When Michael Moore Makes Sense (Sort of)

I can’t help it sometimes. I feel like a moth drawn toward a flame. When Michael Moore pens a heartfelt letter to the President of the United States imploring him to save the world, I simply have to read it. And I confess… I did. I read every last morsel. And here’s the surprising part… Mr. Moore has actually highlighted (albeit in a completely unintentional way, I’m sure) a very important point.

His plea is for Obama not to become “the next war president” by sending more troops to Afghanistan. I can understand and respect the sentiment from those opposed to any military engagement by the United States, but a couple of his comments are worthy of note.

With just one speech tomorrow night you will turn a multitude of young people who were the backbone of your campaign into disillusioned cynics. You will teach them what they’ve always heard is true — that all politicians are alike. I simply can’t believe you’re about to do what they say you are going to do. Please say it isn’t so.

I have to ask here… were any of the people who were the “backbone of your campaign” actually listening to any of your speeches during the campaign? Did they notice how you said that Afghanistan was the good war? The war we had to win? Or did they perchance think that was just some rhetoric to get elected? And if so, wouldn’t that already make you “just another politician” as Mr. Moore fears?

On to the next bit.

I know you know that there are LESS than a hundred al-Qaeda left in Afghanistan! A hundred thousand troops trying to crush a hundred guys living in caves? Are you serious? Have you drunk Bush’s Kool-Aid? I refuse to believe it.

I have clearly let my obsessions with Tiger Woods, Sarah Palin and Jon and Kate distract me from the international news. When did we kill off all of AQ except the last one hundred? I mean, really… if that were somehow true, I’d be in favor of Obama sending in another one hundred thousand troops. How long could it take to kill one hundred guys? Honestly, I don’t know where he gets these things.

But Moore makes a good point in spite of himself. Will Obama go “all in” on the war in Afghanistan? If he does, I dearly hope that he plans on clearly explaining to us what the extra troops will accomplish, what our end goals are, and how long it will take and what is exit strategy is.

And once again, if he can’t do that, then maybe he needs to take Michael Moore’s advice and get out of Dodge while the getting is good. If he can make a good case for what we’re going to accomplish, he’s probably going to have to pony up more resources than we’re currently hearing rumors of. We shall see tomorrow.

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  • dduck12

    Sure bet: It will be a brilliant speech, that's his forte. While he was deliberating, speech writers had plenty of time to fine tune the thing. Who will be perfectly happy with its contents? No one, except perhaps speech critics.
    Expect Noonan to give it an A.

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    Yea big Moore fan here and I have defended him more than once on this site but on this one he is huffin the crack pipe. OR he missed the entire 2008 campaign. Either I suppose is possible and I am not sure which it is but he is way off on this one. The 100 AQ line I have heard batted around some blogs but not on any serious ones so if someone wants to hear an Obama supportin Michael Moore lovin guy say MM is flat out clueless on this one and Afgh is important I will be that guy.

    Michael Moore is huffing the crack pipe or missed the entire 2008 campaign.

    Having said that with the changes going on in Paki as long as he puts more boots on the ground I am starting to have a good feeling about this regardless of the amount(lets not be crazy but I find all of the numbers except zero to be acceptable that I have heard in the press). We all know of reports of certain actions going on in the tribal regions though I prefer to not be specific, if those reports are correct we are now for the first time since the invasion of Afgh taking it to those that are attacking us and I fully and strongly support that action. I must disagree with you Jazz this can be more than an all in or all out IF he is willing to act in certain areas previous administrations, Clinton included, refused to touch with a ten foot pole. Dangerous, yes but the enemy is in SA and Paki and only vacations in Afgh and I am happy that it seems the commander in chief seems to get at least some of that now. Of course this is all reading tea leaves but its the first time in a long while they told me what I wanted to hear about our current foreign adventures.

  • dduck12

    I'm sure there are still some pro-Taliban/AQ people in the Paki secret service; hopefully fewer. The recent activity in the tribal areas sounds encouraging, but probably needs a 50% hair cut in the reliability index.
    in any event, I hope O and the generals have it right.

