Trapped in Reality – Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 911”

In the late morning of a midtown Tucson’s summer’s day, I was riding in a car toward the El Con Mall. The car was comfortably air conditioned, but there is always that strong sunlight that manages to cook your thighs or arm. Well, at least I was not being cooked by a dirty nuke detonated either downtown, or just outside the gates of Davis Monthan Air Force Base. I keep thinking of Jose Padilla working diligently to sneak such a bomb into this country for that sort of purpose. I also think of Jose Padilla, a citizen of the United States, being arrest on United States soil, designated an “Enemy Combatant”, and thereby relieved of his rights. Disturbing facts both. The domestic front is to terrible to contemplate.

My friend Tom was driving. We had been quiet for a while, he was probably wondering why I was staring at my thighs. He said, “What do you think of the war, are you for it or against it?” Even though Tom was now in full journalistic mode, I was still flattered that he made no assumption in this regard. I felt bad because Tom was the fly-on-the-wall driving the car, while I was the orator of the moment. Tough duty for him.

We were en route to the opening screening of Michael Moore’s new movie, “Fahrenheight 911″. My job was to view the movie, offer my comments, and say if it changed my mind. Tom had asked a simple question requiring a simple answer. He got it, and then some.

Before I continue, I would like to offer some critically important advice. Do not study any history if you want to enjoy a Moore movie! Do not read books – watch MTV! It is important to understand that the experience of a Moore movie lies somewhere between that of reading a Left Wing version of Peter Pan, and that of reading the moveon.org website while alone and on bad acid. I myself made this error.

“I’m for the war,” I said, “I love it.” Well, perhaps “love” was not the best choice of words. I told Tom that it was good that we finally acknowledged that a state of war existed, and were taking action. That it was better to lead the free world, rather than mimic Rome in decay, content with bread and Circuses while being overrun by barbarians. I said that it was good to take the war to the enemy, that it was good that two thirds of the al-Qaeda leadership were taken out, and that their crazed combatants were flooding into Iraq to engage our soldiers rather than murdering civilians here, etc. Ending the mass murder, closing the torture/rape chambers and child prisons was icing on the cake. Though this was all true, it did not untie the knot in my gut. I new what I had to do.

We were nearing the mall, I would not have much time. I took two deep breaths, relaxed my shoulders and began. “I’ve been reading this book, The Gathering Storm by Winston Churchill. It’s the first in his series on Worlds War II. Early on, Churchill tells of a time in 1948, just after the war, when he was asked what name should be given to the war for identification in history. He said, ‘The War That Could Have Been Prevented’.” This did not seem to intrigue Tom as much as it intrigued me. I continued, “Churchill saw his country intentionally ignore the German violations of the Treaty of Versailles, and their covert military development. His government, and other Western powers, were determined to maintain peace at all costs, and shift responsibility for their security to the League of Nations. Sound familiar? Meanwhile, Germany longed to bring back a past in which she was prominent on the world stage. She saw other peoples and cultures as inferior, made deals with the West that they had no intention of keeping, and saw Western accommodation as pathetic weakness. She had no interest in negotiating, or trying to resolve differences. She used the Jewish People as a scapegoat. She gave herself to fanatic leaders who promised to restore her to her rightful place in the world. Fast forward seventy years, and who does this describe today? If you said ‘Fanatic Islamic Jihadis and their State sponsors,’ go to the head of the class.”

Imagine if Britain was willing to face the truth, and stopped the building for war of Germany. Imagine no World War II. Imagine no D-Day, or battle of the Bulge. Imagine no Eastern front, no siege of Stalingrad where German and Russian troops fought hand to hand in the city streets for months, living on the corpses of the fallen. Imagine no Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Am I comparing George W. Bush to Winston Churchill? Yes. Am I suggesting that our missions in Afghanistan and Iraq may be averting World War III. Yes. Come to think of it, maybe “love” was a good choice of words after all.

The car was parked, we were stepping out of the open doors, and I’m still talking. I take another deep breath and stop talking. I bathe in the sunlight. The theater looms large. I have a ticket to Michael Moore’s fantasyland, but I can’t go there, I’m trapped in reality. I should have spent my time watching MTV instead of reading that damn book.

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