working on Path to 9/11 because “of concerns about the program’s accuracy.”
James Wimberley and Mark Kleiman team up to mount the argument that in Bush’s Abu Zubaydah speech the other day he offered up what amounts to a confession of having ordered torture (banned by 18 USC 2340) and war crimes (as defined in 18 USC 2441) both crimes that carry hefty punishment under American law.
Sick as it is that the President would do the things he’s done, it seems to me somehow even sicker that he proudly admit having done them in public speeches, believing that such confessions strengthen, rather than weaken, his domestic political standing. Sickest of all is that if you made me guess, I’d say Bush is probably right and his advocacy of torture and cruel and degrading treatment (to the point of death in many cases) is a political asset. Certainly, I hope I’m wrong or a sad and shameful episode in our national history will get even sadder and more appalling.
ABC is defending the multiple inaccuracies in Path to 9/11 by stressing parts are fictionalized and not entirely based on the 9/11 Commission Report. But that’s not the position of director David Cunningham.
According to Cunningham, critics are simply taking scenes out of context or relying on a competing set of experts. Here’s what Cunningham told The Crimson White, a University of Alabama newspaper:
“A lot of these critics haven’t seen the whole thing or, in some cases, any of it,” Cunningham said.
“We have these CNN pundits who haven’t seen it who are taking scenes out of context as examples [of factual inaccuracies in the film].”
Cunningham also pointed out that the critics, many of whom are Democrats, are just telling their side of the story.
“We have out [sic] CIA consultants and Clinton has his. It’s kind of a ‘he said, she said’ situation right now,” Cunningham said.
Cunningham added that “the talk of ABC possibly pulling the show ‘is just a rumor right now.’”
The announcement in the journal Science that a comatose woman’s brain showed consistent activity while being scanned following verbal cues, sets the stage for the next Terri Schiavo case. When being told to imagine she was playing tennis, for example, the same parts of her brain were activatived that would be activated in a healthy person thinking about playing tennis.
Conservatives will likely jump on this case to undermine the rights of patients to decide in advance what medical interventions they don’t want if they are unable to speak for themselves. But that would be putting politics above science, as the facts show:
– Scientists warn that their findings should not be generalized. For several years, neuroscientists have been working on the idea that there are “minimally conscious states” in which there may be awareness though the person appears not to have any contact with the environment. Many of these same scientists have also cautioned that their findings, including the results just published, should not be generalized to many other cases and especially not to a case like that of Ms. Schiavo.
– The case described in Science does not resemble cases such as Schiavo. While the woman in the recent study had only been unconscious for a few months, the patients in all the classic legal cases — Karen Ann Quinlan, Nancy Cruzan and Terri Schiavo — were in vegetative states for years. Scans of Terri Schiavo’s brain showed that much of it had disappeared, lacking the physical basis of any awareness at all.
Many more studies need to be done to correlate these apparent reactions with factors like length of time of the unconscious state and the physicial condition of the patient’s brain. Policymakers and the public need to rely on the neuroscientists themselves — not right-wing advocates — for guidance on these cases.