Week of August 4, 2004

Flaw No. 6: The movie claims that the Bush administration "supported closing veterans' hospitals." "The Department of Veterans Affairs did propose closing seven hospitals in areas with declining populations where the hospitals were underutilized, and whose veterans could be served by other hospitals." (From Kopel's "Fifty-nine Deceits in Fahrenheit 9/11.") But Moore's film fails to mention that the department also proposed building new hospitals in areas where needs were growing, and also proposed building blind-rehabilitation centers and spinal-cord injury centers. (From an October 24, 2003 news release by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, www.va.gov.)

Flaw No. 7: Even readily available figures are exaggerated for effect in Fahrenheit 9/11. The claims have a basis in reality, making them believable, but are false nonetheless. In the film, Moore asks Craig Unger, author of House of Bush, House of Saud, "How much money do the Saudis have invested in America, roughly?" to which Unger responds, "Uh, I've heard figures as high as $860 billion." The Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy reports that worldwide Saudi investment approximated $700 billion -- a figure much lower than Unger alleges the Saudi government to have invested in the U.S. (From "The United States Must Not Neglect Saudi Arabian Investment," by Tanya C. Hsu; www.irmep.org.) The Institute reports that 60 percent of that $700 billion -- roughly $420 billion, less than half of what Unger "heard" -- was actually invested in the United States by the Saudi government.

Flaw No. 8: "Moore's film suggests that [President] Bush has close family ties to the bin Laden family -- principally through Bush's father's relationship with the Carlyle Group, a private investment firm. The president's father, George H.W. Bush, was a senior adviser to the Carlyle Group's Asian affiliate until recently; members of the bin Laden family -- who own one of Saudi Arabia's biggest construction firms -- had invested $2 million in a Carlyle Group fund. Bush Sr. and the bin Ladens have since severed ties with the Carlyle Group, which in any case has a bipartisan roster of partners, including Bill Clinton's former SEC chairman Arthur Levitt. The movie quotes author Dan Briody claiming that the Carlyle Group 'gained' from September 11 because it owned United Defense, a military contractor. Carlyle Group spokesman Chris Ullman notes that United Defense holds a special distinction among U.S. defense contractors that is not mentioned in Moore's movie: the firm's $11 billion. Crusader artillery rocket system developed for the U.S. Army is one of the only weapons systems canceled by the Bush administration." (From Kopel.) "There is another famous investor in Carlyle whom Moore does not reveal: George Soros. But the fact that the anti-Bush billionaire [Soros] has invested in Carlyle would detract from Moore's simplistic conspiracy theory." (From Kopel.)

Flaw No. 9: Not revealing relevant facts is dishonest enough. But to paint the Bush administration as sympathetic and friendly to the Taliban prior to September 11 is not only dishonest, but maliciously so. Moore shows film of a March 2001 visit to the United States by a Taliban delegation, claiming that the administration "welcomed" the Taliban official, Sayed Hashemi, "to tour the United States to help improve the image of the Taliban." But the administration did not welcome the Taliban with open arms. In fact, the State Department rejected the Taliban's claim that it had complied with U.S. requests to isolate bin Laden. To demonstrate even further the administration's contempt for the Taliban and its illegitimacy, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher -- on the day of the terrorist regime's visit -- said, "We don't recognize any government in Afghanistan."

I agree Bush may be the worst president in recent history not named Reagan. I also agree that we should not have entered Iraq, but if you attack someone use facts, not fiction.
Tony Arakkal
University City

Blame the Republicommunists: I do not want to run this topic into the sunset; however, I really felt that Michael Szerzinski's letter really exposed the Republicommunist mafia cult problem we have in this country, particularly whenever a Michael Moore or Amy Goodman or Terry Gross or Peter Jennings presents the truth.

Szerzinski accurately portrayed the religiously brainwashed and fascist-politically indoctrinated tactics the Republican cult uses to sabotage the liberal philosophy, which hasn't often been responsibly in agreement nor represented rationally by elected representatives and their actions. What is wrongly being referred to as "conservative Republicans" is really "conservative anti-conservatives," because a conservative promotes and protects traditional values and philosophies, and the only conservation the Republicommunists are practicing is their right to upend our traditional values and to circumvent our U.S. Constitution. Further, Republicommunists rail on "liberals" and "liberalism." No wonder they do, since Republicanism is anti-Democracy: Liberal comes from the Greek root word "libris," which means freedom. Other words derived from libris are "liberty" and "liberate," words equally detested by Republicommunists.

A republic is not a democracy. A republic, the first of which according to historians was the terrible Roman Empire, is a government form of tyranny that rules over the people. A democracy is not a form of government, because a democracy is a legal and political organization that protects the best interests of society with neither exclusionary prejudices nor elitism, and which protects the weaker minority from abuses by the stronger majority and which protects the ignorant majority from abuses by the knowledgeable and powerful minority in political, religious, business and special interest organizations. Unlike a republic, there are no leaders in a democracy, only administrators of the democracy who are held accountable to society and to the values and obligations ideally of a constitution and bill of rights.

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