Hit & Run

Moored in Iraq

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Earlier this week I saw Michael Moore?s Fahrenheit 9/11, and though I would like to say something profound on how a Beirut audience reacted, I suspect it was a case of Moore?s partly preaching to the converted, but mostly taking advantage of the audience?s ignorance of the issues he was bringing up. The film is pure demagoguery ? dishonest, cheap, but also remarkably successful in its aim.

More importantly, this note from a soldier (link courtesy of Andrew Sullivan?s blog) suggests the film is having an effect on the morale of U.S. troops in Iraq. Writes the soldier, one Joe Roche: ?From what I?ve heard from the soldiers, the things that have them most shocked and upset them are the connections Moore makes between the Bush family and the Bin Ladens. The impression is that Bush is part of a conspiracy that supported the September 11th terrorist attacks.?

The link is a spurious one in the context of 9/11, and Moore never reaches the logical conclusion of his charge that dozens of Saudis and other nationals were allowed to leave the U.S. soon after the attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. (He also omits to point out that Richard A. Clarke, Moore?s Exhibit A in a different segment of the film on Iraq, approved the departures.)

This and much else that is doubtful define the film, but one point is worth underlining: If Bush?s enemies can?t stomach his dissembling on Iraqi WMD and the administration?s spurious link between Saddam and Al-Qaeda, there seems little justification to respond to this by endorsing a film that offers up evidence that is just as untrustworthy.