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Letters from the Troops

October 6 2004 02:02 AM ET (Permalink) (Comment)


Since earlier this year, Michael Moore has been receiving untold amounts of email from soldiers who are serving or have served in Iraq since the war started. He's compiled a book on them called Will They Ever Trust Us Again, which was released this week. The link above has a few excerpts.

I can't say I'm entirely a fan of Moore. I resented his overwhelming support for Nader in 2000, and I keep wondering whether his efforts this year are genuine or self-serving. (The true test will be if he sacrifices an Academy Award nomination to get Fahrenheit 9/11 shown on broadcast tv. By Academy rules, if a nominated film is first shown outside the US, it cannot be shown on any other medium within six months of its first theatrical release in Los Angeles. Moore debuted Fahrenheit 9/11 at Cannes, and it made its LA debut in June. He says he wants it shown on tv, but it remains to be seen how badly.)

However, I think Fahrenheit made some very interesting points, particularly when it covered the few interviews with troops in Iraq.

What makes these emails interesting to me is more than just the obvious. Soldiers aren't allowed to publicly disagree with the actions of their superiors, so risking disciplinary action to email Moore stands out. (I watched a Corporal in Iraq on CNN tonight completely dodge a question to avoid criticizing his superiors.) But it also provides a picture of what else is going on in Iraq beyond what's being shown on tv.

One notable email of that excerpt is the one from the soldier who was anticipating the end of his elistment but has been forced to stay by Bush's stop-loss order. I cannot imagine how many soldiers who might have spent their full careers in the military are now ready to escape thanks to the time spent in Iraq.

Of course, the cynic in me wonders if Moore is angling for another profit center, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt for now.

I'll add this: I cannot fathom the people who vocally and enthusiastically support the current administration. I can't figure out the angle to be that jubilant. I think if I were a Bush supporter, I would be subdued in my support, quietly hopeful that their promises of improvement in the next four years would be met.

Then again, I can't quite understand voting Republican at this point anyway. I would swear to you that there are a lot of people who vote Republican simply because they hope they'll one day be rich and powerful and want to get in the spirit while they're still broke. Kind of in the spirit of Satanists who worship Satan because they think we're all going to hell and they might as well get on Satan's good side now.

Comparing Republicans to Satanists? Hmm. Not quite the angle I was going for. But if it works for you, okay.

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