I saw Fahrenheit 9/11 last night, and like Kevin Drum, wasn’t greatly impressed. Not because it was one-sided or took cheap shots – in fact the cheap shots were pretty good (at least the funny ones were). The problem was that the movie’s underlying premises were completely incoherent and padded out with some pretty weak speculation. There were several conspiracy theories jostling for room – Bush as tool of American big business, Bush as catspaw of Saudi oil interests, Bush as lackey of the security establishment, Bush as cigarette industry flunkey, Bush as dimwitted doofus, and so on. While they weren’t incompatible, precisely, there wasn’t much of an effort to draw them together, or, in most cases to provide real evidence to back them up. The footage, all in all, was vastly more entertaining (and sometimes enlightening) than Michael Moore’s commentary on it.
There’s a real story to be told about how Bush took a country to war on mostly bogus premisses; while bits of that story did come out here and there in the movie, they didn’t properly connect, because the whole was so shoddily put together. As Kevin says, Fahrenheit 9/11 uses innuendo to connect Bush and the Saudis in just the same way that Bush himself used innuendo to connect Iraq and al Qaeda. It reminded me still more of Glenn Reynolds’ blogging – the same weird blend of weakly sourced conspiracy theories and gross political prejudices. I still reckon that the lead-up to the Iraq war deserves a good, savage, biting, funny documentary – but it should be made by someone who’s more honest and intelligent than Michael Moore.