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    Me as well because its a highly dangerous move but to be honest its the only way to really ever “fix” it in my opinion. Well other than crawling into a wayback machine and not allowing us to give them Nuke tech. To be honest anything being done in Paki other than drone attacks has left me kind of stunned, worried and extremely hopeful. I have just gotten used to around 16 years of treating them like a slightly friendly NK which has up till now been the case.

  • shannonlee

    It is funny that Moore thinks Obama cares about his opinion. Why did Moore really write the letter? Did he really think that Obama would ignore his own people and go with the movie guy? Nah, someone must be in the middle of a new movie.

  • JSpencer

    One thing Moore is right about, tomorrow's speech is going to be a definitive one for Obama. Even more definitive will be the actions themselves. Btw, did we learn anything from the Soviet adventures in Afghanistan that ended two decades ago… and lasted 9 years?

  • Leonidas

    Yea lets send Michael Moore to fight Al Queda and the 13 year old girl raping Taliban.

    “Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler—all this might have been averted.”
    – William Borah, isolationist

  • Don Quijote

    And now we kiss goodbye to the Obama administration…

  • http://www.newshoggers.com/ Ron Beasley

    You got it TMSF, he is doing what he said he would do. I guess we hoped he was just another lying politician. In this case no, in other cases not so much,

  • http://www.newshoggers.com/ Ron Beasley

    Think LBJ!

  • pacatrue

    My understanding is that the whole point of the delay between McChrystal's request and today was to develop precisely what Jazz demands (Quoting):

    I dearly hope that he plans on clearly explaining to us what the extra troops will accomplish, what our end goals are, and how long it will take and what is exit strategy is.

    Developing those rules was how he is attempting to be neither LBJ in Vietnam or the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. The Soviet Union had no plans to leave; Obama is supposed to be developing explicit ways to get out. Similarly, Obama is trying to develop specific goals to meet, not simply sending more troops until all out victory never defined is achieved.

    But we will see tomorrow. I agree with JSpencer that this is a definitive move for the administration, and it's basically what he always said during the campaign.

    The next President should have a pretty easy time, though. They just get to stop doing stuff and maintain.

  • spirasol

    I appreciate M.Moore saying what he has to say in our behalf. Why else does he keep a hand in…
    I think it's true that Obama prewarned us, but the facts on the ground have changed, quite a bit in my estimation. There is quite a bit of mission creep going on here, and still no answers as to what and when we will our ever shifting goals.(If you haven't seen the LBJ program it is a must). In the end it is another occupation, unwanted by Afghanis except those trying to consolidate power. To repeat something I said elsewhere, occupations don't work, they are expensive and take their toll in more than cash. My sense is Obama would compromise the store. I'm so glad I don't have a son or a daughter of age, as it would break my heart to send them into these meaningless immoral wars. Meanwhile we are distracted with this new bogus communist threat (terrorism) and with little money to do anything else. WE need to come home, heal ourselves, take care of ourselves.

  • adesnik

    Very nice post, Jazz.

  • ProfElwood

    I'll wait for the speech. If he has some goals and an exit plan, he'll be far ahead of any president in my lifetime. The time line realistically should have some flex in it (not the GWB “we'll tell you when we're done” stuff, just make some approximations and say that they're approximations), because our crystal balls don't seem to be in tune.

  • Dr J

    Good post, Jazz. There are some good reasons to leave Afghanistan. To keep the president from resembling a politician is not among them.

  • casualobserver

    Obama's speechifying is getting easy to predict…..look for references in the speech to those very same campaign lines you reference Jazz……….those same lines that will be long on platitudes and short on specifics……..look for lines to say “we won't repeat the mistakes of the past (administration)”……..”we will have clearly measurable goals and exit plans” (though none will be revealed)……….it will be long on unquantifiable eloquence and short on quantifiable substance………..can you say “vintage Obama”

  • DLS

    “Why did Moore really write the letter?”

