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Seven Questions for Serious People, Inspired by Fahrenheit 9/11
The Sagamore Institute for Policy Research ^ | July 28, 2004 | John Clark

Posted on 07/31/2004 8:23:42 PM PDT by quidnunc

Readers of Michael Moore’s best-selling book, Dude, Where’s My Country?, will experience a sense of déjà vu when they watch Fahrenheit 9/11. Much of the film elaborates charges leveled against George Bush in the first chapter, “Seven Questions for George of Arabia.” Dude reads like Moore spent a couple weekends with a tape-recorder, but Fahrenheit 9/11 is an artfully crafted piece of polemics displaying flashes of brilliance. The film is much more powerful than the book, in part because of its visual medium. While in the book he rails against a war in Iraq that has killed and injured thousands of innocents, the film allows him to show what war really means. Regular viewers of the TV news are unaccustomed to the images Moore puts on the screen. Injured Iraqi children and crippled American troops. The terrible wordless eloquence of the grieving mother of a fallen soldier. It takes a lot to jolt today’s jaded movie audience, and Moore does it better than anyone in recent memory.

But even though it takes up issues of life and death, war and peace, even though its ambition is nothing less than toppling an American president, Fahrenheit 9/11 isn’t a serious movie. Moore can’t resist going for easy laughs or groans with a cheap swipe at Bush and his advisers, even if it distracts from substance. He complacently relies on heavy-handed innuendoes about dark conspiracies rather than bothering to examine whether these plots actually make sense. Entertaining it may be, especially if you agree with Moore’s political point of view, but the movie brings us no closer to understanding what we ought to do.

This point is where most of the thousands of reviews of Fahrenheit 9/11 end, but it really ought to be where we start. Where do we go? How do we take advantage of the fact that for at least this moment, millions of people are willing to talk about the course the US should follow? How can we bring into this conversation those conservatives who are disturbed by the abuse and vulnerabilities of American power but who find Moore’s approach crude or offensive? As it happens, Moore’s “seven questions” from Dude reveal the underpinnings of his arguments, and thus make it easier to refashion his pokes at the president into questions that serious people must address if we are to come up with genuine solutions.

Moore’s question to Bush #1

“Is it true that the bin Ladens have had business relations with you and your family off and on for the past 25 years?”

The answer, of course, is “yes.” But do these relations control and corrupt American foreign policy? Moore unintentionally plays a version of the game, “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.” The Bush family is big into money; anyone big into money in Texas is probably connected to oil; anyone connected to the oil industry does business in Saudi Arabia; and anyone doing business in Saudi Arabia probably works directly or indirectly with the bin Laden family, one of the wealthiest in the kingdom. There you have it, the Bushes (like many other wealthy Texas families) need only four degrees of separation to be linked to Osama bin Laden.

Anyone can play! Clinton-bashers delighted in linking Bill and Hillary to every dodgy business deal, crooked politician, and unsolved murder in Arkansas, a small state where no one is more than a degree or two separated from anyone else. The Bush Administration plays its own version of “Six Degrees” when they claim Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was linked to al-Qaeda. In the shadowy netherworld of illegal arms shipments and clandestine financial transfers, where quasi-independent Iraqi operatives mingled with Islamic extremists who shared little more than an intense hatred of the US, people knew people who knew people. You’d need a crippled imagination not to identify three or four degrees of separation between Saddam and Osama.

“Six Degrees” is an easy game, but it’s tricky. Links don’t imply cooperation, connections don’t mean collaboration, and even one degree of separation doesn’t prove complicity. In fact, the three degrees of separation between Saddam and al-Qaeda that the Administration used to justify invading Iraq shows that by diverting attention from real relations, the game can send the United States reeling toward disaster.

Let’s turn Moore’s first question to the president into a broader question for serious people:

Question for serious people #1

How many degrees of separation are we willing to tolerate from our political leaders … and our muckrakers?

-snip-

(Excerpt) Read more at sipr.org ...


