Who's Missing The Point About Iraq?

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IraqMy response to Dave Winer’s post about Michael Moore’s new movie has generated a lot (for me) comments. I appreciate the comments whether you’re in agreement with me or not. I’d like to address them for a moment with this post. Dave Winer, in his response to my post, asks:

Who was it who said that “I disagree with everything he says but I’ll fight to the death for his right to say it.”

The answer, at least according to a letter printed in this article, is Rush Limbaugh (though he was probably quoting someone else). I feel the same way about Rush, but if he were to make a movie, I’d at least see it before speaking out against it. ;) And, I’d also like to point out that I am NOT making the claim (and I said this before) that Fahrenheit 9/11 is unbiased journalism. I don’t think even Mr. Moore himself is that audacious. So with that, let me jump in.

Did I Miss the Point?\ Randy says I miss the point because one of the senators has a nephew on the way to Afghanistan. However, for the record, the reason we went to Afghanistan is NOT the same reason we went to Iraq. Even the administration (when they try to get their story straight) will admit to that somewhat. Secondly, Moore does mention in the movie that one congress person has a son or relative in Iraq. I wish he had interviewed that person, but the fact that he didn’t interview this one person out of the 433 (active) members of the House and 100 senators does not make the scene pointless.

Who Said Germany Attacked The US?\ Several commenters questioned my grasp of history. Kris asks “Germany attacked the UNited States in WW2?. Anon.penet.fi says, “We were attacked by Germany prior to entering world war II? Really?… *snip* Seems like your grasp of history is pretty selective…”. Why is everyone talking about Germany? I never said Germany. I’m referring to a little event called Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 in which the Japanese attacked the United States on U.S. soil. Though we supported the war effort prior to this event, we didn’t enter the war until this event.

Is It Primarily The Poor In The Military\ Kris says, “‘primarily of the poorer sections of society’ … spoken like a true college graduate. What about the pro football player Pat Tillman?”.\ Are you implying that the army is primarily made up of NFL football players? No offense intended, but I assume you’re not a statitician nor a demographer. My college education taught me not to look at anecdotal evidence as fact. I didn’t claim everyone in the military is poor. My dad was in the military, he didn’t come from that poor a family. However, the military attracts many more people from the less affluent than the more affluent. The rich don’t need the GI bill to send their kid to college.

What About Putin?\ Richard points out that Putin warned the U.S. about possible Iraqi terror attacks. That’s actually an interesting point, but it’s too early to say much about it, since that just came out recently and I don’t know enough about it as it relates to timing and specificity. Richard’s point leads into a whole ‘nother discussion about the doctrine of preemption etc, of which I think is a mistake.

Conclusion\ Whatever his goals, Michael Moore succeeding in generating a lot of discussion, even from those who haven’t seen the movie. I agree that asking congress people to send their kids to Iraq is a ridiculous proposition, especially since you can’t compell another person to join. It’s a personal decision. But I still contend that Moore makes a good point with that stunt. Basically, its the point of the movie:

They serve so that we don’t have to. They offer to give up their lives so that we can be free. It is, remarkably, their gift to us. And all they ask for in return is that we never send them into harm’s way unless it is absolutely necessary. Will they ever trust us again?

Like I said, I appreciate the comments.

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8 responses

  1. Avatar for Nick Robinson
    Nick Robinson June 30th, 2004

    Excellent conclusion. It's thinks like that that make Moore the most important documentary filmmaker in the past 50 years



    Http://protoculturefilms.com/weblog/2004/06/24.html#a46

  2. Avatar for gabs
    gabs June 30th, 2004

    Absolutely! Sometimes people can't see the forest because of the trees. Its not the individual "stunts" or interviews that he does that matter, its the entire movie and the overall point.

    Judging him and his motives based on one scene is entirely unfair.

    If all of us had half the courage that Moore does to stand up for what he believes is right, then maybe Iraq wouldn't have happened in the first place.

  3. Avatar for nathan
    nathan June 30th, 2004

    It's disgusting when people disparage the military with lies about the socio-economic and ethnic make up of the armed services. It's the same old anti Vietnam war rhetoric, and it's as wrong now as it is now.



    --88.4% of the men who actually served in Vietnam were Caucasian; 10.6% (275,000) were black; 1% belonged to other races.

    --76% of the men sent to Vietnam were from lower middle/working class backgrounds.

