A lawsuit against Michael Moore, filed by Sgt. Peter Damon, is getting the expected banner headlines on Drudge and chatter in the blogosphere. Sgt. Damon argues that Moore selectively edited an interview Damon gave to NBC News, making it look like 1)Moore had talked to Damon and 2)Damon opposed the Iraq war. For this, Damon wants $75 million in reparations, and his wife wants an additional $10 million for emotional damages. But there's an interesting wrinkle. It seems that Damon backed up Sen. Ted Kennedy when he gave an anti-war speech in 2004, after the NBC interview but before the release of Moore's film.
In a speech Wednesday, Kennedy said the decision to invade Iraq was grounded in the "gross abuse of intelligence," an "arrogant disrespect for the United Nations" and the GOP's desire to seize control of both houses of Congress in 2002.
The senator from Massachusetts spoke to the Center for American Progress, a liberal advocacy group, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington.
He was flanked by Brian and Alma Hart, whose son John was killed in Iraq, and Army Sgt. Peter Damon, who lost both arms serving in Iraq.
This wouldn't be a big deal but for the fact that Damon's hardcore support of the war is at the center of his complaint. His lawyer told the AP that Fahrenheit 9/11 was "upsetting to him because he's lived his life supportive of his government, he's been a patriot, he's been a soldier, and he's now being portrayed in a movie that is the antithesis of all of that." Was Damon an anti-warrior who changed his mind? Did he flip when lawyers sent visions of eight-figure settlements dancing in his head?
UPDATE: While Damon's lawyer hasn't gotten back to me, there's strong evidence that the Sgt. Peter Damon who appeared with Kennedy in January 2004 is the same man suing Moore.
Here's an AP photo from Nov. 17, 2003, when Sen. Kennedy visited Damon at Walter Reed.
Here's a screenshot of Damon talking to Neil Cavuto about his lawsuit, earlier this week.
What's the point? For one, Damon and his lawyer aggressively claim that Moore has done $75 million of damage to Damon's reputation. Damon has said "I didn't lose my arms over there to come back and be used as ammunition against my commander-in-chief." But two years ago, as a simple google search will tell you, Damon flanked Ted Kennedy as the senator gave a passionate anti-Bush speech.
No President of the United States should employ misguided ideology and distortion of the truth to take the nation to war. In doing so, the President broke the basic bond of trust between government and the people. If Congress and the American people knew the whole truth, America would never have gone to war.
Maybe Damon's appearence at this speech shows he's a vigorous non-partisan and gives his anti-Moore suit more credibility. Even so, why not mention that he's entered the public fray over the Iraq war before? In 2004, Damon appeared in at least two anti-Moore movies, "Michael Moore Hates America" and "Fahrenhype 9/11". Damon lives in a house built by Homes for Our Troops, a nonprofit charity unofficially endorsed by Moore. It's curious that the hundreds of media outlets hyping this story aren't interested in the context.