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press reaction

+Wall Street Journal Tunku Varadarajan

... "The film, a rich concentrate of information and insights, should not be missed by those who'd like a little more from their pols than soundbites at press conferences. Granted Mr. Bush isn't one of the talking heads -- a pity, that, for one would have learned so much by watching him in an armchair, detached from that public gaze that makes him so angular, so self-conscious. But there is Mr. Powell, smooth and laid-back, perhaps secure that he will not be contradicted on film by another heavyweight talking head, because -- great pity, again -- there's no Mr. Rumsfeld. ...

"This reviewer's favorite sections in 'Campaign Against Terror' are from the second hour, when we hear from a handful of Green Berets who actually participated in the war, the grunts who all made it happen on the ground.

"Impressively articulate, these soldiers tell of how their Northern Alliance allies fought on horseback, with American B-52 aerial support -- making this, arguably, the most bizarre juxtaposition of beast and technology in the history of modern warfare. ...

"The pictures are moving, as are the words of the soldiers -- plain, honest guys from the heartland who had learned, in the space of days, not merely to distinguish the Hazaras from the Tajiks from the Pashtuns, but also to disentangle the fiercely knotted sensibilities of those hostile tribes.

Let no one tell you it was easy."

+The New York Times Caryn James

... "Campaign Against Terror" gets firsthand accounts of the decision to mount the antiterror campaign from Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, the national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and others inside the Bush administration. But while a few reporters are on hand to give analysis, the entire program feels as if it could have been made by the White House publicity machine. ..."

+Houston Chronicle Ann Hodges

"Let others mark this painful anniversary of terror with tapes of horrific acts and the aftermath. PBS' Frontline marches to its own drummer.

"In a powerful two-hour special Sunday, that march leads straight to the front lines of the first war of the 21st century...

"There's a riveting tale of how the Afghan's Northern Alliance linked up with U.S. Special Forces -- 'the first chapter in the wild, wild West events that we would participate in every day,' says a captain.

"Hamid Karzai recalls his close call with friendly fire, and the tragedy an American bomb left behind is fully reviewed -- along with the question of whether the U.S. military relied too heavily on Afghan forces, and whether not getting Osama bin Laden constitutes failure.

"Also discussed are recent charges of war crimes by the Northern Alliance, which are denied by a Special Forces officer. And it reports that Bush was sometimes 'frustrated' at the slowness of the war. ...

"That's just scratching the surface of Frontline's excellent year-end progress report. Thanks to TV's most enterprising documentary series for prodding us to remember that America's Campaign Against Terror won't be over 'til it's over."

+The Kansas City Star Aaron Barnhart

... "A brisk yet thorough chronicle of how the Bush administration mobilized America's allies against the Taliban. Frontline got access to key players including Secretary of State Colin Powell, hawkish defense deputy Paul Wolfowitz, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan and others."

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