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Monday, July 26, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11 and Its Impact on Military Morale, by a Soldier

Army Spc. Joe Roche has perhaps the harshest words yet for Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, describing its impact on the morale of our troops deployed overseas as "devastating."

In typical Joe fashion, he did something about the matter. He made copies of this Independence Institute rebuttal of Moore's film (29 pages in small font, he says!) and distributed it widely among U.S. troops in Kuwait.

But I'll get out of the way and let Joe speak:
Michael Moore's film, Fahrenheit 9/11, is making the rounds here at U.S. bases in Kuwait. Some soldiers have received it already and are passing is around. The impact is devastating.

Here we are, soldiers of the 1st Armored Division, just days from finally returning home after over a year serving in Iraq, and Moore's film is shocking and crushing soldiers, making them feel ashamed. Moore has abused the First Amendment and is hurting us worse than the enemy has.

There are the young and impressionable soldiers, like those who joined the Army right out of high school. They aren't familiar w/ the college-type political debate environment, and they haven't been schooled in the full range of issues involved. They are vulnerable to being hurt by a vicious film like Moore's.

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There are others who joined for reasons of money and other benefits, and never gave full thought to the issues. For them, seeing this film has jolted them grievously because they never even knew where some of these countries were that we have been serving in. Imagine the impact this film has on them.

And there are those who are hurting from being away from family and loved ones. They are burnt out, already hurting inside from 15 months of duty out here, and now to be hit w/ this film.. it is devastating.

Lastly, there are those like me, who want to explode in anger and rage at this abuse of the First Amendment and the way Moore has twisted reality so harshly.

Specialist Janecek, who is feeling depressed because a close family member is nearing the end of her life, just saw the film today. I saw him in the DFAC. He is devastated. "I feel shitty, ashamed, like this was all a lie." Not only is he looking at going straight to a funeral when he returns home, but now whatever pride he felt for serving here has been crushed by Moore's film. Specialist Everett earlier after seeing the film: "You'll be mad at shit for ever having come here."

And there are others. Mostly the comments are absolute shock at the close connections Moore makes between the Bush family and the Bin Laden family in Saudi Arabia. "Bush looks really really REALLY corrupt in this film. I just don't know what to think anymore," is a common comment to hear. Some of these soldiers are darn right ashamed tonight to be American soldiers, to have been apart of this whole mission in Iraq, and are angry over all that Moore has presented in his film.

We know this is all based on Moore's lies and deceptions. But we, I'm afraid, are a minority. Right now, just days away from what should be a proud and happy return from 15 months of duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom, your U.S. soldiers are coming back ashamed and hurt because of Moore's work.

What these good yet impressionable soldiers don't realize is that twisting reality and manipulating the truth is something lawyers do every day in court for their clients. OJ Simpson, so clearly guilty in the ghastly murders, was able to get off because his lawyer team completely confused the issue. Now today, in typical fashion, Moore is doing the very same thing in this film. This is, frankly, the nature of political debate in a democracy -- especially when extremism is allowed to go unchecked.

Lt. Bischoff is so angry he could explode. He knows Moore's work is based on lies and distortions, but as he says, "the damage is done." Clearly, this is the type of thing we expect from angry leftists like Moore. What we didn't expect was the full impact this film is now having and how it has been embraced and supported by so many Hollywood elites. Lt. Bischoff says Moore's film is a work of deception, lies and distortions that when seen by those unfamiliar w/ the issues involved, has the effect of attacking the American peoples' resolve and focus in this war.

From what I've heard from the soldiers, the things that have them most shocked and upset them are the connections Moore makes between the Bush family and the Bin Ladens. The impression is that Bush is part of a conspiracy that supported the September 11th terrorist attacks. They speak of how Moore makes a convincing case all the way from the 2000 election to now that Bush and Cheney are all about making money. That the September 11th attacks were merely calculated by them as to how they would earn them more money. They speak of the Saudi who was a fellow soldier w/ Bush in the National Guard, and how Moore makes it all look like Bush is more beholden to Saudi interests than US interests.

Moore's commentary and striking video stunts, such as confronting politicians w/ enlistment papers for their kids, of course hurts and affects these soldiers out here badly. These are the ones who have sacrificed much to serve. Moore's stunt is powerful.

I sometimes want to be mad at my fellow soldiers for being susceptible to Moore's distortions, but I can't really blame them. These are good Americans, who have volunteered to serve our country. Nothing says they all have to be experts in Middle Eastern issues and history and politics to serve. That would be silly. ...But this is, of course, the vulnerability that Moore has exploited.

I wonder how damaging and shocking a Moore project would have been in the 1940s making such a video of Franklin Roosevelt. All the corruption and decadence in that administration would have fed such a project well. Or how damaging and shocking would such a Moore project have been to Lincoln, who wavered and shifted often in finding the right mediums and balances in pursuing the great causes of the Civil War. ...Need I even suggest the impact such would have had on Kennedy or Johnson and all their hypocrisies?

Moore is hurting us, hurting America, and today I can tell you he is hurting your soldiers. I don't know what to ask, except that good people out there find ways to organize information so that we can better counter Moore's impact. Is there anyone in Hollywood who is willing to stand up and make a similar film to counter Moore's? I know good people w/ integrity in the film industry don't want to be seen as pushing a political agenda in movies. But this is EXACTLY what Moore and the radical leftists in Hollywood have done. Is there no way to put together a response to them?

I hope more people will arm themselves w/ the facts and the realities of the situation out here and in the world at large. Our political arena is taking a big hit from this film by Moore, and it should tell us all something when terrorist groups like Hezbollah are distributing it around to their own people.

I think it is sad and unfortunate that at this last hour of a long and difficult deployment, so many soldiers are being made to feel ashamed and "shitty" for having ever served in this whole mission. Moore has abused the First Amendment. This is his right, and we soldiers have defended that right, but we who know better should NOT just sit back and let such enemies w/in our own country get by w/ such assaults unanswered.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:30 AM

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