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10/16/2006 Archived Entry: "DHS proposes "permission to travel"/I watch United 93"

PERMISSION TO TRAVEL? You may have heard that the Department of Homeland (Achtung!) Security has proposed that no one be allowed to travel internationally to, from, or via the U.S. on any plane or ship without first being granted federal government permission. If the DHS doesn't give a specific "yes," you don't get a boarding pass. Not even if you're a U.S. citizen merely getting the hell out of this madhouse. (This seems counter to media accounts, which focus only on planes coming to the U.S.)

Seems this ought to be some wild claim from the Alex Jones crowd. Or perhaps some fetid old policy recently uncovered in the Soviet-Era Kremlin archives. Not so, of course. It's yet another truly paranoid reality from the even stranger folk of the Bush administration. Edward Hasbrouck, The Practical Nomad, has more. Note -- no surprise -- the the Department of War Defense proposes to exempt itself and all its privileged collaborators contractors. (Wouldn't want to interfere with those rendition operations, now would we?)


Speaking of the terrors of travel, I watched United 93 on DVD last night. Expecting something of the quality of a TV movie of the week despite the passionately positive reviews, I was (please pardon the terrible pun) blown away.

My God, that is one hell of a movie. After nearly two hours of heart-pounding dread, I burst into tears at the final fadeout. Hard to watch, definitely. But I highly, highly recommend it if you haven't already seen it.

Although the title focuses on just one of the hijacked flights (and that is the only plane we ever get inside), Paul Greengrass' intense slice of realism covers the entire 9/11 catastrophe from the POV of air-traffic controllers, FAA officials, and the poor saps tasked with U.S. air defense, who found themselves ill-informed, ill-equipped, and absolutely leaderless on that fatal day. (In this cast-of-hundreds picture, which prominently features a dozen of the actual workers and officials who tried to cope with events they couldn't even imagine, the one person notably missing is George W. Bush. Even after he finally quit reading My Pet Goat to those grade-schoolers, he could not be found anywhere by those who desperately awaited his orders.)

This movie doesn't wring its hands over the multitude of failures. It doesn't create false drama with heart-rending backstories or made-up characters. It just tells it like it was (and adds a few highly believable guesses about what went on in United 93's last moments). That's what makes it so mindblowing.

Posted by Claire @ 10:29 AM CST

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