Friday, October 15, 2004

Truth and Lies in Fahrenheit 9/11

Truths told in Fahrenheit 9/11:

  1. The Bush administration suppressed data from its own Department of Health and Human Services which showed that the cost of the new Prescription Drug Benefit would be much larger than the administration claimed.
  2. Bush's characterization of his immigration proposal as not granting "amnesty" to illegal aliens is quite misleading; although the Bush proposal does not formally grant amnesty, the net result is the same as widespread amnesty.
  3. Some of the material in the USA PATRIOT Act had nothing to do with 9/11, and instead involved long-sought items on the FBI agenda which had previously been unable to pass Congress, but which were enacted by Congress under Bush administration assurances that they were essential to fighting terrorism.
  4. Moore's stated intention of using the movie is to defeat George Bush in November.

Lies told in Fahrenheit 911:

  1. Moore creates the impression that Gore was celebrating his victory in Florida. Actually, the rally took place in the early hours of election day, before polls had even opened. Gore did campaign in Florida on election day, but went home to Tennessee to await the results. The "Florida Victory" sign reflected Gore’s hopes, not any actual election results.
  2. Moore creates the false impression that the networks withdrew their claim about Gore winning Florida when they heard that Fox said that Bush won Florida. In fact, the networks which called Florida for Gore did so early in the evening—the effect was to reduce Republican votes significantly, because the Florida panhandle is a Republican stronghold.
  3. Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris (who was Bush's Florida co-chair, not "the chairman") was not the "vote count woman." Vote counting in Florida is performed by the election commissioners in each of Florida's counties.
  4. What Fahrenheit does not show is that Jeffrey Toobin admitted on CNN that the only scenarios for a Gore victory involved a type of recount which Gore had never requested in his lawsuits, and which would have been in violation of Florida law.
  5. Moore amplifies the deceit with a montage of newspaper headlines, purporting to show that Gore really won. For example, a large headline reading, "Latest Florida recount shows Gore won Election," supposedly comes from The Pantagraph, a daily newspaper in Bloomington, Illinois. But actually, the headline is merely for a letter to the editor--not a news article.
  6. According to Fahrenheit, Bush cronies hired Data Base Technologies to purge Florida voters who might vote for Gore, and these potential voters were purged from the voting rolls on the basis of race. As explained by the Palm Beach Post, Moore's suggestion is extremely incomplete, and on at least one fact – namely the idea that voters were singled out according to race - plainly false.
  7. The movie lauds an anti-Bush riot that took place in Washington, D.C., on the day of Bush’s inauguration. He claims that protestors "pelted Bush's limo with eggs." Actually, it was just one egg. to Moore, "No President had ever witnessed such a thing on his inauguration day. According to USA Today, the anti-Bush organizers claimed that they expected 20,000 protesters to show up, whereas the anti-Nixon protest in 1973 drew 60,000 people. (USA Today, Jan. 20, 2001).
  8. Bush is quoted as saying, "A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there's no question about it." What Moore fails to note, though, is that the quote, from July 26, 2001, is a facetious joke.
  9. Near the end of the movie, Bush speaks to a tuxedoed audience. He says, "I call you the haves and the have-mores. Some call you the elite; I call you my base." The joke follows several segments in which Bush is accused of having started the Iraq war in order to enrich business. The speech actually comes from the October 19, 2000, Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner. The 2000 event was the 55th annual dinner, which raises money for Catholic hospital charities in New York City. Candidates Bush and Gore were the co-guests of honor at the event, where speakers traditionally make fun of themselves.
  10. Fahrenheit 9/11 states, "In his first eight months in office before September 11th, George W. Bush was on vacation, according to the Washington Post, forty-two percent of the time." Many of those days are weekends, and the Camp David stays have included working visits with foreign leaders. Since the Eisenhower administration, Presidents have usually spent many weekends at Camp David, which is fully equipped for Presidential work. Once the Camp David time is excluded, Bush's "vacation" time drops to 13 percent. Scott Marquardt looked into a random week of Bush's August 2001 "vacation." Using public documents from, he found that it was anything but a vacation.
  11. Moore's first public comment about the September 11 attacks was to complain that too many Democrats rather than Republicans had been killed: "If someone did this to get back at Bush, then they did so by killing thousands of people who did not vote for him! Boston, New York, DC, and the planes' destination of California--these were places that voted against Bush!" (The quote was originally posted as a "Mike's Message" on Moore's website on September 12, but was removed not long after. Among the many places where Moore's quote has been repeated is The New Statesman, a leftist British political magazine.)
