Sunday, September 11, 2005

Comments on "Fahrenfeit 9/11" Movie by Michael Moore

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This was perhaps the most ill-balanced piece of smeer I've ever seen, but nevertheless one can not discount all the information provided. I make the following comments:

  1. Bush as an executive: Bush is evidentially a lazy president, but then the role of president is not to do the hard work, but to make sure he gets it done. Maybe by his standards he is doing an adequate job, not by mine. I dont mine him playing golf if he's an effective leader.
  2. Performance on terrorism: Bush cut funding on terrorism before 9/11. Its unfair perhaps to attribute this directly to Bush since the decision would have been made by subordinates. He might never have read the documentation. It was the first instance of terrorism in the US, and there have been none since.
  3. Relationship to Bin Laden: There is or was an inappropriate relationship between the US government & the Saudi Bin Laden business interests. Having said that - the conflict lies with George Bush Senior - not the current president. As a former president he is entitled to view military intelligence, and its plausible that it couild be passed on to Saudi interests - for the sake of personal 'business' interests. Of course you'd hope for national patriotism, and accountability. Is it there? It seems not when you consider that some 1444 Saudis were allowed to exit the US without restriction - without giving any evidence, without being questioned. Particularly this was important because this flight hosted 41 members of the Bin Laden family. Today some Bin Laden members retain contain with Asama Bin Laden. Of course, it has since arisen that 14 of the 19 terrorists were Saudis. It has to be appreciated that partly Asama was likely anti-American because of the Saudi-US relationship, and that would take on a personal dynamic as far as his family.
  4. Integrity of the President: Its critical that the President of the US has alot of integrity. Thats not apparent when George Bush Jr breached insider trading rules by selling about $850,000 of shares in Harken Energy Corp, of which Bush is a director, prior to that company announcing a $23mil loss. His legal counsel later became the Ambassador to Saudi Arabia (according to Michael Moore). Was he lying? Its a strong possibility. Is he loose with the facts? Its a possibility.
  5. National Conflict of Interest: It is important to recognise the importance of the Saudi relationship at two levels: Financial - The Saudis have invested $8600billion in the USA, equal to about 6% of the NYSE market capitalisation.
  6. Leadership: It took President Bush 2months to get troops on to the ground in Afghanistan. This is perhaps an unfair criticism. Whilst the US might have lost the surprise, its better to optimise planning to ensure the safety and strategy. Particularly since many are critical of US strategy and vision. Its a valid point though that there is a conflict of interest with Bush Senior & Cheney as directors of Halliburton & Unocal. Though one would think there would be a whole range of interests fighting over these issues, such that there would be accountability. But clearly the US administration has done a poor job dispelling those concerns.
  7. Congress hypocrisy: Michael Moore approaches congressman, inviting them to send their children to Iraq, as only 1 congressman has a child in the war. Its a cheap stunt. Its not the role of any parent to assert want career direction their children should take. Congressmen tend to be wealthy, and their children have options. Military life is generally a career choice for people with no options - the poor. It was thus cowardly of Michael Moore to ambush these congressmen. Also more money is spent on protecting US military by utilising the latest technology than any other country, or any prior war. Far fewer people are being killed in the Iraqi War than previous wars. Any loss of life is regretable, but the value is worth it, if there is a consistent & well-articulated strategy to achieve a 'foreign policy' objective. The US is laxing in this respect.

The movie was a depictation of facts, yet it was poorly researched and a heavily biased historical record. It starts by asserting that " '9/11th' was the worst attack on US soil" - but what about Pearl Harbour - that was on a far bigger scale. A legitimate comparison would look at the difference is lives lost and the real (after inflation) cost of damages.

Michael Moore is guilty of hypocrisy as Bush is guilty of laxed integrity. Both are modern-day mediocrats, mediocre and media-philic. Both want their rays of stardom.

As far as what should be learned from the movie:

  1. People should be pushing for greater levels of accountability in government, just as Bush has adopted corporate governance laws. Why is government exempt from such laws.
  2. The US administration lacks integrity and a clear purpose. These are qualities not just lacking from the US administration, but a great many of their people - the populous whom elected them.

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Reason is the standard for debate.

- Andrew Sheldon www.sheldonthinks.com

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