Until Moore’s film, Bush had not been
held accountable for his actions.
While many people have been quick to dismiss Moore as a sensationalist,
he earns credibility by showing Bush and his administration in
press clips and other pieces of video, effectively letting these
people expose their ineptitude without directly drawing conclusions
for the audience himself. Moore simply asks the right questions.
For example: Moore shows a video of President Bush sitting
in a classroom preparing to read from a book to a group of
when one of his aides whispers to him that a plane has just collided
with the World Trade Center. The President continues to sit and
begins to read the book. When the aide informs him that a second
plane has collided with the World Trade Center, and that the
nation is under attack, the video shows that the President remained
seated and continued reading to the children while the cameras
flashed and the nation panicked.
What’s more disturbing are the planes that, while America’s
whole air travel industry was grounded, were allowed to take
off with 24 members of Osama bin Laden’s family aboard.
These bin Ladens had been in the United States at the time of
the attacks. They were being allowed to return to Afghanistan
without, Moore implies, being questioned in an effort to find
the man responsible for the 3,000 plus innocent Americans horribly
killed in the attack.
Moore shows the extensive (billions of dollars) connection
between the Bush family and the bin Laden family, intoning
dealt with the situation on a personal level, by allowing them
to leave, before acting in the interest of the country.
Fahrenheit 9/11 contains raw footage of war-torn Iraq, including
the victims of U.S. attacks, innocent women and children with
gruesome wounds. Closer to home, the documentary provides commentary
by young veterans who have lost limbs and colleagues in Iraq.
Most compelling is the story of Lila Lipscomb, who a working-class
single mother raised her children and encouraged them to join
the armed forces so that they could acquire the education that
she could not afford to give them.
The documentary portrays Lipscomb as a flag-waving patriot,
confident in the “American Dream” of hard work and sacrifice,
humanitarianism and loyalty, until she loses a son to the war
and has to question what he sacrificed his life for. What is
the purpose of this war?
Moore depicts the ongoing threats of terrorism as a ploy of
the Bush administration to keep the nation fearful and confused,
to take focus away from the misdeeds and mistakes it made. Bush
is shown defining himself as a “War-time President,” a
title he will use to more confidently pursue a second term.
Moore displays here the same humor he reveals in his previous
documentaries, Roger and Me and Bowling for Columbine. The emotional
images of September 11 and war in Iraq are in counterpoint to
Moore’s quirky commentaries on the blunders committed by
Bush and his cabinet members. Without them, the film would be
barely tolerable, for Fahrenheit 9/11 is a one-sided account.
Nonetheless, even conservatives viewers are able to appreciate
some of the issues raised by the film. And without it, the dystopian
tales spun by the likes of Ray Bradbury, George Orwell, and George
Bush, might become reality.