  12. Fahrenheit mocks President Bush for continuing to read the book My Pet Goat to a classroom of elementary school children after he was told about the September 11 attacks. Actually, as reported inThe New Yorker, the book was Reading Mastery 2, which contains an exercise called "The Pet Goat." The title of the book is not very important in itself, but the invented title of My Pet Goat makes it easier to ridicule Bush.
  13. Moore does not tell you that Gwendolyn Tose’-Rigell, the principal of Emma E. Booker Elementary School, praised Bush’s action: "I don’t think anyone could have handled it better." "What would it have served if he had jumped out of his chair and ran out of the room?” She said the video doesn’t convey all that was going on in the classroom, but Bush’s presence had a calming effect and "helped us get through a very difficult day."
  14. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz is shown surreptitiously licking his comb in preparation for Congressional testimony under the cameras. Moore's point is that this proves Wolfowitz is a low life, a sleazy guy whose policy opinions should be devalued accordingly. Moore knows that Wolfowitz's desperate act in attempting to tame unruly hair for a public appearance will look much worse on movie screen than it really is, and he must know that periodic hygiene failings are not any kind of proof of depravity. To Moore's likely retort that Wolfowitz deserves to be gratuitously ridiculed for doing nothing worse than any member of his audience could easily recall doing himself, the answer is that nobody deserves to be treated this way. It is cruel and hypocritical, and violates basic ethical reciprocity. Doing so is wrong, and far more wrong, and infinitely more harmful to others, than licking one's own comb.
  15. Moore says, "Or perhaps he just should have read the security briefing that was given to him on August 6, 2001 that said that Osama bin Laden was planning to attack America by hijacking airplanes." However, no-one (except Moore) has ever claimed that Bush did not read the Briefing.
  16. Moore smirks that perhaps President Bush did not read the Briefing because its title was so vague. Rather, Condoleezza Rice had told the press conference that the information in the Briefing was "very vague."
  17. Moore’s assertion that the Briefing "said that Osama bin Laden was planning to attack America by hijacking airplanes." The actual Briefing was highly equivocal: “We have not been able to corroborate some of the more sensational threat reporting, such as that from a [deleted text] service in 1998 saying that Bin Laden wanted to hijack a U.S. aircraft to gain the release of "Blind Shaykh" ‘Umar’ Abd aI-Rahman and other U.S.-held extremists”
  18. Moore and others in the film state that 142 Saudis, including 24 members of the bin Laden family, were allowed to leave the country after Sept. 13. But the movie fails to mention that the FBI interviewed about 30 of the Saudis before they left. And the independent 9/11 commission has reported that "each of the flights we have studied was investigated by the FBI and dealt with in a professional manner prior to its departure."
  19. Some Saudis left the U.S. by charter flight on September 14, a day when commercial flights had resumed, but when ordinary charter planes were still grounded. When did the bin Ladens actually leave? Not until the next week, as the the 9/11 Commission staff report explains.
  20. Moore's line, "But really, who wanted to fly? No one. Except the bin Ladens," happens to be a personal lie. Stranded in California on September 11, Michael Moore ended up driving home to New York City. On September 14, he wrote to his fans "Our daughter is fine, mostly frightened by my desire to fly home to her rather than drive." Moore acceded to the wishes of his wife and daughter, and drove back to New York. It is pretty hypocritical for Moore to slam the Saudis (who had very legitimate fears of being attacked by angry people) just because they wanted to fly home, at the same time when Moore himself wanted to fly home.
  21. Moore mentions that Bush’s old National Guard buddy and personal friend James Bath had become the money manager for the bin Laden family, saying, [that after the bin Ladens invested in James Bath,] "James Bath himself in turn invested in George W. Bush." The implication is that Bath invested the bin Laden family’s money in Bush’s failed energy company, Arbusto. He doesn’t mention that Bath has said that he had invested his own money, not the bin Ladens’, in Bush’s company.
  22. Moore makes a big point about the name of James Bath being blacked out from Bush National Guard records which were released by the White House. The blackout might appear less sinister if Moore revealed that federal law (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, HIPAA) required the National Guard to black out the names any Guardsmen whose medical information was on the same pages as the records which the Guard released regarding George Bush's health records.
