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Fahrenheit 9-11, So What?

Moore could have mailed in this script

On the very same day that Michael Moore’s movie Fahrenheit 9/11 is released in theaters, the headline of a New York Times‘ article, “Iraqis, Seeking Foes of Saudis, Contacted bin Laden, File Says,” undermines one of the movie’s claims–Bush lied about a link between Osama bin Laden and Iraq.

This is just one of many discredited allegations and debunked conspiracy theories Moore presents as fact in his “documentary.” Indeed, the movie is merely a compilation of left-wing conspiracy theories and allegations.

Moore could have mailed in this script.

The first conspiracy theory proffered is the “stolen 2000 election.” Moore, who narrates the movie, recites the litany of discredited allegations made by the Democrats. What evidence is there the election was stolen? Moore says Bush’s cousin, working for Fox News, made the call that Bush won the Florida election–after the other networks awarded it to Gore.

So what?

The implication is that somehow the election was influenced–because once Fox News declared Florida for Bush so did all the other networks. However, the facts are quite different. The networks declared Florida for Gore just before 8 p.m. By 2:00 a.m., November 8, Bush was projected the winner of Florida. Two hours later the election was declared too close to call.

How Moore distorts the truth here is a preview of what he does throughout the movie.

Next Moore recycles the criticism that Bush was spending too much time on vacation–an accusation made by Democrats his first few months in office. There are scenes of Bush golfing. Moore mentions that, according to the Washington Post, Bush vacationed 42% of the time during the first eight months of his presidency.

So what?

The same thing was said about Eisenhower. Besides Moore only tells the audience part of the truth. The Post article said, “Many of those days are weekends, and the Camp David stays have included working visits with foreign leaders√?¬Ę√Ę‚??¬¨ ¬¶”

Moore’s next specious allegation is about what Bush did, or did not do, the morning of September 11. When Bush is informed that the second plane crashed into the World Trade Center he is in a reading class at a Florida elementary school. Moore says disdainfully, “Not knowing what to do, with no one to tell him what to do,” Bush reads a book to the kids.

So what?

Did Moore want President Bush to grab a sword and march off to combat the terrorists? Is that what FDR did when told of Pearl Harbor?

Moore plays fast and loose with these facts as well. The truth is, the first plane crashed at 8:45 a.m. Bush was notified at 9:05 a.m. about the second plane. Less than a half hour later, at 9:30 a.m., he addresses the nation saying, “Today we’ve had a national tragedy. Two airplanes have crashed into the World Trade Center in an apparent terrorist attack on our country√?¬Ę√Ę‚??¬¨ ¬¶.And now if you would join me in a moment of silence. May God bless the victims, their families, and America.”

Contrast Bush’s statement, twenty-five minutes after learning what happened, with Moore’s bizarre comments published the next day to his website: “In just 8 months, Bush gets the whole world back to hating us again.√?¬Ę√Ę‚??¬¨ ¬¶If someone did this to get back at Bush, then they did so by killing thousands of people who did not vote for him! Boston, New York, D.C., and the planes’ destination of California–these were places that voted against Bush! Why kill them?”

Who, in your opinion, do you feel is more mentally stable?

The next discredited conspiracy theory furnished is the “Flight of the Saudis.” Moore introduces this by saying, “In the days following 9-11–when all American flights were grounded.” Moore announces in a jocular voice, “Even Ricky Martin was not allowed to fly,” during a sequence showing the singer wandering around an airport. Moore claims that some planes were authorized to fly Saudis around the United States.

The evidence provided this time is a photocopy of a document listing dates of birth, country of origin (all Saudi Arabia), date and port of departure, airline code, and flight numbers of numerous people. Moore states that 6 private jets and other commercial aircraft were authorized to fly Saudis September 13 and afterwards.

So what?

Saudis, Ricky Martin, and everybody else were permitted to fly chartered jets and commercial aircraft September 13. All such flights were authorized. Moore is just being slick. He gives people the impression that these were special flights when they were not.

