I’ve been reading a lot of the knocking of Michael Moore for his blunt force attack on the blunt force brutality of the Bush Administration and its media supporters with a measure of disgust, because Britt Blaser is right that no matter how many images you throw up on the screen the real horror can never be known in the theatre. I took my 11 year old to Fahrenheit 9/11 yesterday, but it was the fact his friends’ dad was shut up in his house to get away from the fireworks that brought the brutality of Iraq home for him.
We need more Moores, not less, when the President can use the Fourth of July to declare that he was creating a safer world while opponents of the administration are led from the event by police because they wore t-shirts that called for Bush’s defeat in 2004.
What Jim Hake is doing with Spirit of America is the front where we should be concentrating our efforts in Iraq.
And the battle has to come home to the polling place, where, if we fail to toss out these scoundrels, America will be lost.
David Weinberger points to Steven Johnson’s review of Fahrenheit 9/11 and asks: “So, if we didn’t invade Iraq to fight the war on terrorism and to keep us safe from those WMD’s, then what was it for? Moore doesn’t give us a good answer to that question, and I agree with Steve that Moore skips one of the most important ones: neocons are idealists – chickenhawk idealists. Moore sloppily throws at the screen every bad reason he can think of.”
I think this argument is made clearly by Moore in the film. The aimlessness of the pre-9/11 Bush Administration, illustrated by the President’s gibbering about “initiatives” he is working on during his vacation in August 2001 and the disturbingly dazed President sitting in front of a kindergarten class while America is attacked. Bush was a terrible president before the attack and, although he is still terrible (making decisions “with war on my mind”), he believes he is a president with a mission now, which makes him all the more dangerous. The mistake is to assume Moore’s saying everything as much as asking a lot of questions that Americans should, at least, ponder. Steven hits that nail on the head, but it is not merely the images of suffering Moore shows us that we need to confront, but also the extraordinary series of apparently coincidental relationships between players in U.S. national security decisions and those of U.S. oil and defense-related corporations that describe the United States’ role in the world today.