Jump to content
Indian Motorcycle Community

More hot water for 'fahrenheit'

Recommended Posts

(I guess when you are trying to get out THE TRUTH a few little lies don't matter)


Filmmaker Michael Moore's Bush-bashing documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" has apparently upset more than Republicans.


The Pantagraph newspaper in Bloomington, Illinois, says it has sent a letter to Moore and the film's distributor, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., asking for an apology for using what it said was a doctored front page in his movie.


The paper is seeking $1 in damages.


A scene early in the movie shows newspaper headlines related to the contested 2000 presidential election. It includes a shot of The Pantagraph's Dec. 19, 2001, front page, with the prominent headline, "Latest Florida recount shows Gore won election."


The newspaper says that headline never appeared on that day.


The paper said the headline appeared in a Dec. 5, 2001, edition but was not used on the front page. Instead, it was found in much smaller type above a letter to the editor, which the paper says reflects "only the opinions of the letter writer."


"If (Moore) wants to 'edit' The Pantagraph, he should apply for a copy-editing job," the paper said.


Neither Lions Gate nor Moore were immediately available for comment Sunday.


Meanwhile the film is also kicking up a little dust in the Mideast.


Kuwait, a major U.S. ally in the Persian Gulf, has banned "Fahrenheit" on the grounds that the movie is insulting to the Saudi Arabian royal family and is critical of America's invasion of Iraq, an official said Sunday.


"We have a law that prohibits insulting friendly nations, and ties between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are special," explains Abdul-Aziz Bou Dastour, cinema and production supervisor at the Information Ministry.


The film, says Dastour, "insulted the Saudi royal family by saying they had common interests with the Bush family and that those interests contradicted with the interests of the American people."


The ministry made the decision in mid-July after the state-owned Kuwait National Cinema Co. asked for the license to show the movie. The company monopolizes cinemas in Kuwait, but all movies must first be sanctioned by government censors.


"Fahrenheit 9/11," which won the top honor at May's Cannes Film Festival, depicts the White House as asleep at the wheel before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York and Washington. Moore accuses President Bush of fanning fears of future terrorism to win public support for the Iraq war.


The Saudi royal family has taken issue with the movie for claiming that high-ranking Saudi nationals were allowed to flee the United States immediately after the attacks at a time when American airspace had been closed to all commercial traffic.


The 9/11 commission investigating the 2001 terrorist attacks found no evidence that any flights of Saudi nationals took place before the reopening of national airspace on Sept 13.


Kuwait was the launch pad for the war that unseated Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, who ordered the invasion of Kuwait 14 years ago. A U.S.-led coalition fought the first Gulf War, which evicted Iraqis after seven months of occupation.


Saudi Arabia, a leading Arab Muslim nation, opened its land and air space to coalition forces that liberated Kuwait, and Kuwaitis are still grateful for that.


The film is already playing elsewhere in the Middle East, including the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted on Wed, Jul. 14, 2004


Senator's family shares burden of military duty

By DAVID GOLDSTEIN The Star's Washington Correspondent

(Better to switch the word Burden with Honor IMHO, L.R.)


WASHINGTON — When Sen. Kit Bond's son, Sam, told him two years ago that he intended to join the Marines, the Missouri Republican took a deep breath and said, “That's great.”


Last week, Sam Bond graduated from the Basic School at Quantico, Va. After more training, Iraq could loom in his future.


“Anybody who is in the service today is at risk,” Sen. Bond said. “There will be troops there for a long time.”


The circumstances of Sam Bond do not fit the impression given in the anti-war film, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” that has been playing to big audiences this summer.


In one scene, filmmaker Michael Moore stakes out a street corner near the Capitol and asks members of Congress whether they would enlist their children in the military.


The few members Moore talks to either avoid answering him or avoid him altogether.


Sen. Bond said he has not seen the film and has no plans to.


It's difficult to get an exact accounting of how many in Congress have sons and daughters in the military, but several members of the House and Senate do, including a few from the Missouri delegation.


Many Missourians might remember Sam Bond as a toddler during his father's second term as governor in the early 1980s.


Now 23, he graduated from Princeton University last year with a major in political science, and he completed the Marines' Officer Candidates School last fall.


With Basic School behind him, his father said, Sam Bond chose to specialize in ground intelligence with training to possibly lead a scout sniper platoon.


Where his future orders will send him is unknown. But Sen. Bond, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, whose report last week on the intelligence supporting the war found that most of it was wrong, said he expects that his son will be sent to Iraq.


Sam Bond was in training this week and unavailable for comment.


Carolyn Bond, his mother, said her son talked about possibly joining the military, perhaps the reserves, three years ago. It was August 2001. After the terrorist attacks of a month later, she recalled that she didn't raise the issue with him again for nine months.


“I was afraid to bring it up, actually,” Carolyn Bond said. “The world was so scary then. He is my only child. I think any parent would be a little apprehensive.”


Still, she said she was proud of her son. She said he chose the Marines because, as an athlete in school, he was always “the consummate team player” and the corps' sense of camaraderie and looking out for fellow Marines appealed to him.


“He's not the kind of person who would be happy holed up in a law library for hours,” his mother said.


Other Missouri members with children who serve or have served in the military include Springfield Republican Rep. Roy Blunt, whose son Matt, the secretary of state running for governor, went to the Naval Academy and is now a reservist; St. Louis–area Republican Rep. Todd Akin; and Lexington Democratic Rep. Ike Skelton.


