[Marxism] Why Does Fahrenheit 9/11 Pursue Conspiracy Theory?

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Sat Jul 10 03:16:25 MDT 2004

Mark says:

>Further, the atrocities discussed in the film were products of the 
>Bush II administration, not the Kerry administration.  Yes, the 
>Democrats were happily playing second fiddle on this, but it was a 
>second fiddle. By choice, they opted to be superfluous to the clique 
>now in power.

We have to look at Afghanistan and Iraq beyond the time span of 
2000-2004.  It is the Jimmy Carter administration that paved the way 
for Afghanistan today, and it is the Bill Clinton administration that 
prepared the road to Iraq now.

And we haven't even begun to discuss the long history of internal 
colonialism and external imperialism, both rooted in class society -- 
the history that Michael Moore (a very smart intellectual, though he 
pretends to be a common man with only high-school education at odds 
with "educated leftists") actually knows very well, judging by all 
his other works, especially Bowling for Columbine.

The only reason why both of the above are mostly missing from 
Fahrenheit 9/11 is because Moore decided to make an anti-Bush film to 
support the Democratic Party's presidential election campaign.  That 
decision probably makes the film's shelf life shorter than his other 
works (as far as uses by activists are concerned), for after the 
Kerry victory in November, the film won't be very useful, and in fact 
it may be used against us, as a powerful propaganda tool for not 
doing anything that might possibly help elect another Republican.

>Finally, the medium itself requires a certain amount of 
>personalization and conveys emotional appeals far better than 
>intellectual arguments.

There is nothing wrong with emotional appeals, as long as they are 
not in service of dangerous illusions -- in the case of Fahrenheit 
9/11, the illusion that one of the interviewees -- a disabled veteran 
of the Iraq campaign who suffers from nerve damage -- sums up.

Speaking of "some of the 4,000-plus American casualties" who are 
interviewed in the film, Frank Rich notes: "They talk about their 
pain and their morphine, and they talk about betrayal. 'I was a 
Republican for quite a few years,' one soldier says with an almost 
innocent air of bafflement, 'and for some reason they conduct 
business in a very dishonest way'" ("Michael Moore's Candid Camera," 
New York Times, May 23, 2004). The soldier goes on to say, "I am 
going to be incredibly active in the democratic party down where I 
live once I get out. So . . . I'm going to definitely do my best to 
insure that the Democrats win control." However, after four years of 
wars and fiscal austerity under the next President of the United 
States, who is likely to be John Kerry, won't the same soldier end up 
saying in 2008 what Michael Pedersen said in his last letter to his 
family: "I'm so furious right now, Mama"?

Maybe, there is no other way of learning than learning the hard way, 
for most people in society like this are denied historical knowledge.

Lila Lipscomb learned it the hard way:

<blockquote>She [Lila Lipscomb] had seen Moore's first film, Roger 
and Me, a documentary about the devastating closure of Flint's 
General Motors plant, and been impressed. When he asked her to 
participate in Fahrenheit 9/11 she went away and watched his last 
film, Bowling for Columbine. This also, she thought, had merit. But 
she had other reasons for taking part; chiefly guilt, for not having 
spoken up sooner, for having, she says, been complacent and gullible 
enough to believe Bush's arguments for war.

"The reason I didn't hesitate was because I was carrying my son's 
words with me. And as a mother I have to carry each and every day the 
fact, could I have done a little bit more? Could I have been more 
vocal so that the president would not have been given that much 
authority within himself? And nobody can make that go away. My son 
got sent into harm's way by a decision made by the president of the 
United States that was based on a lie. Would my son still be here 
today if I had had my uprising then?"

The day Michael decided to join the army, she says, "I was so proud 
of him, so proud of him. It was the first grown-up, manly decision 
that he'd ever made in his life." She knew the risks -- her daughter 
Jennifer served in the first Gulf war -- but she also thought it a 
smart career move for people in their position, a low-income family. 
Then, over Christmas 2002, on his last home visit, Michael said 
something surprising. "I so vividly remember. I walked out of my 
bedroom and we have a long hallway upstairs and he was standing there 
and he said he would have to go to Kuwait and then to Baghdad. And he 
said he didn't support the war, that he didn't know why he had to go 
over there. We talked about fear. I was petrified, because in my mind 
I was thinking that's where Bin Laden is, because that's what we'd 
been told."

She knows better now, she says, about the failure to find a 
connection between Bin Laden and Iraq, about the failure to prove the 
existence of weapons of mass destruction.  (Emma Brockes, "The Lie 
That Killed My Son," <em>The Guardian</em>, <a 
8, 2004</a>)</blockquote>

Why should we quietly let her or the disabled soldier learn the hard 
way without giving them a fair warning, even if the warning is 
probably lost on the majority of people to whom we say that the 
Democratic Party is not only not the solution but in fact one of the 
most difficult obstacles to overcome if we wish remake the United 
States into a nation that can stay out of any war even for one year, 
to say nothing of anything better than that.

* Critical Montages: <http://montages.blogspot.com/>
* Bring Them Home Now! <http://www.bringthemhomenow.org/>
* Calendars of Events in Columbus: 
<http://www.freepress.org/calendar.php>, & <http://www.cpanews.org/>
* Student International Forum: <http://sif.org.ohio-state.edu/>
* Committee for Justice in Palestine: <http://www.osudivest.org/>
* Al-Awda-Ohio: <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Al-Awda-Ohio>
* Solidarity: <http://www.solidarity-us.org/>

More information about the Marxism mailing list