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Old 06-29-2004, 05:09 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Attack the Facts...not Moore

After going thru several threads on this subject, and laughing out loud several times. I have noted a serious lack of comment on the movie itself, and rather an attack and defend of Mr. Moore.

I propose we debate the MOVIE, and the information it contains, instead of the individual who made it.


Pease note this thread is intended to check the validity of the information, not the person......so dont bother to glorify/debase Moore.


Please begin-
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Old 06-29-2004, 06:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Okay....Let me begin:

Did we or did we not, remove the family of Osama Bin Laden from U.S soil in the hours after the 9/11 attacks?
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Old 06-29-2004, 06:38 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by tecoyah
Okay....Let me begin:

Did we or did we not, remove the family of Osama Bin Laden from U.S soil in the hours after the 9/11 attacks?
Did "we" remove them or did we simply allow them to leave? If you mean we allowed them to leave in the 48 (or so) hours afterwards then the answer would be yes. If you mean while flight paths were shut down to commercial aviation I believe the answer is no.

Disclaimer: I have not seen the movie so I don't know what it states. I am simply responding to the question as phrased by tecoyah. I suspect this thread will require specific answers to the exact questions asked or statements made by the movie. Anything less will result in the same old arguments.
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Old 06-29-2004, 06:47 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Actually....that was pretty damn good. In fact having not seen the movie is a benefit for this question, as it allows an untainted response.

The movie actually states the flights took place on 9/13, after we had begun to reopen airspace. And that several dozen flights , of Saudi citizens (including the bin laden relatives) were interviewed by FBI and allowed to leave. This at the request of the Saudi Gov't.

Next Fact Check?
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Old 06-29-2004, 07:20 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Asking questions might be a little more difficult. I know Moore implies some things when confronting Marine recruiters outside of a suburban mall. Something along the lines of them targeting the "poor". Is this what he states? If yes, is it true?
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Old 06-29-2004, 07:24 AM   #6 (permalink)
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omg, YAF911 thread! Run for your lives! !
Quote:
Did we or did we not, remove the family of Osama Bin Laden from U.S soil in the hours after the 9/11 attacks?
I believe that was the case, but I don't get the point...

I would respond by saying that the world is not black and white. It is full of inconsistencies, contradictions and moral ambiguities, because it is a system made up of the dealings of imperfect people. There are no mathematical certainties. Has one ever considered the POSSIBILITY that these 'facts' that Moore has so much fun spinning into pandering, blatantly purile Hollywood propaganda pieces might not be as evil and sinister as he would lead you to believe? Seen on balance, might not these 'facts' be only the benign result of having to get on - with a degree of decency - in a world filled with liars, killers, corrupt governments, selfish opportunists, religious fanaticism, irresponsible nuclear proliferation, ruthless dictators and others with no regard to order, morality or decency? Might the US be, to a degree, tainted for having to be forced to deal with the aforementioned? Probably. But is the US really the source of all the problems in the world, as Moore would so shamelessly imply?
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Old 06-29-2004, 07:27 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Moore's technicque involves editing which creates a misimpression while allowing him plausible deniability. This is entertainment - not news.

One of the criticism I have heard about the film is the clips of dead Iraqi children being immediately followed by scenes of American soldiers high fiving each other and discussing rock music. The two are not connected in anyway - but the film leaves an impression that the soldiers are celebrating the death of the children.

Is it lying? No. Is it cycnical manipulation? Yes.
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Old 06-29-2004, 07:34 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by tecoyah
Okay....Let me begin:

Did we or did we not, remove the family of Osama Bin Laden from U.S soil in the hours after the 9/11 attacks?
http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-true28.html

"The date -- Sept. 13 -- is crucial because that is when a national ban on air traffic, for security purposes, was eased.

But nonetheless, many viewers will leave the movie theater with the impression that the Saudis, thanks to special treatment from the White House, were permitted to fly away when all other planes were still grounded. This false impression is created by Moore's failure, when mentioning Sept. 13, to emphasize that the ban on flights had been eased by then. The false impression is further pushed when Moore shows the singer Ricky Martin walking around an airport and says, "Even Ricky Martin couldn't fly."


<b>Even Richard Clarke has disproved this in his book and his testimony in front of the 9/11 Commission -</b>

http://www.thehill.com/news/052604/clarke.aspx
Clarke claims responsibility
Ex-counterterrorism czar approved post-9-11 flights for bin Laden family

"In an interview with The Hill yesterday, Clarke said, “I take responsibility for it. I don’t think it was a mistake, and I’d do it again.”


“It didn’t get any higher than me,” he said. “On 9-11, 9-12 and 9-13, many things didn’t get any higher than me. I decided it in consultation with the FBI.”


<b>Sorry for not showing the whole links, but that would make this tread really long.</b>
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Old 06-29-2004, 07:35 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I liked the segment on how the Patriot Act was passed.. and how the person being interviewed (he was from Michigan) stated that they NEVER read the bills that get approved because they simply have no time.

So when asked why/how it was passed, he responsed, "Honestly, we didn't even read it. We don't read most of the items that come through." He laughed and continued, "If we read everything that came through, it would severely halt the legislation process."

That's a comforting thought.

Anyway, people are too busy pointing out the trival things like the Rock Music & Dead Children mentioned above (actually they weren't protrayed together) instead of discussing the main point of the movie: everything is about profit.

[edit]
RE: Soldiers/Music and dead kids.. they weren't portrayed together at all.

It was there to show how some think it's a game and don't realize what they're doing. The whole point of the music thing was to show that some aren't taking it seriously.

Like how the soldiers interviewed said "We like to turn on 'Let the bodies hit the floor' as we rush in. Gives a great adrenaline rush and pumps you up" while another said "We like to turn on 'The roof is on fire' as we hit our targets". Not all soliders are like that, but isn't it a striking similarity to Apocalypse Now where they were blaring the music over the speakers as they mowed people down?

The dead children came much much later and the movie in no way stated that the soldiers enjoyed killing/killing children. Most of the soliders stated how it kills a part of them anytime they realize that they killed another human.

