Pavlos (pavlos) wrote,

Review: Fahrenheit 911 - 5/10 plus 2 points as reference

Moore's new film is a fairly unremarkable piece of cinematography, with some powerful and well presented messages. If you're already converted (you are, aren't you?) it is worth seeing because it will act as a reference point for politics over the coming years.

Good points

  • Excellent choice of arguments.
  • Modest use of images of death and injury.
  • Convincing presentation of economic motives.
  • Resiting the temptation to focus on G. W. Bush's person.
  • Revealing depiction of the business world.

Bad points

  • Excessive focus on particular individuals meant to represent "ordinary people".
  • Missing coverage of the stance of other Western governments.
  • Use of some marginal or opportunistic arguments.
  • Insufficient depiction of the business world.
  • Insufficient development of the main argument (the one stated in the conclusion).

Summary of arguments

  • Bush has been a mediocre achiever except for what he got by virtue of being the president's son. This made him susceptible to fall under the power of others.
  • Bush is a lazy and aloof person, and by implication not fit as a leader. The implication that others are manipulating him is stated but not developed.
  • Bush was elected in a questionable way and many people disliked his presidency from the outset. This argument is poorly developed.
  • Saudi powerful families own some 7% of the US economy, and that makes it plausible Bush may be acting in their interest.
  • There is much convincing circumstancial evidence that the Bush administration does indeed share interests with the Saudi elite.
  • The wealthy Bin Ladin family, which is definitely close to Bush, isn't as distant from Ossama as is publicly claimed.
  • Immediately before 9/11 the CIA had given useful warnings about terrorism, which the Bush administration ignored (or played down). This argument is a bit opportunistic.
  • Immediately after 9/11 the Bush administration insisted in attacking Iraq, as they had been planning for years. They had to visit Afghanistan first as a small diversion and business opportunity.
  • Certain poor parts of the US are quite similar to the Third World. The US recruits its soldiers there, offering the army as the only prospect. The recruiters employ questionable practices.
  • Some US soldiers have as unexamined and callous a view as one might fear. Other people in that age group, notably ex. and prospective soldiers, have remarkably sound views.
  • Poor people the world over (and especially in the US) are very patriotic and willing to send their relatives to war. Rich people consider this suggestion a joke.
  • The post-9/11 scare was a calculated (and very succesful) attempt to make Americans constantly scared, so that they would approve Bush's policies.
  • The direct purpose of the Iraq war is to enrich the US business elite close to Bush through spending for the war, future oil deals, and expanding the security industry.
  • Moore (perhaps insincerely) acknowledges the necessity for a US army, but asks that it not be sent out for profit or in vain. He tells Americans they have been deceived in this respect. Many agree.
  • Conclusion, stated directly by Moore: War is not fought by one state against another, but by the ruling elites against their populations. The purpose of war is not to prevail over the opponent but to maintain the hierarchy of society. For that reason, war has to be continuous.


  • Moore is very recognizable, particularly to certain people.
  • In California, there are still some hippy cookie-eating peace activists.
  • John Ascrofft is a fairly good singer but terrible songwriter.
  • Rich people smoke cigars.
  • Bush is a bad bluffer.

Finally, I didn't spot a mention of Dick Chenney in the entire film, despite his Haliburton interests. How did that happen?



  • On Myth

    Hey! I'm mostly living in my shell these days, but here's a long-overdue essay from my other blog. Paul and Alison in particular have been formative…

  • Chomsky on Gaza 2009

    Everyone should read Chomsky's excellent article on Gaza 2009. Usually, Chomsky on the…

  • New blog

    Hi! This is just to let you know that I exist, although I don't really feel that blogging about my life is very interesting any more. I still live…

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.