    --Thee-fourths had family incomes above the poverty level; 50% were from middle income backgrounds.

    --Some 23% of Vietnam vets had fathers with professional, managerial or technical occupations.



    --I wasn't able to quickly find anything on current socio-economic statistics, but 64.7% of current service members are white, 18.8% black, and 9% Hispanic.



    Reasons for going to war should always be debated, but it's horrible to lie (or parrot a party line) about the military just to serve some political end.



    Sources: http://www.hqda.army.mil/library/statistics.htm





  4. Avatar for Haacked
    Haacked June 30th, 2004

    I am certainly not disparaging the military (and I don't think Moore does either) based on its demographics.



    Unfortunately, the US Military Atlas is no longer available. However, I did find this article that discusses the current demographics of the military as a whole.



    http://www.radicalmiddle.com/military_mirrors.htm



    Basically, it's not necessarily the poorest who are sent, but the lower middle incomes. Certainly not the rich. I don't think you can compare Vietnam to the current all volunteer army. The fact that there's no draft now does affect who is attracted to the military.

  5. Avatar for Niels Hansen
    Niels Hansen June 30th, 2004

    Come on! Moore's movie is not a documentary! It's a complete ANTI-BUSH film. He has every right to say what he wants!



    Watch this movie and go in with an honest mind. You will see some truths and some lies. You have a mind, don't make it up because your a Democratic and that you are supposed to hate Bush, or a Republican who takes everything Bush says as the gospel.



    I used to be a Republican but I also can't call my self a Democratic either because both parties have been hijacked by either the Reglious right or the extremely hateful left. I am embrassed for both parties these days.



    I agreed on the war on Iraqi to get rid of the WMD but I did not sign on to bring democracy to the world. People of a nation have to do this for themselves for it to mean anything.



    Knowing what we know now I would not have supported the war. (Which I believe most people would agree with now) But we have to clean up the mess we made. We can't fuck up the place, then pull out. If we did that now we would be doing so much worse than just invading them. We need to accept the fact that we screwed up and try to fix the problem.



    Goverment on the most part freaks me out matter what party is in power. There is a goup of people that control the rest of us. It's not one party or the other. It's both. Power corrupts people. It's been like that from the beginning of time and it will be like this to the end of time.



    That's all I have to say about that!





  6. Avatar for Haacked
    Haacked June 30th, 2004

    Well said Niels! I agree that we can't just pull out now. I'm just hoping we as a people and our government learns from this. However, there is nothing learned if we don't recognize the mistakes. It infuriates me how Bush will sit there and not just own up to having made any mistakes at all. Certainly Clinton made mistakes. Moore's made mistakes. I made mistakes. But no not Bush and his precious staff.

  7. Avatar for Koba
    Koba June 30th, 2004

    After reading Dave's actual post, I find it hard to understand the amount of commentary posted here. He hasn't even seen the movie. For the most part the post looks like a lot of hastily-strewn-together, jingoist rhetoric.



    “I’m an American before I’m a member of any political party…”



    We could pick this apart, but I suppose we can give him the benefit of the doubt and translate this as, “I’m a patriotic American and don’t like our government criticized.”



    “…I have more invested in the intelligence of our decision-making process than in any one decision. I'd rather re-elect Bush than elect a president based on Moore's politics.”



    What this “one decision” that he speaks of might be, we can only guess. However, I find it rather difficult to understand how one could be so comforted by the ability of our intelligence capabilities that we need not question our government. Granted, Moore is no substitute for a functioning Central Intelligence Agency, but a flawed CIA is no substitute for an informed, inquisitive electorate. And, finally…



    “[Moore] confronts members of Congress and asks if they would send their children to fight in Iraq. What a ridiculous question. No parent will say yes to that question.”



    This is simply untrue. Plenty of people would be proud to serve and have their children serve in the military. Many would be proud to give their lives for their country. Perhaps after Dave sees the film he’ll revise his comments.



    (I’m not even going to go into Dave’s claims of Moore being “the worst of American politics, an opportunist,” and “an anti-intellectual.” But, one quick question: If Michael Moore and George W. Bush collide, will they annihilate in a flash of light and energy?)

  8. Avatar for Koba
    Koba June 30th, 2004

    Tenet made the mistakes. And, those three soldiers who were torturing those prisoners. And, Clinton.