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Friday, June 25, 2004

FAHRENHEIT 9/11

Fahrenheit 9/11 is the latest documentary from Michael Moore. The documentary covers the period from the November 2000 U.S Presedential election to April of 2004. The film documents the actions of the Bush administration as they steal the 2000 Presidentail elections, ignore the threat of Al Quaida prior to September 11, 2001, escort the Bin Laden relatives out of the U.S, pass the "patriot act," repeatedly use "terror alerts" to produce an atmosphere of fear, fabricate ties between Iraq and 9/11, push the discredited Iraqi WMD stories, and use poor people as cannon fodder as they eventually invade Iraq without provocation or justification.

Along the way, Moore details family and business ties between the Saudis and the Bush family, captures the media's willingness to march behind the Bushies, shows the horror of "humane, precision bombings" on Iraqi civilians(women and children), interviews returning soldiers who are either maimed or vow never to return, lists the Bush administrations attempts to cut benefits for veterans(in one case, docking the pay of a soldier because he was Killed in Action) explains the business connections/relationships between the Bush administration & corporations(Carlyle, Halliburton etc), and travels to Washington D.C with the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq.

Moore also engages in his trademark rabble rousing when he circles Congress, in an ice cream truck, reading the Patriot Act from a megaphone. He also engages Congressmen on the street and attempts to have them sign their own children up for military service in Iraq. He fails to get any committments.

A lot of people are familar with many, if not most of the ground covered by "FAHRENHEIT 9/11." However, Moore has compiled all of it into a single documentary in a way that is more powerful than any previous documentary or text. The Bush administration has stayed afloat because they rely on the short attention span of American citizens to minimize the constant scandals and lies they are embroiled in. FAHRENHEIT 9/11 returns to 2000 and neatly arranges the narrative in a way that any FOX news addict would be hard pressed to forget.

FAHRENHEIT 9/11 also incorporates some historical footage, some of it quite recent, that may have slipped from memory. There is footage of Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein in 1983. There is a Taliban representative visiting the Unocal Corporation in Houston Texas. There is the Congressional Black Caucus, at the Janauary 2001 Presidential Confirmation, desperately trying to voice their objections to the Florida Vote, and being overruled by Al Gore because not a single U.S Senator will support them. There is George W. Bush, seconds away from announcing the invasion of Iraq, clowning in front of a "dead" camera by making silly eye movements and affecting ridiculous grins.

The most powerful images and segments of FAHRENHEIT 9/11 are related to the War on Iraq. Innocent Iraqi children are shown after bombing runs. Distraught and frightened families cower as U.S armed forces raid their homes in the dead of night. An Iraqi man vows revenge as he loads the bodies of Iraqi civilians into the back of a truck. In an eerie reminder Abu Ghraib, U.S military men mock and ridicule Iraqi men that are either lying dead, or are standing, handcuffed with their heads covered by black hoods. An Iraqi woman, who's uncle's house has just been bombed, screams at the cameramen, asking "where is God" and why is he "letting this happen to innocent people?" These scenes are more disturbing when one views them with the awareness that the U.S is currently conducting "precision" airstrikes on the city of Fallujah.

In the U.S, Moore meets a mother from Flint, Michigan, who proudly recounts her families service in the U.S military. Her son is deployed in Iraq and she flies the flag in support of him. She tells Moore that her son was afraid to go but she gave him a pep talk, reminding him of his duty to his country. Later, the woman's son is killed in Iraq. His last letter home, which she reads aloud surrounded by her family, is a letter of frustration and disillusionment.

FAHRENHEIT 9/11 doesn't pretend to be objective. It doesn't attempt to give George W. Bush's side of the story. It takes a skeptical look at the Bush administration and encourages the audience to do the same. It questions the motives, agenda and opportunism of Bush and his administration. It does what the Media and all concerned citizens should have done years ago and does so without apology. FAHRENHEIT 9/11. Go see it.

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