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The Lighter Side

August 2004
The Lighter Side

The Hot Movie That's Burning Bush

Michael Moore's documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" has already set records at the box office, treating moviegoers to a scathing attack on President Bush and his co-architects in the war on terrorism. If you hate Bush, you will absolutely love this movie, which probably explains why so many people are eager to dub the movie into Arabic. Not to mention French, Spanish, German, Russian, Mandarin, Hindi, Tonga, Swahili and (please insert your native language here).

As much as I love to bash the president, I have misgivings about this movie. It's a rather one-sided presentation of facts, designed to get Americans to ask a serious question about their president, a question that has been asked countless times in other countries: How did this idiot get elected?

But Bush is hardly an idiot and if you don't believe me, just ask the woman who dresses him. She will tell you that he's quite capable at what he does, leading America against the forces of evil, who are involved in all sorts of mischief these days, even producing award-winning documentaries.

While "Fahrenheit 9/11" is certainly compelling, it's important to ask ourselves how fair it is. For example, Moore shows us what Bush did on Sept. 11 after learning that a second plane had hit the twin towers: He continued reading a book called "My Pet Goat" to a group of schoolchildren for almost seven minutes. In other words, he didn't do what most Americans would expect of him in this moment of crisis: Jump out of his chair, grab a phone and say, "Hey Dick, what the heck should I do?"

What people don't realize, however, is that the president is an expert multi-tasker. The demands of his job often dictate that he perform several tasks at once, sometimes even using both sides of his brain. In those seven minutes of seemingly casual reading, he had not only planned the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, but also determined, through a highly analytical process, what he was going to have for lunch.

Moore also shows us that despite the involvement of at least 15 Saudi Arabian natives in the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush Administration allowed a number of Saudis, including the extended family of Osama bin Laden, to charter planes and leave America soon after the terrorist attacks. Of course, there is a logical explanation for this. And as soon as I find it, I will let you know.

Moore and other critics of the Bush Administration seem to imply that the Saudis were allowed to leave America unquestioned. But that's not true at all. Before boarding their planes, all of them were asked the all-important question: "Did you pack your bags yourself?" And all of them gave the correct answer: "Of course not. We have maids for that!"

Citing a figure from the Washington Post, Moore charges that Bush spent 42% of the first seven months of his presidency on vacation, implying that he was ill-prepared to prevent the terrorist attacks. There are two problems with this argument. First, Bush took what he calls "working vacations." He didn't just sit around ? he WORKED on his golf swing.

Second, the 42% figure includes weekends. Most Americans do not think of their weekends as vacations. Even when they get a Friday or Monday off, they call it a "long weekend," not a "short vacation." If ordinary Americans can get four weekends a month, surely the president is entitled to six or seven.

But this kind of logical reasoning seems to escape Moore, perhaps because he doesn't have the intellectual capacity of President Bush. In fact, we can be reasonably certain that Moore, in his entire adulthood, has never even read "My Pet Goat."

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