Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Bdos: Corruption of the Democrats

IF they felt the award-winning film had no particular value for their party’s prospects in November’s presidential election, strategists for the opposition Democrats in the United States would not make “Fahrenheit 9/11” a major feature at their convention in Boston, Massachusetts, political stronghold of the Kennedy clan.

Mr. John Kerry may not be the most charismatic challenger ever to vie for the White House. He may even be more guilty than most of evasion and double-speak on major issues. But he’s no fool.

He knows that by highlighting a slick film with the immense impact of “Fahrenheit 9/11” in the Democrats campaign, an impression can be created or reinforced in many voters’ minds of President George W. Bush’s alleged culpability for what occurred in Washington and New York on September 11, 2001.

The film’s producer, Mr. Michael Moore, is no fool either. He would have calculated long ago that, given the level of skepticism about US foreign policy, particularly with neither Iraq nor Afghanistan being brought to full closure, he stood to reap a veritable bonanza at box offices. It hardly matters to him or to the Democrats’ strategists that the film has been substantially discredited by findings of a bipartisan commission which has just handed in its final report pointing to causes, consequences and, in particular, failure of America’s intelligence bureaucracy to anticipate the catastrophes that occurred less than three years ago. Among Moore’s advantages, however, is America’s extraordinary capacity for self-flagellation, the ability to heap virulent criticism on itself even in times of war, but especially to use its organs of entertainment to ridicule and slander its leaders with impunity.

An Amendment to that country’s Constitution makes this freedom of expression possible not just for America’s citizens but also for its visitors. Similar latitude is unavailable to producers in the cultural industries of countries most hostile to the US and Britain. In those jurisdictions film producers would be lucky to be exiled, more likely they would be executed for taking the kinds of liberties that Moore took with much that is contained in “Fahrenheit 9/11”. The film, like most commentators who criticise America’s decision to go to war in Iraq without United Nations approval, carefully avoids an important fact. Though consensus was preferable, it was all but impossible, given the involvement of high-level French and German interests in corruption under the UN-sponsored oil-for-food programme with Iraq.

Russia, too, is suspected of receiving kickbacks in the form of oil, cash and commitments for future energy contracts from Saddam Hussein’s regime despite a UN embargo being in force on Iraq.

Perhaps the real Fahrenheit is yet to come, especially if Russia’s hands are proven dirty.

It would be interesting to see what sort of film the very creative entertainment industry, complete with its comedians who constantly bash Messrs. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, would produce on such massive wheeling and dealing when the ongoing UN investigation brings more facts to light.
The Barbados Advocate must have a new editor, I can't help but think. The kind of rhetoric one finds on the editorial pages is so even handed, so respectful of facts and historical contexts that I wonder if I'm reading a Caribbean newspaper.


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