    The far left, who believe they should “own” Obama as they were among the most Faithful last year, are increasingly impatient and upset with the lack of “progress” as the Dems entangle themselves in a morass of overreach and increasing mainstream concern and rejection of overreach. Some by now even feel “betrayed,” or close to it. The far left want no increase in military presence or activity, but a decrease if not an immediate cessation and complete withdraw as soon as physically possible from Afghanistan. Moore was already expressing the dismay of many that “single-payer” [sic] wasn't sought for health care “reform,” and will decry anything less than a firm commitment to, or defense of, a “public option” (as ambitious in form as possible) by Obama next, after disparaging him currently as the new “war president.” (Look for similar “Barack Obama, imperialist warmonger” stuff from World Socialist Web Site or the Militant soon, or Global Research, for example.)

    Meanwhile:

    “those same lines that will be long on platitudes and short on specifics”

    Campaign crap, once more. There never was a need for a nation-wide address about this, much less a deliberate spectacle. (Will there be a staged gladiator show beforehand, showing G.I. Joe and Jane fighting and killing a couple of Taliban?)

  • DLS

    “can you say 'vintage Obama'”

    Easily. If he's going to go to an extreme like this, why not push the envelope, and have him advise the public not to pay heed to “overweight filmmakers spreading fishy information”? [grin]

  • JSpencer

    There never was a need for a nation-wide address about this ~ DLS

    Don't be absurd, of course there is a need for a nationwide address. Mere oratory skills aren't going to cut it though, there will have to be “substance we can believe in”.

  • DLS

    I'm not absurd, obviously (or at least, it should be obvious). A press conference would have been both sufficient and more appropriate, and even that wasn't necessary. As for his campaign appearance, it has nothing to do with substance and everything to do with spectacle, style, and Feeling Good, even if those suceptible to such manipulation are kept unaware of it. We don't need any “mojo,” just something lacking — (real) substance, the confidence that goals are understood and we're being committed to meeting them. I.e., we're purposeful, with a plan on how to swim, rather than just thrashing aimlessly in the water. All we “need” is to know that aimlessness or uncertainty is being replaced with something more definitive and action taken in light of it. We (or many of us) don't need to be made to Feel Good or Reassured.

  • DLS

    “And now we kiss goodbye to the Obama administration…”

    Well, Alec Baldwin is apparently going to quit acting. I note the timing, with amusement.

    Michael Moore will sound the “progressives'” lament and cry of betrayal. What encore if health care “reform” has no public option, later? What encore by Moore, then? (And will Baldwin leave the USA and renounce his citizenship?)

  • DLS

    “If he has some goals and an exit plan, he'll be far ahead of any president in my lifetime.”

    That's all many of us want. Afghanistan will probably begin recede as a public issue at that point, if that's what he reveals (some goals and an exit plan). He can safely go on to push fully for health care legislation, energy legislation (after departing for Copenhagen enjoying a lift), and so on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rick.desper Rick Desper

    Al Qaeda left Afganistan several years ago and are based on Pakistan now. Right?

    “When did we kill off all of AQ except the last one hundred?”

    Moore isn't saying that we did. He's saying they're not in Afganistan.

    Without judging the veracity of his claim, I think it would be fair to judge Moore on what he actually said, rather than misrepresenting it.

  • spirasol

    It is known M. Moore has a fact checking team and they are thorough and he knows he will be further fact checked upon release of his documentary. He is quite a journalist, actually. Most times, since he can't be proven wrong on the facts, then they revert to attacking character….”oh the big fat lying liberal obese ungrateful rich guy.”– that about covers it.

  • JSpencer

    Btw, I mentioned in another thread as to how Moore has been around along time. He sounded the alarm about GM decades ago when running an alternative newpaper in Flint, MI and most of his observations proved out. Look at what has transpired since then. Also he was dead right about Iraq… before it was commonly accepted to have been a bogus war. Sure, he can seem insufferable, but as spirasol suggests, substance is more important than style.

  • dduck12

    I guess even obnoxious people like Moore and Rush do have valid points that we tend to turn a blind eye to. And, It's too bad that smooth talkers often spew BS.

  • JSpencer

    I'd pay good money to see a debate between those two. Probably want to have some cold lager on hand. ;-)

  • dduck12

    Boy, what a great idea. Need a moderator, though. All the good ones are dead, like Nero, Groucho, and The Oracle of Delphi.

  • JSpencer

    Think I'd have to go with Groucho, although the others are inspired choices. Sure wish he was still around…