In fact, it showed soliders being nice to the children and giving them candy.
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Old 06-29-2004, 08:44 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by wonderwench
Moore's technicque involves editing which creates a misimpression while allowing him plausible deniability. This is entertainment - not news.

One of the criticism I have heard about the film is the clips of dead Iraqi children being immediately followed by scenes of American soldiers high fiving each other and discussing rock music. The two are not connected in anyway - but the film leaves an impression that the soldiers are celebrating the death of the children.

Is it lying? No. Is it cycnical manipulation? Yes.

You really should actually "SEE" the movie before you attempt to critique it, particularly in a FACT thread.
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Old 06-29-2004, 08:48 AM   #11 (permalink)
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It would seem thus far the facts are indeed holding up....but are slanted by Mr. Moores' style.

Anyone have something that is inaccurate, or maybe misleading?
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Old 06-29-2004, 09:02 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Ultimately I don't think you are going to find anything wrong with Moore's fact. He has been very careful to cover his ass in this respect.

What is going to happen... is happening... is that people are going to get upset with his style of filmmaking. They will be upset by his interpretation of the fact.

People who understand a situation in one way do not like to be told they are wrong. It upsets them.
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Old 06-29-2004, 09:15 AM   #13 (permalink)
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i think part of the problem with moore's films is the use of the word "documentary." I think we might all be happier if we could use the term "political commentary."
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Old 06-29-2004, 09:18 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Immediately after stating that only one congressman has a son in Iraq, he goes around asking people to sign their kids up.

After which he states

"Not a Single Congressman has a Son in Iraq"

Taken out of context of the movie, that quote is blatently incorrect. Generally, when media are quoting movies, they don't explain the circumstances of when something was said, they simply quote the movie...
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Old 06-29-2004, 09:23 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Pipeline in Afganistan by Unical. Moore makes it look like some Bush oil plot when it was cancelled back in 1998 under Clinton. The basic half truth covering up the spin on this.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/156426.stm

Carlyle group, since the Bin Laden family sat on the board and tried to give money to Bush he spins it as Bush/Bin Laden plot. Any dealings in his eyes are a vague plot. What he fails to mention is the Carlyle groups owns some of the movie theatres he is showing his film in Loews Cinemas. Was he part of the conspiracy with the Bin Laden family as well?

As to the others it mostly deals with his opinions like troops strength and what impact the wars has had. All of that is subjective and hardly factual. Did he find any Al Quada to interview to see what they thought having their refuge destroyed? Certainly not it would support his opinions. Showing many civilians causualties caused by insurgents and cars bombs followed up by shots of the air war bombing the palaces is hardly factual either. I wasn't aware that Saddam allowed them to be bomb shelters and if he did why did they look like slums?

The whole film was the based on a half truths which makes the most convincing lies.
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Old 06-29-2004, 11:02 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by brianna
i think part of the problem with moore's films is the use of the word "documentary." I think we might all be happier if we could use the term "political commentary."
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=documentary
Quote:
1. Consisting of, concerning, or based on documents.
2. Presenting facts objectively without editorializing or inserting fictional matter, as in a book or film.

n. pl. doc·u·men·ta·ries
A work, such as a film or television program, presenting political, social, or historical subject matter in a factual and informative manner and often consisting of actual news films or interviews accompanied by narration.
Obviously he is guilty of not following definition #2, but both other definitions fit right in with the movie.

This is beside the point though. He could have called it a "political commentary film" and he'd still be facing the same attacks.
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Old 06-29-2004, 11:28 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by powerclown
But is the US really the source of all the problems in the world, as Moore would so shamelessly imply?
Nowhere does Michael Moore say that the US is the only source of turmoil in the world. In the grand tradition of democratic dialogue, he tends to focus his criticisms on his own governement.
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Old 06-29-2004, 01:56 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by NoSoup
Immediately after stating that only one congressman has a son in Iraq, he goes around asking people to sign their kids up.

After which he states

"Not a Single Congressman has a Son in Iraq"

Taken out of context of the movie, that quote is blatently incorrect. Generally, when media are quoting movies, they don't explain the circumstances of when something was said, they simply quote the movie...
He said only one congressman has an enlisted son (several have sons that are officers) none of whom are in Iraq.
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Old 06-29-2004, 02:24 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I don't know how to add a link, but I got this off of www.glocktalk.com I enjoyed it and if it's out of line in any way, Mods delete and forgive me. I love it here.

Unfairenheit 9/11
The lies of Michael Moore.

By Christopher Hitchens


Posted Monday, June 21, 2004, at 12:26 PM PT

One of the many problems with the American left, and indeed of the American left, has been its image and self-image as something rather too solemn, mirthless, herbivorous, dull, monochrome, righteous, and boring. How many times, in my old days at The Nation magazine, did I hear wistful and semienvious ruminations? Where was the radical Firing Line show? Who will be our Rush Limbaugh? I used privately to hope that the emphasis, if the comrades ever got around to it, would be on the first of those and not the second. But the meetings themselves were so mind-numbing and lugubrious that I thought the danger of success on either front was infinitely slight.

Nonetheless, it seems that an answer to this long-felt need is finally beginning to emerge. I exempt Al Franken's unintentionally funny Air America network, to which I gave a couple of interviews in its early days. There, one could hear the reassuring noise of collapsing scenery and tripped-over wires and be reminded once again that correct politics and smooth media presentation are not even distant cousins. With Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, however, an entirely new note has been struck. Here we glimpse a possible fusion between the turgid routines of MoveOn.org and the filmic standards, if not exactly the filmic skills, of Sergei Eisenstein or Leni Riefenstahl.

To describe this film as dishonest and demagogic would almost be to promote those terms to the level of respectability. To describe this film as a piece of crap would be to run the risk of a discourse that would never again rise above the excremental. To describe it as an exercise in facile crowd-pleasing would be too obvious. Fahrenheit 9/11 is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity, crudely disguised as an exercise in seriousness. It is also a spectacle of abject political cowardice masking itself as a demonstration of "dissenting" bravery.