Akin has two sons in the military. Perry, 23, is a Marine combat engineer who also recently graduated from Basic School and should be deployed to Iraq by the end of the year. Micah, 21, just finished his first year at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.


Skelton's aides, citing privacy concerns, declined to discuss his children.


As for how many of the 535 members of Congress have children serving, associate Senate historian Donald Ritchie said, “I would assume it's pretty few.”


Among the public, the total number of personnel in all five branches of the service represents 0.5 percent of the population, according to figures supplied by the U.S. Census and the Army.


Ritchie said few children of lawmakers are in the military because fewer and fewer lawmakers themselves have had military service. The peak was just after World War II when more than 70 percent of the House and Senate had served, he said.


Also back then, he said, “a relatively large number of children served as well.”


The numbers began to drop especially after the draft was abolished in the early 1970s. But before that, the Marines, in particular, always had a strong contingent among the members with military experience, Ritchie said.


The tradition, at least, remains strong. Every Nov. 10, the corps holds a reception on Capitol Hill to commemorate its founding in a Philadelphia tavern on that day in 1775.


“The Marines say that any senator who comes is an honorary Marine,” Ritchie said. “The numbers are so few.”




Marine Sam Bond has just graduated from the Basic School at Quantico, Va.

After more training, the only son of Sen. Kit Bond of Missouri faces possible duty in Iraq.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And a few supposedly lies confirmed by 9/11 Commission




August 2nd, 2004 6:37 pm

9/11 Commission Report Confirms Key Fahrenheit 9/11 Facts



For Immediate Release

August 2, 2004




9/11 Commission Report Confirms Key Fahrenheit 9/11 Facts


The September 11 Commission's 567-page final report has confirmed key facts presented in Fahrenheit 9/11 .   Here are passages from the film, followed by the 9/11 Commission's findings:




I.   Ashcroft Briefing


Fahrenheit 9/11: “One of [John Ashcroft's] first acts as Attorney General was to tell acting FBI director Thomas Pickard that he didn't want to hear anything more about terrorist threats.”


Commission Report, p. 265: Pickard told the Commission that after two briefings on the terror threat situation (in May and early July), “Ashcroft told him that he did not want to hear about the threats anymore.”


The Report also states that Ashcroft denies this allegation and that Pickard told Ashcroft that “he could not assure Ashcroft that there would be no attacks in the United States, although the reports of threats were related to overseas targets. Ashcroft said he therefore assumed the FBI was doing what it needed to do. He acknowledged that in retrospect, this was a dangerous assumption. He did not ask the FBI what it was doing in response to the threats and did not task it to take any specific action. He also did not direct the INS, then still part of the Department of Justice, to take any specific action. In sum, the domestic agencies never mobilized in response to the threat. They did not have direction, and did not have a plan to institute.”




II. Bush in Florida Classroom on the morning of September 11, 2001


Fahrenheit 9/11: "As the attack took place, Mr. Bush was on his way to an elementary school in Florida. When informed of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center, where terrorists had struck just 8 years prior, Mr. Bush decided to go ahead with his photo opportunity.   When the second plane hit the tower, his chief of staff entered the classroom and told Mr. Bush the nation is under attack.   Not knowing what to do, with no one telling him what to do, and no Secret Service rushing in to take him to safety, Mr. Bush just sat there and continued to read My Pet Goat with the children.   Nearly seven minutes passed with nobody doing anything."


Commission Report, p 35: “White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card told us he was standing with the President outside the classroom when Senior Advisor to the President Karl Rove first informed them that a small, twin-engine plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. The President's reaction was that the incident must have been caused by pilot error.   At 8:55, before entering the classroom, the President spoke to National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, who was at the White House. She recalled first telling the President it was a twin-engine aircraft—and then a commercial aircraft—that had struck the World Trade Center, adding ‘that's all we know right now, Mr. President.'”


Commission Report, pp. 38-39: “The President was seated in a classroom when, at 9:05, Andrew Card whispered to him: ‘A second plane hit the second tower.   America is under attack…' The President remained in the classroom for another five to seven minutes, while the children continued reading.”




III. Bush Failure to Meet with Head of Counterrorism in 2001


Fahrenheit 9/11: “As Bush sat in that Florida classroom, was he wondering if maybe he should have shown up to work more often? Should he have held at least one meeting since taking office to discuss the threat of terrorism with his head of counterterrorism [Richard Clarke]?"


Commission Report, p 201: “Within the first few days after Bush's inauguration, Clarke approached Rice in an effort to get her—and the new President—to give terrorism very high priority and to act on the agenda that he had pushed during the last few months of the previous administration.   After Rice requested that all senior staff identify desirable major policy reviews or initiatives, Clarke submitted an elaborate memorandum on January 25, 2001. He attached to it his 1998 Delenda Plan and the December 2000 strategy paper. ‘We urgently need...a Principals level review on the al Qida network,' Clarke wrote. The national security advisor did not respond directly to Clarke's memorandum. No Principals Committee meeting on al Qaeda was held until September 4, 2001 (although the Principals Committee met frequently on other subjects, such as the Middle East peace process, Russia, and the Persian Gulf).”




