Filmmaker Michael Moore told CNN’s Larry King that it’s time for President Barack Obama to wind down the war in Afghanistan. “It’s unwinnable. It’s immoral. It’s illegal. It’s wrong,” he said. “We need to leave.”
Moore appeared on the program Thursday along with another war critic, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).
“It is my sincere hope that he decides to wind down and end this war, at least our part of this war, in Afghanistan,” Moore said. “Initially, the idea of going and trying to capture the criminals who committed a mass murder on 9/11, that was a good idea. But we never did that.
“There is no middle ground,” he stated emphatically. “You’re either going to go all out and fight a big war that can’t be won, or you’re going to bring the troops home and focus on the problems that we have right now — huge unemployment, global warming, a health care mess, all these things, our educational system, everything.”
Moved by Obama’s attendance at the transfer of bodies at Dover Air Force Base, something President George W. Bush infamously didn’t do, Moore offered hope that Obama might end the war in Afghanistan.”I’m going to trust in all my heart that he’s going to make the right decision,” he opined.
Yet earlier this month a senior administration official told the press, “What is not on the table, in any sense, is leaving Afghanistan or so narrowly defining our mission as to be the equivalent of leaving Afghanistan.” (After Moore’s appearance, Rep. Paul told King, “I don’t think he’s quite willing to criticize Obama like Bush, but I am.”)
And although King didn’t comment, Moore hammered on the scandal of CIA involvement with the opium trade there. “Yesterday, Larry, that story in The New York Times about how the brother of the president of Afghanistan, the brother of Karzai, is suspected of being involved in the opium trade, which funds the Taliban, and our CIA pays this man. So we’re paying the guy who’s helping to create the money that’s funding the Taliban that’s killing our soldiers. Are we, like, an insane country? When is this going to stop? I want this ended. I want these troops home.”
Moore’s latest film Capitalism: A Love Story has grossed $13 million in five weeks of release. He has now directed four of the eight highest grossing documentaries in U.S. history.
I never jumped on the Michael Moore bandwagon. He had a
reporter’s sense of what issues might get headlines or sell
papers, but his documentary style was boring and intellectualy
superficial, evolving toward liberal sloppy attack-journalism,
a lame alternative to the calculated right wing impulse that
culminated in the swift-boaters–not to mention Rush of the
exquisite radio voice modulation, who re-validated medicine
shows. Think of the Limbaugh/Moore debates. I would rather
turn them both off and create a college of public health.
But I also heard the interview you reviewed and Moore was
compelling. Painted himself as a guy who took a controversial
position once before about Iraq, and is taking that
irrefutable position again (rhetorical analysis–>analogical
thinking is always suspect). Uncle M, concerned about his
nephew Devon Moore, or neice Dorothy Moore, about to have
their legs blown off to protect the opium magnate brother of
Karzai. (Devon and Dorothy are my inventions, but MM’s main
appeal was avuncular rather than analytical.)
I was turned off by Moore’s calculating motives. “I can get
the headlines.” This dislike came on strong when he went out
of his way to slag Keith Olbermann for backing the Iraq
invasion years ago–Moore is pathologically egotistical and
could not transcend his instinct to attack a fellow popular
liberal journalist competing for glory. Mike! Keith is a
sports announcer after all! Curb your insecurities!
But your review skipped all this complifying static–nailed
the core values that align me with Moore’s message. We are
learning the hard way like England and Russia in the past.
Given the alternate choice of right wing political duplicity
and historical ignorance, Moore’s foibles become irrelevant if
he can energize serious political debate about marching off
the cliffs into a chasm.