In late 2002, almost a year after the al-Qaida assault on American society, I had an onstage debate with Michael Moore at the Telluride Film Festival. In the course of this exchange, he stated his view that Osama Bin Laden should be considered innocent until proven guilty. This was, he said, the American way. The intervention in Afghanistan, he maintained, had been at least to that extent unjustified. Something—I cannot guess what, since we knew as much then as we do now—has since apparently persuaded Moore that Osama Bin Laden is as guilty as hell. Indeed, Osama is suddenly so guilty and so all-powerful that any other discussion of any other topic is a dangerous "distraction" from the fight against him. I believe that I understand the convenience of this late conversion.
Fahrenheit 9/11 makes the following points about Bin Laden and about Afghanistan, and makes them in this order:

1) The Bin Laden family (if not exactly Osama himself) had a close if convoluted business relationship with the Bush family, through the Carlyle Group.

2) Saudi capital in general is a very large element of foreign investment in the United States.

3) The Unocal company in Texas had been willing to discuss a gas pipeline across Afghanistan with the Taliban, as had other vested interests.

4) The Bush administration sent far too few ground troops to Afghanistan and thus allowed far too many Taliban and al-Qaida members to escape.

5) The Afghan government, in supporting the coalition in Iraq, was purely risible in that its non-army was purely American.

6) The American lives lost in Afghanistan have been wasted. (This I divine from the fact that this supposedly "antiwar" film is dedicated ruefully to all those killed there, as well as in Iraq.)

It must be evident to anyone, despite the rapid-fire way in which Moore's direction eases the audience hastily past the contradictions, that these discrepant scatter shots do not cohere at any point. Either the Saudis run U.S. policy (through family ties or overwhelming economic interest), or they do not. As allies and patrons of the Taliban regime, they either opposed Bush's removal of it, or they did not. (They opposed the removal, all right: They wouldn't even let Tony Blair land his own plane on their soil at the time of the operation.) Either we sent too many troops, or were wrong to send any at all—the latter was Moore's view as late as 2002—or we sent too few. If we were going to make sure no Taliban or al-Qaida forces survived or escaped, we would have had to be more ruthless than I suspect that Mr. Moore is really recommending. And these are simply observations on what is "in" the film. If we turn to the facts that are deliberately left out, we discover that there is an emerging Afghan army, that the country is now a joint NATO responsibility and thus under the protection of the broadest military alliance in history, that it has a new constitution and is preparing against hellish odds to hold a general election, and that at least a million and a half of its former refugees have opted to return. I don't think a pipeline is being constructed yet, not that Afghanistan couldn't do with a pipeline. But a highway from Kabul to Kandahar—an insurance against warlordism and a condition of nation-building—is nearing completion with infinite labor and risk. We also discover that the parties of the Afghan secular left—like the parties of the Iraqi secular left—are strongly in favor of the regime change. But this is not the sort of irony in which Moore chooses to deal.

He prefers leaden sarcasm to irony and, indeed, may not appreciate the distinction. In a long and paranoid (and tedious) section at the opening of the film, he makes heavy innuendoes about the flights that took members of the Bin Laden family out of the country after Sept. 11. I banged on about this myself at the time and wrote a Nation column drawing attention to the groveling Larry King interview with the insufferable Prince Bandar, which Moore excerpts. However, recent developments have not been kind to our Mike. In the interval between Moore's triumph at Cannes and the release of the film in the United States, the 9/11 commission has found nothing to complain of in the timing or arrangement of the flights. And Richard Clarke, Bush's former chief of counterterrorism, has come forward to say that he, and he alone, took the responsibility for authorizing those Saudi departures. This might not matter so much to the ethos of Fahrenheit 9/11, except that—as you might expect—Clarke is presented throughout as the brow-furrowed ethical hero of the entire post-9/11 moment. And it does not seem very likely that, in his open admission about the Bin Laden family evacuation, Clarke is taking a fall, or a spear in the chest, for the Bush administration. So, that's another bust for this windy and bloated cinematic "key to all mythologies."

A film that bases itself on a big lie and a big misrepresentation can only sustain itself by a dizzying succession of smaller falsehoods, beefed up by wilder and (if possible) yet more-contradictory claims. President Bush is accused of taking too many lazy vacations. (What is that about, by the way? Isn't he supposed to be an unceasing planner for future aggressive wars?) But the shot of him "relaxing at Camp David" shows him side by side with Tony Blair. I say "shows," even though this photograph is on-screen so briefly that if you sneeze or blink, you won't recognize the other figure. A meeting with the prime minister of the United Kingdom, or at least with this prime minister, is not a goof-off.

The president is also captured in a well-worn TV news clip, on a golf course, making a boilerplate response to a question on terrorism and then asking the reporters to watch his drive. Well, that's what you get if you catch the president on a golf course. If Eisenhower had done this, as he often did, it would have been presented as calm statesmanship. If Clinton had done it, as he often did, it would have shown his charm. More interesting is the moment where Bush is shown frozen on his chair at the infant school in Florida, looking stunned and useless for seven whole minutes after the news of the second plane on 9/11. Many are those who say that he should have leaped from his stool, adopted a Russell Crowe stance, and gone to work. I could even wish that myself. But if he had done any such thing then (as he did with his "Let's roll" and "dead or alive" remarks a month later), half the Michael Moore community would now be calling him a man who went to war on a hectic, crazed impulse. The other half would be saying what they already say—that he knew the attack was coming, was using it to cement himself in power, and couldn't wait to get on with his coup. This is the line taken by Gore Vidal and by a scandalous recent book that also revives the charge of FDR's collusion over Pearl Harbor. At least Moore's film should put the shameful purveyors of that last theory back in their paranoid box.