IV. Bush Did Not React to Security Briefing


Fahrenheit 9/11: "Perhaps [President Bush] just should have read the security briefing that was given to him on August 6th, 2001, which said that Osama Bin Laden was planning to attack America by hijacking airplanes.   But maybe he wasn't worried about the terrorist threat because the title of the report was too vague.


Commission Report, pp. 260-262: At the time, Bush says he considered the CIA's August 6th Presidential Daily Briefing entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” to be “historical in nature,” although the “two CIA analysts involved in preparing this briefing article believed it represented an opportunity to communicate their view that the threat of a Bin Ladin attack in the United States remained both current and serious ” (emphasis added). Bush “did not recall discussing the August 6 report with the Attorney General or whether Rice had done so… The following day's SEIB repeated the title of this PDB… Late in the month, a foreign service reported that Abu Zubaydah was considering mounting terrorist attacks in the United States… We have found no indication of any further discussion before September 11 among the President and his top advisors of the possibility of a threat of an al Qaeda attack in the United States… [CIA director] Tenet does not recall any discussions with the President of the domestic threat” between August 17 when Tenet visited Bush in Crawford, and September 10.




V. The Timing of the Saudi Flights


Fahrenheit 9/11 : “At least six private jets and nearly two dozen commercial planes carried the Saudis and the bin Ladens out of the U.S. after September 13th. In all, 142 Saudis, including 24 members of the bin Laden family, were allowed to leave the country.”


Commission Report, p. 556, n. 25: “[A]fter the airspace reopened, nine chartered flights with 160 people, mostly Saudi nationals, departed from the United States between September 14 and 24.”




VI. FBI Interviews of Saudis and Bin Ladens Who Left


Fahrenheit 9/11: The FBI conducted “a little interview, check[ed] the passport.”


Confirmed, Commission Report at p. 557, n. 28: “The Bin Ladin flight and other flights we examined were screened in accordance with policies set by FBI headquarters and coordinated through working-level interagency process…Although most of the passengers were not interviewed, 22 of the 26 on the Bin Ladin flight were interviewed by the FBI…Two of the passengers on this flight had been the subjects of preliminary investigations by the FBI, but both their cases had been closed, in 1999 and March 2001, respectively, because the FBI had uncovered no derogatory information on either person linking them to terrorist activity.”




VII. White House Approved Flights


Fahrenheit 9/11: “The White House approved planes to pick up the bin Ladens and numerous other Saudis.”   [The film also shows a copy of the September 3, 2003, New York Times article by Eric Lichtblau, titled “White House Approved Departure of Saudis After Sept. 11, Ex-Aide Says,” which states, “Top White House officials personally approved the evacuation of dozens of influential Saudis, including relatives of Osama bin Laden, from the United States in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks when most flights were still grounded, a former White House adviser said today.   The adviser, Richard Clarke, who ran the White House crisis team after the attacks but has since left the Bush administration, said he agreed to the extraordinary plan because the Federal Bureau of Investigation assured him that the departing Saudis were not linked to terrorism.”]


Commission Report p. 329: Richard Clarke approved these flights.




Questions Left Unanswered


Saudi Flights: The following information on the Saudi flights, whether the interrogation of these individuals followed normal law enforcement procedure, and other oddities, are not adequately discussed and put to rest in the 9/11 Report and should require a further inquiry, or at least better explanation.


New information released the week of the 9/11 Commission Report about possible terrorist links to those who left:

The 9/11 Commission Report says: “Two of the passengers on this flight had been the subjects of preliminary investigations by the FBI, but both their cases had been closed, in 1999 and March 2001, respectively, because the FBI had uncovered no derogatory information on either person linking them to terrorist activity. Their cases remained closed as of 9/11, were not reopened before they departed the country on this flight, and have not been reopened since.”   Notes, p. 557, Chapter 10, n. 28).  


The dismissive nature of these highly-charged facts buried in a footnote of the 9/11 Commission Report certainly raises new questions in light of the following information, some of which came to light the same week of the Commission Report release:


Washington Post: According to the July 22, 2003, Washington Post, of the 13 relatives of Osama bin Laden who left on these fights, “One passenger, Omar Awad bin Laden, a nephew of the al Qaeda leader, had been investigated by the FBI because he had lived with Abdullah bin Laden, a leader of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, which the FBI suspected of being a terrorist organization.” Dana Milbank, “Plane Carried 13 Bin Ladens;Manifest of Sept. 19, 2001, Flight From U.S. Is Released, Washington Post, July 22, 2003.


Moreover, according to another article in the Washington Post, this organization is apparently still suspected of terrorist ties.   Specifically, in May, 2004, “Federal agents have raided the U.S. branch of a large Saudi-based charity, founded in Northern Virginia by a nephew of Osama bin Laden, in connection with a terrorism-related investigation, law enforcement sources said yesterday. The raid Friday on the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) in Alexandria was carried out by agents of the FBI, U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Joint Terrorism Task Force, the sources said. Jerry Markon, U.S. Raids N.Va. Office Of Saudi-Based Charity, Washington Post, June 2, 2004


Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.): The passenger list was made public by Sen. Lautenberg and can be found here: flight manifest. Lautenberg said, “The first rule of a criminal investigation is that when the suspect is on the run, you must interrogate the family to find out where he is. Osama Bin Laden just killed over 3,000 Americans, and one of the first actions by the Bush administration was to let Bin Laden's relatives leave without intense questioning? The President of the United States needs to explain to the American people why his Administration let this plane leave. The American people are going to be shocked by this manifest, and they deserve an explanation.”