TOPICS: Editorial; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 07/31/2004 8:23:46 PM PDT by quidnunc
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To: quidnunc

Seven Questions for Serious People, Inspired by Fahrenheit 9/11
International Development and Security
By John Clark
Wed, July 28,

Readers of Michael Moore’s best-selling book, Dude, Where’s My Country?, will experience a sense of déjà vu when they watch Fahrenheit 9/11. Much of the film elaborates charges leveled against George Bush in the first chapter, “Seven Questions for George of Arabia.” Dude reads like Moore spent a couple weekends with a tape-recorder, but Fahrenheit 9/11 is an artfully crafted piece of polemics displaying flashes of brilliance. The film is much more powerful than the book, in part because of its visual medium. While in the book he rails against a war in Iraq that has killed and injured thousands of innocents, the film allows him to show what war really means. Regular viewers of the TV news are unaccustomed to the images Moore puts on the screen. Injured Iraqi children and crippled American troops. The terrible wordless eloquence of the grieving mother of a fallen soldier. It takes a lot to jolt today’s jaded movie audience, and Moore does it better than anyone in recent memory.

But even though it takes up issues of life and death, war and peace, even though its ambition is nothing less than toppling an American president, Fahrenheit 9/11 isn’t a serious movie. Moore can’t resist going for easy laughs or groans with a cheap swipe at Bush and his advisers, even if it distracts from substance. He complacently relies on heavy-handed innuendoes about dark conspiracies rather than bothering to examine whether these plots actually make sense. Entertaining it may be, especially if you agree with Moore’s political point of view, but the movie brings us no closer to understanding what we ought to do.

This point is where most of the thousands of reviews of Fahrenheit 9/11 end, but it really ought to be where we start. Where do we go? How do we take advantage of the fact that for at least this moment, millions of people are willing to talk about the course the US should follow? How can we bring into this conversation those conservatives who are disturbed by the abuse and vulnerabilities of American power but who find Moore’s approach crude or offensive? As it happens, Moore’s “seven questions” from Dude reveal the underpinnings of his arguments, and thus make it easier to refashion his pokes at the president into questions that serious people must address if we are to come up with genuine solutions.

Moore’s question to Bush #1

“Is it true that the bin Ladens have had business relations with you and your family off and on for the past 25 years?”

The answer, of course, is “yes.” But do these relations control and corrupt American foreign policy? Moore unintentionally plays a version of the game, “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.” The Bush family is big into money; anyone big into money in Texas is probably connected to oil; anyone connected to the oil industry does business in Saudi Arabia; and anyone doing business in Saudi Arabia probably works directly or indirectly with the bin Laden family, one of the wealthiest in the kingdom. There you have it, the Bushes (like many other wealthy Texas families) need only four degrees of separation to be linked to Osama bin Laden.

Anyone can play! Clinton-bashers delighted in linking Bill and Hillary to every dodgy business deal, crooked politician, and unsolved murder in Arkansas, a small state where no one is more than a degree or two separated from anyone else. The Bush Administration plays its own version of “Six Degrees” when they claim Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was linked to al-Qaeda. In the shadowy netherworld of illegal arms shipments and clandestine financial transfers, where quasi-independent Iraqi operatives mingled with Islamic extremists who shared little more than an intense hatred of the US, people knew people who knew people. You’d need a crippled imagination not to identify three or four degrees of separation between Saddam and Osama.

“Six Degrees” is an easy game, but it’s tricky. Links don’t imply cooperation, connections don’t mean collaboration, and even one degree of separation doesn’t prove complicity. In fact, the three degrees of separation between Saddam and al-Qaeda that the Administration used to justify invading Iraq shows that by diverting attention from real relations, the game can send the United States reeling toward disaster.

Let’s turn Moore’s first question to the president into a broader question for serious people:

Question for serious people #1

How many degrees of separation are we willing to tolerate from our political leaders … and our muckrakers?

Heavy innuendoes about business relations between the Bush family and the bin Ladens tell us nothing about 9/11 or its aftermath. But cozy and comfortable dealings between rich Texans and rich Saudis certainly look suspicious and unseemly. Incestuous relations between the grossly wealthy and the politically powerful contribute to the public’s cynicism, and thus blunt our sense of outrage when casual connections really do morph into corruptions. Americans ought to demand a higher standard from their public servants. If a muckraking film such as Fahrenheit 9/11 leads voters to demand that politicians put a few more degrees of separation between themselves and money, it might be a good thing.

But it won’t happen as long as we allow our muckrakers to get by with no more than winks and sneers. Whipping up outrage over however many degrees of goofy separation between bin Laden and Bush all but guarantees half the country will dismiss the film unseen. That’s a problem if they also dismiss the serious discussion the movie ought to provoke.
Moore’s question to Bush #2

“What is the ‘special relationship’ between the Bushes and the Saudi royal family?”