Moore then states that the FBI never questioned the Saudis before they left the U.S., thereby proving Bush was in cahoots with them. Yet, Moore contradicts himself. Richard Clarke, who was the counter terrorism chief at the time and who appeared during the movie as an authoritative source, testified before the 9/11 Commission that he authorized the Saudis to leave the country and President Bush knew nothing about it.

Next in the conspiracy theory parade is the “war for oil” plot. The Workers World Party (WWP) has been credited for originating this one. The WWP, which worships Kim Jung Il, Stalin, and Slobodan Miloslevic, is so loony that even other Communist groups think they are insane.

Moore states that the Bush family and the Saudis have business dealings with one another. Bush also has relationships with the bin Laden family. The hijackers were Saudis too.

So what?

Using this logic, Moore should have been interrogated about the Oklahoma City incident, since both he and Terry Nichols are from Michigan. Now I know why Disney did not want to distribute this film. While it is more imaginative than–say–Cinderella, it lacks the charm.

Moore’s conspiracy theory pageant continues with the “Unocal pipeline conspiracy.” This plot states that the war in Afghanistan was not about bin Laden, it was about the Unocal Corporation profiting from building a pipeline in Afghanistan. The evidence to substantiate this is that Afghan President Hamed Karzai was once a consultant for Unocal.

So what? Better the president should be a former sheepherder?

This Unocal conspiracy dates from 1998. Although then, it was said that we were allies of the Taliban to build the pipeline. Now this same canard explains why we eliminated the Taliban. Ironically, the World Socialist Web Site’s (Nov. 16, 1998, edition) alludes to this same conspiracy only they mention Clinton and Iraq.

Does Moore feel that the Workers World Party and the World Socialist Web Site are good sources of information?

This segment shows a pipeline contract being signed by President Kharzai, the impression being that this is with Unocal. What is omitted is that neither Unocal nor the U.S. was involved in this pipeline contract.

The movie is grounded upon one canard and clich√?∆? ¬© after the next. One would think there was at least one original idea of Moore’s in this film.

The only thing Fahrenheit 9/11 proves is that Moore’s cinematic propaganda lacks originality. He is a cheap imitation hybrid of Oliver Stone and Leni Riefenstahl.

The conspiracy cavalcade proceeds to illustrate the abuses of the Patriot Act–the legislation designed to make America like Nazi Germany. One such abuse is the infiltration of an antiwar group called Peace Fresno by the Fresno County Sheriff’s office.

So what?

What this has to do with the Patriot Act is never stated. The only thing stated is that Peace Fresno is merely a group of concerned citizens.

He cites as evidence that legislation endangers civil liberties because no one in Congress read the bill. He shows one congressman who says his colleagues never read the legislation. However, Moore contradicts himself again. He also shows a congresswoman with two very specific criticisms about definitions in the Patriot Act. Obviously, she read it.

Moore’s next allegation is that Congress is full of hypocrites. This is evinced by the fact that only one member of Congress has a kid in Iraq.

So what?

If this were a criterion, Abraham Lincoln should not have waged the Civil War.

Michael Moore is a snake oil salesman–Jimmy Swaggart without the fashion sense. He condemns exporting jobs, yet his website is a Canadian product. He talks about helping the common person while living in an elite Manhattan enclave.

Facts never matter to Moore or his audience. They both dwell in a paranoid parallel universe. They are emblematic of those to whom Orwell referred when (paraphrasing) he said that only an intellectual could believe such lies, any normal person knew it was not the truth.

Hearing the various comments by the audience I now know who took the bad acid at Woodstock. Liberals are the self-righteous, led by the self-serving, for the benefit of the self-interested. Moore appeals to all three.

If ignorance is truly bliss then many of those who believe the thesis of Fahrenheit 9/11 are very happy people today for having watched this film. One could tell they were buying everything Moore was selling–no tent revival crowd was more enthusiastic.

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Written By

Mr. Tremoglie is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Insight magazine, and Front Page magazine among others. He is the former Vice President of the Pennsylvania Association of Scholars, a member of ISI, and a member of the American Society of Criminology.

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