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:: Monday, May 17, 2004 ::

What did he know, and when did he know it?


Michael Moore's Farenheit 911 raises an unexpected question.


It comes as no surprise that Michael Moore's latest anti-Bush polemic is a big hit at Cannes. What I did find a little surprising was the fact that it reportedly includes footage of American soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners:


In the light of the current controversy over pictures of Iraqi prisoners being abused, his latest film is right up to date in showing American soldiers in the field mocking and posing with hooded Iraqi prisoners.


"This is the first footage of abuse and humiliation of these Iraqi detainees," Moore said.



This raises an interesting question: When was this footage taken and when did it come into Michael Moore's possession? It sure sounds like evidence of violations of the Geneva Conventionts being committed, which should have been reported immediately to the appropriate authorities.


Considering how quickly the military moved to investigate and shut down the abuses at Abu Ghraib once they were reported, it seems likely that they would have responded equally quickly to Moore's material -- possibly reducing or even preventing the abuses that have been splattered across the media landscape for the past few weeks.


Did Michael Moore report his evidence to the authorities? Or did he withhold it, knowing that it would boost his film? How many prisoners suffered unnecessarily for Michael Moore's vanity?


Update: I've since seen a report (in print) that the film was finished just 10 days before screening, so it is possible that the material in question was added at the last minute. I'd still like to know if that's the case.


:: Erik | 5/17/2004 06:56:00 PM | | ::
Inside every silver cloud, a dark lining


The reaction to Abu Ghraib inside of Iraq has been muted in comparison to the rest of the Arab world. According to the LA Times, that's bad news for the coalition.


In the LA Times' view, Iraqi response is muted because Iraqis have experienced firsthand the depravity of the American occupiers and expect no better. I'm paraphrasing, of course, but not very loosely.


Of course, the story was written long ago as far as the LAT is concerned -- the "journalist"'s job now is to fit whatever comes along into the narrative. One rather suspects that if more Iraqis were delighted by harsh treatment for Baathist thugs, the LA Times would take the coalition to task for pandering to their base instincts and maybe sowing the seeds for civil war.


Iraq the Model has another take on the issue, as does his friend linked above. But they're just ordinary Iraqis and can't be expected to understand the Iraqi point-of-view as well as those highly trained journalists at the LAT do.


Update: The archive at Iraq the Model appears to be wonky. If the links above don't work, go to the main page and search for the entries on May 6 & May 8 2004.



Update: Here's another report on Iraqi reaction to the scandal and its aftermath, this time from a Marine Colonel in Iraq.


:: Erik | 5/17/2004 10:37:00 AM | | ::
In a heartbeat.


Me too. (via Greg Piper)
:: Erik | 5/17/2004 12:24:00 AM | | ::

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