Fahrenheit 9/11 implies this “special relationship” is cemented by love and lucre. Moore informs us in shocked tones that Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi ambassador to the US affectionately nicknamed “Bandar Bush” by the presidential family, dined at the White House just two days after 9/11, even though fifteen of the nineteen hijackers were Saudi nationals. More disturbing than friendship is the film’s claim that the Saudis have purchased the Bush family. The Saudis, we are told, “have given” $1.4 billion to the Bushes and their friends. Compare this staggering sum to the mere $400,000 a year President Bush makes as President of the US and ask yourself whose interests trump. “Who’s your daddy?” mocks Moore’s voice-over.

Set aside the shaky facts behind the $1.4 billion assertion. (Newsweek.com shows that almost all came from Saudi contracts with a US defense contractor in the mid-1990s when the Bushes were not directly connected to the firm; Moore’s “war room” of fact-checkers, spinmeisters and libel lawyers retorts that indirect links are in fact very important.) A Bush defender could claim that influence in a personal relation goes both ways. The Saudis initially opposed the American invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq: not only did the president not bow to their desires; he employed his connections to convince the Saudis to go along with the US. Likewise, disrupting the financial networks channeling funds from Saudi Arabia to al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and around the world required clamping down on powerful clans in the kingdom sympathetic to bin Laden. The royal family had to be persuaded to take this risk.

Moore’s hints about overly familiar relations between the White House and Riyadh can be reframed into a serious question about US foreign policy.

Question for serious people #2

What ought to be the relation between the United States and dictators, in general and in the context of the struggle with Islamic extremism?

The troubling relation is not between the Bushes and the Sauds. It’s between the US and Saudi Arabia. In 1945 Franklin Roosevelt promised King Abdul Aziz ibn-Saud that if given access to the oil beneath the Arabian Peninsula, the US would defend the Saudi ruling family. American leaders have broken a lot of promises over the past sixty years, but not this one. As sole superpower, the US must ensure the cheap petroleum that keeps the global economy humming, so we protect corrupt and hypocritical Saudi rulers who shamelessly employ anti-American propaganda to deflect the justified anger of their own subjects. We pay dearly for this promise. Our support for the Saudi ruling family is the greatest cause of Osama bin Laden’s hatred of the United States.

We fear thrusting democracy upon the Saudis might lead the ruling family to jack up the price of oil or stop helping us fight terrorists. Worse still, Islamic fanatics could seize power. It’s similar with other half-friendly tyrants around the world. We support Hosni Mubarak’s heavy-fisted government as a bulwark against Muslim extremism and as a source of moderation in Arab relations with Israel. We ally ourselves with Pakistan’s Pervez Musharraf in exchange for assistance against al-Qaeda and the resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan. We help maintain Islam Karimov’s thuggish rule over Uzbekistan because he suppresses Central Asian supporters of bin Laden. Nor are such deals with despots limited to the struggle with Islamic radicals. We need China’s Communist rulers to help rein in North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

How far should we support authoritarians who oppose democratic values and whose abuse of their own people inspires contempt for the Americans, who are seen as propping up oppression? Reducing the issue to the Bush-Saud family friendship doesn’t get us closer to an answer.
Moore’s question to Bush #3

“Who attacked the US on September 11 — a guy on dialysis from a cave in Afghanistan, or your friend, Saudi Arabia?”

In Fahrenheit 9/11, Moore seems to accept that Osama was indeed the guy. In fact, the movie criticizes the Administration for not toppling the Taliban more quickly, for not pursuing bin Laden more aggressively, and (since Moore claims the invasion of Iraq has damaged our struggle against al-Qaeda) for not pummeling Afghanistan more thoroughly. He still hints that Bush bears responsibility since factional disputes within his beloved Saudi ruling family may have contributed. But Moore no longer speculates, as he did in Dude, that since the hijackers could hardly have learned precision piloting skills from a few flight classes, the jets must have been flown by pilots from the Saudi Air Force.

Moore’s intimation that internal Saudi politics were somehow behind 9/11 does point toward a genuinely serious issue. The victims that day were collateral damage in an Islamic civil war into which we have been drawn, despite having few natural allies.

Question for serious people #3

Whose side should the US take in the civil war wracking the Islamic world?

Bin Laden’s real struggle is less with the US and the West than with the rulers of his erstwhile home country, Saudi Arabia. If he and his followers topple the Saud family, bin Laden could use Arabia’s special spiritual status (the site of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina) and nearly limitless wealth to try to unify all the lands of Islam into a resurrected caliphate. But the Islamic civil war goes beyond bin-Laden and the Saudis. It engages Sunnis and Shiites, Moroccans in Spain and Jordanians in Iraq, autocrats seeking to preserve traditional values from the encroachment of cultural globalization and Islamic democrats reformulating their faith to fit modernity. Don’t expect a quick settlement. The civil war within Christianity that broke out five hundred years ago in Europe lasted more than two centuries.