Senator Byron Dorgon (D-N.D.): Senator Dorgan recently put it this way, “Dale Watson, the No. 2 man and former head of counterterrorism at the FBI has said none of them were subjected to ‘serious' interrogation or questions before being allowed to leave. In fact, we now know that at least two and perhaps more of the Saudis who were allowed to leave after Sept. 11 were under investigation by the FBI for alleged terrorist connections.” Grand Forks Herald, July 20, 2004.


The Reliability of the FBI databases that cleared these individuals

The 9/11 Commission relies on continuing assurances from the FBI that none of the Saudis who left on these flights matched up with names on the State Department's terrorist watch list database, TIPOFF (Notes, p. 558, Chapter 10, n. 31) (even though there was no evidence that TIPOFF was actually used at the time to clear these names) (See Notes, p. 558, Chapter 10, n. 31).  


However, the Commission's reliance on information in TIPOFF should hardly resolve the matter for the 9/11 Commission, as the 9/11 Commission Report has now confirmed that the names of two of the 9/11 hijackers, Nawaf al Hazmi and Khalid al Mihdhar, were not in the TIPOFF database either (p. 181-2). Hazmi and Mihdhar hijacked the plane that flew into the Pentagon. In that instance, the 9/11 Commission recognized this as an enormous failure: “t is possible that if, in January 2001, the CIA had resumed its search for [Mihdhar], placed him on the State Department's TIPOFF watchlist, or provided the FBI with the information, he might have been found” prior to September 11 (p. 267).


Yet the Commission raises no question at all about their reliance on TIPOFF to clear every individual who left on those flights.  


A Strange Connection to the Bush White House

According to the Washington Post article, the bin Ladens flew out of the country on the same airplane that “has been chartered frequently by the White House for the press corps traveling with President Bush.” Dana Milbank, “Plane Carried 13 Bin Ladens; Manifest of Sept. 19, 2001, Flight From U.S. Is Released," Washington Post, July 22, 2003. This raises obvious questions which deserved to be address by the 9/11 Commission.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

July 28, 2004

What's wrong with Fahrenheit 9/11?

Michael Moore claims that Bush is manipulating the American people. But who is manipulating whom?

by Joey Tartakovsky

Private Papers


In one of the best-known scenes from Fahrenheit 9/11, President George W. Bush is captured on film appearing more concerned about his skill at golf than his leadership in the war for civilization. Speaking to a throng of reporters, President Bush remarks, “I call upon all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers. Thank you. Now, watch this drive.” These three phrases alone seem to many incontrovertible evidence that Bush, insincere about the threat of al Qaeda, merely mouths boilerplate that looks robust in the morning papers. It makes for great sneering. Now, as it turns out, President Bush was talking not about al Qaeda, but Hamas, which had suicide-bombed in Israel hours before. But don’t expect the movie to mention such a detail, for here Bush looks silly, and this is the great purpose of Fahrenheit 9/11.


Instead of addressing Bush’s policies in any honest or serious-minded way, the film’s tactic is ridicule. In the golfing section, and in many others – the exit flight of the bin Ladens, Bush’s “vacation” time, or Bush sitting in the Florida classroom on the morning of 9/11 – writer-director Michael Moore presents an apparent malfeasance to cause outrage. Most of the sniping is cheap and petty, inflating an unglamorous remark here or an ill-advised action there into a high crime. In every one of these cases, there is a perfectly reasonable explanation. Should Bush have sat in the Florida classroom room for seven minutes, or two minutes, or should he have immediately leapt from the room to don his flight suit? Actually, Bush was contained in the classroom by the Secret Service as they scouted an alternative route to Air Force One and a secure location. Included by Moore as “vacation” days are weekends. Bush had nothing to do with the bin Laden family flights.


Michael Moore throws everything he can at Bush, who is portrayed at times as bumbling and artificial, at others conniving beyond our wildest imaginations. The Bush-hater need only take their pick: the disputed election, his ties to the House of Saud, Afghanistan, Iraq, Bush’s plutocratic pedigree, his drawl, too much antiterrorism, too little antiterrorism, defense companies, the Saudis again, and then finally, at the end of the movie, the big one: war is what powerful elites do to keep the poor down and preserve their hierarchies of wealth and privilege. Actually piecing the movie together reveals a contradictory mosaic of unrelated topics, which, especially in the lurid conspiracy-weaving parts, flit across the silver screen in rapid-fire succession. It is “somewhat confusing, admittedly,” says Joanne Doroshow, an associate producer of the movie. Nothing speaks more about Fahrenheit 9/11’s incoherence than its consideration of the terrorism issue.


Fahrenheit 9/11 on Terrorism


Watching Michael Moore tackle the issue of the White House’s response to terrorism, you can’t help but feel an upwelling of déjà vu. Fahrenheit 9/11 explains that the Bush administration prior to 9/11 was unconcerned with the threat of terrorism, pointing to President Bush’s lack of meetings with appropriate counter-terrorism officials, and memos about bin Laden being determined to strike in the U.S. Where have we heard this before? That’s right, those were the controversies that arose – and were put to rest – by the 9/11 Commission. The 9/11 Commission informed us that before the attacks the Bush terrorism plan was the Clinton terrorism plan. Bush, for instance, retained Clinton’s counter-terrorism coordinator, Richard A. Clarke, a featured personality in Fahrenheit 9/11. In his book, Against All Enemies, Clarke details his policy proposals to combat the threat of al Qaeda. Among them, more funding to the CIA for intelligence-gathering and covert ops, a freer hand for the FBI, better cooperation among intelligence agencies, and the bombing of al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan.