But it won't because it encourages their half-baked fantasies in so many other ways. We are introduced to Iraq, "a sovereign nation." (In fact, Iraq's "sovereignty" was heavily qualified by international sanctions, however questionable, which reflected its noncompliance with important U.N. resolutions.) In this peaceable kingdom, according to Moore's flabbergasting choice of film shots, children are flying little kites, shoppers are smiling in the sunshine, and the gentle rhythms of life are undisturbed. Then—wham! From the night sky come the terror weapons of American imperialism. Watching the clips Moore uses, and recalling them well, I can recognize various Saddam palaces and military and police centers getting the treatment. But these sites are not identified as such. In fact, I don't think Al Jazeera would, on a bad day, have transmitted anything so utterly propagandistic. You would also be led to think that the term "civilian casualty" had not even been in the Iraqi vocabulary until March 2003. I remember asking Moore at Telluride if he was or was not a pacifist. He would not give a straight answer then, and he doesn't now, either. I'll just say that the "insurgent" side is presented in this film as justifiably outraged, whereas the 30-year record of Baathist war crimes and repression and aggression is not mentioned once. (Actually, that's not quite right. It is briefly mentioned but only, and smarmily, because of the bad period when Washington preferred Saddam to the likewise unmentioned Ayatollah Khomeini.)

That this—his pro-American moment—was the worst Moore could possibly say of Saddam's depravity is further suggested by some astonishing falsifications. Moore asserts that Iraq under Saddam had never attacked or killed or even threatened (his words) any American. I never quite know whether Moore is as ignorant as he looks, or even if that would be humanly possible. Baghdad was for years the official, undisguised home address of Abu Nidal, then the most-wanted gangster in the world, who had been sentenced to death even by the PLO and had blown up airports in Vienna* and Rome. Baghdad was the safe house for the man whose "operation" murdered Leon Klinghoffer. Saddam boasted publicly of his financial sponsorship of suicide bombers in Israel. (Quite a few Americans of all denominations walk the streets of Jerusalem.) In 1991, a large number of Western hostages were taken by the hideous Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and held in terrible conditions for a long time. After that same invasion was repelled—Saddam having killed quite a few Americans and Egyptians and Syrians and Brits in the meantime and having threatened to kill many more—the Iraqi secret police were caught trying to murder former President Bush during his visit to Kuwait. Never mind whether his son should take that personally. (Though why should he not?) Should you and I not resent any foreign dictatorship that attempts to kill one of our retired chief executives? (President Clinton certainly took it that way: He ordered the destruction by cruise missiles of the Baathist "security" headquarters.) Iraqi forces fired, every day, for 10 years, on the aircraft that patrolled the no-fly zones and staved off further genocide in the north and south of the country. In 1993, a certain Mr. Yasin helped mix the chemicals for the bomb at the World Trade Center and then skipped to Iraq, where he remained a guest of the state until the overthrow of Saddam. In 2001, Saddam's regime was the only one in the region that openly celebrated the attacks on New York and Washington and described them as just the beginning of a larger revenge. Its official media regularly spewed out a stream of anti-Semitic incitement. I think one might describe that as "threatening," even if one was narrow enough to think that anti-Semitism only menaces Jews. And it was after, and not before, the 9/11 attacks that Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi moved from Afghanistan to Baghdad and began to plan his now very open and lethal design for a holy and ethnic civil war. On Dec. 1, 2003, the New York Times reported—and the David Kay report had established—that Saddam had been secretly negotiating with the "Dear Leader" Kim Jong-il in a series of secret meetings in Syria, as late as the spring of 2003, to buy a North Korean missile system, and missile-production system, right off the shelf. (This attempt was not uncovered until after the fall of Baghdad, the coalition's presence having meanwhile put an end to the negotiations.)

Thus, in spite of the film's loaded bias against the work of the mind, you can grasp even while watching it that Michael Moore has just said, in so many words, the one thing that no reflective or informed person can possibly believe: that Saddam Hussein was no problem. No problem at all. Now look again at the facts I have cited above. If these things had been allowed to happen under any other administration, you can be sure that Moore and others would now glibly be accusing the president of ignoring, or of having ignored, some fairly unmistakable "warnings."

continued ...


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continuation ...

The same "let's have it both ways" opportunism infects his treatment of another very serious subject, namely domestic counterterrorist policy. From being accused of overlooking too many warnings—not exactly an original point—the administration is now lavishly taunted for issuing too many. (Would there not have been "fear" if the harbingers of 9/11 had been taken seriously?) We are shown some American civilians who have had absurd encounters with idiotic "security" staff. (Have you ever met anyone who can't tell such a story?) Then we are immediately shown underfunded police departments that don't have the means or the manpower to do any stop-and-search: a power suddenly demanded by Moore on their behalf that we know by definition would at least lead to some ridiculous interrogations. Finally, Moore complains that there isn't enough intrusion and confiscation at airports and says that it is appalling that every air traveler is not forcibly relieved of all matches and lighters. (Cue mood music for sinister influence of Big Tobacco.) So—he wants even more pocket-rummaging by airport officials? Uh, no, not exactly. But by this stage, who's counting? Moore is having it three ways and asserting everything and nothing. Again—simply not serious.

Circling back to where we began, why did Moore's evil Saudis not join "the Coalition of the Willing"? Why instead did they force the United States to switch its regional military headquarters to Qatar? If the Bush family and the al-Saud dynasty live in each other's pockets, as is alleged in a sort of vulgar sub-Brechtian scene with Arab headdresses replacing top hats, then how come the most reactionary regime in the region has been powerless to stop Bush from demolishing its clone in Kabul and its buffer regime in Baghdad? The Saudis hate, as they did in 1991, the idea that Iraq's recuperated oil industry might challenge their near-monopoly. They fear the liberation of the *****e Muslims they so despise. To make these elementary points is to collapse the whole pathetic edifice of the film's "theory." Perhaps Moore prefers the pro-Saudi Kissinger/Scowcroft plan for the Middle East, where stability trumps every other consideration and where one dare not upset the local house of cards, or killing-field of Kurds? This would be a strange position for a purported radical. Then again, perhaps he does not take this conservative line because his real pitch is not to any audience member with a serious interest in foreign policy. It is to the provincial isolationist.