Where should the US stand? Do we continue to defend relatively moderate (albeit corrupt and unpopular) dictators such as the House of Saud or Musharraf? Do we throw our support behind Islamic democrats even though democracy could unleash chaos that might bring extremists to power? One thing certain is that we can’t avoid being involved, even if the world didn’t need oil. Most of the world’s one billion Muslims don’t live in the Middle East. They live in South and Southeast Asia, Africa and Europe. They live in the United States, which means Islam’s civil war is unavoidably our war too.
Moore’s question to Bush #4
“Why did you allow a private Saudi jet to fly around the US in the days after September 11 and pick up members of the Bin Laden family and fly them out of the country without a proper investigation by the FBI?”

The decision, in fact, was made by counter-terrorism chief Richard Clarke, hailed as hero by the film because of his devastating criticisms of the Administration’s war in Iraq. The FBI says they questioned everyone they thought might provide useful information. Moore says Clarke made a mistake, and the FBI was probably caving to pressure from the White House, which seems only to dispute effective policy, not to level a charge of impropriety against the White House.

But Moore’s question shouldn’t slip simply because it has been answered by facts. What bothers us about the bin Ladens and other wealthy Saudis being allowed to leave the US as soon as they did is the implication that they benefited unjustly from their money. Their investment in the Bush clan, Moore might say, paid off. This also explains the outrage against Halliburton, the Carlyle Group, and other politically well-connected corporations profiting from American power and America’s wars. The movie hilariously lampoons little companies after 9/11 trying to make a buck with parachutes that allow executives to jump out of the next skyscraper attacked by hijacked jets and outhouse-like terrorist-proof shelters. But it’s the behemoth war profiteers that make Moore see red. There’s a serious question here that Moore seems to be trying to address.

Question for serious people #4

Who should benefit and profit from America’s unmatched power in the world today?

Answering this question seriously would require carefully examining the relation between the private sector and the US military. Would the goods and services corporations provide be better provided by government or military enterprises? How should procurement rules be changed? In Iraq we can see some of the dangerous effects of relying so much on nearly unaccountable private contractors to play roles previously filled by the regular military, but is it even possible to go back to past ways of fighting wars? When Moore repeatedly hints that the White House decides to go to war simply to please money-mad corporations, he may well spark indignation. But it’s a silly issue that diverts attention from what we need to discuss seriously.
Moore’s question to Bush #5

“Why are you protecting the Second Amendment rights of potential terrorists?”

This echo of Bowling for Columbine refers to a minor but revealing incident after 9/11. Attorney General John Ashcroft, a fierce opponent of gun control, refused to allow the FBI to troll through the records of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) in search of firearm purchases by possible terrorists. NICS wasn’t intended to fight terrorism, Ashcroft asserted, and to use it to snoop into the lives of innocent citizens would violate their rights. Moore and others were incensed that as hundreds of residents of the US were being locked up indefinitely without being charged with a crime, when the Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure and Sixth Amendment rights to counsel and a jury trial were under unprecedented assault, it was a threat to gun buyers that brought out the Attorney General’s inner civil libertarian.

While it’s unlikely that this solicitude about gun owners’ privacy increased the risk of terrorist attack, this clearly reveals the limits of the Attorney General’s legal and moral worldview. We all have those limits, past which sacrificing freedoms for increased security becomes unthinkable. Michael Moore’s differs from John Ashcroft’s the way rap music differs from country-western. From the perspective of each, the other simply doesn’t make sense. It isn’t even music.

In Fahrenheit 9/11, Moore wisely drops the inconsequential issue of gun background checks, but spends a quarter of the film attacking other apparently bizarre stories. A nursing mother at an airport security checkpoint is forced to drink from a bottle of her own breast milk to prove it isn’t a dangerous substance. “Peace Fresno,” whose only offense seems to be eating cookies, is infiltrated by a sheriff’s deputy. Like many critics of the Administration, Moore focuses his ire on the USA PATRIOT Act, the creepily-named jumble of measures hastily patched together and passed nearly unanimously by Congress shortly after 9/11. Knowing that Congress didn’t even have a chance to read it before voting, Moore drives around Capitol Hill in an ice cream truck, reading the Act over the truck’s loudspeaker. The gag is less funny than it sounds, but Moore does suggest a serious question.

