August 19, 2004 | Graham

Readers review Moore – Part III.

This is the third and last instalment of reader reviews. This one was referred by Geoff Muirden, and is written by Jeremy Lee. It was first published in Target, the journal of the League of Rights. For those who know nothing of the League it is on what is generally called the “far right”. Moore has a wide range of fans.


LIES UNCOVERED: Yesterday (Sunday August 8) was definitive for me. I saw Michael Moore’s film Farenheit 9/11. Amongst criticisms of Moore’s film, two are most common – that there is no mention of Israel’s part in the Middle East crisis; and that the film made no mention of America’s ‘partners-in-crime’ in the Coalition of the Willing, Australia and the U.K.
That being said, the film should still be seen by as many Australians as possible. It lifts the lid on an administration which makes the Mafia pale by comparison. The sheer agony of the war in Iraq, with its harrowing family tragedies among Americans and Iraqis alike, cannot fail to have an effect. The technological dimensions of war have long since eradicated any notion that it offers – if it ever did – a way of resolving human conflict.
The most glaring omission from the film was the story of Depleted Uranium (DU) which is only just beginning to leak into the public domain. Depleted Uranium, a residue from the Nuclear Industry, is now used to coat bullets, shells and rockets. It will instantly penetrate heavy armour, multiplying the impact of conventional ammunition. But it coats the environment in proximity to targets with a dust containing high radiation. The result is a series of diseases and genetic disorders which emerge over subsequent years.
Over half the US troops involved in the first Gulf War, “Desert Storm” have now been struck with “Gulf War Syndrome”. A variety of afflictions have appeared, with leukemia, cancers, tumours, stress disorders and chronic fatigue syndrome. A huge jump in genetic mutations among children of Gulf War veterans has also appeared.
The same ghastly results are appearing among the Iraqi people, now dealing with the victims of the First Gulf War, let alone the Second. In the first, 375 tons of D.U. were used in Iraq. So far, 2,200 tons have been used in the current conflict. It has also been used in Afghanistan and the Balkans with similar health results. Western authorities know this story will break sooner or later. Attempts are being made to clear the environment in Iraq, and bury the evidence – years too late. Thousands of bombed and burnt-out vehicles are massively contaminated – and for every one carried away to “vehicle graveyards” a new one appears from the continual fighting. Contaminated soil is carried away into the desert and blows back into the cities on the desert winds.
Moore’s film catalogued in unmistakable fashion the procession of lies, as the story was changed from month to month. It outlined the “state of denial” among many Americans, who preferred to believe the unbelievable sooner than concede the failings of a country they want to believe can do no wrong.
The potency of a film such as this will be among the young people who see it, no longer prepared to countenance misplaced patriotism. If you haven’t seen it, you should.
Reflecting on what I’d seen, the ABC 7 o’clock News gave reasons for further reflection. Forty distinguished former Australian Ambassadors, consular staff and military leaders, led by former Commander in Chief General Gration, issued a statement deploring the lack of honesty in Australia’s government, particularly in committing Australia’s troops to war. It was the Australian counterpart to the 50 former British Ambassadors who had chided the Blair government in similar fashion, and the host of prominent former US leaders who have written and spoken in protest against the Bush programme.
If this does not lead to reflective introspection among our elected politicians there is little cause for hope. Our current Prime Minister, who, I believe illegally, took upon himself the personal decision to send Australians to war, has told us he’d “do it all over again”. This is the defiance of the incorrigible. But within his own party not one National or Liberal was prepared to risk salary and pension by speaking out on conscience – this betraying the very responsibility for which each had been entrusted.
Moore’s film confirmed, to my mind, the accuracy of the reports On Target has provided on a weekly basis in the period leading up to, during, and since the so-called “end” of the Iraqi war. Much of the material now coming out in the media, in government inquiries and reports, was carried in On Target months, if not years ago.
One month ago we reported the remarks of Dr Tom Frame, Anglican Bishop to the Australian Defence Force, who originally supported the commitment of Australians to Iraq. He had the integrity to confess that he had been deceived, concluding: “…Men and women from a country claiming to be civilized have shown that they are just as capable of the barbarism that characterized Saddam’s Baathist regime. I continue to seek God’s forgiveness for my complicity in creating a world in which this sort of action was ever considered by anyone to be necessary.”
It is not weakness to admit to being wrong. It is the beginning of civilized manhood. It is the start of self-respect, which in turn gains the respect of others.
Barbarism? Are we really barbarians? Let’s put it another way. Can any of us forego some personal blame for what is happening in the Middle East? Even if we disagreed with what’s happening – what did we personally do about it? It’s all very well to blame our leaders – the Howards, Bushes, Blairs, Downers of this world. But we put them there and paid the taxes that they used for evil purposes. Repentence is a national, as well as a personal requirement.
Like America, Australia is at the cross-roads. The coming election is important – but our real problem lies deeper. Whoever wins, can the people regain some input into their own future? If not, it will be too late. We have yet to learn that voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil.
In conclusion, perhaps the most haunting scene of all in Farenheit 9/11 was a military patrol in Baghdad, setting out on a Christmas Eve patrol, armed with AK 47s, grenades, walkie-talkies, covered by choppers and artillery using Depleted Uranium shells, to the tune of
“Silent Night, Holy Night, All is calm, all is bright;
Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child –
Holy Infant so tender and mild. Sleep in heavenly Peace!”
That’s the supermarket song for selling plastic toys from China, isn’t it? Barbarians indeed!

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