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Movie: Fahrenheit 9/11

fahrenheit.jpgI'm not sure I know anybody who isn't going to see this film, and judging from the huge line that we stood in for a 9pm Sunday night show, the Bay Area will generate a huge amount of revenue for this film. Both of these are good things.

The movie brought back a lot of bad memories for me. At the start of Desert Storm I lived on a military base where many of the soldiers on the base were being deployed to fight. I remember the school offering counseling to those who had fathers sent off to fight. I remember the entire community wrapped in yellow ribbons. I remember everyone glued to the television awaiting the latest news of the war. All of my friends were lucky and their father's returned to them, but Moore's film shows that the ultimate fear in that situation -- that they don't come home -- does come true, and using a Bush clip to ask the question, "I can't imagine what it's like to lose a loved one," Moore allows one mother's words to answer Bush and describe the pain for all the audience to feel.

The film also takes the audience back to September 11th, first to the sounds, then the images of the reactions of the New Yorkers on the street. I remembered back to that day and the days that followed, knowing that the Pentagon had been hit right in the new Navy Command Center, and the families that I had shared dinner tables with may have lost a loved one. Many of us experienced a similar fear, in slightly different, personal ways, whether it be an officemate who got a call from a friend on the streets around the WTC that got cutoff, or a friend of yours that you know takes the PATH, or any other degree of connection to one of the sites of attack.

I talk about these memories of fear because that, at its heart, is what Fahrenheit 9/11 is about: the fears that we as a nation shared on September 11th; that same fear that was manipulated into pushing the nation into Iraq; the fears of the Iraqi civilians caught in the crossfire of their liberation; the fears of the families and friends of those sent off to fight. There is also those in the film whose actions are framed without fear, those for whom Moore presents evidence that 9/11 and the events that followed were profitable: Bush Jr., Bush Sr., James Baker, Halliburton, Saudi Royal Family, Cheney, and others.

The evidence isn't damning, and for those that follow the news it's not even new. Even many of the humorous clips have already been well delivered by the Daily Show over the previous two years. Untold revelations weren't expected, though. My memories of Desert Storm and 9/11 weren't new either, but they had been dormant.

What this film also brings to light is that in this day of questionable evidence, the case for the relationship between the Bush family, Saudi royal family and bin Laden family is made as strongly, if not more strongly, than the relationship between Hussein and terrorism, and that the Bush family had far more to gain from Hussein engaging in terrorism than Hussein did. From investments in Bush Jr. business ventures, to the close relationship of Bush Sr. and Saudi Arabia, to the protection of Saudi interests by deflecting attention on Iraq instead of the 15 Saudi suicide bombers of 9/11, to the transport of bin Laden family members out of the US on 9/13, to Bush and Karzai's private interests in a trans-Afghanistan pipeline prior to 9/11, to Cheney's relationship with Halliburton and its award of no-bid contracts, to the 5-10x salary that private contractors make over the soldiers who have to stand and protect them.

Much has been speculated as to how much this movie will effect the upcoming election, with most believing that it will be preaching to the choir. I hope not; there's much in the movie to motivate the vote, from images of black representatives, one after another, opposing the disenfranchisement of the black vote in Florida in 2000, to interviews with poor residents of Flint, Michigan, who have family and friends fighting in the military, juxtaposed with video of military recruiters being sent to the poor mall in town to recruit more. With 80-90% of voters having already made up their mind (one recent stat I heard), it will be the remaining 10-20% that will make this election interesting, as well as the extra 10-20% that wasn't planning on voting, and this movie seems well targeted at those votes.

Update: In light of pqbon's comments, I will offer a clarification of one of my points. If you have been reading non-mainstream news sources, including the numerous anti-Bush books (e.g. House of Bush/Saud), then there is probably very little new information in the movie (the only fact I had not heard was the profiteering conference attended by Microsoft). In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if some of Moore's research consisted of reading blogs and watching the Daily Show. However, if you have been following only mainstream news sources, then nearly everything in the movie was probably new. For most Americans, their knowledge will fall somewhere inbetween, and the movie will certainly play well in that gap.


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Ken already wrote about Fahrenheit 9/11. But I have a few dissenting points. One, while the "funny" clips of bush and co were already on comedy central, some of the stories the movie mentioned were kept out of the american... [Read More]

Comments (1)

Watched the movie. It's was ok. He made some good points but you can really tell he was blatantly out to do some finger pointing.

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