  23. Moore points out the distressingly close relationship between Saudi Arabia’s ambassador, Prince Bandar, and the Bush family. But Moore does not explain that Bandar has been a bipartisan Washington power broker for decades, and that Bill Clinton repeatedly relied on Bandar to advance Clinton’s own Middle East agenda.
  24. “In 1990 when M. Bush was a director of Harken Energy he received this memo from company lawyers warning directors not to sell stock if they had unfavorable information about the company. One week later he sold $848,000 worth of Harken stock. Two months later, Harken announced losses of more than $23 million dollars.” What Moore left out: Bush sold the stock long after he checked with those same "company lawyers" who had provided the cautionary memo, and they told him that the sale was all right. Almost all of the information that caused Harken’s large quarterly loss developed only after Bush had sold the stock.
  25. Moore’s film suggests that Bush has close family ties to the bin Laden family. However, Bush Sr. and the bin Ladens have since severed ties with the Carlyle Group, which in any case has a bipartisan roster of partners, including Bill Clinton’s former SEC chairman Arthur Levitt.
  26. The movie quotes author Dan Briody claiming that the Carlyle Group "gained" from September 11 because it owned United Defense, a military contractor that developed the Crusader weapon system. However, the firm’s $11 billion Crusader artillery rocket system developed for the U.S. Army is one of the only weapons systems canceled by the Bush administration.
  27. Moore tells us that when Carlyle took United Defense public, they made a one-day profit of $237 million, but under all the public scrutiny, the bin Laden family eventually had to withdraw (Moore doesn’t tell us that they withdrew before the public offering, not after it).
  28. There is another famous investor in Carlyle whom Moore does not reveal: George Soros. (Oliver Burkeman & Julian Borger, "The Ex-Presidents’ Club," The Guardian (London), Oct. 31, 2000.) But the fact that the anti-Bush billionaire has invested in Carlyle would detract from Moore’s simplistic conspiracy theory. That Bush hurt the company by canceling the Crudader system may have upset George Soros beyond his typical left-leaning bias.
  29. Moore alleges that the Saudis have given 1.4 billion dollars to the Bushes and their associates. 90 percent of that amount comes from just one source: contracts in the early to mid-1990’s that the Saudi Arabian government awarded to a U.S. defense contractor, BDM, at the time was owned by the Carlyle Group. The main problem with this figure is that former president Bush didn’t join the Carlyle advisory board until April, 1998—five months after Carlyle had already sold BDM to another defense firm.
  30. Craig Unger claims that the Saudis have roughly $860 billion invested in America. He cites two sources: The Saudi Ambassador's 1996 speech to the U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council and a February 11, 2002, Washington Post story, titled "Enormous Wealth Spilled Into American Coffers." However, Unger's cited sources do not support his $860 billion figure.
  31. Craig Unger claims that the $860 billion is roughly six or seven percent of America. However, According the Census Bureau, the top countries which own U.S. stocks and bonds are the United Kingdom and Japan. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, total foreign investment in the United States in 2003 was $10,515 billion dollars. This means that even if the figure that Unger "heard" about Saudis having $860 billion is correct, then the Saudis would only have about 8 percent of total foreign investment in the United States. Unless you believe that almost all American assets are owned by foreigners, then it cannot possibly be true that Saudis "own seven percent of America."
  32. Moore shows a Secret Service agent saying that the Secret Service doesn’t usually guard foreign embassies. However, According to the Secret Service website: “Uniformed Division officers provide protection for the White House Complex, the Vice-President's residence, the Main Treasury Building and Annex, and foreign diplomatic missions and embassies in the Washington, DC area.”
  33. Moore asks, "Is it rude to suggest that when the Bush family wakes up in the morning they might be thinking about what's best for the Saudis instead of what's best for you?" If so, then why did Moore’s evil Saudis not join "the Coalition of the Willing"? Why instead did they force the United States to switch its regional military headquarters to Qatar? If the Bush family and the al-Saud dynasty live in each other’s pockets…then how come the most reactionary regime in the region has been powerless to stop Bush from demolishing its clone in Kabul and its buffer regime in Baghdad? The Saudis hate, as they did in 1991, the idea that Iraq’s recuperated oil industry might challenge their[s]....They fear the liberation of the Shiite Muslims they so despise. To make these elementary points is to collapse the whole pathetic edifice of the film’s "theory."
