Raging Bull

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Moore gives viewers the impression that the Saudis were given permission by the White House to fly when all planes were grounded and that because of Bush's connections to the House of Saud, the bin Ladens fled without being interrogated by the FBI.

Wrong. The 9/11 Commission examined these allegations in detail. It found no evidence that the Saudis took off while other planes were grounded and no evidence of political intervention. The FBI picked out those it wanted to interview, and that included virtually every single relative of bin Laden's. They found no one with any connection to the attack and no one with any recent connection to Osama.

Moore, who opposed American intervention in Bosnia to stop the genocide perpetrated against Muslims, also attacked Bush's invasion of Afghanistan in Fahrenheit 9/11 as motivated by corporate energy concerns.

Where and when would Moore sanction the use of American troops? Like the Virgin birth, it is a mystery.

In the movie, he notes that Taliban representatives visited Texas in 1997 while Bush was governor. Get it? The Taliban sought to complete a natural-gas pipeline project with Unocal.

But Bush never met with the Taliban. The Unocal pipeline was pushed by President Bill Clinton. Within one year, the Taliban government had gone off the deep end, and, by 1998, Unocal had dropped its proposal -- three years before America led the overthrow of the Taliban.

Well, when you first begin to get the drift of what a pathological liar Moore is, you begin to respect his devious genius for manipulation. There are now Web sites, such as the precisely documented work of David Kopel -- who lists nearly 60 examples of deceit in Fahrenheit 9/11 -- as well as books that deconstruct the entire Moore oeuvre.

But in the end, once you accept the fact that Moore's a fat, lying Pinocchio, what's the point? The takeaway realization is that, for approximately 17 million moviegoers, this is precisely the brain vomit that defines their America.

Although no weapons of mass destruction were found after the invasion of Iraq, it is naive to think that Hussein would not have resumed those programs once the Untied Nations relaxed controls.

And even without the WMDs, Iraq presented plenty of reasons to remove Hussein. His relationship with terrorists and his hatred of America, while not as complex as Afghanistan's under the Taliban, was clearly a matter of enormous concern.

Under his direction, the country became a safe haven for terrorists like: Abu Abbas, the leader of the hijackers who took over the cruise ship Achille Lauro and killed the elderly American Leon Klinghoffer; Abu Nidal; the 1993 World Trade Center bomb-maker, Rahmin Yasin; and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian who is leading the insurgents in Iraq today.

Furthermore, Laurie Mylroie, Bill Clinton's '92 campaign adviser on Iraq, maintained in her book The War Against America: Saddam Hussein and the World Trade Center Attacks: A Study of Revenge that the mastermind of the first bombing, Ramzi Yousef, was working for Iraqi intelligence.

In the same year that terrorists first bombed the World Trade Center, 1993, Hussein ordered his police to murder the first President Bush during a visit to Kuwait City.

In 1997, the official paper of the Hussein regime, under the direction of his son Uday, wrote: "American and British interests, embassies and naval ships in the Arab region should be the targets of military operations and commando attacks by Arab political forces."

On November 25, 2000, Hussein broadcast a speech warning, "The Arab people have not so far fulfilled their duties. They are called upon to target U.S. and Zionist interests everywhere and target those who protect these interests."

Under these circumstances, it is foolish to believe that Hussein would not have worked with al-Qaeda given half a chance. In fact, there is reason to believe that in some instances this was already under way.

In conservative Stephen F. Hayes' book The Connection: How al-Qaeda's Collaboration With Saddam Hussein Has Endangered America, the author presents alarming data. In the last chapter he writes, "Iraqi intelligence documents from 1992 list Osama bin Laden as an Iraqi intelligence asset. . . . An Iraqi working closely with the Iraqi embassy in Kuala Lumpur was photographed with September 11 hijacker Khalid al Mihdhar en route to a planning meeting for the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole and the September 11 attacks in 2000. Satellite photographs showed al-Qaeda members in 2001 traveling en masse to a compound in northern Iraq financed, in part, by the Iraqi regime."

And while the 9/11 Commission did not establish a concrete working relationship between al-Qaeda and Iraq, the record is far from innocent. The commission cites a 1998 indictment of bin Laden by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. That indictment said al-Qaeda "reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al-Qaeda would not work against the government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al-Qaeda would work cooperatively with the government of Iraq."

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Michael Lacey
Contact: Michael Lacey