Review – 9/11: Inside the President’s War Room (2021)

by Armando Vanegas

9/11: Inside the President’s War Room is a very hard documentary to watch. It’s the kind of content that feels more enriching than entertaining to watch. But there’s still value in something that’s made to inform and educate about such tragic events. This doc focuses on the Bush administration as 9/11 was literally going on.

For many years, I was convinced that the Bush administration was just a bunch of bumbling jokes because a proper diet of Comedy Central in middle school will do that to you. But it was enlightening to see an older George W. Bush recount the events of 9/11 as he was receiving the information from his administration. He comes off as a more serious and level headed man than many of the highlights I’ve seen of him present. Now, it’s possible that this is just good PR to offset all the bad press he’d gotten in his years as President and it’d be naïve to say that he’s now a smarter man for whatever reason. But a more optimistic part of me wants to believe he actually did get seriously affected having to go through the tragic situation. It’s probably some from column A and some from column B. You’re not made to love them as people but you at least understand certain things more as you see them account what happened. You wind up thinking how if you were in these people’s shoes, how would you deal with this situation? It’s easy to judge any president when put against difficult odds, but what would it be like to actually do what needs to be done?

What also made this interesting to watch was the footage in New York of the Twin Towers falling. It will never stop being chilling to see all that rubble fall on everybody in a matter of seconds. It underlines all the harm that was done and will never be forgotten.

As a whole, I wasn’t always invested because it’s mostly talking heads just sitting around discussing extremely dry details. But I kept watching it because there’s still a lot of interesting content that’s included. Like the former Solicitor General Ted Olson who lost his attorney wife Barbara in one of the planes or the one administration member who was so concerned about dying from anthrax that he took more than the prescribed amount of pills in a moment of panic. Those moments feel authentic and sincere in a way that can’t be reproduced. It was also  interesting to see Condoleezza Rice and Dick Cheney when they showed up.

Politically, it doesn’t take sides and just allows the subjects involved to just tell the plain and simple story of what happened. It’s for the better as it does allow you to see them as regular human beings who couldn’t carry the world on their arms like we expect our elected officials to do. It even manages to make Dick Cheney look more credible than he’s ever been. This movie proves how even in the highest positions of power, no one is infallible in the face of tragedy.

I am giving 9/11: Inside the President’s War Room a 3 out of 5 Hairpieces!

9/11: Inside the President’s War Room premieres on September 1st on Apple TV+ that explores the events of September 11, 2001 through the eyes of President Bush and his closest advisors as they personally detail the crucial hours and key decisions from that historic day. The documentary special will also be available to watch on September 11 for free in honor of the 20th anniversary. “

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