We must ask how Michael Moore might have reacted to these recommendations. What if Bush suddenly declared in the spring of 2001 that he was approving a substantial increase in funding to the FBI, which would simultaneously enjoy intrusive new latitude in matters of domestic surveillance? What if this were matched by equivalent increases to the CIA for dispatching spies abroad? What if a newly-elected President Bush had declared, out of the blue, that he believed there was lurking in the shadows of the Middle East a radical Islamic mass movement that considered it its divine duty to kill Americans. Not only that, he believed they were at that very moment planning an assault on the American homeland on a scale unprecedented in our history. And as a result, he was ordering a massive bombing campaign on their training camps in war-torn Afghanistan to pre-empt them?


Michael Moore would have howled in outrage. No matter, that era is over now. But suddenly, there comes a new broadside from Moore: through his preoccupation with terrorism, President Bush has foisted a culture of fear on the United States to consolidate his power and silence critics! The idea that an unhinged Bush has – with the aid of John Ashcroft – ushered in a new age of American repression has bobbed among the farther reaches of the left for some time. This movie cinematizes it with an entire section devoted to exposing the “war on terror” as a White House plot to manipulate the minds of millions of Americans. When Moore speaks of censorship stalking the land, he must be referring to the sort that prevents truth-telling movies like Fahrenheit 9/11 from making $103 million in four weeks. It’s no secret that some people have it in for Bush to such a degree that they will stand on both sides of an issue – even one like terrorism – in order to stick it to him.


Who's Right About Terrorism?


“Countering terrorism has become, beyond any doubt, the top national security priority for the United States.” Thus speaks the 9/11 Commission Report, released last week. “There is no terrorist threat in this country. This is a lie. This is the biggest lie we've been told.” Thus speaks Michael Moore in an October 2002 speech. President Bush has a plan to stop terrorism. Michael Moore does not. Michael Moore doesn’t see the need for a plan, because, well, there’s no threat. And if you believed there’s no threat, then these Patriot Acts and enhanced airport screenings probably would seem like a big scam to dupe our “nation of idiots,” as Moore often refers to his fellow citizens. And a proposed Unocal pipeline through Afghanistan – even if the plan was ditched in 1998, even if the Clinton White House supported it, and even if then-Governor Bush had nothing to do with it – would seem a perfectly plausible explanation of our otherwise mysterious presence in Afghanistan. As a matter of fact, Moore locates the origins of terrorism elsewhere. This is the title of Chapter Five in his book, Dude, Where’s My Country: “How to Stop Terrorism? Stop Being Terrorists!” Pause for a moment to consider if you agree with that statement: we are the terrorists.


President Bush, who had promised a more “humble” foreign policy, was changed by attacks of September 11th. He has made combating Islamic terrorism his presidential obsession, and as a result, al Qaeda is now crumbling under a withering assault that it will not survive. The prudent judgment is to declare our war against terrorism successful: two-thirds of al Qaeda’s leadership is dead or in jail, their training camps are in ruins after the destruction of their Taliban patrons, dozens of terror cells in Europe, Asia, Africa and elsewhere have been unearthed, Osama bin Laden no longer lives in his mansions but in a lonely cave somewhere, and, lest we forget, there has not been an attack on America since the infamous day. These days, being an anti-American Islamic terrorist is just about the world’s most dangerous profession.


Fahrenheit 9/11 and the War in Iraq


Fahrenheit 9/11 features what is surely one of the most disgraceful instances of cinematic propaganda in the annals of American film. In scenes of everyday Baghdadi life dated to March 2003, we watch carefree Iraqi children flying kites, a smiling young couple being wedded, and old men relaxing contentedly in coffeehouses, the cheerful citizens of a peaceful, oppressionless land. But Michael Moore must be aware that for the twenty-five years previous to March 2003, Iraqis lived under one of the cruelest regimes in human history. For a quarter-century, it tortured, mutilated and murdered tens of thousands. It violated every human rights law ever written. It possessed the distinction of being the only state to use chemical weapons against civilians since the Germans in the Second World War, and in doing so committed the supreme transgression of genocide. Barely one family in Iraq was spared the loss of a loved one. Fahrenheit 9/11’s inverted depiction of Iraqi life under Saddam Hussein is a conscienceless insult to the memory of Saddam’s victims.


Not everything in Fahrenheit 9/11 is unworthy. The sections bringing to light U.S. military casualties and Iraqi civilian carnage are emotionally gripping reminders of the Iraq war’s unwanted costs. The choice of using violence to prevent even greater violence was a harsh moral dilemma that weighed upon advocates of war. But it worked both ways. For those that opposed the war, a similar moral dilemma existed: by opposing an invasion, they were opposing the only hope of twenty-four million Iraqis in escaping Saddam’s totalitarian nightmare-on-earth, whose very existence would have guaranteed the deaths of thousands in its prisons and execution chambers. But Fahrenheit 9/11 will have none of this moral ambiguity. Iraq was just fine, thank you, until abruptly shattered by the warplanes of American imperialism. What’s more, look at our so-called “coalition of the willing,” as named by Moore: the Republic of Palau, Costa Rica, Iceland, Romania, Netherlands, and Afghanistan. It does seem less formidable when you leave out the United Kingdom, Italy, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, Thailand, Norway, Australia, Poland, Japan, the Czech Republic, Hungary and South Korea.


