Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
July 02, 2004
POLITICS: More Moore

I hate to keep raising Michael Moore around here, but I just keep seeing people on the Left who actually seem to think he's doing good things. Can anybody be that credulous?

Well, Dave Kopel is collecting a bill of particulars on Moore's latest movie. Spinsanity has some background.

UPDATE: Matthew Hoy, noting Paul Krugman's contention that Moore "has yet to be caught in any major factual errors," suggests that "Krugman doesn't know what facts are."

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:31 AM | Politics 2004 | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)

Did you actually read Kopel's particulars?

They're pretty weak....even if listed only as deceipts.

In uncovering these deceptions, Kopel uses deceipt himself eg "Moore asserts that the Afghan war was fought only to enable the Unocal company to build a pipeline."

...Moore asserted no such thing. If we're going to parse words here, the qualifier "only" is pretty powerful.

Posted by: C Giddy at July 7, 2004 12:20 PM

A few of Kopel's particulars are things that simply involve serious differences of opinion. But on the whole, he scored what looks like an awful lot of direct hits.

The best defense of Moore seems to be to deny that he was making any points at all. It's pretty weak for a polemicist that he doesn't even have any arguments he's willing to stand behind.

Posted by: The Crank at July 7, 2004 12:30 PM

Have you seen the movie?

Posted by: C Giddy at July 7, 2004 01:50 PM

No I haven't, and frankly I don't intend to. If you are prepared to argue that Moore makes different points than Kopel, Hitchens and the various other critics of the film say he makes, go ahead. I'm willing to entertain the possibility that the movie is nothing like what has been described in scores of reviews. Thus far, I haven't heard the film's defenders actually attempt to defend any of Moore's points or even explain what they are, other than "Bush bad" and, specifically, the charge that Bush took seven minutes to respond to the 9/11 attacks.

Posted by: The Crank at July 7, 2004 01:57 PM

Kopel doesn't appear to make any points other than the fact Moore is trying to deceive his viewers.

And it would appear that Moore's biggest point is that Dubya has suceeded in deceiving the public.

That and the fact the war in Iraq is hell for both Iraqi citizens and American GIs. A hell that was arguably unneccesary.

When watching the movie it is fairly obvious where "artistic license" has been used or where a toungue-in-cheek attitude is being used. The interviews with the Congressman? Of course they were blind-sided...but does Kopel's point that one congressman's nephews have enlisted really exonerate the entire body for not sacrificing their own sons and daughters? I mean really, nephews, of one congressman? To put the relation in a little context, George HW Bush's nephew taught Micheal Moore everything he knew about cinematography and was credited in Roger and Me.

Still, there are many times where you're unsure whether or not Moore's attitude is toungue-in-cheek and its at those times when most thoughtful left-wingers will actually, hopefully, disagree with one of their own.

But really, does not agreeing on every thing Moore believes in take away from the movie in total?

Ironically, the 7 minutes Bush is shown reading to the class are about the only 7 minutes where you can actually give him the benefit of the doubt.

So, what were Moore's points?

The Administration and the President led the country into an ill-conceived war based on deception that has led to pain, suffering and death for innocent Iraqis, American GIs and their families and the majority of Democrats did nothing but sit by and condone it and the majority of the Media did noting but sit by and encourage it.

Bush will tell the American people that Iraq is seeking yellow-cake in order to sell his side of the story.

Moore will show the American people GI amputees and Iraqi women with their faces melted off (who survived) to sell his side of the story.

In both cases you've got to make your own decision on whether or not invading Iraq is the right decision.

Considering the aftermath, it appears film makers are held to a higher standard than the leader of the free world.

Posted by: C Giddy at July 7, 2004 02:50 PM

"War is bad" is a fine point to make, but you don't need to ramble on about all this Halliburton and Unocal and bin Laden family and Carlyle Group nonsense to make it. "This war was a bad idea" is a case that would be suited to make by, you know, arguments about the facts.

Last I checked, the children of Members of Congress, like the rest of us, can't be compelled by their parents to join the military. And it's kinda bogus to jump on Members who don't even have kids. As Kopel and others have pointed out, Moore should have asked John Ashcroft that question.

(It's not like Moore's a veteran anyway, so even if that whole bogus 'chickenhawk' thing meant anything, it's not his argument to make.)