I have already said that Moore's film has the staunch courage to mock Bush for his verbal infelicity. Yet it's much, much braver than that. From Fahrenheit 9/11 you can glean even more astounding and hidden disclosures, such as the capitalist nature of American society, the existence of Eisenhower's "military-industrial complex," and the use of "spin" in the presentation of our politicians. It's high time someone had the nerve to point this out. There's more. Poor people often volunteer to join the army, and some of them are duskier than others. Betcha didn't know that. Back in Flint, Mich., Moore feels on safe ground. There are no martyred rabbits this time. Instead, it's the poor and black who shoulder the packs and rifles and march away. I won't dwell on the fact that black Americans have fought for almost a century and a half, from insisting on their right to join the U.S. Army and fight in the Civil War to the right to have a desegregated Army that set the pace for post-1945 civil rights. I'll merely ask this: In the film, Moore says loudly and repeatedly that not enough troops were sent to garrison Afghanistan and Iraq. (This is now a favorite cleverness of those who were, in the first place, against sending any soldiers at all.) Well, where does he think those needful heroes and heroines would have come from? Does he favor a draft—the most statist and oppressive solution? Does he think that only hapless and gullible proles sign up for the Marines? Does he think—as he seems to suggest—that parents can "send" their children, as he stupidly asks elected members of Congress to do? Would he have abandoned Gettysburg because the Union allowed civilians to pay proxies to serve in their place? Would he have supported the antidraft (and very antiblack) riots against Lincoln in New York? After a point, one realizes that it's a waste of time asking him questions of this sort. It would be too much like taking him seriously. He'll just try anything once and see if it floats or flies or gets a cheer.

Indeed, Moore's affected and ostentatious concern for black America is one of the most suspect ingredients of his pitch package. In a recent interview, he yelled that if the hijacked civilians of 9/11 had been black, they would have fought back, unlike the stupid and presumably cowardly white men and women (and children). Never mind for now how many black passengers were on those planes—we happen to know what Moore does not care to mention: that Todd Beamer and a few of his co-passengers, shouting "Let's roll," rammed the hijackers with a trolley, fought them tooth and nail, and helped bring down a United Airlines plane, in Pennsylvania, that was speeding toward either the White House or the Capitol. There are no words for real, impromptu bravery like that, which helped save our republic from worse than actually befell. The Pennsylvania drama also reminds one of the self-evident fact that this war is not fought only "overseas" or in uniform, but is being brought to our cities. Yet Moore is a silly and shady man who does not recognize courage of any sort even when he sees it because he cannot summon it in himself. To him, easy applause, in front of credulous audiences, is everything.

Moore has announced that he won't even appear on TV shows where he might face hostile questioning. I notice from the New York Times of June 20 that he has pompously established a rapid response team, and a fact-checking staff, and some tough lawyers, to bulwark himself against attack. He'll sue, Moore says, if anyone insults him or his pet. Some right-wing hack groups, I gather, are planning to bring pressure on their local movie theaters to drop the film. How dumb or thuggish do you have to be in order to counter one form of stupidity and cowardice with another? By all means go and see this terrible film, and take your friends, and if the fools in the audience strike up one cry, in favor of surrender or defeat, feel free to join in the conversation.

However, I think we can agree that the film is so flat-out phony that "fact-checking" is beside the point. And as for the scary lawyers—get a life, or maybe see me in court. But I offer this, to Moore and to his rapid response rabble. Any time, Michael my boy. Let's redo Telluride. Any show. Any place. Any platform. Let's see what you're made of.

Some people soothingly say that one should relax about all this. It's only a movie. No biggie. It's no worse than the tomfoolery of Oliver Stone. It's kick-ass entertainment. It might even help get out "the youth vote." Yeah, well, I have myself written and presented about a dozen low-budget made-for-TV documentaries, on subjects as various as Mother Teresa and Bill Clinton and the Cyprus crisis, and I also helped produce a slightly more polished one on Henry Kissinger that was shown in movie theaters. So I know, thanks, before you tell me, that a documentary must have a "POV" or point of view and that it must also impose a narrative line. But if you leave out absolutely everything that might give your "narrative" a problem and throw in any old rubbish that might support it, and you don't even care that one bit of that rubbish flatly contradicts the next bit, and you give no chance to those who might differ, then you have betrayed your craft. If you flatter and fawn upon your potential audience, I might add, you are patronizing them and insulting them. By the same token, if I write an article and I quote somebody and for space reasons put in an ellipsis like this (…), I swear on my children that I am not leaving out anything that, if quoted in full, would alter the original meaning or its significance. Those who violate this pact with readers or viewers are to be despised. At no point does Michael Moore make the smallest effort to be objective. At no moment does he pass up the chance of a cheap sneer or a jeer. He pitilessly focuses his camera, for minutes after he should have turned it off, on a distraught and bereaved mother whose grief we have already shared. (But then, this is the guy who thought it so clever and amusing to catch Charlton Heston, in Bowling for Columbine, at the onset of his senile dementia.) Such courage.

Perhaps vaguely aware that his movie so completely lacks gravitas, Moore concludes with a sonorous reading of some words from George Orwell. The words are taken from 1984 and consist of a third-person analysis of a hypothetical, endless, and contrived war between three superpowers. The clear intention, as clumsily excerpted like this (...) is to suggest that there is no moral distinction between the United States, the Taliban, and the Baath Party and that the war against jihad is about nothing. If Moore had studied a bit more, or at all, he could have read Orwell really saying, and in his own voice, the following:

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


The majority of pacifists either belong to obscure religious sects or are simply humanitarians who object to taking life and prefer not to follow their thoughts beyond that point. But there is a minority of intellectual pacifists, whose real though unacknowledged motive appears to be hatred of western democracy and admiration for totalitarianism. Pacifist propaganda usually boils down to saying that one side is as bad as the other, but if one looks closely at the writing of the younger intellectual pacifists, one finds that they do not by any means express impartial disapproval but are directed almost entirely against Britain and the United States …
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



And that's just from Orwell's Notes on Nationalism in May 1945. A short word of advice: In general, it's highly unwise to quote Orwell if you are already way out of your depth on the question of moral equivalence. It's also incautious to remind people of Orwell if you are engaged in a sophomoric celluloid rewriting of recent history.

