” and sideways smackdowns of Bill Clinton, there are many soothing reassurances to be found: “This enemy did not attack us because of policies,” says “Condi.” “Liberty is God’s gift — it is not negotiable on this watch,” snaps “Bush.” The president “truly reveres” the Constitution.

Ignorance is strength. When George Orwell invented that phrase, he was being ironic, warning, fictional. Chetwynd and Trenchard-Smith appear to have taken it as advice.

No Saudi government officials were harmed in the making of this motion picture.

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