Raging Bull

Kerry's a wuss. Dubya's a doof. How can anybody vote for either of these clowns?

Last year, in a little-remarked-upon speech, Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and concentration-camp survivor, defended the invasion of Iraq and specifically the removal of Hussein. He chided European leadership, noting that if it had spent as much time going after Hussein as it did attacking President Bush, the world would have been a safer place.

"Saddam Hussein had to be disarmed, and there was no other means," said Wiesel. "You can accuse me of being naive, but I think, in all conscience, that this was necessary."

Wiesel's final words should be distributed with the popcorn at all screenings of Moore's dishonest Fahrenheit 9/11: "I am not against paradoxes. I take them on, as someone who opposes war, who has seen war and who hates war."

The morbidly irresolute Kerry, and Bush in all his bantam 
banality: Flag-lapel pins in place, the two grin for the 
cameras before the first debate.
The morbidly irresolute Kerry, and Bush in all his bantam banality: Flag-lapel pins in place, the two grin for the cameras before the first debate.

I'll tell you why I am no longer surprised that Democrats, who instinctively cede themselves the high moral ground, do not feel compelled to consider the humanity of Iraq's victims.

Just look at how Democrats talk about Republicans. There is a smugness, a dismissiveness borne of the conviction that Republicans are a lower, less moral human species.

The media and American conversation were filled with this condescension during the Republican convention.

Consider the New Yorker magazine and cult cartoonist Art Spiegelman. Between 1980 and 1991, Spiegelman published the inspired comic strip "Maus" in Raw magazine. He examined the Nazis before, during and after the Holocaust, portraying the Germans as cats, the Jews as mice and the Poles as pigs.

The Holocaust Spiegelman gets; it's the GOP that baffles him. In fact, he can't stand these people. He doesn't know them; hell, he can't even talk to them. But he knows what he hates.

In two full-color pages in the September 20 edition of the New Yorker, he savages them.

The opening panel shows Spiegelman, naturally, and he is speaking: "As a denizen of lower Manhattan's dark blue zone, I don't actually know any Republicans . . . so I figured I oughta meet and greet some when they invaded my city for their convention."

After several panels, the conventioneers develop green skin.

"At first the Republicans actually looked human . . . sorta," notes the cartoonist. "But they quickly morphed into cold-blooded reptiles."

By the end of the cartoon, all of the Republicans are drawn as T-rexes. Befuddled, yet still angry, Spiegelman writes: "I know this is crazy -- I was there as a journalist -- but I couldn't bear talking to most of the delegates."

At the end of last week, Fahrenheit 9/11 had ticket sales of more than $118 million. At roughly $7 per ticket, approximately 17 million people have watched the movie.

Unlike Jon Stewart's spoof of the news, The Daily Show, Moore's film is taken as documentary proof of wrongdoing by President Bush.

I gave up counting long ago the number of journalists, lawyers, doctors and Indian chiefs who've told me the proof of Bush's guilt unfolded in this movie.

Here is what you need to know before you watch Fahrenheit 9/11. Michael Moore repeatedly claims -- though, clearly, not in the movie -- that there is no terrorist threat. He has also suggested in writing that members of the Saudi Arabian air force, not terrorists, actually piloted the planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and that patch of dirt in Pennsylvania.

"Who attacked the United States on September 11 -- a guy on dialysis from a cave in Afghanistan, or your friends, Saudi Arabia?" Moore asks Bush in Dude, Where's My Country? "You do not get this skilled at learning how to fly jumbo jets by being taught on a video game machine at some dip-shit flight training school in Arizona. You learn to do this in the air force. Someone's air force. The Saudi air force? What if these weren't wacko terrorists, but military pilots who signed on to a suicide mission? What if they were doing this at the behest of either the Saudi government or certain disgruntled members of the Saudi royal family?"

In contrast to the 17 million folks bamboozled by Moore's informative documentary, a mere 780,000 people bought copies of the 9/11 Commission report at a bookstore or online.

The exhaustively researched and scrupulously footnoted commission report is no dull tome. It reads like a noir thriller. And yet people have attended, and believed, Moore's paranoid fantasy at a rate of 20 to 1 compared to the book.

With a worldwide threat to our security that has already claimed thousands of American lives and facing a presidential vote, we prefer the ravings of fat fanatic to reality.

Bartender, another round for the house.

I met Michael Moore in 1980 when he stopped at the alternative press convention en route to his new job as editor of Mother Jones. He had yet to make a movie. But he was the same sleazy, self-absorbed liar that he is today.

He attacked the editors and publishers present for daring to publish Best Of guides to their cities. Moore considered Best Of issues a sellout. This is, of course, typical leftist dogma that goes something like this: Best Of issues are a wet kiss to businesses and advertisers when what you should be doing is showing how THE MAN is keeping poor people down.

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