- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 24, 2004

“Fahrenheit 9/11,” Michael Moore’s new documentary, hits theaters today, and the rumblings have already begun. And with good reason. Despite Mr. Moore’s vehement insistence that the film is accurate, we can point out several factual errors right off the bat.

According to Christopher Hitchens, Mr. Moore contends, in an attempt to portray an insidious alliance between President Bush and Osama bin Laden, the White House flew the bin Laden family out of the United States immediately after the September 11 terror attacks. Mr. Moore said it was done without proper screening or regard for applicable police procedures.

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. But more unfortunately for Mr. Moore, Richard Clarke, the former White House counterterrorism adviser (and, incidentally, portrayed as a hero in “Fahrenheit 9/11” and the author of “Against all Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terrorism,” a scathing criticism of the Bush administration), already owned up to giving that order. It wasn’t a mistake, says Mr. Clarke, and he’d do it again. Moreover, Mr. Moore’s argument that the flights were not properly screened is directly contradicted by the September 11 commission, which states: “The FBI has concluded that nobody was allowed to depart on these six flights that the FBI wanted to interview in connection with the 9/11 attacks, or who the FBI later concluded had any involvement in those attacks. To date, we have uncovered no evidence to contradict those conclusions.”

Perhaps Mr. Moore’s most perplexing claim, also related by Mr. Hitchens, is that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq never attacked, killed or threatened any American. Does Mr. Moore not recall the Gulf War, when 382 American servicemen died? Or that Iraq fired on American planes patrolling the no-fly zones every day for 10 years immediately after the Gulf War? How about the fact that Saddam gave sanctuary to Abu Nidal, the worldwide terrorist responsible for airport bombings in Rome and Vienna? What about Saddam’s attempt to assassinate Bush I in 1993, which elicited a reaction even from Bill Clinton?

As Melanie Morgan of Move America Forward says: “Michael Moore dismisses Americans who are upset with his film and the impact it has in undermining support for the war against terrorism. At the same time, his distribution companies are concerned about offending the sensibilities of terrorists. That certainly gives rise to asking the question: Whose side are you on?” Considering what we’ve seen of “Fahrenheit 9/11” so far, we might pose the same question.

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