Posted by: The Crank at July 7, 2004 03:08 PM

There you go again, attacking the messenger as opposed to the message!

And no you don't have to ramble on about Haliburton and Unocal and Harkin.

But when you consider the main businesses the 2 George's have been involved in, when you consider the main business Cheney has been involved in, when you see all of the ties to defense and to the Saudis, its almost mesmerizing.

Kind of like Powell with all of his powerpoint slides of questionable vehicles and sites in Iraq.

And no, you're right, the children of congressmen can't be compelled to join the military. But was that Moore's point? I think Moore's point was that its a hell of alot easier to make the decision congress did when they in fact don't have any kin that will have to answer to the marching orders they're about to sign.

Look, Crank, I'll grant you that the decision to invade or not invade Iraq is not an easy one, regardless of which angle you view the details from. But I'm simply amazed that you and so many others will write off any and all dissension about the decision simply becuase you believe the decision was the right one.

Micheal Moore can't argue that Bush is a chickenhawk because he wasn't a veteran himself?!?!?!

Crank, you can't be serious!

Posted by: C Giddy at July 7, 2004 03:24 PM

1. No, I think the troop strength that was sent to Afghanistan was based on a few military assumptions: that we could rely on our Afghan allies, that air power would bring down the Taliban, and that putting too many troops in would sink us into a Soviet-style quagmire. Much as with Iraq, these assumptions were on target as far as knocking off the Afghan regime but off base as far as capturing individual fugitives. And I hardly think anybody in October-November 2001 was thinking we should pull punches in Afghanistan to deal with Iraq a year or more down the road.

2. Moore admits that he was, in his words, trying to "imply that all the loot the Saudi royals and bin Ladens have invested in the businesses of the Bush inner circle would have anything -- ANYTHING -- to do with them getting special treatment after 9/11." That's just ludicrous, given the actual facts about the investments at issue and the fact that none of them benefitted Richard Clarke, the guy who made the call. And remember, Moore promoted the Bush-bin Laden connection for months as the key to the movie. I wouldn't be half as irritated at him if he stuck to presenting a one-sided vision of how the Iraq war upended Saddam's peaceable kingdom.

Posted by: The Crank at July 7, 2004 06:37 PM

As for the Saudis and Bin Ladens, they do have an awful lot invested in the US, and in the Carlyle Group in particular.

And on 9/13 they were all allowed to fly while nobody else in the country was.

And all of the Bin Laden kin were extradited without being questioned.

Regardless of whether or not Clarke made the call, regardless of whether or not the investments made by and the relationships held with the Bush family by the Bin Ladens family....

....don't you find it troubling that they were escorted out of the country without questioning? That not only were they not questioned, but they apparently received extraordinarily special treatment?

15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis. Saudis have funded Al Qeada. Al Qeada was led by and masterminded by Osama Bin Laden.

I personally don't think the Bin Laden's would have been any help in finding their "wayward" son/cousin/nephew/relative, etc. But who am I to say what type of leads could and could not have been obtained in this case?

Couldn't have hurt to ask, no?

Anyways, by pointing out the cozy relationship with the Saudis and Bin Ladens, and the direct relationship between 15 Saudis and Osama Bin Laden to 9/11, Moore bolsters his point about the war in Iraq being the wrong war.

He doesn't make his case as nicely as you'd like in a court of law and yes, he panders to the masses in order to market his movie, the goal being to get as many people to see the movie as possible, be it for ideological reasons or plain and simple greed.

Yet for whatever reason, his inclusion of the Bin Laden's does bolster his case. The case that our war in Iraq has diverted us from the goal at hand, preventing another 9/11.

Rightly or wrongly, Moore, it might be opined, believes that our security would better be served by destroying Bin Laden and reducing our dependency on the Saudis than by toppling Saddam and freeing Iraq.

Posted by: C Giddy at July 8, 2004 12:35 PM

C Giddy, you got to be kidding: "But when you consider the main businesses the 2 George's have been involved in, when you consider the main business Cheney has been involved in, when you see all of the ties to defense and to the Saudis, its almost mesmerizing."
Since you are a logical genius, try this one: But when you consider that most of them eat a diet high in potatoes, it is almost appealing.

Posted by: dakang an at August 1, 2004 09:28 PM
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