Monday, March 24, 2003


Last night documentary filmmaker Michael Moore received an Oscar for “Bowling for Columbine”, a controversial picture about gun violence in the US:

Wagging his finger from the stage as he was both applauded and booed by the assembled celebrities, Moore said, "We are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you." Moore, who received a standing ovation from the assembled celebrities, invited the other nominees for best documentary film to join him onstage in solidarity against the war against Iraq.

"We like nonfiction and we live in fictitious times. We live in a time where we have fictitious election results, that elect a fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons," Moore said.

Raven clicks his beak in applause. “Nice going. I wish he had said something about the Day of Infamy, though.”

Are we talking Pearl Harbor here, Rave?

“Not exactly. I am reading a piece by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. for the LA Times that’s republished on Common Dreams.”

I remember him. From the Kennedy days. What’s he say?

“The president has adopted a policy of ‘anticipatory self-defense’ that is alarmingly similar to the policy that imperial Japan employed at Pearl Harbor on a date which, as an earlier American president said it would, lives in infamy. Franklin D. Roosevelt was right, but today it is we Americans who live in infamy.”

He’s right, of course. I don’t feel comfortable running around with an infamous passport, either. Even here at the end of the earth.

Raven looks out the window at the pelicans circling the bay.

“Good place to hide out, though. Nice morning, too. Blue skies. Nothing but blue skies. All the way to Bagdad.”

Enough with the lyricism, Rave. What else does Schlesinger say?

“He says that The Bush Doctrine converts us into the world's judge, jury and executioner -- a self-appointed status that, however benign our motives, is bound to corrupt our leadership. As John Quincy Adams warned on July 4, 1821, the fundamental maxims of our policy ‘would insensibly change from liberty to force ... [America] might become the dictatress of the world. She would no longer be the ruler of her own spirit.’ Already the collateral damage to our civil liberties and constitutional rights, carried out by the religious fanatic who is our attorney general, is considerable -- and more is still to come.”

How does he think that has happened?

“He points the figure squarely, saying: ‘The media have played up mass demonstrations at the expense of the reasoned case against the war. According to polls, a near majority of ill-informed Americans believes Hussein had something to do with the attacks on New York and the Pentagon and resulting massacre of nearly 3,000 innocent people. Hussein is a great villain, but he had nothing to do with 9/11.’”

In short, the media are working for the government now. Jesus, Rave, I remember when journalists were the ones exposing government propaganda—not spreading it around like anthrax. And more to the point, why is it incumbent upon the US to remove Hussein from power in his own country?

“According to Schlesinger, it isn’t. He says: ‘Hussein is unquestionably a monster. But does that mean we should forcibly remove him from power? "Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled," Adams said in the same July 4 speech, "there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy." We are now going abroad to destroy a monster.’”

And creating an even greater monster at the same time. Hussein is pretty small potatoes compared to the White House hawks who are trying to take over the world!

“And giving some of us birds a really bad name, too....”

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