If Michael Moore had had his way, Slobodan Milosevic would still be the big man in a starved and tyrannical Serbia. Bosnia and Kosovo would have been cleansed and annexed. If Michael Moore had been listened to, Afghanistan would still be under Taliban rule, and Kuwait would have remained part of Iraq. And Iraq itself would still be the personal property of a psychopathic crime family, bargaining covertly with the slave state of North Korea for WMD. You might hope that a retrospective awareness of this kind would induce a little modesty. To the contrary, it is employed to pump air into one of the great sagging blimps of our sorry, mediocre, celeb-rotten culture. Rock the vote, indeed.

Correction, June 22, 2004: This piece originally referred to terrorist attacks by Abu Nidal's group on the Munich and Rome airports. The 1985 attacks occurred at the Rome and Vienna airports. (Return to the corrected sentence.)

Christopher Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair. His latest book, Blood, Class and Empire: The Enduring Anglo-American Relationship, is out in paperback.


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Old 06-29-2004, 04:07 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Let the paste fest commence!!!!!

SHOVELING COAL FOR SATAN
Christopher Hitchens collects check from Microsoft, calls Moore a coward.

By Matt Taibbi

To describe this film as dishonest and demagogic would almost be to promote those terms to the level of respectability. To describe this film as a piece of crap would be to run the risk of a discourse that would never again rise above the excremental... Fahrenheit 9/11 is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity, crudely disguised as an exercise in seriousness. It is also a spectacle of abject political cowardice masking itself as a demonstration of "dissenting" bravery.

—Christopher Hitchens,

Slate.com, on Michael Moore



Well, that's rich, isn't it? Christopher Hitchens crawling out of a bottle long enough to denounce Michael Moore as a coward. I can't imagine anything more uplifting, except maybe a zoo baboon humping the foot of a medical school cadaver.

All journalists are cowards. Hitchens knows it, I know it, everybody in this business knows it. If there were any justice at all, every last goddamn one of us would be lowered, head-first, into a wood-chipper. Over Arizona. Shoot a nice red mist over the whole state, make it arable for a year or two. A year's worth of fava beans and endive for the children of Bangladesh: I dare anyone in our business to say that that wouldn't represent a better use of our rotting bodies than the actual fruits of our labor.

No one among us is going to throw that first stone, though. Not even Chris Hitchens, a man who makes a neat living completing advanced Highlights for Children exercises like the following: "Denounce a like-minded colleague, using the words 'Lugubrious' and 'Semienvious.'" Such is the pretense of modern journalism, that we are to be lectured on courage by a man who has had his intellectual face lifted so many times, he can't close his eyes without opening his mouth. By a man who, if the Soviets had won the Cold War, would be writing breathless features on Eduard Shevardnadze for three bucks a word in Komsomolskaya Vanity Fair ("Georgia on His Mind: Edik Speaks Out." Photos by Annie Liebowitz...).

Which is fine, good luck to him, mazel tov. Everybody's got to make a living. But let's not leave people confused out there. The idea that anyone in today's media is either courageous or cowardly on the basis of what they write or broadcast is ridiculous.

Hitchens, like me and everyone else out there publishing, lives in a professional world where the idea of courage is submitting nice words about George Bush to the Nation, or maybe a "Rethinking Welfare Reform" piece to the Wall Street Journal. What Hitchens calls courage is really a willingness to offend one's intellectual constituency, and what he really means by that is honesty—something very different from courage. It's a nice quality, honesty, and the pundit out there who has it and still manages to make a living is, I guess, to be applauded. But again, let's not confuse that with courage.

Courage is a willingness to face real risks—your neck, or at the very least, your job. The journalist with courage would have threatened to resign rather than repeat George Bush's justifications for invasion before it began. I don't remember anyone resigning last winter. The journalist with courage would threaten to quit rather than do a magazine piece about an advertiser's product, his fad diet book or his magic-bullet baldness cure. It happens every day, and nobody ever quits over it.

If journalists had courage, they would form unions and refuse to work for any company that made decisions about editorial content based on the bottom line, on profit. Are there individual instances of reporters who quit over this issue? Sure, there are a few. Lowell Bergman walked out on 60 Minutes over this one. And there were those Fox TV reporters in Tampa, Jane Akre and Steve Wilson, who famously (and expensively, as it turned out) fell on their swords rather than broadcast a bunch of cuddly bullshit about the Monsanto corporation.

Yes, there are a few isolated vertebrates out there in our business. But it wasn't like the whole staff of WTVT in Tampa walked out in support of Akre and Wilson. Janitors stick up for each other. Steelworkers stick up for each other. Even camera operators and soundmen stick up for each other. But journalists just sit still in their cubicles with their eyebrows raised, waiting for it all to blow over, in those very rare instances when a colleague walks the plank.

I've been around journalists my entire life, since I was a little kid, and I haven't met more than five in three-plus decades who wouldn't literally shit from shame before daring to say that their job had anything to do with truth or informing the public. Everyone in the commercial media, and that includes Hitchens, knows what his real job is: feeding the monkey. We are professional space-fillers, frivolously tossing content-pebbles in an ever-widening canyon of demand, cranking out one silly pack-mule after another for toothpaste and sneaker ads to ride on straight into the brains of the stupefied public.

One friend I know describes working in the media as shoveling coal for Satan. That's about right. A worker in a tampon factory has dignity: He just uses his sweat to make a product, a useful product at that, and doesn't lie to himself about what he does. In this business we make commodities for sale and, for the benefit of our consciences and our egos, we call them ideas and truth. And then we go on the lecture circuit. But in 99 cases out of 100, the public has more to learn about humanity from the guy who makes tampons.

I'm off on this tangent because I'm enraged by the numerous attempts at verbose, pseudoliterary, "nuanced" criticism of Moore this week by the learned priests of our business. (And no, I'm not overlooking this newspaper.) Michael Moore may be an ass, and impossible to like as a public figure, and a little loose with the facts, and greedy, and a shameless panderer. But he wouldn't be necessary if even one percent of the rest of us had any balls at all.

If even one reporter had stood up during a pre-Iraq Bush press conference last year and shouted, "Bullshit!" it might have made a difference.

