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Fahrenheit 9/11 burns Bush

by Amanda Palmer, staff writer


The brain-child of Michael Moore, Fahrenheit 9/11 is an uncensored explanation of the events surrounding the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2002 and the ensuing war on Iraq. The appropriateness of the title of the movie, taken from the title of a book, Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury, is apparent when once considers that the novel is a dystopian vision of a society darkened by censorship and ruled by a select group who control the media and the masses. No one ever questions authority for fear of retaliation.

Similarly, Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 reveals how the American people have been lied to and manipulated by President George W. Bush and his administration in order to garner support for a “War on Terrorism” designed to line the pockets of their corporate supporters.

Michael Moore


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 children, 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 that Bush 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.



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