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Archive for January 29th, 2005

Iraqi Ordinary

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A highly selective anthology of passages from reviews of Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11:

Christopher Hitchens, "Unfairenheit 9/11," Slate:

In this peaceable kingdom,
according to Moore’s flabbergasting
choice of film shots, children are flying little kites, shoppers are smiling in
the sunshine, and the gentle rhythms of life are undisturbed. Then—wham! From
the night sky come the terror weapons of American imperialism. Watching the
clips Moore uses, and recalling
them well, I can recognize various Saddam palaces and military and police
centers getting the treatment. But these sites are not identified as such. In
fact, I don’t think Al Jazeera would,
on a bad day, have transmitted anything so utterly propagandistic. You would
also be led to think that the term "civilian casualty" had not even
been in the Iraqi vocabulary until March 2003.

Ann Hornaday, "Presidental Pursuits," Washington Post:

But he’s Michael Moore, after all,
and sometimes he goes too far. His prewar portrait of Iraq as a garden spot of happy families and kids flying kites would no doubt strike
thousands of former Iraqi prisoners and their families as risible, if not

Jonathan Foreman, "Moore’s the Pity," The New York Post:

The most offensive sequence in “Fahrenheit 9/11“‘s long two hours lasts
only a few minutes. It’s Moore’s file-footage depiction of happy Iraq
before the Americans began their supposedly pointless invasion. You see
men sitting in cafes, kids flying kites, women shopping. Cut to bombs
exploding at night.

What Moore presumably doesn’t know, or simply doesn’t care about, is
that the building you see being blown up is the Iraqi Ministry of
Defense in Baghdad. Not many children flew kites there. It was in a
part of the city that ordinary Iraqis weren’t allowed to visit — on
pain of death.

And if Moore weren’t a (left-wing) version of the fat, bigoted,
ignorant Americans his European friends love to mock, he’d know that
prewar Iraq was ruled by a regime that had forced a sixth of its
population into fearful exile, that hanged dissidents (real dissidents,
not people like Susan Sontag and Tim Robbins) from meathooks and
tortured them with blowtorches, and filled thousands of mass graves
with the bodies of its massacred citizens.

Yes, children played, women shopped and men sat in cafes while that
stuff went on — just as people did all those normal things in Somoza’s
Nicaragua, Duvalier’s Haiti and for that matter Nazi Germany, and as
they do just about everywhere, including in Iraq today.

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January 29, 2005 at 1:31 am

Posted in Politics