[Reader-list] Michael Moore on "terrorism"
rmazumdar at mantraonline.com
Mon Sep 17 14:46:15 IST 2001
this is an open letter written by Michael Moore on the current situation
after the WTC attack. Moore is the director of a number of documentary
films including the well known "ROGER AND ME" on the life of GM workers in
Detroit. Read on....
From: Michael Moore
To: michaelmoore-l at cloud9.net
Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2001 6:10 AM
Subject: [Mike's Message] Death, Downtown
I was supposed to fly today on the 4:30 PM American Airlines flight from
LAX to JFK. But tonight I find myself stuck in L.A. with an incredible
range of emotions over what has happened on the island where I work and
live in New York City.
My wife and I spent the first hours of the day -- after being awakened by
phone calls from our parents at 6:40am PT -- trying to contact our daughter
at school in New York and our friend JoAnn who works near the World Trade
I called JoAnn at her office. As someone picked up, the first tower
imploded, and the person answering the phone screamed and ran out, leaving
me no clue as to whether or not she or JoAnn would live.
It was a sick, horrible, frightening day.
On December 27, 1985 I found myself caught in the middle of a terrorist
incident at the Vienna airport -- which left 30 people dead, both there and
at the Rome airport. (The machine-gunning of passengers in each city was
timed to occur at the same moment.)
I do not feel like discussing that event tonight because it still brings up
too much despair and confusion as to how and why I got to live. a fluke, a
mistake, a few feet on the tarmac, and I am still here, there but for the
Safe. Secure. I'm an American, living in America. I like my illusions. I
walk through a metal detector, I put my carry-ons through an x-ray machine,
and I know all will be well.
Here's a short list of my experiences lately with airport security:
* At the Newark Airport, the plane is late at boarding everyone. The
counter can't find my seat. So I am told to just "go ahead and get on" --
without a ticket!
* At Detroit Metro Airport, I don't want to put the lunch I just bought at
the deli through the x-ray machine so, as I pass through the metal
detector, I hand the sack to the guard through the space between the
detector and the x-ray machine. I tell him "It's just a sandwich." He
believes me and doesn't bother to check. The sack has gone through neither
* At LaGuardia in New York, I check a piece of luggage, but decide to catch
a later plane. The first plane leaves without me, but with my bag -- no one
knowing what is in it.
* Back in Detroit, I take my time getting off the commuter plane. By the
time I have come down its stairs, the bus that takes the passengers to the
terminal has left -- without me. I am alone on the tarmac, free to wander
wherever I want. So I do. Eventually, I flag down a pick-up truck and an
airplane mechanic gives me a ride the rest of the way to the terminal.
* I have brought knives, razors; and once, my traveling companion brought a
hammer and chisel. No one stopped us.
Of course, I have gotten away with all of this because the airlines
consider my safety SO important, they pay rent-a-cops $5.75 an hour to make
sure the bad guys don't get on my plane. That is what my life is worth --
less than the cost of an oil change.
Too harsh, you say? Well, chew on this: a first-year pilot on American
Eagle (the commuter arm of American Airlines) receives around $15,000 a
year in annual pay.
That's right -- $15,000 for the person who has your life in his hands.
Until recently, Continental Express paid a little over $13,000 a year.
There was one guy, an American Eagle pilot, who had four kids so he went
down to the welfare office and applied for food stamps -- and he was eligible!
Someone on welfare is flying my plane? Is this for real? Yes, it is.
So spare me the talk about all the precautions the airlines and the FAA is
taking. They, like all businesses, are concerned about one thing -- the
bottom line and the profit margin.
Four teams of 3-5 people were all able to penetrate airport security on the
same morning at 3 different airports and pull off this heinous act? My only
response is -- that's all?
Well, the pundits are in full diarrhea mode, gushing on about the
"terrorist threat" and today's scariest dude on planet earth -- Osama bin
Laden. Hey, who knows, maybe he did it. But, something just doesn't add up.
