Michael Moore's view on what happened to the United States after September 11; and how the Bush Administration allegedly used the tragic event to push forward its agenda for unjust wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Following up on 'Bowling for Columbine', film-maker Michael Moore provides deep and though-provoking insights on the American security system, the level of paranoia, fear, uncertainty, false values and patriotism, which all combined together to set a stage for George W. Bush to launch a war on Iraq instead of focusing on getting the real culprit(s) behind the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. This documentary also focuses on how some Saudis were safely and secretly flown out of America while planes were ostensibly grounded after the attacks. Archived film footage, candid interviews with politicians, and an overall waste of public funds for a war that was initiated on false pretension to wit: a weapon of mass distraction - to take the focus away from the real enemy and get Americans glued to their TV sets to watch innocent Iraqis and Afghans getting killed. And a war that would eventually alienate the U.S.A. and it's citizens from almost every country on Earth.Written by
Michael Moore states in the film that only one member of Congress has an enlisted son in the Armed Forces. That member is South Dakota senator Tim Johnson, a democrat. See more »
Was it all just a dream?
God bless you, Florida! Thank you!
Did the last four years not really happen? Look, there's Ben Affleck. He's often in my dreams. And the Taxi Driver guy. He was there too. And little Stevie Wonder, he seemed so happy... like, like a miracle had taken place. Was it a dream? Or was it real?
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This film is dedicated to ... all the soldiers from the Flint area who have died in the Iraq war ... the 2,973 who died on 9/11/01 and the countless thousands who have died in Afghanistan and Iraq as a result of our actions. See more »
The problem with this film is that Moore's style is built on visceral reactions rather than carefully crafted argument. The resulting disorganized rant may be enjoyable for those who already share his views, but it is unlikely to impress anyone else. Even those who agree with him on many issues (I, for one, do) may find some of his assertions hard to swallow. The most bizarre claims he has made, though, are thankfully absent from the film. For instance, anyone who reads his 2003 book "Dude, Where's My Country?" will discover that he has actually questioned whether Osama Bin Laden was responsible for the 9/11 attacks:
"Who attacked the United States on September 11--a guy on dialysis from a cave in Afghanistan, or your friends, Saudi Arabia? .... How could a guy sitting in a cave in Afghanistan, hooked up to dialysis, have directed and overseen the actions of nineteen terrorists for two years in the United States and then plotted so perfectly the hijacking of four planes and then guaranteed that three of them would end up precisely on their targets? .... How did he organize, communicate, control and supervise this kind of massive attack? With two cans and a string?" (pp. 15-6)
For those who are wondering, this is not the only time that Moore has tried to pass off a ridiculous statement with a "How could it be otherwise?" tone. But any doubts he may still harbor on this matter are not presented in the film. All he does is briefly mention that "Bin Laden was a Saudi" to back up his claim that our real enemy is Saudi Arabia, not Iraq.
Moore does deserve credit for calling attention to the now-famous clip showing the President remaining in a kindergarten classroom for seven minutes after having been informed that the country was under attack. It would have made sense for Bush to cut the session short, especially since we now know that the Pentagon had not yet been struck and a fourth hijacked plane was on the loose. The footage gives the impression that Bush wasn't sure how to act on his own, without the guidance of his advisers.
Unfortunately, Moore's portrayal of other events is not quite so defensible. In his depiction of the 2000 post-election controversy, for example, he shows Jeffrey Toobin asserting that a statewide recount in Florida would have shown Gore to be the winner "under every scenario." But extensive studies by newspapers across the country showed that Bush would have won under certain criteria, a fact that Toobin himself has acknowledged. (See Toobin's book "Too Close to Call," pp. 278-9.) This highlights why some have called the film one-sided. It's one thing to express a viewpoint, it's quite another to ignore contrary evidence.
The problem thus may be more in what the film doesn't show than in what it shows. Take the famous scene where Moore confronts Congressmen and encourages them to enlist their sons and daughters. We see some getting flustered by the proposal, others refusing even to speak with Moore, who then assures us that not a single Congressman took up his offer. What we do not see is one who answers Moore eloquently, but it is entirely possible that at least one of them did. That's the problem: every single shot of the film is designed to make his targets look as ridiculous as possible, and he doesn't include footage that fails to serve that purpose. The film has just too much calculation to be believed.
This becomes particularly important when he shows a woman whose son died in Iraq, and who stopped supporting Bush because of it. We watch her become indignant, and then hysterical, after a passerby asserts that her grief is staged. The trouble is that the sequence does feel staged, not because the story was faked (I'll assume Moore wouldn't go that far), but because Moore probably looked into many personal accounts before he found exactly what he needed to make his point. I'm sure that not everyone who has lost a loved one in this war has blamed the President.
We are also treated to graphic images of soldiers with debilitating wounds, of civilian casualties in Iraq, of Iraqi women cursing America for the destruction brought upon their families. But Moore could just as well have chosen to show the victims of Saddam Hussein, who has caused far more death and devastation than Bush has. The film omits this fact, and an uninformed viewer might even get the impression that Hussein was a benign dictator. Instead of building a real case against the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Moore resorts to generic antiwar propaganda that could be applied to any war the U.S. has ever fought. It's amazing to me that in the entire film he mentions WMDs only once, as though they're a side issue rather than the crux of the matter.
If the film's purpose is to overthrow the Bush presidency, as Moore has stated, then this implies a narrow focus. The film's endurance depended to some extent on the outcome of the 2004 election. Had Kerry won, people might have given this film credit for helping that to occur, and it may have come to be seen as a historical marker. But a documentary that does little more than lampoon contemporary political figures is not likely to become a classic; its current popularity is mostly a byproduct of the public's strong feelings about the election, which are sure to dissipate.
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