Question for serious people #5

To what degree should Americans surrender rights and freedoms in exchange for greater security … and who ought to make those decisions?

For days and months after 9/11, many politicians sincerely believed that the country could no longer afford the luxury of liberties it enjoyed in the carefree days before jets started crashing into buildings. Others were driven by fear, not of a new attack so much as fear of appearing soft on terror. Still others saw the emergency as an opportunity to push through laws to fight crimes such as drugs or fraud that would not have been accepted by Congress before 9/11. (The Violence Policy Center, which drew attention to Ashcroft’s refusal to violate gun buyers’ privacy rights, wants to use the threat of terrorism to pass restrictions on firearms that would not have been tolerated by society before 9/11.) To a large degree, Moore’s and others’ indignation about the USA PATRIOT Act, a product of this climate of fear and opportunism, is misplaced. The Act is a piece of legislation, and as such it can (and will) be amended. More troubling by far is the exercise of new and unconstitutional authorities claimed by the President as Commander-in-Chief of a “war on terrorism” that may never end.

The good news is that the American political system’s checks and balances are lurching into motion. The Supreme Court is reasserting the rights of citizens and non-citizens that had been denied by the White House. Congress is rediscovering the spine it misplaced after 9/11, as is the news media. The President may not succeed in justifying his policies to the electorate in November. Michael Moore and other shrill critics helped prod the system’s countervailing powers into action. Thanks! Now it’s up to serious people to figure out how to protect our security while also protecting our freedoms.
Moore’s question to Bush #6
“Were you aware that, while you were governor of Texas, the Taliban traveled to Texas to meet with your oil and gas company friends?”

Moore alludes to Unocal’s plan in the 1990s to build a natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan through Afghanistan, where the Taliban was establishing control. To reassure Western investors and win support from leaders in Afghanistan, Unocal brought Taliban members to the US, where they visited Washington and Houston. But Afghanistan plainly would not be stabilized in the near future, the Taliban would never be responsible business partners, and American feminists mobilized enormous pressure against any deal with a movement that treated Afghan women so brutally. Thus was the pipeline plan abandoned. Many critics of the Administration think the real goal of the Bush Administration in Afghanistan after 9/11 was to get Unocal its pipeline.

Was George W. Bush, a governor famously incurious about anything relating to foreign affairs, aware of the Taliban’s visit to his state? Of course not. Perhaps the first time he heard of the Taliban was during the presidential campaign of 2000, a couple years after Unocal’s fruitless junket for the Afghan mujahadeen. In an interview with Glamour, Bush was asked his opinion about issues of interest to the magazine’s readers. Madonna? ”I’m not into pop music.” The Taliban? Bush shook his head silently until interviewer David France gave him a hint: “The repression of women? In Afghanistan?” Bush replied: “I thought you said some band. The Taliban in Afghanistan! Absolutely. Repressive.” Moore doesn’t use this anecdote, perhaps because this sign of presidential cluelessness would undermine the argument that Bush was part of a conspiracy to provoke international conflicts in order to serve his oil buddies.

Moore’s allusion to the failed Afghan pipeline does raise a question that became particularly urgent on 9/11, and becomes ever more so with each chaotic week in Iraq.

Question for serious people #6

How should we integrate failed states and repressive regimes into the global economy and the international community?

The political force behind Unocal’s efforts to build a pipeline across Afghanistan was the Clinton White House, not the Bush clan. The reason was simple. International investment would help pull Afghanistan out of anarchy, and giving the Taliban a stake in the global economy might start civilizing this most uncivil of movements. We won’t know if this was correct since the State Department’s efforts to engage the misogynistic Taliban were scuttled by American women’s organizations. The Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid said the way to deal with the Taliban was to exclude them from polite company, to smack them with sanction sticks rather than entice them with pipeline carrots.

Since 9/11 we have been offered a third choice, the Bush Doctrine of preempting threats from the chaos of collapsed states such as Afghanistan or the hostility of rogues such as Iraq. Moore is not alone in opposing this option. We can easily squash the threats, but only by creating more chaos and more hostility. So what are we to do with the third of the world — much of Africa, the Middle East, and South and Central Asia — that seems to be going the way of Afghanistan or Iraq? That’s a serious question.

Moore’s question to Bush #7

“What exactly was that look on your face in the Florida classroom on the morning of September 11 when your chief of staff told you, 'America is under attack'?”

