Review DVD: Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)

4 Star, Congress (Failure, Reform), Culture, DVD - Light, Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Reviews (DVD Only)

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Amazon Page

Too Glib By Half, But Many Important Points,

August 18, 2006
John Ashcroft (II)
My teen-age son specializes in techno-art and his comment to me costs this film one star–he says that the out of context mixing of video clips is very low rent and almost unethical. Seems like a very good point.

The film does, however, offer many important points that I summarize here for those who have been–as I was–reluctant to invest the time or money in this controversial film. It *is* worth buying or renting and watching.

The most important point early on is many Members of the House of Representative demanded Congressional action in the aftermath of the known illegal disenfranchisement of people of color across Florida, and not a single Senator, including Al Gore as President of the Senate, was willing to sign on and force the issue. For this alone Al Gore will never get a vote from me, and I am fairly disgusted with the entire body. I am *very* surprised that Senator Byrd did not sign on, and wonder what kind of deal was made in the back rooms of the Senate. From that one decision have stemmed 6 years going on eight of a half trillion dollar war with thousands of dead and tens of thousands of amputees and disabled veterans whom Bush has been trying to sideline, cutting their benefits and medical care.

He reminds us of the eggs thrown on the motorcade on inaugural day, and the documented fact that Bush was on vacation 42% of the time in his first 8 months.

Not one meeting on terrorism in all that time. The film is in error in claiming Bush did not read the 6 August report. As James Risen notes in “State of War” Bush got a frantic personal briefing from CIA, and then blew them off with the obscene comments “OK, you’ve covered your ass on this.”

The film traces the connection between Saudi money, Bush, and his National Guard flying buddy Bath, and the later the Carlyle Group, where partner George Bush Senior was the ONLY President to continue to demand CIA briefings after retirement. The film correctly points out that $1.4 billion dollars from the Saudis invested in the Bush family carries a lot more weight than the $400K a year salary from the taxpayer, one reason, no doubt, why 142 Saudis got to fly out of America on 6 private planes after 9/11 while all Americans were grounded.

We are reminded of George Bush Juniors obstruction of justice in the 9/11 Commission investigation, and pointedly reminded that Iraq was put in play on 13 September despite strong assertions from Dick Clark and others that Iraq had nothing to do with the attack.

We are reminding that Attorney General John Ashcroft lost his Senate race against a dead man still on the ballot, and that Ashcroft pointedly told the FBI he did not want to hear about terrorism.

The movie overall highlights Donald Rumsfeld as a fraud, with clips of his speaking about the “humanity of precision targeting” followed by clips of mass destruction.

There is a fascinating discussion of how poverty across America is producing recruits for the military who would not normally volunteer, and then pointedly shown Congressmen ducking interviews because only 1 of the 535 has a son in Iraq.

There are moving interviews with people who lost children in Iraq, and two points jump out: the first is that the general public does not distinguish between the need to honor their loved one’s sacrifice and our Armed Forces, and the need to condemn and hold accountable the political leadership that lied to all Americans, to Congress, and to the United Nations.

The second point is that those who lost children do not blame Al Qaeda; they blame the political leadership of America, but not in a strong enough manner to demand impeachment (yet).

The movie concludes that the object of war is continuous war to keep the current hierarchical system of wealth, power, and privilege in place.

It’s a very strong creative effort, marred only slightly by what my teen-age son considers to be video editing slights of hand.

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