Am I being asked to believe that this guy who sleeps in a tent in a desert
has been training pilots to fly our most modern, sophisticated jumbo jets
with such pinpoint accuracy that they are able to hit these three targets
without anyone wondering why these planes were so far off path?
Or am I being asked to believe that there were four religious/political
fanatics who JUST HAPPENED to be skilled airline pilots who JUST HAPPENED
to want to kill themselves today?
Maybe you can find one jumbo jet pilot willing to die for the cause -- but
FOUR? Ok, maybe you can -- I don't know.
What I do know is that all day long I have heard everything about this bin
Laden guy except this one fact -- WE created the monster known as Osama bin
Where did he go to terrorist school? At the CIA!
Don't take my word for it -- I saw a piece on MSNBC last year that laid it
all out. When the Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan, the CIA trained him
and his buddies in how to commits acts of terrorism against the Soviet
forces. It worked! The Soviets turned and ran. Bin Laden was grateful for
what we taught him and thought it might be fun to use those same techniques
We abhor terrorism -- unless we're the ones doing the terrorizing.
We paid and trained and armed a group of terrorists in Nicaragua in the
1980s who killed over 30,000 civilians. That was OUR work. You and me.
Thirty thousand murdered civilians and who the hell even remembers!
We fund a lot of oppressive regimes that have killed a lot of innocent
people, and we never let the human suffering THAT causes to interrupt our
day one single bit.
We have orphaned so many children, tens of thousands around the world, with
our taxpayer-funded terrorism (in Chile, in Vietnam, in Gaza, in Salvador)
that I suppose we shouldn't be too surprised when those orphans grow up and
are a little whacked in the head from the horror we have helped cause.
Yet, our recent domestic terrorism bombings have not been conducted by a
guy from the desert but rather by our own citizens: a couple of ex-military
guys who hated the federal government.
From the first minutes of today's events, I never heard that possibility
suggested. Why is that?
Maybe it's because the A-rabs are much better foils. A key ingredient in
getting Americans whipped into a frenzy against a new enemy is the
all-important race card. It's much easier to get us to hate when the object
of our hatred doesn't look like us.
Congressmen and Senators spent the day calling for more money for the
military; one Senator on CNN even said he didn't want to hear any more talk
about more money for education or health care -- we should have only one
priority: our self-defense.
Will we ever get to the point that we realize we will be more secure when
the rest of the world isn't living in poverty so we can have nice running
In just 8 months, Bush gets the whole world back to hating us again. He
withdraws from the Kyoto agreement, walks us out of the Durban conference
on racism, insists on restarting the arms race -- you name it, and Baby
Bush has blown it all.
The Senators and Congressmen tonight broke out in a spontaneous version of
"God Bless America." They're not a bad group of singers!
Yes, God, please do bless us.
Many families have been devastated tonight. This just is not right. They
did not deserve to die. If someone did this to get back at Bush, then they
did so by killing thousands of people who DID NOT VOTE for him! Boston, New
York, DC, and the planes' destination of California -- these were places
that voted AGAINST Bush!
Why kill them? Why kill anyone? Such insanity.
Let's mourn, let's grieve, and when it's appropriate let's examine our
contribution to the unsafe world we live in.
It doesn't have to be like this.
mmflint at aol.com
Across America Tonight ...
I am on the road tonight, the only way to get out of L.A. and back home to
our daughter and our friends in New York City. Oddly enough, I have never
driven across this vast country. My wife and I have now stopped in
Flagstaff for a few hours sleep before moving on.
The sorrow and anger builds across America. Talk radio tonight was filled
with calls for carpet-bombing every Arab country. Many want revenge, blood.
But a surprising number of people have called for us to not add to the
killing of more innocent humans. The rest stops and the convenience stores
along the way were filled with quiet, solemn people, many of whom, like us,
can get home no other way than by this four-day trip.
Our daughter is fine, mostly frightened by my desire to fly home to her
rather than drive. Once again, I was outvoted 2 to 1. This is nothing new.