For seven minutes after being told a second jet struck the World Trade Center, Bush sat stunned and silent, clutching a copy of My Pet Goat. Lee Hamilton (who as vice chair of the 9/11 Commission has reinforced his standing of the wisest of wise councils) concludes judiciously: “I think he made the right decision in remaining calm, in not rushing out of the classroom.” Certainly it was a better choice than following the adage, “When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.”

As the film’s embarrassing minutes tick by showing a petrified and panicked president, Moore speculates what might have been going through Bush’s mind. Here’s a question that ought to have been in the president’s mind during those appalling minutes, and ought to be taken up by serious people today.

Question for serious people #7

What do we do when the rules, laws, and institutions of the 20th century cannot handle the dangers of the 21st?

On 9/11 it was obvious that existing international rules and organizations can’t resolve out current crises. The United Nations can’t cope with failed states such as Afghanistan. The Security Council lacks legitimacy or democratic accountability. The Geneva Convention can’t deal with non-state, non-military combatants such as al-Qaeda. The International Criminal Court could be a fatal constraint on the US giving the world with a stability no one else can provide. The armed forces of the US and its allies are ill-equipped for the conflicts and post-conflicts of today and tomorrow. Before his chief of staff whispered in the president’s ear in that Florida classroom, these facts about the world seemed abstract and unimportant. With America under attack from a strange and savage enemy, they could be dismissed no longer. Who can blame Bush for looking dazed and confused?

At first, the Bush Administration tried to act without multilateral constraints. Too often, Administration officials and apologists dismissed as unrealistic or unpatriotic those who said that in its struggle against unfamiliar foes the US should bind itself by transnational organizations such as the Security Council. The debacle in Iraq provides the Administration’s critics a sense of vindication for their support of multilateral solutions, a feeling Moore presumably shares. The problem is that international laws and institutions are no more adequate today than they were three years ago. In fact, the way the US has conducted the war in Iraq has rendered them even less effective.

A third option was available after 9/11. Rather than binding ourselves with inadequate international constraints, and rather than dismissing or destructively kicking apart the very idea of multilateral institutions, the Bush Administration could have led an effort to construct new institutions and rules that are capable of coping with collapsed states such as Afghanistan, aggressive regimes such as Iraq, and violently extremist organizations with global reach such as al-Qaeda. This remains the great challenge facing serious people today.

Fahrenheit 9/11 allows these issues to be addressed seriously by a wider audience. But the film seems designed to short-circuit serious discussion. It opens not with President Bush staring glassy-eyed in a classroom on 9/11, but instead with the contested presidential election of 2000. The blame is thus not placed on Bush and his cronies, who Moore probably thinks are behaving perfectly naturally (for greedy, corrupt Republicans). The fault belongs to the Democratic leaders who refused to stand up to the Republicans’ coup. The implication is that compromise is capitulation, and moderation is complicity with evil. Moore’s message may even be that reasoned and serious discourse rather than scornful outage is surrender to forces who seek only wrong. That would be a pity, since we have never needed rational discussion more than we do today.

John Clark is a Senior Fellow with Sagamore Institute


2 posted on 07/31/2004 8:38:35 PM PDT by Slings and Arrows ('Hey, maybe "Jihadists For Kerry" is what "JFK" really stands for.' --Blood of Tyrants)
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To: quidnunc

this sounds serious


3 posted on 07/31/2004 8:40:20 PM PDT by woofie ( I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize.)
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To: Slings and Arrows
Wonder if he could do this with Will by leni Reisentahl?
4 posted on 07/31/2004 8:43:12 PM PDT by dts32041 (Gen Karpinski A bullet, A Gun, a Room, her only honorable solution (MP Officer Not))
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To: quidnunc

> ... he rails against a war in Iraq that has killed
> and injured thousands of innocents ...

Has anyone run the numbers on how many innocents would
have been killed by Saddam had we done nothing?

There must be some crossover date, after which the war
casualties are below what the normal official murder
rate would have reached.

At what moment did Operation Iraqi Freedom represent a
net saving of lives. My guess is that it was a matter
of weeks, months at most, because if we had not reached
it yet, the disloyal opposition would surely be harping
on the point.


5 posted on 07/31/2004 8:43:56 PM PDT by Boundless
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To: quidnunc

Yet another essay which starts off with the answer -"Down with Bush!" - and tries to formulate the questions so as to justifiy their previously determined conclusion.

VietVet


6 posted on 07/31/2004 8:44:17 PM PDT by VietVet (I am old enough to know who I am and what I believe, and I 'm not inclined to appologise for any of)
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To: quidnunc
How many degrees of separation are we willing to tolerate from our political leaders … and our muckrakers?