If even one network, instead of cheerily re-broadcasting Pentagon-generated aerial bomb footage, had risked its access to the government by saying to the Bush administration, "We're not covering the war unless we can shoot anything we want, without restrictions," that might have made a difference. It might have made this war look like what it is—pointless death and carnage that would have scared away every advertiser in the country—rather than a big fucking football game that you can sell Coke and Pepsi and Scott's Fertilizer to.

Where are the articles about the cowardice of those people? Hitchens in his piece accuses Moore of errors by omission: How come he isn't writing about the CNN producers who every day show us gung-ho Army desert rats instead of legless malcontents in the early stages of a lifelong morphine addiction?

Yeah, well, we don't write about those people, because they're just doing their jobs, whatever that means. For some reason, we in the media can forgive that. We just can't forgive it when someone does our jobs for us. Say what you want about Moore, but he picked himself up and did something, something approximating the role journalism is supposed to play. The rest of us—let's face it—are just souped-up shoe salesmen with lit degrees. Who should shut their mouths in the presence of real people. o

Edit: Although this article is more than a little vindictive, I think that it illustrates that C. Hitchen's is a pretty shady character.
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Old 06-29-2004, 05:33 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I didn't read those last two because quite honestly they were just too long to read on the internet. Anyone want to sum them up or know where to find them in print?

I liked the film and agreed with most of it. One thing I did think was highly misleading were the images of Baghdad just before the war started. I think the images of kids flying kites and women laughing and people having just a gay ol' time was a bit one-sided. It's not like we just bombed the hell out of a paradise. Nonetheless I still feel the war was unjustified and Moore raises some great issues in his movie.
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Old 06-29-2004, 05:42 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by repeater
I didn't read those last two because quite honestly they were just too long to read on the internet. Anyone want to sum them up or know where to find them in print?

First one is the typical hate mail.....calling moore a greedy , fat, lying prick.

Second one is a journalist, calling himself and all his associates a bunch of pansies for making the movie neccessary, by not telling everyone the same thing....a long time ago.
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Old 06-29-2004, 05:42 PM   #23 (permalink)
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More paste.

Under the Hot Lights

Moore's movie will make waves. But it's a fine line between fact and fanaticism.

Deconstructing 'Fahrenheit 9/11'
By Michael Isikoff

June 28, 2004 issue - Can Michael Moore be believed? It is a question more than a few moviegoers may be asking this week as his new documentary, "Fahrenheit 9/11," hits theaters. Like Moore's previous works, the movie is a melange of investigative journalism, partisan commentary and conspiracy theories. A run-down of some of Moore's most provocative allegations, and how they stack up against the record:

Bush's initial response to the 9/11 attacks. Moore has unearthed video showing Bush attending a photo op in a second-grade classroom in Sarasota, Fla., when chief of staff Andrew Card whispers in his ear: "America is under attack." Card told a TV interviewer in 2002 that the president got up from the classroom "not that many seconds later." Moore's video depicts a seemingly shaken Bush continuing to sit in the classroom for seven agonizing minutes, even reading to the children from a book, "My Pet Goat." The movie suggests Bush reads from the book because he is uncertain about what to do. A report this week by the federal panel investigating 9/11 confirms Bush did remain in the classroom "for another five to seven minutes." It also offers Bush's account: "The president felt he should project strength and calm until he could better understand what was happening," the report states.

Saudi flights out of the United States. The movie claims that in the days after 9/11, when airspace was shut down, the White House approved special charter flights so that prominent Saudis—including members of the bin Laden family—could leave the country. Author Craig Unger appears, claiming that bin Laden family members were never interviewed by the FBI. Not true, according to a recent report from the 9/11 panel. The report confirms that six chartered airplanes flew 142 mostly Saudi nationals out of the country, including one carrying members of the bin Laden family. But the flights didn't begin until Sept. 14—after airspace reopened. Moreover, the report states the Saudi flights were screened by the FBI, and 22 of the 26 people on the bin Laden flight were interviewed. None had any links to terrorism.

The Bush-bin Laden family connection. Moore's film suggests that Bush has close family ties to the bin Laden family—principally through Bush's father's relationship with the Carlyle Group, a private investment firm. The president's father, George H.W. Bush, was a senior adviser to the Carlyle Group's Asian affiliate until recently; members of the bin Laden family—who own one of Saudi Arabia's biggest construction firms—had invested $2 million in a Carlyle Group fund. Bush Sr. and the bin Ladens have since severed ties with the Carlyle Group, which in any case has a bipartisan roster of partners, including Bill Clinton's former SEC chairman Arthur Levitt. The movie quotes author Dan Briody claiming that the Carlyle Group "gained" from September 11 because it owned United Defense, a military contractor. Carlyle Group spokesman Chris Ullman notes that United Defense holds a special distinction among U.S. defense contractors that is not mentioned in Moore's movie: the firm's $11 billion Crusader artillery rocket system developed for the U.S. Army is one of the only weapons systems canceled by the Bush administration.
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Old 06-29-2004, 05:48 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Okay...here is the rebuttal to the above story.
Although to be honest, this is all getting pretty old.

http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/latestnews/f911facts/
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Old 06-29-2004, 05:51 PM   #25 (permalink)
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I'll refrain from pasting the story

http://houseofbush.com/

Suffice it to say that Michael Isikoff ignored hs own interview with Craig Unger to smear Michael Moore.
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Old 06-29-2004, 08:12 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by repeater
I liked the film and agreed with most of it. One thing I did think was highly misleading were the images of Baghdad just before the war started. I think the images of kids flying kites and women laughing and people having just a gay ol' time was a bit one-sided. It's not like we just bombed the hell out of a paradise. Nonetheless I still feel the war was unjustified and Moore raises some great issues in his movie.
Well of course it's one sided. Moore is showing pictures of the innocent civilians who die in war. He is humanizing the war. He is showing the side of war that millions of us rarely get to see because of our fervent flag-waving network media.
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Old 06-29-2004, 08:14 PM   #27 (permalink)
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The Fervent Flag-Waving Network Media?

