The Guardian October 3, 2001


Letter from Michael Moore

Lost in America

Dear Friends,

We have made it to Columbus, Ohio for the night and are staying just a 
couple of blocks from the state capitol building where Governor Rhodes gave 
the order on May 4, 1970, to send the National Guard to Kent State. There 
they opened fire on hundreds of unarmed students, killing four and wounding 
many others.

Few dared to call it a terrorist act committed by the state of Ohio... but 
there I go again. Off message! Stay focused on the main themes, Mike:

"AMERICA UNITED!" "SMOKE 'EM OUTTA THEIR HOLES, HUNT 'EM DOWN, AND GIT 
'EM!"

"THE SLEEPING GIANT HAS BEEN AROUSED!" and "REMEMBER THE POSTER IN THE OLD 
WEST: 'WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE!'"

I have a question to all the war hawks out there: When you listen and look 
at our Commander-in-Chief, do you really think THIS is the guy who is going 
to kick some major league ass?

I know we are all supposed to be supportive of Mr Bush, at the moment, but 
has it dawned on anyone that he is not, in fact, the "president?" I hate to 
bring up a thorny subject, but this is the man who lost the election. He 
got the least number of votes between the two major party candidates. His 
brother oversaw a rigged vote in Florida.

I am so, so sorry to bring this up now, but the tragedy of the past week is 
EXACTLY the kind of horrible circumstance many Americans feared we'd find 
ourselves in  A NATIONAL CRISIS UNDER A LEADER WHO IS NOT THERE BY THE 
WILL OF THE PEOPLE.

It is a tribute to the goodwill of the American public that they have 
rallied behind George W Bush as best they can, 'cause he and his fake 
flight jacket is all we got right now in the Oval Office.

Someone needs to get in charge and propose some real solutions to bringing 
the perpetrators to justice and preventing this  as best as possible  
from happening again. Instead, what we have is Bush speaking like a wind-up 
doll, mouthing a bunch of nonsense cliches, repeating them over and over 
and over.

THIS is the Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful country on earth? Who 
amongst you feels secure tonight? What enemy is going to be afraid of this 
guy?

Bush keeps calling what we are in "a war". Has anyone told him that the 
more he keeps using this word, the more HE puts US in jeopardy? A "war" 
implies that two sides are participating in an action to kill as many of 
the other side as possible.

Bush and the pundits use the word like it's a one-sided deal, like we're 
going to be the only ones doing the bombing. War means we bomb them, then 
they bomb us. That's what war is, you idiots.

All of you who are screaming for war: are you prepared to pay the price, to 
take thousands of more casualties? Because, my big, macho-talking friends, 
THAT is what this kind of war would be like.

America is a complex and open society with a massive and intricate 
infrastructure that is fragile and vulnerable and susceptible to easy 
attack and disruption. IT CAN BE BROUGHT DOWN WITH A BOXCUTTER.

Nearly a week with no stock market, no commercial television, no 
professional sports, three days with no planes in the air (for the first 
time since 1911), no airports open, the country essentially shut down. A 
week later and the phone lines still don't all work.

A boxcutter, folks! Do not be misled into thinking he with the biggest 
missile is going to win this "war".

We will never be able to protect all of us from this kind of terrorism. 
Back and forth, more buildings bombed, more planes downed, more innocent 
American lives lost. When does this end? 

Or is it just when we kill Osama bin Laden, then we win the war? Are you 
serious? We couldn't even assassinate Hitler during a massive World War 
that lasted six years!

Bush now says this is "a war against the evil people in the world". Oh, 
really? THAT war! Yeah, we should be able to defeat "evil", oh, sometime in 
the next millennium or two. Get a grip.

"War" is not going to get the justice we demand or make us more safe. You 
know it and I know it. There is a different way to go, and it goes like 
this:

One billion people on this planet have no clean drinking water. Two billion 
have no electricity. Three billion have never made a phone call from their 
home.

We have the money and the people-power to alter ALL of this. We also have 
the moral imperative to stop supporting repressive regimes and corporations 
who exploit these people.

When we decide to help improve these billions of people's lives, we will 
pull the rug out from under the terrorists who need those they send to 
their deaths to be poor and exploited and angry at us.

When all the people in the Middle East have food on the table, a decent 
home, a good job, and democratic control over their own lives, who among 
them is going to be convinced to sacrifice his life by crashing himself 
into a tall office building?

Sure, there will always be those who go insane and kill without reason. The 
British saw that in a Dunblane schoolyard, we saw it in Oklahoma City.

There IS a way to protect us from further attack, to lift the rest of the 
world out of its misery, but it requires some smarts and some guts, two 
things in short supply in Washington these days.

I can't believe all the incredible letters you are sending me  over 
41,000 letters in the last week. I am so sorry I cannot respond to each of 
you.

I have scrolled down through the subject headings and read a few of the 
letters and it is clear I am not alone in my sadness over this tragedy or 
in the anger I have for what is being proposed by our leaders.

I will print these letters and let our elected officials see what the REST 
of America is thinking about the idea of "war".

(Abridged)

Yours,
Michael Moore

mmflint@aol.com
http://www.michaelmoore.com

* * *
Michael Moore is the presenter of the TV program The Awful Truth

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