President Bush may have been ineloquent in making the case for war, but the case – for those who cared to consider it – was there. Our administration, after carefully reviewing all available intelligence, concluded that the Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein was an intolerable threat that could no longer be addressed by sanctions and no-fly-zones. It was a regime marked by serial aggression and violent miscalculation. It was the principal destabilizing force in the most destabilized region on earth. And it was a government that the intelligence agencies of the world’s leading democracies agreed was questing for weapons of mass destruction. The case was presented to the American people, and by the time of the invasion in March 2003, it was considered compelling by a majority of them. It was also presented to Congress, which in an October 2002 vote gave President Bush the authorization go to war. The bipartisan vote included Senators John Kerry and John Edwards, the latter of whom was a cosponsor of the resolution.


What Fahrenheit 9/11 Has Wrought


Michael Moore is not a partisan in the cast of John Kerry or Howard Dean or even Al Gore. Moore is a dyed-in-the-wool radical, who advocates flamboyant and irresponsible policies that if followed would result in enormous damage. Senator Kerry has wisely avoided any association between his presidential bid and the film, even as Moore carries on like a surrogate Kerry campaigner at elegant French film festivals, glittering Oscar ceremonies, and other refuges of oppressed dissidents. Kerry no doubt fears the consequences an apparent endorsement would have on the sane Democratic majority. The “war on terror” may be a cunning Bush plot, but John Kerry also wants to fight the war on terror. In fact, Kerry promises to do so more “effectively.”


Enthusiasts of the film have taken Moore’s decision to hire a team of fact-checkers as confirmation of the film’s truthfulness. The team certainly has its work cut out. But objections to various details should not cause us to miss the larger point: the real deceit lies not in his “facts,” but in how he cobbles them together. There may be some evidence that four thousand Saudi princes manage U.S. foreign policy, a theory of Fahrenheit 9/11 advances, but there is substantially more evidence that they do not. Will the fact-checkers prove that the Saudis are, contrary to popular belief, thrilled with the war on terror? The bottom line is that there exists a boundless sea of “facts,” and an ideologue willing to play fast and loose with them can easily manipulate them into extreme or unwarranted conclusions. You can “prove” just about anything and its opposite, and you can traduce any public figure, a President easiest of all.


No one has challenged Michael Moore’s right to “reveal” the consequences of President Bush’s decisions as brutally as he wants. But this is not what he does. He seeks to embarrass Bush by culling choice footage from hundreds of hours of recording, cutting-and-pasting them in unflattering ways, and then spicing it with wild innuendo and cinematic manipulation. If any one of us were on camera on a daily basis, speaking on record about a half-dozen issues, we’d have quite a blooper reel as well. Fahrenheit 9/11’s unforgiving character assassination is corrosive to civil democratic culture. If everyone behaved this way towards their political opponents, and if every important issue were simplified to the point of absurdity, normal political processes would break down. Fahrenheit 9/11 thus resorts to the oldest, nastiest trick in the book: attack Bush’s character, not his policies; impugn his motives, not his arguments. It’s hard to ignore how relentlessly personal this movie is. All this, even as there remain few matters more in demand of partisan discretion and common decency than terrorism and war.


According to this movie, we live in a world of easy answers, where policy emerges not from the interplay of rival interests, but from elite cabals who will stop at nothing to rob poor countries of their natural resources. This makes the movie a delight for the types who will never give President Bush a fair hearing, the types who have convinced themselves that Bush acts out of a fundamental wickedness. The fact that fifty million people voted for Bush will not shake their conviction that Bush cares only about oil and the rich, and that it is to the benefit of these two intertwined evils that all his policies are directed. They refuse to grant that their political opponents can act out of genuine and well-intentioned motives as they believe they themselves do, because it’s easier this way: if Bush stands for petroleum and imperialism, what need is there to bother with why Bush says he wants to go to Afghanistan? Meanwhile, the effective address of urgent issues like terrorism and Iraq requires deliberation and cooperation both. Many have chosen to enter the critical debate over these issues. This movie does not. This movie insists that there is no debate to begin.


Whatever your personal political stripe, there are many reasons to disapprove of this movie. You can dislike Fahrenheit 9/11 because you believe that friendship between Saudi and Texan oil dynasties does not explain the foreign policy of the world’s most powerful republic. You can dislike this movie because you believe that while there were mistakes made with regard to the intelligence, planning and prosecution of the Iraq war, there was a case for action against Saddam over which people disagreed in good faith. You can dislike Fahrenheit 9/11 because you dislike any and all conspiracy theories. And you can dislike the movie because you believe that there is, somewhere out there, an extremist mass movement comprised of suicidal believers convinced God has called on them to destroy Americans, and who enjoy the acclaim of tens of millions in the Middle East and elsewhere, and who are organized into trained and well-funded networks spread across sixty nations, and who have already murdered innocents in over twenty of them. And you might just feel that they pose a real threat that will not soon go away.