  34. Moore mentions that the Taliban visited Texas while Bush was governor, over a possible pipeline deal with Unocal. But Moore doesn’t say that they never actually met with Bush or that the deal went bust in 1998 and had been supported by the Clinton administration.
  35. Moore asserts that the Afghan war was fought only to enable the Unocal company to build a pipeline. In fact, Unocal dropped that idea back in August 1998.
  36. In December 1997, a delegation from Afghanistan’s ruling and ruthless Taliban visited the United States to meet with Unocal, an oil and gas company that had extensive dealings in Texas, which was interested in building a natural gas line through Afghanistan. Moore implies that Bush, who was then governor of Texas, met with the delegation. But, as Gannett News Service points out, Bush did not meet with the Taliban representatives. What’s more, Clinton administration officials did sit down with Taliban officials, and the delegation’s visit was made with the Clinton administration’s permission.
  37. Moore claims that "Enron stood to benefit from the pipeline." To the contrary, Enron was not part of the consortium which expressed interest in working with Unocal on the pipeline.
  38. Fahrenheit showed images of pipeline construction, but the images have nothing to do with the Caspian Sea pipeline, for which construction has never begun. Nor do they have anything to do with the Unocal pipeline, which never existed except on paper.
  39. Moore shows a March 2001 visit to the United States by a Taliban envoy, saying the Bush administration "welcomed" the official, Sayed Hashemi, "to tour the United States to help improve the image of the Taliban." Yet Hashemi’s reception at the State Department was hardly welcoming. The administration rejected his claim that the Taliban had complied with U.S. requests to isolate Osama bin Laden and affirmed its nonrecognition of the Taliban.
  40. Moore claims that Bush deliberately gave bin Laden "a two month head start" by not putting sufficient forces into Afghanistan soon enough. However, Moore believes bin Laden to be innocent and publicly opposed the Afghan War. He is accusing Bush of doing something that he doesn’t think is wrong.
  41. When we turn to the facts that are deliberately left out of the movie, we discover that Afghanistan is becoming a cohesive nation. We also discover that the parties of the Afghan secular left—like the parties of the Iraqi secular left—are strongly in favor of the regime change.
  42. In the movie, President Bush claims to be “extraordinarily cooperative” with the 9/11 Commission after which Thomas Kean says, “We haven't gotten the materials we needed, and we certainly haven't gotten them in a timely fashion. The deadlines we set have passed.” However, the quote from Kean was referring to other government agencies. In fact Kean later said that the administration had given the Commission “unprecedented” access to records.
  43. Moore mocks Attorney General John Ashcroft by pointing out that Ashcroft once lost a Senate race in Missouri to a man who had died three weeks earlier. "Voters preferred the dead guy," Moore says, delivering one of the film’s biggest laugh lines. It’s a cheap shot. When voters in Missouri cast their ballots for the dead man, Mel Carnahan, they knew they were really voting for Carnahan’s very much alive widow, Jean. The Democratic governor of Missouri had vowed to appoint Jean to the job if Mel won.
  44. Moore claims that Ashcroft knew about, but dismissed, the 9/11 plans of bin Laden. As the 9/11 Commission found in a staff statement (72K Adobe PDF), the so-called "Phoenix memo" from an FBI agent in Arizona suggesting a possible effort by Bin Laden to send agents to flight schools was not widely circulated within the FBI and did not reach Ashcroft's desk.
  45. Moore claims that Bush "cut terrorism funding from the FBI." Not so. In 2001, the Department of Justice was operating under the budget established in the last year of the Clinton administration, so any proposed change in future budgets obviously could not have prevented September 11. For the 2002 budget, the Bush administration did not propose cutting the FBI counter-terrorism budget.
  46. Defending the USA PATRIOT Act, Representative Porter Goss says that he has an "800 number" for people to call to report problems with the Act. Fahrenheit shoots back with a caption "Not really true." The ordinary telephone number (area code 202) for Goss’s office is then flashed on the screen. You’d never know by watching Fahrenheit, but Rep. Goss does have a toll-free number to which USA PATRIOT Act complaints can be reported. The number belongs to the Committee which Goss chairs, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The number is (877) 858-9040.