We have learned of more people we know who have lost their lives. Bill
Weems, who worked as a line producer for us this year, was on the flight
from Boston that crashed into the World Trade Center. He was such a sweet
and decent soul. Such senseless madness.
The children of New York who are orphaned tonight ... what do we say or do?
I will do my part -- anything, something -- as soon as I get to New York.
But it will never be enough.
The firefighters of New York: they are on every other block, every day, and
they are your best neighbors. Sitting out on the sidewalks in front of the
fire stations, a good word and a kind smile to all who pass ... now, 350+
of them gone, having risked their lives to save the victims of a carnage
they soon became part of.
A good friend from Flint is a clerical worker at the Pentagon. I have heard
no word about her condition. I have tried contacting her family to no
avail. Her son, Malcolm, worked on our show. I cannot find him. I keep
getting tears in my eyes. Once she gave me a tour of the Pentagon, took me
everywhere, and got such a kick out of taking me around this building I
used to march on. Will our mutual friends who know Barbara, and know how
she is, please write me? Please.
The man who occupies the White House cried today. Good. Keep crying, Mr.
Bush. The more you cry, the less you will go to that dark side in all
humans where anger rages to a point where we want to blindly kill. Your
dad's and Reagan's old cronies -- Eagleberger, Baker, Schultz -- are all
calling for you to bomb first and ask questions later. You must NOT do
this. If only because you do not want to stoop to these mass murderers'
level. Yes, find out who did it. Yes, see that they NEVER do it again.
But GET A GRIP, man. "Declare war?" War against whom? One guy in the desert
whom we can never seem to find? Are our leaders telling us that the most
powerful country on earth cannot dispose of one sick evil f---wad of a guy?
Because if that is what you are telling us, then we are truly screwed. If
you are unable to take out this lone ZZ Top wannabe, what on earth would
you do for us if we were attacked by a nation of millions? For chrissakes,
call the Israelis and have them do that thing they do when they want to get
their man! We pay them enough billions each year, I am SURE they would be
happy to accommodate your request.
But I beg you, Mr. Bush, stay with the tears. Go today to comfort the
wounded of New York. Tell the mayor, a guy most of us have not liked, that
he is doing an incredible job, keeping the spirits of everyone up as high
as they can be at this moment. Being there for a city I believe he loves,
his own cancer still with him, he goes beyond the call of duty.
But do not declare war and massacre more innocents. After bin Laden's
previous act of terror, our last elected president went and bombed what he
said was "bin Laden's camp" in Afghanistan -- but instead just killed
civilians. Then he bombed a factory in the Sudan, saying it was "making
chemical weapons." It turned out to be making aspirin. Innocent people
murdered by our Air Force.
Back in May, you gave the Taliban in Afghanistan $48 million dollars of our
tax money. No free nation on earth would give them a cent, but you gave
them a gift of $48 million because they said they had "banned all drugs."
Because your drug war was more important than the actual war the Taliban
had inflicted on its own people, you helped to fund the regime who had
given refuge to the very man you now say is responsible for killing my
friend on that plane and for killing the friends of families of thousands
and thousands of people. How dare you talk about more killing now! Shame!
Shame! Shame! Explain your actions in support of the Taliban! Tell us why
your father and his partner Mr. Reagan trained Mr. bin Laden in how to be a
Am I angry? You bet I am. I am an American citizen, and my leaders have
taken my money to fund mass murder. And now my friends have paid the price
with their lives.
Keep crying, Mr. Bush. Keep running to Omaha or wherever it is you go while
others die, just as you ran during Vietnam while claiming to be "on duty"
in the Air National Guard. Nine boys from my high school died in that
miserable war. And now you are asking for "unity" so you can start another
one? Do not insult me or my country like this!
Yes, I, too, will be in church at noon today, on this national day of
mourning. I will pray for you, and us, and the children of New York, and
the children of this sad and ugly world ...
mmlfint at aol.com
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