As a polemic, Fahrenheit 9/11 is masterful; as a basis for informed decision-making, it is irresponsible. The thought that Fahrenheit 9/11’s dishonorable message might actually become a basis for individuals to make decisions is the most disconcerting part of all. Make no mistake, Michael Moore released this movie with a conspicuous political objective: he explains that he hopes this movie will be the first to determine an election, just as his website urges fans to campaign in swing states. Soon, ten percent of this country will have seen this movie. There is the serious case against Bush’s reelection, and there is the serious case for Bush’s reelection. And then there is the case based on one meaningless comment on a Kennebunkport golf course. If the golf course case proves in any way effective in winning an election, you can be sure that Fahrenheit 9/11 will not be the last of its kind. Next political round, there will be more popcorn propaganda to hit theaters. Like Fahrenheit 9/11, it will be deceptive and incoherent, but sentimental and cleverly crafted, in order to transform the gravest matters into rollicking entertainment. And our civic culture will be degraded.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe Moore just had "flawed intelligence".


Michael Moore couldn't make a movie long enough to tell the same number of untruths that Bush Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell, Perle and Wolfowitz have told, and continue to tell to this day.


But to all you wanna-be critics, Moore is a lying, commie pinko rat-bastard, and Bush just got bad intel.


The difference is that Bush's untruths have cost almost a thousand American lives, while Moore's just made him and Miramax a shit-load of money.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bowling For Truth  


Michael At the Bank

Moore ridicules a bank for giving customers a free gun



Gunowners.org (a pro-gun source obviously) summarizes this scene accurately and eloquently saying "After the April 20 lead-in, Bowling begins an examination of middle-American gun culture, and indulges the bicoastal elite's snobbery toward American gun owners."


It's an accurate depiction of the intent of the scene. The scene, dubbed “Michael at the Bank” is a good example of what can be brushed off and casually justified as what has been called 'artistic lying.' The scene opens in a branch of the North Country Bank, with Moore supposedly receiving a free gun in exchange for opening an account. North County Bank — like several other banks in the United States — allows people who buy a Certificate of Deposit to receive their interest in the form of a rifle or shotgun. The depositor thereby receives the full value of the interest immediately, rather than over a term of years. The scene has Moore discovering an ad in a local Michigan paper touting that if you open an account at North Country Bank & Trust, the bank (“more bang for your buck!”) will give you a gun.


Moore goes to the bank, is greeted by a customer service representative and moves on to an unnamed teller who goes through the necessary paperwork (which looks ridiculously simple) for Moore to open an account. Moore goes through the process of buying the CD and answering questions for the federal Form 4473 registration sheet. Although a bank employee makes a brief reference to a "background check," the only thing we see is Moore filling out a form where he says he is not crazy, or a criminal - and of course, that he's white; although he stumbles on spelling the word 'Caucasian' (which I actually had to just fix on spell checker) to further paint the process as unofficial and unsafe while feeding his 'Stupid White Men' theme in the same punch.


The audience never sees the process whereby the bank requires Moore to produce photo identification, then contacts the FBI for a criminal records check on Moore, before he is allowed to take possession of the rifle. Moments later, Moore is handed his new rifle in the North Country Bank & Trust lobby, at which point he asks another unnamed bank employee, “Do you think it’s a little dangerous handing out guns in a bank?”


Before the employee can respond, Moore turns his inquiry into a punchline by immediately cueing Teenage Fanclub’s rendition of the song “Take the Skinheads Bowling,” the tune to which he marches out of the bank, to be followed by the opening credits featuring black and white footage of silly white folks bowling.


It is a dazzling opening, full of energy, irony and Strangelovian absurdity. Only one problem plagues it's cleverness: It was staged.



Staged scene


Indeed, there's more, a lot more, to this story. In an interview, Jan Jacobson, the woman at this bank shown in the movie, says they were filmed for about an hour-and-a-half during which she explained everything to Moore in detail. But, the way things were presented in the film, Jacobson says, it looks like "a wham-bam thing." She says she resents the way she was portrayed as some kind of "backwoods idiot" mindlessly handing out guns. She says Moore deceived her into being interviewed by saying of their long-gun-give-away program: "This is so great. I'm a hunter, a sportsman, grew up in Michigan, am an NRA member." She says: "He went on and on and on saying this was the most unique program he'd ever heard of." This is the first example of how Moore completely deceives and manipulates his subjects to be made to look stupid in his film. Unfortunately, it is not the last and more unfortunately, an ignorant audience plays patsy to Moore's dishonest depiction.


Jacobson says the movie is misleading because it leaves the impression that a person can come in, sign up and walk out with a gun. But, this is not done because no guns are kept at her bank, although one would think so. She says that ordinarily a person entitled to one of the long-guns must go to a gun-dealer where the gun is shipped.


In fact, despite what BFC wants us to believe, Jacobson says there are no long-guns at her bank. The 500 guns mentioned in the movie are in a vault four hours away. But wait a second... Didn't I see some long guns sitting right there on the rack above her shoulder? Yes - you're not going crazy - those guns you saw (as shown in the picture up the page) are models.


She says that Moore's signing papers in the film was just for show. His immediately walking out of the bank with a long-gun was allowed because "this whole thing was set up two months prior to the filming of the movie" when he had already complied with all the rules, including a background check.


Jacobson says the bank's so-called "Weatherby Program" has "absolutely" been a smashing success. She says their corporate office was braced for some possible criticism because of BFC. But, they got only two calls -- and these were from people wanting to know the details of the "Weatherby Program" so they, too, could get their long-guns!




