Citizens for Legitimate Government, a multi-partisan activist group established to expose the Bush Coup d'Etat and oppose the Bush occupation in all of its manifestations.

Fahrenheit 9-11 and the Burning of Bush
by Michael Rectenwald, CLG Founder and Chair

There's no question about it, Michael Moore's new film is an all-out assault on the Bush Regime--from its theft of the White House, to its utter implication and embroilment with the perpetrators of 9-11, its real loyalty to the oil-rich Saudi Royal Family, the Bush-bin Laden nexus in the Carlyle Group, and the complete falsity behind the march to War on Iraq. Most importantly, however, Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 chronicles the fates of the victims to this series of atrocities: the victims of 9/11 and their families who demanded but were not (and still are not) able to get answers and thus closure to this event, the US citizens who lost rights and a say in our government, including its elections, the innocent Iraqis dying and being tortured in an unjust war and Occupation, the US soldiers dying and being lied to about the reasons, and the families who lost sons and daughters in Iraq, and without a real shred of justification.

However, the rightwing has been hastily and furiously renouncing the film as full of "lies," from his recount of the Florida "recount," to Bush's 9/11 failures and secrets, to the Patriot Act, and the false evidence for war.

Let's take these one by one.

Part one: The Florida "election"

First, Moore's prelude is the 2000 "election" capped by the installation of Bush in the White House by the Supreme Court. Moore rightly notes that tens of thousands of African Americans were purged from the voting rolls even prior to the "recount" scandal, and goes on to claim that Al Gore won Florida. Rightwing pundits are eager to refute the latter point, by pointing to the media consortium results that they claim shows that Bush actually won Florida. However, this is simply not the case. The results of the NORC media recount were clear: given a recount of the counties that Gore wanted recounted, Bush would have won, using Gore's preferred standards. Using the Bush team's standards, however, Gore would have prevailed. But these mixed results are by no means the end of the story. It is long past time to set this record straight. The main story in the media consortium's recount review was buried in the Miami Herald's story under a false headline, and recuperated by Tom Fiedler, also of the Herald, in "Votes Aren't Sacred:"

"if the recount had been started from scratch in each of Florida's 67 counties, The Herald concluded 'Gore would be in the White House today.'''

So, aside from all the legal wrangling of either party, Gore won Florida, and this is even after the mistaken and illegal purging of tens of thousands of legal voters from the rolls as "felons," the completely confusing butterfly ballot by which tens of thousands of votes simply fluttered out of Gore's rightful column. And this is also to say nothing of the many other illegalities undertaken by GOP operatives, such as the camping out inside of precinct headquarters and tampering with absentee ballot applications, and infringing on vote counters in Miami-Dade in the notorious "bourgeois riot." And as Republicans were saying that discerning the "intent of the voters" was a Carnac the magician routine, vote-counters in GOP counties not only discerned the intents of the voters, but as the Orlando Sentinel reporter noted, they RECREATED ABSENTEE BALLOTS based on their discernment of that intent.

A day after the Herald announced that Bush would have won Florida, the headline by Merzer read, "Recounts could have given Gore the edge -- Broward, Palm Beach checked." But for most readers, glancing only at headlines, the die was cast and the election "accepted."

Therefore, Moore's first point in the movie is valid, and didn't even cover numerous other scandalous facts, such as the fact that three Supreme Court judges had clear conflicts of interest in the case of Bush v. Gore, and that the decision by the Supreme Court has been decried by almost a thousand legal scholars of constitutional law.

Lastly, we at the CLG have been writing and preaching this fact for almost four years now. See our pages dedicated to the "election" and its theft.

Part Two: Bush Regime Failure and 9/11

Moore's movie makes clear what Richard Clarke, Paul O'Neill and other former insiders have been telling us about the Bush' regime's failure to stop Osama bin Laden and Al Qaida prior to and on 9/11. Ashcroft simply told the F.B.I. not to talk to him about Al Qaida again. Bush was fishing and talking about his dogs burrowing for armadillos on his Crawford ranch, just a few weeks before the disaster. On August 6th he was handed a briefing that clearly stated that Osama bin Laden wanted to hijack planes and attack the U.S. domestically. The Carlyle group met on September 11th, and George H. Bush, 40th president of the U.S., met with the other major Carlyle stock holders, which included a member of the bin Laden family. (Incidentally, the Carlyle Group just purchased the Loew's theater chain, in one of which theaters I viewed this film. One wonders whether Carlyle wants to shut this and other such films down in the near future?) That is, on September 11th, 2001, George Bush Jr. sat listless and stupefied reading the pet goat story along with children in Florida, while Daddy Bush was meeting with a bin Laden family member, and Osama bin Laden's minions were driving planes into national US landmarks, killing nearly 3,000 people and devastating America. Given Moore's connection of the Bush-bin Laden tribes and the elaboration of the Bush Saudi Royal Families, the inescapable thought comes to mind: Bush didn't want stop bin Laden prior to 9/11, and didn't want to catch him afterwards. That is, Moore doesn't directly say that Bush was complicit in 9/11, but his neglect can hardly be seen as anything short of criminal, especially in light of the aftermath.

Part Three: Fear and Trembling and the Patriot Act

In Bowling for Columbine, Moore illuminated brilliantly the culture of fear that feeds a system based on renunciation of citizenship in favor of an obeisant mass afraid of the boogey man. In Farenheit 9/11, this culture is altogether transformed and codified in the Patriot Act, which Moore shows was printed in the middle of the night, and passed the next day, before any in Congress had even read it. In the Patriot Act citizens lost rights to privacy and search and seizure protections all in the name of fear, while "Homeland Security" was hardly the object, given the poor protection of borders, such as the coast (and state) of Oregon. And the real objective of the act was not our protection in any case, but rather, leads us to part four.

Part Four: The Iraqi War and the Occupation

Needless to say, there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, other than the ones we used and continue to use there. There was no connection between Iraq and 9/11. These statements are now truisms. But anti-Bush and peace activists were saying this long ago, well before the 'discovery' of nothing. I said so myself, in numerous correspondences to rightwing war supporters, and in a speech at an anti-war rally, after the bombing had begun, but well before the "pundits" and other mouthpieces of falsity were convinced. But what Moore makes even more absurd is the attack on Iraq, when Saudi Arabia had much more to do with 9/11 than any other nation, and Iraq had nothing at all to do with it. Moore shows this clearly followed by some rare footage of the "shock and awe" bombing campaign, raids on innocent families, the trucks full of Iraqi casualties (women, children and civilian men) of the invasion and the Occupation, the casualties and mutilation of US troops, footage of prisoner torture and humiliation, and more.

Part Five: The Human Face of Tragedy

For this aspect of the film, I simply must point you to the theatre.

Go and see this film. Regardless of your party affiliation, or lack thereof, go see this film. Farenheit 9/11 may not be a 'documentary' in the (false) objectivist sense of journalism, a notion of objectivity utterly discounted even in science by the way. But it is a GREAT FILM. In fact, this film is undoubtedly the most important film of the year, and probably of the last 50 years. Never has a film so severely criticized a "sitting President." Never has a film so clearly demonstrated the class structure of US society and the fact that it is the poor who pay the price of protecting a system that gives them the very least, while the ruling elite enjoy the vast majority of the benefits for which they demand the poor sacrifice everything. Never has a film cut so deeply to the core of the US psyche in its contemporary moment. This is the film of the year, and the experience of a lifetime.

But do not rejoice in the exposure of corruption and domination that is represented here. Rather, with Michael Moore, stand up and fight back. The time is now, before it is too late.

Michael Rectenwald
June 25, 2004

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