Michael Moore Brings the War Home: Its the Stuff the Mainstream Mass Media Won't Tell You

Article excerpt

In the theater where I saw Fahrenheit 9/11, the coming attractions featured a trailer for The Motorcycle Diaries--an upcoming film about the early life of the Latin American revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara. The trailer ended with the tag line, "If you let the world change you, you can change the world."

A good omen, I thought. But the day was filled with omens. Michael Moore's picture, and a story about his film, greeted me on the front page of the Memphis Commercial Appeal at breakfast. We went to lunch before the movie, and there he was again, in the cafe entrance, on page one of USA Today.

Moore's film did not disappoint those expectations. There, on the quad cinema big screen, was African-American Marine Corporal Abdul Henderson, in uniform, explaining that he won't go back to Iraq because he won't "kill other poor people" who pose no threat to our country. There, after 90 minutes in which the falsehood's behind the Iraq war were peeled away, is the explanation (from George Orwell's 1984) that, at the end of the day, the maintenance of a hierarchical society requires war. It keeps the people at the bottom fearful and economically insecure. "The war is not meant to be won," Orwell wrote, in words that define Bush's war on terror. "It is meant to be continuous."

And that message came alongside the details of the incestuous relationship between the Saudi Kingdom and corporate America, surprising (and troubling) footage of dead and wounded Iraqi civilians, and the usually unheard voices of American soldiers left limbless and bitter by the war in Iraq. It's all the stuff the mainstream mass media won't tell you. And there it is, in Fahrenheit 9/11, smack dab in the middle of that mainstream. I wanted to stand and shout, "Viva!"

MANY OF US have made the analogy between America's Iraq invasion and the Vietnam War, and the parallels are real. But we anti-warriors would do well to remember that, compared to our predecessors at this early stage of the Vietnam disaster, we are way ahead of the game. Public opinion has already tipped against the war. During the Vietnam era, that didn't happen until 1969, four years into the full-blown conflict. …