Thursday 1 July 2004

Blind, Or A Coward?

One of the first things I did when I got back from vacation was to go see Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11. It’s a brilliant piece of propaganda, entertaining and funny, and it skewers the president deliciously. But am I the only one to notice that in one critically important way, it entirely misses the boat and gets nearly everything wrong? Maybe this has been said before—I’ve hardly read all of the criticism of Moore—but if so, I haven’t seen it. Moore totally avoids the question of Israel.

Not only that, but the opening polemic of the movie ties President Bush and company mightily to Saudi Arabia. In one sequence, what seems like several dozen images flash by showing Bush and his advisers shaking hands and chumming it up with leading members of the Saudi royal family. Moore says outright that while Bush is paid $400,000 by U.S. taxpayers in salary, Saudi Arabia has supported Bush and his family with more than $1 billion in business-related subsidies. (That amount, it seems to me, is ridiculously inflated and must be nonsense.) The stated implication is that Bush is more loyal to the Saudis than he is to America.

Huh? Here are some questions for Moore: If Bush is so “in the pocket” of Saudi Arabia, why is he Ariel Sharon’s strongest backer? Why, when he had Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah down at the Texas ranch a few years ago, did he flip off the Saudi’s peace plan? And most important, why did he invade Iraq—since Saudi Arabia was strongly opposed to the U.S. invasion of Iraq? Why did he launch his Iraqi adventure over Saudi objections, with many of his advisers chortling that Saudi Arabia would be “next”? Why did he stock his administration with militant neocon crusaders who see Saudi Arabia as the main enemy? Why, Michael?

I have to conclude the Michael Moore is either blind, or a coward. Blind, if he can’t see Bush’s craven ties to Israel, driven by the neocons and the Christian Zionists and Bible-thumping fundamentalists like Jerry Falwell, who consider Israel Jesus’ next stop and see Saudi Arabia as Satanic. Or cowardly, because he knows it and decided not to mention it. Is that because attacking Israel is too hard? Moore’s photo-montage of Saudi princes borders on the racist, showing Bush & Co. clinging to grinning, Semitic-looking Arabs in flowing white robes one after another. Would we stand for a similar, racist-leaning montage of Bush palling around with grinning, Semitic-looking Jews in skullcaps? 'Course not. More important, Moore completely misses the political boat. Perhaps that’s because he relies so heavily on Craig Unger and his book, House of Bush, House of Saud , which makes the same “error.”

And more for Moore. Yes, Bush 41 and his advisers—the Carlyle Group-linked James Baker, et al.—were (and are) connected to Saudi Arabia. Did Moore notice that Baker, along with Brent Scowcroft, and other former advisers to Bush 41 (including Colin Powell) were against the Iraq adventure? And that there were reports that Bush 41 himself thought it was a stupid idea? I can’t believe that Moore can be so stupid. So I can only conclude that he produced this movie the way he did on purpose. Then I read that he didn’t bother inviting Ralph Nader to the Washington, D.C., premiere of the film, and (according to The Washington Post ), Nader called Moore “fat.” Well. Moore is fatheaded.

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