Thank Bush for Michael Moore

From the White House yesterday, comparing a 73-year-old conservative and hawkish Democrat to Michael Moore:

Congressman Murtha is a respected veteran and politician who has a record of supporting a strong America. So it is baffling that he is endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic party.

Hey Bush, thanks for reminding me of Michael Moore's role in discrediting your administration.

When Moore spoke these lines at the 2003 Oscars,  most of his American audience didn't know what he was talking about:

We like non-fiction and we live in fictitious times. We live in the time where we have fictitious election results that elects a fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons. Whether it's the fiction of duct tape or fiction of orange alerts, we are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you.

A lot has changed since Moore was half-cheered from the stage in March 2003.  Moore kept playing the role of catalyst for the millions of pro-peace Americans who are at the core for making these changes into reality today.   And that core kept spreading a more honest narrative about the war than the one generated by Bush and his allies in government.

The pro-peace movement has been hammering home the message that Bush lied about the war since the lies were first made.  We were in high gear when hosted house parties in living rooms across America for viewing "Uncovered" in November of 2003.  Thousands of Americans watched the documentary together, learning what the corporate media had kept out of the news for the past year.

We learned what Bush had said:

"U.S. intelligence indicates that Saddam Hussein had upwards of 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents. Inspectors recently turned up 16 of them, despite Iraq's recent declaration denying their existence."source

"Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of saran, mustard and VX nerve agent."source

"U.S. intelligence indicates that Saddam Hussein had upwards of 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents. Inspectors recently turned up 16 of them, despite Iraq's recent

declaration denying their existence."source

"Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes, suitable for nuclear weapons production."source

We learned the implication:

"The most troubling thing about the fact, the distortions and the misleading statements that Bush gave Congress is that it is a federal felony, it's a crime to mislead and distort information to present to the Congress." John Dean (from the documentary)

And we learned the truth:

"So the Secretary of State is telling us that our conservative estimate is that Iraq possesses between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agent... Where are they? What happened to

them? It was a masterful performance, but none of it was true." Ray McGovern (from the documentary)

"It is somewhat puzzling, I think, that you can have a hundred percent certainty about the weapons of mass destruction's existence and zero certainty about where they are." Hans Blix (from the documentary)

"It was phoney evidence, it was based on intelligence we had from Iraqi exiles who wanted this country to attack Iraq so these people could then take over in Baghdad and establish their own

regime." Mel Goodman (from the documentary)

"The ties with Al Qaeda was just a scare tactic to exploit the trauma, the very real trauma, that the American people have felt ever since 9/11." Ray McGovern (from the documentary)

"What the White House wanted was the CIA to give it talking points to justify this war. It had already made up its mind...They call this data mining. Going back over old information coming

to new conclusions." Robert Baer (from the documentary)

There was more work to do.  Thousands of committed liberals learning the truth was a start, but without owning the mass media, it would take a lot more to get the truth out to the rest of America.  Remember, at this time most Americans believed that Saddam was directly involved in 9/11 and that he did, in fact, have weapons of mass destruction, even though none had been found. and Dean for America, along with the tens of thousands of frustrated, and still mostly disconnected, Americans opposed to Bush's Iraq policy, discovered something exciting in the months before and after the release of Uncovered.  The power of the Internet to connect us, to get information to each other, and to pool our resources was discovered.  We pumped our money and ideas into our new found network, to start getting the word out that there was sound opposition to Bush.  Dean became a symbol of our newfound voice, and demonstrated that a Democrat could stand up to Bush and still have broad political support.

But we still had work to do.  The "mainstream" Democrats were spouting false wisdom that standing up to Bush was a "radical" act.  Best to let Bush fall on his own sword, which of course could not happen without someone pushing him down.  But the narrative had already shifted.  Bush could be attacked, and the story of lies to war had escaped into the political mainstream.

Enter Michael Moore: On the night of Fahrenheit 911's debut thousands of Americans excitedly lined up to collectively see the correct history of our past few years.  Sure, Moore spiced things up a bit, but his core thesis was solid.  Bush had lied.  Bush was corrupt.  The poor paid the price.  We laughed, we cried and we told our friends and families what we had seen.

Critical mass had been met.  Tens of millions of Americans had finally been reached with the core message that there was a painful and deadly war on, and that the war had been based on lies and corruption.  It cannot be overstated how important it was to see this story on film; to see the soldiers in Iraq, to see the families back home, to hear Bush juxtaposed with words and images of lies and corruptions.  Humans are a symbolic species.  We think through stories.  And that's why good storytellers shape societies.  If nothing else, Moore is a hell of a good storyteller.

It was not enough to defeat Bush in the election.  But it was enough to shift the national story from theirs to ours.

And today we are seeing the culmination of the combined effects of the storytelling efforts of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans for Peace, Gold Star Families for Peace and Cindy Sheehan,, Dean for America, United for Peace and Justice, ANSWER, Society of Friends, Progressive Democrats, DailyKos and all other pro-peace blogs, countless other Americans willing to take a stand and yes, of Michael Moore.  Thanks Mike.  And thanks George, for reminding me how lucky we are to have Michael Moore, storyteller, catalyst, of truth.

Cross posted at my blog Political Porn

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1 Comment

Right On!
Instead of bringing down Murtha, this attack will bring Michael Moore up about ten notches. Michael Moore will go down in history as a Paul Revere and a genuine patriot.
by Gary Boatwright 2005-11-18 04:02PM | 0 recs


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