BEFORE AND AFTER
I saw Fahrenheit 9/11 yesterday, despite the fact that there were still long lines and sold out shows, because everyone is talking about it and I can’t join in the conversation if I haven’t seen the movie. I am in Michael Moore’s choir as I am not one who needs convincing that this administration is operating with a deceptive agenda. I have been reading the neocon website Project for a New American Century since about 1998 and I have been aware that going into Iraq was something that was going to happen once Bush and his cabal got control. Paul Wolfowitz, in his address to congress in 1998 outlined what needed to happen in Iraq – the top three priorities were to place a “provisional” government in Iraq which would control the oil fields and create a safe place to build an army that could take on Saddam. I don’t know exactly where he thought Iraqi soldiers would be found who were up to the task, or even leaders who would be able to form a government that could take control and hold it. I think it’s always been clear to these guys that the United States was going to have bring in military support.
Before I saw the movie I felt the following things to be true:
That Saddam Hussein and Ossama BinLaden are two different people with two different agendas.
That the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 had nothing at all to do with Iraq or Saddam Hussein – to date no one has been able to give me any PROOF that there was a connection.
That Iraq, under Saddam Hussein never represented any kind of threat to this country.
Saddam Hussein was an evil and cruel dictator, who at one time had a very lucrative relationship with George H.W. Bush as it served the purposes of that man’s position in our government.
That Ossama BinLaden and Al Queda definitely represent a threat to this country and citizens of this country, and continues to do so today.
That the press in this country has not honestly and truthfully represented the facts of any situation having to do with politics in this country since George W. Bush took office and this is due to an agreement that this administration has with the corporate entities that own the bulk of media in this country.
That this president had so little experience with foreign policy and such total ignorance about the rest of the world and their feelings toward the U.S., e.g. arrogance, that he ignored very clear warnings of an imminent attack. He ignored these warnings despite a clear pattern of attacks on the U.S. and it’s interests around the world. And once the attacks occurred he used the fear and pain that the citizens of this country were feeling to manipulate them into supporting an unconscionable, unprovoked attack on a sovereign nation – for the first time in this nation’s history.
That the legislative and judicial branches of government are incapable of holding this president and his administration in check and so the checks and balances that were built into the constitution by the founding fathers are no longer in operation putting this democracy at risk.
After the movie – well, nothing’s changed.
Except that I think that Paul Wolfowitz has some really gross habits with regard to his hair - yuck!
I also think that Michael Moore is really, really mad and bent on getting revenge. While I don’t like this president or anything that he has done since taking office he is still the president. I was disturbed that the film was edited to make him look like a boob – granted they didn’t have to work too hard and there was lots and lots of material for Mr. Moore to work with, but I think he could have made his points without getting so completely disrespectful. After all, he didn’t put even have to put words in the man’s mouth – had he just showed us film of things the president would rather we didn’t see, most memorably his comment about his golf shot right after the sound bite about how he’s going to fight the enemy, that would’ve been plenty and people could draw their own conclusions. President Bush standing in front of a room full of people and saying, “the haves and the have mores, people like to refer to you as the elite, I call you my base”. If you’re a middle class citizen who works hard to make it paycheck to paycheck I don’t think you need Michael Moore’s snide narration to nudge you into feeling kind of sick about this president and what he’s all about.
I saw the movie in a theater that was completely full and half the audience was black. There was an older gentleman sitting next to me who had come with his grandson who was about 15 and the boy’s parents. Throughout the film I heard him going mmm-hmmm, deep in his throat. One of the scenes in the movie that really hit me was at the beginning when all of the black representatives stood in front of congress on the day the election results were being certified and they protested. They stood there with petitions full of names of voters and said that they felt that the voters in their districts had not been represented and they respectfully cried foul. However not one senator would sign these protests and so under the rules they were moot. That’s a lot of black voters whose votes did not count and I was incredibly disturbed by the idea that after all these years the message continues to sent and perpetrated in deed that if you’re black in this country you don’t count.
I had no idea that the press had censored themselves as heavily as they apparently have. Did you know there was a demonstration complete with an egg pelting of the appointed president’s limousine? I sure didn’t. Did you know that the police had the riot squad out that day and that this was the first time in history anything like this had happened? I sure didn’t? It seems like that would’ve been news that day doesn’t it? It was certainly riveting footage and I don’t think that Mr. Moore made it up or staged it – those people were getting hit pretty hard and the secret service agents looked real. Real scared.
There were other things that stayed with me – the dead soldiers and Iraqis – we know that happens, but we haven’t had any of the kind of news coverage showing us these images like we did with Vietnam. Those images don’t go away, the bodies piled in the back of a truck like garbage, the military boots poking out from under a tarp on the side of a road. I couldn’t stop thinking about the soldiers who talked about the music they piped into their tanks as they drove around blowing things up. It put videogames into a whole new perspective.
When we got on the elevator to go back to the car a man and his daughter got on with us. I was talking about how only six senators voted against going to war and how disappointed I felt in congress after walking out of that movie. The man smiled and said, “you must’ve seen Fahrenheit 9/11 – that Michael Moore sure is a deceptive film maker.” I didn’t want to engage in conversation because we got to our floor and I was ready to go, but I don’t think that Mr. Moore is deceptive at all. Disrespectful – definitely, snide and bombastic – absolutely, pissed off as hell and loaded for bear – hell yeah. But he’s using the truth that’s out there to make his points.
I mostly feel sad about how things are going – both in Iraq and here at home. I don’t feel protected by the steps this government has taken to make us “safer”. If anything I feel violated by the deceptiveness of this administration and I am in awe at how many intelligent people I know truly believe that Saddam Hussein represented an imminent threat and was in cahoots with Ossama BinLaden. They wholeheartedly support the war in Iraq and see it as retribution for what happened here on 9/11/01. And there is nothing I could do or say to change their minds. They are upset that Michael Moore made this movie and accuse him of doing it to make money. They say that he’s not even from Flint, MI, that he was raised in the wealthy, white suburbs of Detroit – like that somehow discredits the message and has no credence. It never occurs to them to be bothered by the amount of money being made by Halliburton and Carlyle from this questionable war. They don’t seem to care that their rights and freedoms are being eroded by this administration (honestly the scariest thing was watching Ashcroft sing that dumbass song he wrote – that man is bananas!)
I often go to Senator Robert Byrd's website and read this speech. Senator Byrd very eloquently says all the things that Michael Moore is saying, he just does it with dignity and class. Most people don’t even know who Senator Byrd is though. I may not be in total agreement with his methods, but Michael Moore is accomplishing something that probably no one else can – he’s getting people to talk about his movie and hopefully to go vote. I just hope that he doesn’t get another academy award – he’ll really be insufferable.