"Cause and effect" logical fallacy on Moore's part; e.g. Hitler drank water, Bush drinks water, therefore Bush is Hitler. F9/11 (and Moore's other "serious" work is full of such mental garbage.

7 posted on 07/31/2004 8:48:08 PM PDT by asgardshill ("I like the yellow ones")
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To: quidnunc

Moore fails to mention that the Bin Laden family is very large . If memory serves, Osama has 53 half and full siblings. Most of the family has disowned Osama as a crazy, dangerous lunatic.


8 posted on 07/31/2004 8:55:56 PM PDT by Thane_Banquo
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To: quidnunc
The author's an obvious lefty, but I think his intentions are good. There should be debate in this country (and the entire western world) on how to deal with global terrorism, yet the left provides no solutions short of giving "first responder" unions more money and hysteria, e.g. F-911.

The right in this country has offered up a solution--the Bush Doctrine. It's a bold plan that should be debated, yet the left simply screams and shouts about.....who knows what? Their big convention last week left them with a leader that says 4 months in SE Asia has prepared him to fight an epic, world-wide battle. What the...? Did he watch too many Kung Fu episodes? Is he going to "wax on, wax off" the enemy? We need real debate and leaders in this country, not those that play them on TV.

9 posted on 07/31/2004 9:17:32 PM PDT by randog (What the....?!)
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To: quidnunc
"Who should benefit and profit from America’s unmatched power in the world today?"

My answer: MANKIND

10 posted on 07/31/2004 9:43:09 PM PDT by Spotsy (The news media should report the news, not manufacture it)
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To: asgardshill
"Cause and effect" logical fallacy on Moore's part; e.g. Hitler drank water, Bush drinks water, therefore Bush is Hitler. F9/11

LOL! That is pretty close to what I have heard from some college students.

11 posted on 07/31/2004 9:44:23 PM PDT by Spotsy (The news media should report the news, not manufacture it)
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To: Boundless
Has anyone run the numbers on how many innocents would have been killed by Saddam had we done nothing?
==========================================================

I did that some time ago and, as I recall, I think I had it at 118 people a day were killed because of the Hussein reign of terror.

12 posted on 07/31/2004 11:31:43 PM PDT by doug from upland
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To: quidnunc

I'm sick of guys like Michael Moore.........America has spent far more blood and treasure defending the concept known as 'freedom' than any other nation on the face of the earth.


13 posted on 07/31/2004 11:52:16 PM PDT by He Rides A White Horse (Unite)
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To: quidnunc
Seven Questions for Serious People, Inspired by Fahrenheit 9/11

Question #1: Why hasn't Michael Moore exploded yet?

Question #2: When he finally explodes, what will the yield be?

Question #3: At what yield would he be considered a weapon of fat-ass destruction?

Question #4: If a moron whines in the woods with no one around to hear, would he still sound stupid?

Question #5: Who smells worse, Michael Moore or the French?

Question #6: What kind of Howard Dean like scream will Michael Moore emit after Bush wins on November 2nd?

Question #7: Why didn't Greenpeace push Michael Moore back in the water the first time he beached his fat ass?

14 posted on 08/01/2004 12:17:23 AM PDT by Toddsterpatriot (Cry......and let slip the dogs of whine.)
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To: Toddsterpatriot

bump


15 posted on 08/01/2004 12:23:17 AM PDT by He Rides A White Horse (Unite)
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To: Toddsterpatriot

I like your questions better! :-)


16 posted on 08/01/2004 12:30:13 AM PDT by nopardons
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To: Toddsterpatriot
Why hasn't Michael Moore exploded yet?

The French haven't given permission.

When he finally explodes, what will the yield be?

Whatever is left in the bowels after a month long diet of fast food burgers and fries.

At what yield would he be considered a weapon of fat-ass destruction?

He already looks like he's at critical mass.

If a moron whines in the woods with no one around to hear, would he still sound stupid?

He'll sound like Michael Moore.

Who smells worse, Michael Moore or the French?

Living or dead?

What kind of Howard Dean like scream will Michael Moore emit after Bush wins on November 2nd?

....one that is cut off abruptly, I hope.

Why didn't Greenpeace push Michael Moore back in the water the first time he beached his fat ass?

They didn't have a large enough ship?