  47. Oregon state troopers who patrol coastal areas are presented as underfunded and spread far too thinly. Whatever the problems with Trooper funding, the problems are the responsibility of the Oregon state government, not the federal government. Moreover, the job of protecting the Oregon coastline from foreign invaders is not a job of the Oregon State Police. That job is the responsibility of the United States Coast Guard and the United States Navy which is well-staffed.
  48. Fahrenheit asserts that Saddam’s Iraq was a nation that "had never attacked the United States.” Saddam order his police to murder former American President George Bush when he visited Kuwait City in 1993; they attempted to do so, but failed. 1991, he ordered his agents to murder the American Ambassador to the Philippines and, separately, to murder the employees of the U.S. Information Service in Manila; they tried, but failed.
  49. Fahrenheit asserts that Saddam’s Iraq was "a nation that had never threatened to attack the United States.” On November 15, 1997, the main propaganda organ for the Saddam regime, the newspaper Babel (which was run by Saddam Hussein's son Uday) ordered: "American and British interests, embassies, and naval ships in the Arab region should be the targets of military operations and commando attacks by Arab political forces." On the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks, a weekly newspaper owned by Uday Hussein said that Arabs should "use all means-and they are numerous-against the aggressors...and considering everything American as a military target, including embassies, installations, and American companies, and to create suicide/martyr [fidaiyoon] squads to attack American military and naval bases inside and outside the region, and mine the waterways to prevent the movement of war ships..." There are many other examples.
  50. Fahrenheit asserts that Saddam’s Iraq was, “A nation that had never murdered a single American citizen." In fact, Saddam provided refuge to notorious terrorists who had murdered Americans. Saddam did perpetrate the premeditated murder of Americans. Every victim of every Palestinian terrorist bomber who was funded by Saddam Hussein was the victim of premeditated murder—including the American victims. Because Saddam's reward system for the families of deceased terrorists was known and publicized, the reward system amounted to a before-the-fact inducement for additional terrorist bombings.
  51. Moore declares that George Bush fabricated an Iraq/al Qaeda connection in order to deflect attention from his Saudi masters. However, the evidence to the contrary is overwhelming. For example, Iraqi intelligence documents from 1992 list Osama bin Laden as an Iraqi intelligence asset. Or: The National Security Agency intercepted telephone conversations between al Qaeda-supported Sudanese military officials and the head of Iraq's chemical weapons program in 1996.
  52. Fahrenheit shows Condoleezza Rice saying, "Oh, indeed there is a tie between Iraq and what happened on 9/11." However, Moore deceptively cut the Rice quote to fool the audience into thinking she was making a particular claim, even though she was pointedly not making such a claim.
  53. …And since Rice spoke in November 2003, her quote had nothing to do with building up American fears before the March 2003 invasion, although Moore implies otherwise.
  54. Moore shows scenes of Baghdad before the invasion (read: liberation) and in his weltanschauung, it’s a place filled with nothing but happy, smiling, giggly, overjoyed Baghdadis. When he exploits and lingers on the tears of a mother who lost her soldier-son in Iraq, and she wails, "Why did you have to take him?" Moore does not cut to images of the murderers/terrorists in Iraq, he cuts to George Bush. When the soldier’s father says the young man died and "for what?" Moore doesn’t show liberated Iraqis to reply, he cuts instead to an image of Halliburton. When Moore cuts to bombs exploding at night, Moore doesn’t tell you that the building you see being blown up is the Iraqi Ministry of Defense in Baghdad where ordinary Iraqis weren’t allowed to visit—on pain of death.
  55. Fahrenheit points out, correctly, that the Saudi monarchy is "a regime that Amnesty International condemns as a widespread human rights violator." Fahrenheit does not mention that the Saddam regime was likewise condemned by Amnesty International.
  56. According to the footage in the movie, our pilots seem to have hit nothing but women and children. However, reporters who were taken around to see the sites of civilian deaths during the bombing of Baghdad also observed that some of those errant bombs were fired by Iraqi anti-aircraft crews. Mr. Moore doesn't let the audience know when and where this bomb was dropped, or otherwise try to identify the culprit of the tragedy.
  57. Fahrenheit includes some material in which American soldiers explain what kind of music they listen to. Seventeen selections in Fahrenheit are taken from the an Australian war documentary, Soundtrack to War, and were used against the objection of film-maker George Gittoes: "I was concerned of course for my soldiers because their interviews were taken out of context," Mr Gittoes told the Nine Network.
