When Government Writes History
May 16, 2005 2:48 PM   Subscribe

When Government Writes History [The New Republic, registration required], a behind-the-scenes memoir of the 9/11 Commission Report, by commission historian Ernest May. [Related reading: Richard Posner's The 9/11 Report: A Dissent in the New York Times and Elizabeth Drew's Pinning the Blame in the New York Review of Books.]
posted by kirkaracha (9 comments total)
They want a credit card number before they'll let you in. I don't need it that bad.
posted by Ken McE at 3:32 PM on May 16, 2005

ahem, that's subscription required, not registration...
posted by warbaby at 3:38 PM on May 16, 2005

I think myself that the report is right in saying that Al Qaeda attacked the United States because of what the nation was rather than because of what it did.

In fact, the White House was much more helpful to the commission than the media perceived.

The text notes glancingly that the strikes coincided with the worst moments of the Monica Lewinsky scandal and that this contributed to public skepticism--the "Wag the Dog" canard. The report goes on to say that this "likely had a cumulative effect on future decisions about the use of force against Bin Ladin." And it adds immediately: "Berger told us that he did not feel any sense of constraint." Which statement is more believable? The reader has to guess.

The bias is subtle but unmistakable
posted by euphorb at 3:42 PM on May 16, 2005

BugMeNot login works fine.
posted by sourbrew at 3:47 PM on May 16, 2005

my first two bugmenots failed, then it sent me to the home page. Two back arrows and *poof* there is the story.

I love bad scripting.
posted by jmgorman at 4:23 PM on May 16, 2005

This Article is Available to Subscribers Only

The Harper's article was very good. I'd like to read this one, as it looks like the other side of the argument.

Indeed the bugmenot password does work for me (back when MeFi wasn't servlet exceptioning), if you want to print it b4 they disable it (whoisme/ollie)...
posted by mrgrimm at 4:35 PM on May 16, 2005

I like that first article, gives one a glance into government that is rarely seen.
posted by sourbrew at 5:21 PM on May 16, 2005

Here the counterarguing Harper's article, Whitewash as Public Service.

Well before the end, the dictum about equality of blame reduces the Commissioners to mere long-winded sermonizers against judgment. Their Report seems ever more plainly bent not on achieving fresh knowledge but on dramatizing balance.

May admits as much himself. I thought those 12 pages of his could have been condensed into 2. I didn't learn a whole lot. I swear I read it all!
posted by mrgrimm at 5:27 PM on May 16, 2005

And somehow each generation forgets the classic meme, "history is written by the winner."
posted by mystyk at 9:17 AM on May 17, 2005

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