A non-issue point in the first place


So the audience is left with a smug sense of the pro-gun bank's careless craziness. Yet, aside to the falshoods the audience isn't aware of, just a moment's reflection on the given information shows that there is not the slightest danger. Aside from the thorough legal background check and paperwork we didn't see, there are fundamental common sense flaws to the scene. The process of getting a 'free gun' isn't quite as easy as Moore wants you to believe, and it's not dangerous unless the person tries to use the gun as a club and wants to be quickly caught by the police.


To take possession of the gun, the depositor must:


Produce photo identification; making it inescapably certain that the robber would be identified and caught.


Give the bank at least a thousand dollars -- (an unlikely way to start a robbery) (1).


Spend at least a half hour at the bank, thereby allowing many people to see and identify him, and undergo an FBI background check, which would reveal criminal convictions disqualifying most of the people inclined to bank robbery.

The label of this process being ridiculous is in fact ridiculous itself. A would-be robber could far more easily buy a handgun for a few hundred bucks on the black market, with no identification required, and would want to zip in and out of the bank as quick as possible.


Also - the bank is a licensed firearms dealer - not shooting range. They don't hand bullets to you. Moore had to buy them later, as seen in the barbershop scene. If Moore brought his own bullets and tried to load them into the long-gun right there in the bank, it would be obvious and he'd be immediately stopped.


The 'artistic lying' illustrates the genius of Bowling for Columbine, in that the movie does not explicitly make these obvious points about the safety of the North County Bank's program. Rather, the audience is simply encouraged to laugh along with Moore's apparent mockery of the bank, without realizing that the joke is on them for seeing danger where none exists.


This theme is developed throughout the film. Don't be fooled.




YOU MISSED THE POINT! - The point of the scene


Many have e-mailed me saying I've missed the point of the scene, telling me that it's purpose is not the ease of which the bank gives you the gun - but the very fact that they are giving out guns! I ask these people to review the scene and actually watch it again if they can, and see if they don't think differently. I can't read the mind of Michael Moore, so I can't say for sure what his point was, however I can say positively that the way the scene was cut (asking for the account with the free gun, going directly to some cheesy questions going directly to holding the firearm and pointing it around to close with "don't you think it's a little dangerous handing out guns at a bank") certainly conveys an issue of ridiculousness on how easy


However - lets take a look at it under the alternate thesis. You come to basically the same conclusion: Moore is a lying hypocrite.


Moore mentions many times in Bowling For Columbine that gun use and gun culture is not what causes gun death. He illustrates this in his own childhood enthusiasm with guns and his endless praise for Canada, which he calls not only a "nation of hunters" but "one gun loving, gun toting country." So if Moore is making a farcical point out of American gun culture, then he is an exposed hypocrite when he advocates rifle use later in the film.


But like I said - I didn't get the impression that this was an attack on rifle users, nor the one I believe most get. But depending on what you think the exact point of the scene is - either Michael Moore deceived you with fictitious representation, or he lied to you to effectively play both sides of an issue. You pick.




Wrong on Killer toasters...


While on Oprah promoting Bowling For Columbine - Michael Moore talks about this scene and North Country Banks gun program. (2) Moore says: "What happened to giving out toasters, you know? I'd never heard of anybody killed by a toaster, you know?"


But, thanks to information that Larry Pratt from Gunowners.org  delightfully uncovered - surprise! once again, Moore is fighting against himself:


The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (8/30/02) reports a woman who used a rolled-up newspaper and toaster to light a cigarette started a fire that killed her mentally ill adult daughter. The Irish Times (2/28/02) reports that in Cork, in 1997, one homeless man murdered another homeless man by hitting him in the head with a toaster. And the Philippine Daily Inquirer (8/28/01) tells of a young woman who saw her toaster on fire, threw water on it and was electrocuted instantly. A Global News Wire story (8/3/01) says a pop-up toaster is the likely cause of a fire killing a mother and son in Timaru, New Zealand. A Canadian Press report (7/28/2000) says that in Quebec a house fire started by a toaster killed an autistic young man. And the Richmond Times-Dispatch (5/10/99) says a Yorkshire, Virginia, couple filed a $4.7 million lawsuit against a Delaware business alleging that their toaster was faulty and caused a fire killing their mentally disabled son and his grandmother.


Larry says he found several more stories like this from around the world involving killer-toasters - but I think we all get the point. "Perhaps Michael Moore's next movie will deal with the obvious need for tougher toaster-control laws" he says. -Not likely. Michael Moore knows not the world of consistency.


Why did I say he's fighting against himself? Well, he may never have heard of anybody killed by a toaster, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. And isn't that a main thesis in Bowling For Columbine? That the media isn't an accurate gage of current dangers in America? Furthermore, doesn't the media's lack of sensationalism over toaster deaths go strictly against his argument of media scaremongering? After all, toasters are a lot more common place than guns. Why not target THEM for demonization to scare the public? Obviously these media (non liberal leaning at all whatsoever of course) reports on guns put firearms in an unfavorable light - which I would think Moore would like.


Michael Moore makes less and less sense under the revelation of key facts to his arguments - and this is only 6 minutes into the movie!




(1)   In order to qualify for the gun, customers must open a 3-year CD with at least $5,000

(2)   the Oprah Winfrey show - 11/1/02

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...