  58. Fahrenheit shows Bush giving a speech on the aircraft carrier, with the famous "Mission accomplished" banner in the background. Bush says, "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed." The movie leaves out the rest of the speech in which Bush says, “And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country… We have difficult work to do in Iraq. We are bringing order to parts of that country that remain dangerous."
  59. Moore: "This film exists as a counterbalance to what you see on cable news about the coalition. I’m trying to counter the Orwellian nature of the Big Lie, as if when you hear that term, the ‘coalition,’ that the whole world is behind us." However, If it is a "Big Lie" to mention only the powerful and important members of the Coalition (such as the United Kingdom and Australia), then it is an equally "Big Lie" to mention only the small and insignificant members of the Coalition.
  60. Fahrenheit shows an interview in Walter Reed Army Medical Center with Massachusetts National Guardsman Peter Damon. The footage comes from an interview Damon granted to NBC Nightly News. Damon's wife says that he never granted Moore permission to use the footage, was never asked, and strongly objects to being used in the film. As of July 15, it is not clear whether Moore's usage of the footage was illegal. But it hardly seems ethical for a film-maker who dedicates his film to the soldiers in Iraq to put a double-amputee veteran into the film without even bothering to ask for permission. Damon complained, "The whole movie makes soldiers look like a bunch of idiots...I'm not a child. We sent ourselves over there...It was all our own doing. I don't appreciate him calling us children...."I agree with the President 100%. A lot of the guys down at Walter Reed feel the same way."
  61. In very selectively edited clips, Moore poses the absurd notion that the main news anchors—Peter Jennings, Dan Rather, and Ted Koppel—wholeheartedly support Bush and the War in Iraq….Has Moore forgotten the hour-long Saddam softball interview Rather did just prior to the war, [or] Jennings’ condescending coverage…?
  62. Fahrenheit claims: "Immoral behavior breeds immoral behavior. When a President commits the immoral act of sending otherwise good kids into a war based on a lie, this is what you get." Moore revealed that a scene in which American soldiers appear to be desecrating a corpse beneath a blanket may be misleading. In fact, the soldiers had picked up an old man who had passed out drunk. Such teasing is an abuse of power, but are not the result of "sending otherwise good kids into a war based on a lie". Instead, law enforcement personnel all over the world have to remove comatose drunks from the streets, and law enforcement personnel sometimes make fun of the drunks.
  63. Bush "supported closing veterans hospitals" says Moore. The Bush Department of Veterans Affairs did propose closing seven hospitals in areas with declining populations where the hospitals were underutilized, and whose veterans could be served by other hospitals. Moore does not say that the Department also proposed building new hospitals in areas where needs were growing.
  64. According to Moore, Bush "tried to double the prescription drug costs for veterans." What Bush proposed was raising the prescription co-pay from $7 to $15, for veterans with incomes of over $24,000 a year.
  65. Bush, announces Moore, "proposed cutting combat soldiers’ pay by 33%." It was actually a special bonus that veterans serving combat dusty get. Bush considered not renewing it, but eventually supported a renewal of the bonus: $75 on top of the already $150 combat duty bonus.
  66. Although Moore presents Bush as cutting military pay, Bush did the opposite: in 2003, Congress enacted a Bush administration proposal to raise all military salaries by 3.7%, with extra "targeted" pay increases for non-commissioned officers.
  67. Moore states that "out of the 535 members of Congress, only one had an enlisted son in Iraq." Seven members of Congress have been confirmed to have children in the military and at least two are deployed to Iraq. Others have no control over where they are deployed. Also, statistically speaking, a Congressional household is about 23 percent more likely than an ordinary household to be closely related to an Iraqi serviceman or servicewoman. Furthermore, Moore ignores the fact that there are 101 veterans currently serving in the House of Representatives and 36 in the Senate. Regardless of whether they have children who could join the military, all of the veterans in Congress have personally put themselves at risk to protect their country.
  68. Fahrenheit never raises the issue of the President’s cabinet members with sons in the service, because the answer would not fit Moore’s thesis. Attorney General John Ashcroft’s son is serving on the U.S.S. McFaul in the Persian Gulf.
  69. Representative Mark Kennedy (R-MN), one of the lawmakers accosted in Fahrenheit 9/11, was censored by Michael Moore. When Moore asked Kennedy if he would be willing to send his son to Iraq, responded by stating that he had a nephew who was en-route to Afghanistan. He went on to inform Moore that his son was thinking about a career in the navy and that two of his nephews had already served in the armed forces. Kennedy’s side of the conversation, however, was cut from the film, leaving him looking bewildered and defensive.