Oh, puh-leeeeze. Most of the major media started calling Iraq a quagmire from day one of the action.
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Old 06-29-2004, 08:22 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Btw, here is a documentary on the Carlyle Group (who they are, what they do, etc.). The first 1:40 or so is in Dutch, but from then on it's English.
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Old 06-29-2004, 08:35 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Originally posted by wonderwench
The Fervent Flag-Waving Network Media?

Oh, puh-leeeeze. Most of the major media started calling Iraq a quagmire from day one of the action.
No they weren't. The media was cheering on the war for quite a while especially during the lead up (the most critical time). FAIR was documenting it the whole way.

If more Americans read or watched independent media like Democracy Now!, we would most likely had never gone to war. They were asking for the evidence and questioning the rationale for war long before it had even started. Someone even made a documentary about it.
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Old 06-29-2004, 08:38 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by wonderwench
The Fervent Flag-Waving Network Media?

Oh, puh-leeeeze. Most of the major media started calling Iraq a quagmire from day one of the action.
You must have been watching Al-Jazeera, because on the American networks that I watched the term quagmire didn't begin to surface untl well after the fall of Bagdhad and the rise of the insurgency, which definitely followed Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech.
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Old 06-29-2004, 10:44 PM   #31 (permalink)
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I only had a few problems with the movie.
One: Moore says that Iraq never tried to kill an American. Thats just not true. We were at war with previously at war with Iraq, I pretty sure he tried to kill some people then. He also tried to assasinate the first Bush.
Two: The mother crying goes on for way too long. There comes a point where it goes from showing the cost of war to pulling a cheap shot to making people emotional. I don't like it when someone tries to manipulate my emotions to prove a point rather than giving me a reason to believe them.
Three: He never takes all of the connections he puts forth and makes a conclusion from them. The only conclusion you get is that Bush is neck deep in Saudi money. You're never told what any of these things mean.
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Old 06-30-2004, 04:04 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Boy who could have predicted the direction of this thread?

Quote:
Originally posted by onetime2
I suspect this thread will require specific answers to the exact questions asked or statements made by the movie. Anything less will result in the same old arguments.



I notice that no one has responded to my original question about Moore's claims regarding Marine (and military in general) recruiting. I guess people just assume that his opinion is the unadulterated truth then?
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Old 06-30-2004, 06:45 AM   #33 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by cthulu23
You must have been watching Al-Jazeera, because on the American networks that I watched the term quagmire didn't begin to surface untl well after the fall of Bagdhad and the rise of the insurgency, which definitely followed Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech.
Not sure which channel you were watching but the media called in question if the war was unwinable well before Bagdhad fell. Anyone remember the lack of supplies, ambushed supply trains, need for more troops etc the media harped about.The Vietnam retoric kicked off before the ground war really even began it was only silenced for a while after the two probes in force ran through Baghad. and it fell shortly there after.
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Old 06-30-2004, 06:56 AM   #34 (permalink)
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Someone else already posted a link to FAIR, but it's worth posting some of their numbers directly.

From http://www.fair.org/extra/0403/iraq-study.html

Quote:

Despite criticism of the media by the Bush administration and its allies, U.S. TV news coverage of the Iraq situation continues to be dominated by government and military officials, according to a new study by FAIR. The few critics of military operations that find themselves on the nightly news broadcasts rarely question the war as a whole. Nightly network news reports largely focus on tactics and individual battles, with more substantial and often troubling issues surrounding the war, such as civilian casualties, rarely being reported.

The study looked at 319 on-camera sources appearing in stories about Iraq on the nightly network newscasts--ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News--in the month of October 2003. Sources were coded by name, occupation, nationality, topic and network.

Out of 319 sources, 244 (76 percent) were current or former government or military officials. Of these, 225 were from the United States, and a further nine were from the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council. By allowing U.S. officials and appointees to make up 73 percent of total sources, the networks clearly promoted the official line on the war and minimized dissenting views.

Of the current and former government officials, 132 were civilian and 112 military. Seventy-nine percent of the current U.S. civilian officials were Republicans.

Of the nongovernmental sources, there were 40 members of the general public (including 14 relatives of military personnel), 12 think tank representatives, nine journalists and six other professionals. Citizens' groups appeared six times, including three sources from the Red Cross. Clergy were represented twice.

Overwhelmingly, the Iraq story was told through U.S. eyes, with 81 percent American sources and only 10 percent Iraqi. Only two sources were from Britain, the U.S.'s closest ally in the war. Other nationalities represented included Australian (3 sources), Jordanian (3) and French (1). Twenty sources were of undetermined nationality.

Thirty-nine percent of the on-air sources discussed individual battles or attacks and the tactics of war--e.g., "One thing we're doing to keep the enemy on its toes is integrating a lot more helicopter missions in what we've been doing" (NBC Nightly News, 10/3/03). Other frequently discussed topics included the rebuilding and future of Iraq (33 percent of sources), the justification for war (31 percent), weapons of mass destruction (27 percent) and the financing of the occupation (17).

Despite allegations that the media were favoring bad news in Iraq, the study found that while attacks against coalition forces and bombings were reported almost daily, bigger pieces of bad news were virtually ignored or greatly downplayed.

Ten sources talked about civilian casualties and possible human rights violations by coalition troops. Six of these were in one CBS Evening News segment (10/21/03) covering a Human Rights Watch report on abuses of civilians released that day. Despite Human Rights Watch's estimate that "U.S. soldiers killed 94 civilians between May 1 and September 30, 2003, in legally questionable circumstances," ABC and NBC did not find the report worth mentioning. The other four sources discussing civilian casualties and human rights issues appeared in another CBS Evening News piece (10/30/03), on U.S. and British civilians who were shot at by coalition soldiers.

According to a Stars & Stripes (10/15/03) poll that interviewed almost 2,000 U.S. ground troops in Iraq, 49 percent said that their unit's morale was "low" or "very low." This subject of morale was discussed in six stories by 13 current and former military officials--12 percent of military sources in the study. By comparison, 75 percent of military sources discussed tactics and details about missions and attacks.
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Old 07-01-2004, 03:39 PM   #35 (permalink)
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A site dedicated to dispelling the 'facts' of F911:
Link

(...sorry if its already been posted)
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