- The Washington Times - Monday, June 28, 2004

Verifying Michael Moore’s claims

In “Michael Moore and make-believe” (Editorial, Friday), some of the specific criticisms of the new Michael Moore film “Fahrenheit 9/11” present only part of the story and leave out significant corroborating evidence presented in the film. By selectively quoting some of the movie’s statements out of context and omitting key evidence that Mr. Moore includes in the movie to back up his assertions, your editorial risks the appearance of a contrived effort to discredit him.

For example, regarding Mr. Moore’s contention that members of the bin Laden family were flown out of the United States immediately after the September 11 attacks, while all other flights were grounded, you state that “Mr. Moore, of course, neglects to mention that the bin Laden family long ago severed ties with Osama, a revelation that sorely undermines his conspiracy theory.” In fact, Mr. Moore addresses this issue in the movie, by explaining that Osama bin Laden is not as estranged from the bin Laden family as some might think. As proof, Mr. Moore tells of how several bin Laden family members attended the wedding of Osama’s son in the summer of 2001.

Mr. Moore’s claims are all verifiable via publicly available information. For the sake of those who might not do the research for themselves, the press must present the information accurately, completely and in context so as not to distort the facts. Such is the hallmark of responsible journalism.

MARY T. SHAW

Norristown, Pa.

Hollywood heroes

Michelle Malkin (“Lost Hollywood patriots,” Commentary, Saturday) notes that during World War II, many Hollywood celebrities actively supported the U.S. war effort, either by enlisting in the armed forces or starring in war movies.

In fact, not only did Hollywood support the war once the United States entered it in December 1941, many Hollywood stars actively urged the United States to take pre-emptive military action against Adolf Hitler. The Fight for Freedom Committee, from 1939 to 1941, advocated war against Hitler as the only way to preserve world peace. It attracted so many celebrities that it created a special Stage, Screen, Radio and Arts Division.

In the autumn of 1941, they staged a dramatic pageant at Madison Square Garden called “Fun to Be Free” authored by screenwriters Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur. An audience of more than 17,000 attended the three-hour “Mammoth Revue” of patriotic songs, skits mocking Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Hideki Tojo. Dramatic readings emphasized the need for American military intervention to oust Hitler. Bill “Bojangles” Robinson tap-danced on a coffin labeled Hitler; Carmen Miranda “sang in her well-known South American style,” as one review put it; and Eddie Cantor, wearing a hoop skirt, and Jack Benny put on an Easter parade act.

The roster of those who appeared on stage that evening reads like a who’s who of pre-World War II Hollywood: Tallulah Bankhead, Melvyn Douglas, Morton Downey, Helen Hayes, Burgess Meredith, George Jessel, Ethel Merman, Sophie Tucker and many others. It was produced by Oscar Hammerstein, Moss Hart and George Kaufman, with music and lyrics by, among others, Irving Berlin and Kurt Weill. The Radio City Ballet also performed. Other Hollywood figures who publicly endorsed Fight for Freedom included Ethel Barrymore, Jack Benny, Kitty Carlisle, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Lynn Fontanne and Betty Grable.

In words that deserve to be remembered, Fight for Freedom leader Herbert Agar (editor of the Louisville Courier-Journal) told the audience at Madison Square Garden: “Today is a time for war, because peace is impossible … Peace is not what you have when there doesn’t happen to be a war in your neighborhood; peace is what you have when the world around you is growing more fair, more full of hope and opportunity… Tomorrow can be a time for peace if all good men stand together today and fight for freedom.”

RAFAEL MEDOFF

Director

David S. Wyman Institute for

Holocaust Studies

Melrose Park, Pa.

An ACLU agenda

“Stifling freedom” (Editorial, Saturday) says, “The ACLU seems to aim at nothing short of a complete eradication of religion from the public sphere.”

It would be more accurate to say that the American Civil Liberties Union, the U.S. Supreme Court and most of the lower courts are in league to supplant Christianity with secular humanism as the prevailing religion of the United States.

FRANK CONNER

Newnan, Ga.

Pull no punches

NatHentoffquestions whether our treatment of terrorist captives is justified. (“A government of laws or men?” Op-Ed, June 21). For us to accept the fact that our enemy will do anything to anyone, anytime, to defeat us, but we will only fight by the rules is the “ostrich” effect to the extreme.

The American people are facing several completely new concepts. First, we can, and will, be attacked on our own shores. Second, our enemy is a brutal barbarian with no conscience and no restraint. Third, in order to survive we must fight fire with fire.

Why shouldn’t we attempt to get as much information from terrorists as we can, using whatever tactics are necessary? I have no sympathy for people who will summarily and brutally behead their prisoners on television. They are dedicated to killing as many people as they can. We must stop them from annihilating Western culture. Subjecting them to pain, misery and extreme danger is justified if those are the only means to make them reveal their plans. This fight is more important than the welfare of our enemy, by any measure. That is what war is all about, but particularly this new and unfamiliar means of conducting war.

Our Constitution is not at risk in this matter of battle against the hordes of state-unaffiliated, un-uniformed, cunning and unprincipled warriors. The bleeding hearts in our culture should reserve their tears for the victims of the Islamic jihadists, not for their captors. Let us fight fire with fire.

JACK DORWIN

Livingston, Texas

A mushroom cloud seen round the world

A nuclear test by North Korea would be the mushroom cloud seen around the world. (“Pyongyang takes a hard line at six-way talks,” Page 1, Saturday).

So far, several years of no-stick negotiations have gone nowhere and have given North Korea precious time to increase its nuclear capability. A nuclear test would immediately validate North Korea as a formidable nuclear power and would keep Americans awake at night. Over time this nightmare will only get worse, since North Korea’s nuclear arsenal will become more potent along with its missile capability. American cities will be in constant jeopardy, either from nuclear-armed missiles or nukes smuggled in by terrorists (with no fingerprints).

If these talks fail again, it is time for the White House to get serious and consider implementing the Bush doctrine of pre-emption. To continue to do nothing is inviting a nuclear September 11 and that is intolerable.

LOU VENTICINQUE

Jamison, Pa.

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