  70. Fahrenheit shows Moore calling out to Delaware Republican Michael Castle, who is talking on a cell phone and waves Moore off. Castle is presented as one of the Congressmen who would not sacrifice his children. What the film omits is that Rep. Castle does not have any children.
  71. Fahrenheit spends a much time on the grief of Lila Lipscomb, the mother of Sgt. Michael Pederson, who died in Iraq in April 2003. Mrs. Lipscomb reads for the camera an angry letter which Sgt. Pederson wrote castigating President Bush. Not shown on camera is the fact that Pederson apologized for the letter shortly afterward. Incidentally, Fahrenheit ignores the widow of Sgt. Michael Pederson, who believes that "Hating President Bush is not going to bring Michael back."
  72. Fahrenheit is correct in pointing out that people who enlist in the military are less likely to be college graduates and more likely to be black than is the general U.S. population. However, Moore's portrayal of the socioeconomics of the U.S. military is false in several respects. For example, people who are at the lowest end of the economic spectrum are not over-represented in the military because the military prefers not to enlist high-school drop-outs.
  73. Mrs. Lipscomb is from Flint, Michigan, which Moore calls "my hometown." In fact, Moore grew up in Davison, Michigan, a suburb of Flint. Davison is much wealthier than Flint.
  74. Representative Jim McDermott's quotes about the alleged motivations of the Bush administration are supported by no evidence, and amount to nothing more than the speculative ravings of one of the very few pro-Saddam members of Congress. McDermott claims, "Well you make them afraid by creating an aura of endless threat. They played us like an organ. They raised the levels: the orange up to red. Then they dropped it back to orange." To the contrary, the threat level has never been raised above orange.
  75. In Fahrenheit 9/11, Moore claims to support our troops. But in fact, he supports the enemy in Iraq. Here is what Moore says about the forces who are killing Americans and trying to impose totalitarian rule on Iraq: “The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not ‘insurgents’ or ‘terrorists’ or ‘The Enemy.’ They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow -- and they will win.

Additional observations:

Moore accuses the United States of sacrificing morality because of greed. However, Moore is, with terrorist assistance, pushing the film in Syria and a Syrian colony, both of which are places which supply some of the fighters who are currently killing Americans and anti-totalitarian Iraqis. Fahrenheit presents the fighters as noble resistance, and the American presence as entirely evil. It's not that the content of Fahrenheit is all that different from the propaganda which pervades the state-controlled Arab media, or on al Jazeera. But Fahrenheit's may be more persuasive, to at least some of its Arab audience, because its denunciations of American and praise for the Iraqi insurgents comes from an American. It is reasonable to expect that such a film, when shown in Syria and Lebanon, will aid in the recruiting of additional fighters to kill Americans and Iraqis. In effect, the presentation of Fahrenheit in Syria and Lebanon--especially with explicit endorsement from a terrorist organization--amounts to a recruiting film for terrorists (or, in Moore's terms, "minutemen") to go to Iraq and kill Americans.

Fidel Castro likewise showed the film on Cuban state television, because the film fit his own message of the evil of the United States.

Moore was personally questioned about the terrorist connection at a Washington, D.C., press conference. He at first denied the terrorist connection, but was then confronted with the direct quote from his distributor. He stonewalled and refused to answer. So the man who spends so much time getting in other people’s faces with tough questions is unwilling to explain why he is accepting aid from Hezbollah.

Do the many falsehoods and misrepresentations of Fahrenheit 9/11 suggest a film producer who just makes careless mistakes? Or does a man who calls Americans "possibly the dumbest people on the planet" believe that his audience will be too dumb to tell when he is tricking them? Viewers will have to decide for themselves whether the extremist and extremely deceptive Fahrenheit 9/11 is a conscientious work of patriotic dissent, or the cynical propaganda of a man who gives wartime aid to America’s murderous enemies, and who accepts their aid in return.

The previous is a condensed summary of an article by Dave Kopel, Research Director of the Independence Institute and an NRO columnist. He has previously written about the deceptions in "Bowling for Columbine." Like Michael Moore, in 2000 Kopel endorsed and voted for Ralph Nader. The full text and original enumeration of lies can be found at


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