Letters to the Editor

From the week of July 1, 2004

Third, consider the fact that Fahrenheit 9/11 was number one among all films in its opening weekend. Consider that the film has broken all box-office records for any documentary. This proves the public's eagerness for such messages. Perhaps Moore is preaching to the choir, but with films like this one and the president's own blunders in Iraq, the chorus of voices wanting to sing the exit song of George W. Bush keeps growing every day.

Ken Freed

From Penthouse to doghouse: I wanted to say bravo to Bill Gallo's review of Propaganda 9/11: He managed to get in every nut-job "black helicopter" theory regarding the War on Terror (although he is going to lose his Moonbat-card membership for leaving out the "Neocons"). I love how he said there are no ties to Saddam and Osama bin Laden when Bill Clinton's administration in a 1998 indictment of bin Laden linked Saddam and al-Qaeda. He also left out that media darling Richard Clarke in a January 23, 1999, article in the Washington Post said the Clinton administration was "sure" that Iraqi weapons teams helped produce VX substances in Sudan for al-Qaeda in factories the administration later destroyed. There are several similar claims by the Clinton team in the late 1990s, and don't forget the link of Zarqawi between Saddam and bin Laden.

Don't forget that vast right-wing-conspiracy card-holder National Geographic said three weeks ago that between 5 million and 7 million people vanished under Saddam in the last twenty years. Three thousand children a month starved to death during the Oil-for-Food scandal. Also, the latest U.N. resolution gives full sovereignty of oil to Iraq. Did we go to Kosovo or other Clinton stops because of Halliburton? Cheney cut his ties to them once he got on board, and Clinton used them, too. I could go on, but I don't want to waste your time, since you clearly have your pompoms out for Jabba the Nut Moore. I haven't seen an author get as worked up as Gallo did since the last time I read Penthouse Forum.

Paul Bagwell

Shame is the name of the game: I saw Fahrenheit 9/11 on Friday night and walked out feeling uncomfortably better informed about what we have done by invading Iraq and why our government chose to do it.

I am ashamed to admit that I don't usually react strongly to reports of civilian casualties. I suppose I buy into the "collateral damage" euphemism, and that keeps my patriotic conscience comfortable. In the movie, a bewildered Iraqi woman screams, "What did they do?" -- standing in front of the rubble of a house where several of her family were killed by Coalition bombs. Next, Vice President Cheney praises the accuracy of our bombs, going so outrageously far as to praise the "humanity" of our bombing. Shame on you, Mr. Cheney.

I initially supported the war in Iraq on the grounds that Hussein flouted international law and possessed WMDs. But there aren't any WMDs in Iraq. Further, we are now the ones frequently flouting the U.N. and the Geneva Convention and committing war crimes -- for which I'm sure we will evade prosecution -- in pursuit of an agenda that I can no longer state clearly.

My emotion leaving the theater was a heavy sadness. I call that patriotism. I am generally proud of my country, but right now I am dismayed, with a desire to speak directly to President Bush and demand a moral accounting for his role in our world. Moore's movie makes clear that members of the administration have avoided examination of their actions. But if they have acted rightly, then surely President Bush and his supporters would meet criticism with confidence, no?

Elliott C. Davis

Bowling for dolours: Bill Gallo says that even Michael Moore's "army of enemies must acknowledge his offenses against the greedy, the corrupt and the willfully blind." But it's Moore who is greedy, corrupt and willfully blind. His film Bowling for Columbine is fiction. It makes its points by deceiving and by misleading the viewer. Speeches shown on screen are heavily edited, so that sentences are assembled in the speaker's voice, but are not the sentences the speaker uttered. Via Bowling, Moore uses deception as a primary tool of persuasion and effect. A film that does this may be a commercial success. It may be entertaining. But it is not a documentary. One need only consult Rule 12 of the rules for the Academy Awards: A documentary is a non-fictional movie.

A major theme in Bowling is that the NRA is callous toward slayings. In order to make this theme fit the facts, Bowling repeatedly distorts the evidence. Simply put, Bowling is an overabundance of falsity. I request that when viewing Fahrenheit, you watch for quick cuts and edits, sound quality, point of view and reverse shots. See if you notice anything fishy or that could have been cleverly edited, manipulated or staged (in Fahrenheit or any of Moore's other films).

PFC Richard Slemaker
Fort Jackson, South Carolina

True or false: Is Fahrenheit 9/11 left-wing propaganda?

Moore's film is a dramatic and unrelenting criticism of the Bush administration. It is based on well-known facts that I have yet to see challenged. If it is such blatant propaganda, then it should be easy for Republicans to poke holes in it. But the naysayers are only attacking Moore, not the content of the movie.

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