17 posted on 08/01/2004 12:31:17 AM PDT by He Rides A White Horse (Unite)
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To: randog
Go to the site of the article and in "related stories" click on:After Saddam. Well written on the progress in Iraq. Not a leftist view at all. Would be great if someone, who has the knowledge and more time than I, could create a link.
18 posted on 08/01/2004 1:07:42 AM PDT by ketchikan (other good info from same site)
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To: ketchikan

bookmark to read later and perhaps edit into a SHORTER email to my friends.


19 posted on 08/01/2004 1:17:12 AM PDT by geopyg (Peace..................through decisive and ultimate VICTORY. (Democracy, whiskey, sexy))
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To: Boundless

((Has anyone run the numbers on how many innocents would
have been killed by Saddam had we done nothing?

I actually did. 300,000 Kurds and Iraqis, not counting Iraqi military casualties in the 10 year Iran-Iraq war, which totaled a million between the two sides, not counting military casualties in Gulf war I, comes out to about 1087 civilians murdered per month over a 23 year period. Throw in military deaths inspired by Saddam's "Forays," the monthly average easily doubles. The death rate is about half now, but the liberal press will never make a before and after comparison. They will only give you a daily body count and total "AFTER THE ENDING OF MAJOR HOSTILITIES." Nothing new here. The press's attack on Bush began immediately at the beginning of the war. This 3/21/03 press briefing leaves me incredulous at the stupidity that the press is allowed to get away with. After telling the press that the Prez has been briefed by the CIA, FBI, DOD, DOS, and COS, Ari Fliescher is twice asked "Has the Prez seen this on TV?", "How does he know what's going on if he doesn't watch TV?" Then, instead of asking about Iraqi "civilians", in order to draw maximum sympathy, a reporter asks in a very melancholy tone... And what about those poor Iraqi "Moms and Dads" that might get caught in crossfire... Biased Journalism at it best. Another sourceless question posed to Fleisher, in order to inflame any Arab or Moslem listening is asked "Some of the President's advisors have said they thought it would be good to go on to other countries in the region, to democratize or liberate." I don't make this stuff up. I refuse to insult my intelligence and listen to another one sided leftist propaganda press briefing. Here's the link. transcript and audio: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/03/20030321-9.html


20 posted on 08/01/2004 1:26:30 AM PDT by mikvahyid (The Islamic war against America began on June 5, 1968. Not on September 11, 2001.)
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To: woofie

Using this premise that anyone connected to oil is connected to the Saudis, shouldn't we be looking at one Albert Gore Jr. I do believe if memory serves me that the Gores are wealthy in part due to Occidental Oil.


21 posted on 08/01/2004 1:31:59 AM PDT by DaiHuy (MUST HAVE JUST BEEN BORN THAT WAY...)
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To: quidnunc
For those who do not want to support Michael Moore, the transcript is available here without paying Moore:
http://www.redlinerants.com/index.php?subaction=showfull&id=1088491633&archive=&start_from=&ucat=1&

I read it about half a page down until it quoted Alcee Hastings. I won't go into the complete History of this impeached, convicted of bribery, former Judge, Who was elected in an artificially carved out "Black District" that was later ruled unconstitutional. After many years he was acquitted on a procedural technicality that changed non of the testimony or facts of the case. He of course declared that this proves his innocence beyond a shadow of a doubt, and he was then elected to congress by the same Blacks that keep wondering how come they're in bad shape and getting worse, while they keep choosing criminals for leaders like Marion Barry, Alcee hastings, Al Sharpton, et al. A little more on Michael Moore film stars ALcee Hastings and Bill Clinton over here:http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a3aa8fc183732.htm
Before you call me a racist, here is a conservative Black man and an organization that deserves your support. He can help you in Black venue speaking in your area to counteract the Democrat Black Carcass in your district. (buy his book)
http://www.bondinfo.org
22 posted on 08/01/2004 2:22:00 AM PDT by mikvahyid (Michael Moore is to Documentaries, What McDonalds is to Gourmet cooking.)
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To: ketchikan
ketchikan,

Past this in your browser and you'll get to the article you cited.

"After Saddaam":

http://www.sipr.org/index.php?fuseaction=publicationDetails&id=70

Be Well!

DIM1

23 posted on 08/01/2004 3:31:40 AM PDT by DIM1 (May the L-rd bless and keep our servicemen and women safe, and grant them victory)
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To: Slings and Arrows

Moore is Evil BUMP!


24 posted on 08/01/2004 5:35:47 AM PDT by Volunteer (Just so you know, I am ashamed the Dixie Chicks make records in Nashville.)
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