un. 13, 2004. 01:00 AM
“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”
— Arthur Schopenhauer
Now that George W. Bush is disappointed to learn that the rah-rah Ronald Reagan funeral coverage won’t be extended until the November election — or the capture of Osama bin Laden, whichever comes first — it is time to look back at his least Reaganesque moment.
It happened at 9:05 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, when White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, the man who would, a year later, talk of “marketing” the Iraq war, informed Bush that “a second plane has hit the World Trade Center.”
Bush just sat there, blinking, listening to second graders stumble through a story about pet goats. As he would later tell London’s Daily Telegraph: “I’m trying to absorb that knowledge … I’m sitting in the midst of a classroom with little kids, listening to a children’s story and I realize I’m the Commander in Chief and the country has just come under attack.”
Bush, who had never got the memo (so to speak) titled “Bin Laden Determined To Attack Inside The U.S.,” just! sat! there! realizing that he’s the man.
At least Reagan would have said something kindly to the kids before jumping into action.
According to Michael Moore’s much-hyped Fahrenheit 9/11, the documentary that will hit 1,000 screens in North America this month, what was really running through Bush’s mind is how to blame Saddam Hussein.
Which is a stretch, and probably a joke. I think.
Still, it is a testament to how the mainstream media rallied round the leader that none of them have ever connected the dots, at least not in any comprehensive way, from that horrible moment all the way to Falluja.
If you want to see the video of that moment, you have to go to alternative Web sites, or see Moore’s film. It’s the first one-stop info shop for the masses who, because the mainstream media haven’t the facts together in any cohesive or comprehensive manner, may have missed the stories of the Bush family connections to Saudis who subsidize terrorists and how members of the bin Laden family were flown out of the U.S. while American planes, which could have been carrying more hijackers, were diverted to Canada.
Fahrenheit 9/11, Moore tells Playboy in a lengthy interview this month, is “the temperature of hysteria that has allowed the Bush administration to get away with a series of unconscionable acts since 9/11.”
Needless to say, Moore has been denounced as a traitor by those who heat up the airwaves with their own poison gas attacks on critics of the current administration. Among them, former comic Dennis Miller who jokes that he likes to “trade” the Abu Ghraib prison photos with his friends and Ann Coulter who refers to former President Bill Clinton as a rapist. (For a complete catalogue of all their refreshing views, visit mediamatters.org)
Rush Limbaugh, who is heard over Disney’s WABC in New York where, last ratings check, the neophyte liberal Air America radio was beating him, says that the Mickey Mouse corporation was right to refuse to distribute Moore’s film because it is so anti-American.
These people are “patriots.” But Moore, who courageously questions the administration and the media, well, according to Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, deserves death.
The irony is, they complain about Moore being allowed to inflame partisan emotions during an election campaign when these right-wing gasbags never stop doing exactly that.
Which brings us to the Great Pink North where Vancouver’s Lions Gate has the Fahrenheit 9/11 distribution rights for the U.S. while Alliance Atlantis has them for Canada.
Last week, on the financial editorial page of the National Post, Paul Kedrosky got his brow all furrowed over how Lions Gate, which has benefited from some $40 million in taxpayer support over the past three years, was helping to “topple” the U.S. government.
(This was before the news that Alliance Atlantis won the domestic rights.)
Picking up on suggestions that it could be “the first film to get a president fired,” Kedrosky complained that this could be very bad for “cross-border economic ties.”
But he’s not for censorship, oh no.
Neither is Dennis Miller who says “We should fight to preserve a country where people such as Michael Moore get to miss the point as badly as he misses it. Michael Moore represents everything I detest in a human being.”
Yeah. He’s all for dissent too.
No wonder the Bush boosters are now saying that Reagan deserves a place on Mount Rushmore, even though a more fitting memorial would be the reformation of Dubya’s stem cell research policy so that a cure for Alzheimer’s may be found.
The truth is, 50 years from now, when Reagan’s many failings will have faded from memory, he will be remembered in the history books for the part he played in ending the Cold War.
Bush, thanks to Fahrenheit 9/11, will be recalled as the guy who blinked, hesitated … and lost the war he started.
[CORRECTION: Bill O’Reilly of Fox News is quoted herein as saying he believes Moore “deserves death.” In fact, a transcript of O’Reilly’s Feb. 2 TV show makes it clear that a comment he made to that effect wasn’t meant to be taken seriously or literally.]