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Tuesday, July 13, 2004

I'm hearing a lot of right-wing ideologues complain about Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11." Some have said that it makes fun of our country, that Moore manipulates the facts to support his views, and, worst of all, that Moore makes the United States out to be the bad guys at a time when our soldiers stand in harm's way in Iraq. And these are just the complaints of those who haven't seen the movie!

As a movie buff, I hate debating films with those who haven't even seen the movies in question, but since you conservatives refuse to see it, allow me to tell you what you've missed. You've missed one of the best documentaries ever made. You've missed seeing congressmen freely admit that not one of them read the Patriot Act prior to signing it, because there wasn't time to read it before the vote. They knew the Patriot Act would be an assault on our civil liberties, but they did nothing to stop its passage, because they wanted to give the appearance that they were actively doing SOMETHING in response to the 9/11 tragedy.

You've missed seeing the tragic effects of the Patriot Act, as when peace groups comprised of everyday Americans are infiltrated with intelligence officers, or when Democrat Party activists are investigated for no apparent reason.

You've missed the look of absolute void on President Bush's face when he learned of the 9/11 disaster. The camera footage by itself (with no voice-over from Moore) suggests that Dan Quayle may have had more brains.

You've missed learning about how Florida Governor Jeb Bush removed criminals from the voting rolls, in the two most African/American counties in the state, just before the 2000 election -- including those whose names were the same as, or even similar to, those criminal! You'll see actual footage of this "voter cleansing" occurring.

You've also missed learning about the lifelong connections of President Bush and the royal Saudi government. You've missed learning about how it was the Saudis who consistently bailed out Bush from his business failures, supported him in politics, then provided most of the terrorists involved in the 9/11 tragedy. You'll then see how it was your president who provided safe passage OUT of the United States for all members of the royal Saudi family AND for all members of Osama bin Laden's family THE VERY DAY after 9/11 -- a day when all other air traffic in this country was grounded.

And lest you argue that this Bush/Saudi connection hasn't been reported in the national media, remember that the national media are now owned by corporate America, and that Bush's largest campaign contributors have been, and will continue to be, corporate America. The days of good, hard, inquisitive news investigation are over. There won't be another Edward R. Murrow. There won't be another Woodward & Bernstein. The only one asking the hard questions now is Michael Moore, an independent filmmaker.

And, no, Moore is not manipulating facts. He has a staff of researchers, and every claim in his films and books is well documented. In fact, each of his books features a footnotes section which is longer than any single chapter, and his film credits routinely last through several songs due to the large number of footnote credits.

And regarding your argument that Moore depicts America as the "bad guy" in the Iraq war: We ARE the bad guy, people! Wake up and smell the coffee! As Moore states in "Fahrenheit 9/11," after a halfhearted attempt to find Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, the United States "invaded the sovereign nation of Iraq -- a country which had never attacked us; a country which had never even threatened to attack us." Further, Iraq is a country which had absolutely nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks, nor was it hiding or producing any weapons of mass destruction -- a fact which could have been learned without any bloodshed had President Bush simply given the U.N. inspectors time to complete their task.

Had you actually seen "Fahrenheit 9/11," you would've seen images of American soldiers who are missing limbs because of the Iraq war. You would've seen the heartbreak of an American mother who lost a son during this war. You would've seen Iraqi women watch their sons and husbands die right before their eyes. You would've seen innocent Iraqis with no place to live because our military had destroyed their homes. You would've seen how our invasion disrupted the lives of all Iraqi citizens. Is it any wonder they want us to go home? Yes, we are the aggressor in this war. Much as we were the aggressor in Viet Nam. Much as the British were the aggressor in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.

Moore makes a strong point towards the end of the movie that our volunteer military, comprised primarily of poor and lower middle class men and women, who have few opportunities to get ahead in our society, proudly serves our nation without so much as a whisper of a complaint. The only thing they ask in return is that the president do his best to keep them out of harm's way. Our president has done exactly the opposite. He has put them IN harm's way by sending them to war against Iraq. But he's diverted attention away from his friends in Saudi Arabia, and he's secured major contracts for Halliburton. I guess that makes it okay.

The one thing you would NOT have seen in "Fahrenheit 9/11" is Moore making fun of our country. Gone are the joking and "gonzo journalism" of his past films. No, this time Moore doesn't say much, and, save for one hilarious bit where he attempts to recruit the sons and daughters of U.S. congressmen to join the military, he doesn't engage in his usual humorous little bits of theatre. No, this film simply shows the cold, hard, awful, pathetic truth about the direction our country has taken during the past four years.

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