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Frontline Wannabe
By Genesio Zenone
October 28, 2004 

The World According to Bush is a snotty French-turd of a documentary which caters to Anti-Americans abroad as it absolves the self-loathing American left of its discomforting nationality (much like an inquisitor “absolves” the heretic who recants). The movie, which is filling independent movie houses all over the US and has aired on Canada’s sacred CBC, is being billed as a less sanctimonious, more objective version of Fahrenheit 911; whereas Fahrenheit 911 appeals to the more populist, regular Joe vein of the left, “The World According to Bush” targets its pseudorigor demanding elite.

Whetting the discerning viewer’s sophisticated appetite, the film begins with a contrast between President Bush and Norman Mailer. The first clip is of Bush speaking to a graduating class, first congratulating students who have excelled and then reassuring C students by telling them “even you could be president”. The second clip is of Norman Mailer explaining that Bush is stupid in every way but one (Bush needs to be non-stupid at least in one way in order to qualify as evil and sinister…and guilty); Bush, Mailer continues, is incredibly shrewd when it comes to manipulating people, especially that large number of stupid American people who identify with him. The intention behind this contrast is to get the audience to snort at Bush’s stupid, un-serious joke (actually I found it refreshing and funny) while being awed by the conclusions of a Nobel laureate with a brilliant past. Swallowing that old pill whole allows viewers an in-the-know club membership. The tactic will probably work; after all most people who make the effort to see this film in the US are going there to be told what they want to hear, and most people, who see it outside the US, resent the US for all kinds of reasons which will be reinforced by the film.

Norman Mailer is a brilliant writer and a great shit -disturber; but that should not give him a pass when it comes to assertions which don’t make much sense. How neurologically likely is it that Bush can be incredibly stupid in every way but one? Is there some unknown kind of autism which could explain this? Mailer, you may remember, made quite a splash by suggesting that the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were done to bolster white America’s ego which has been deflated by the decline of Caucasian athletes (He has also just made a cameo on the WB’s Gilmore Girls, for what that’s worth).
With almost parodically cued eerie music, the documentary touches on all the usual evils that make up the demonology of the left, and in many ways follows Fahrenheit’s Stations of the Cross:

• The 2000 “selection”
• The Black people not allowed to vote in Florida
• The religious right
• The neocon cabal
• The Patriot Act
• The TIPS program
• Our former Relationship with Iraq
• Our Former relation with what became the Taliban
• The Saudi Connection
• The Military Industrial Complex
• The Lapdog American press
• RNC money

The Documentary claims that Bush was “selected” by a republican controlled Supreme Court. The truth of the matter is that the court, which is split 4 to 4 with one unpredictable tiebreaker, had to make a decision. Gore asked for recounts in those municipalities where he thought he would get more votes; he got the recounts and miscalculated (he should have asked for the entire state), but to blame this miscalculation on the sinister workings of the Supreme Court is silly. Not that the Supreme Court does not deserve some scrutiny: If in 2000 Bush and Gore traded places, I suspect 8 of the 9 supreme court justices would have switched accordingly (they would have voted the opposite way)...showing a degree of partisanship that should be absent from the legislative branch. Now, that’s a bad sign, but it is something that could have just as easily gone the other way and more importantly it could have been avoided.

Many black felons who by law should have been allowed to vote in Florida were not. This is obviously a problem that needs to be addressed, but the fact is that, by definition, close elections shine light on these kinds of mistakes which overtake the margin of error. It is not that the republicans have planned for this. It is likely that, if the election had gone to Gore, many Cubans (who vote republican) would come forward with the same grievance.

Bush is a religious man who wears his religion on his sleeve; there is little doubt about that, but the reason for why he wears that religion on his sleeve is subject to debate. It is not, as the film implied directed at those with different faiths or of no faith. Rather, it is directed at his base. The difference between these two views is that under one, Bush threatens us, while under the other, he merely irritates us. Those who fear that he will roll back the social progress we have made should realize that most of his posture is politics.

An illustration of this is that his foreign policy, the now infamous Bush Doctrine, has little to do with the Christian Right; if anything, the kind of conservatism that influences Bush’s foreign policy is incompatible with religious conservatism. How is it possible for neocons most of whom are atheists with Jewish backgrounds to be part of the Christian right? If the film maker’s answer is that the Christian Right supports Israel, he should have a listen to the anti-Semitic conversations between Nixon and Billy Graham. Or read the writings of Pat Buchanan. Showing a bunch of Jewish people dancing in front of Christians is not going to change that.

The film continues to ponder the neoconservative conspiracy dropping in the occasional reference to the administration’s tying Iraq to 9-11, as well as a sprinkling of comparisons to Goebbels and Nazi Germany. It’s childish and silly. The narrator repeatedly mispronounces the name “Wolfvevitz”. Is this just a mistake? Or is this a return of the Franklin Delano Rosenfeld phenomenon?
The watchdog Center for Public Integrity is heavily used as a source for much of the documentary’s damming evidence against Bush, starting with the Patriot Act. The problem is that the CPI itself has an agenda and is not unbiased. Watchdogs need money and that money affects them.

Whether the Patriot act is a good bill or not is subject to debate; one good thing about it is that it is set to expire unless renewed by congress.

Operation TIPS (Terrorism Information and Prevention System) is one of those red-herrings that allows leftists to claim that we live in an orwellian society where citizens are encouraged to turn each other in. The truth of the matter is that TIPS was stillborn.

When Iran was taken over by a vehemently anti-American islamist, The US decided to help Iraq (which was at war with Iran) just enough to create a stalemate. That we should be embarrassed by this is silly; had we not supported Iraq, Iran would have destabilized the entire Middle East.

Similarly when the Soviet Union set it sights on Afghanistan, we decided to help the Afghanis to give Russia its own Vietnam. This cost the Soviet Union a lot of money and contributed to their bankruptcy.

The Saudi Connection is one that deserves attention, but as it does with every other issue the documentary boils everything down to a simple conspiracy which is plagued with internal contradiction:
If the Saudis control our foreign policy how is it that we invaded both Iraq and Afghanistan against their wishes?
The truth of the matter is one of the main reasons we invaded Iraq was to break the Saudi monopoly and have more leverage on them.
The story of the Saudi nationals being whisked out of the country keeps coming up. It is simply false. They were interrogated and not allowed to leave the US until after commercial flight resumed.

The military industrial complex has been blamed for every war the US has ever fought; it is manifestly true that it makes money during wars, but to say that it in general causes or encourage wars is like saying doctors cause or encourage people to get sick. It is to ignore the whole system of checks and balances which has never allowed the military industrial complex to take hold of American foreign policy. Which wars of the past were caused by the complex?

The mainstream American media has been criticized for reporting or repeating faulty intelligence with respect to WMD; what critics should remember is that the intelligence agencies of France, Germany, England, Russia and others all made the same conclusions. Surely the press had no more access to intelligence than did these agencies.

Finally the RNC does have a lot of money, but it may shock the documentary filmmakers to find out that this time the DNC has almost tied them.
The straining effort to appear objective is evident. While air time is given to those who could defend Bush, most of the time the questions confine their answers in such a way that they are neutral at best. In the end, after forcing oneself through the film, one is left with a terrible taste in ones mouth and a cramped hand from constantly scribbling answers to each of the film’s paranoid ramblings.

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