Richard Cohen's July 1 column, "Baloney, Moore or Less," is on target in describing the unabashed biases that characterize Michael Moore's film "Fahrenheit 9/11." I agree that as effective journalism, the movie is unlikely to change many minds and has much of its impact muted by the fact that it will be preaching to the choir. But I found the film's entertainment value to be somewhat higher than Cohen allows. The audaciousness of his soliciting members of Congress to enlist their family members follows in the best tradition of theater of the absurd.
Also, Cohen overlooks a dimension of the movie that raises it above the level of a political screed and renders it an important documentary of the major issue facing the United States and the rest of the world: the horror of war. With its depictions of wounded Iraqi children, dead and mutilated GIs and the heart-rending tears of Iraqi and U.S. mothers, the film piercingly confronts us with the realization that we are not discussing a narrow issue of Democratic vs. Republican ideologies. Only by realizing the horrific consequences of U.S. policy will we be able to set our country on a path of legitimate world leadership. In this respect, the movie serves a valuable purpose.
-- Rodger J. Winn
Richard Cohen says that we went to war because of Iraq's multiple violations of U.N. resolutions. Cohen fails to note that the United Nations did not support the war.
He also tries to diminish the fact that we started a preemptive war because Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction or because of its close connections to al Qaeda (i.e., baloney -- to use Cohen's word).
The media seem to be giving far more scrutiny to "Fahrenheit 9/11" than to the arguments for war put forth by our nation's leaders.
-- Jim Cassedy
In dismissing Michael Moore, Richard Cohen offers an improbable excuse for why he incited readers to support the administration in invading Iraq: "In the run-up to the war . . . I spent more time and energy arguing with those who said the war was about oil (no!) or Israel (no!), or something just as silly, than I did questioning the stated reasons for invading Iraq."
The merits of Cohen's arguments are scant enough: If he now questions our stated reasons for going to war and ridicules the notion that "oil" or "Israel" had anything to do with it, it remains for him to offer a counter-analysis (and also an explanation of why he so strenuously wished to believe the administration's case in the first place). More damning, however, is Cohen's admission that he devoted his forum to quashing inquiry into possible unstated reasons for the war.
-- Brendan Martin