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Michael Moore’s defense of a pro-torturer film


Could Michael Moore really have missed who the heroes were supposed to be in Katheryn Bigalow’s “Zero Dark Thirty”?
 
For those who won’t be bothering to see Bigalow’s vile movie, please consider some remarks Bigalow made about her film. These are by far the most honest statements she has made about it.
 
"I want them [the audience] to be moved. I want them to know that this is the story of the intelligence community finding this man. These are incredibly brave individuals, dedicated individuals who sacrificed a lot to accomplish this mission…" 
 
Bigalow was similarly clear about who her heroes were in an LA Times op-ed:
 
"We should never forget the brave work of those professionals in the military and intelligence communities who paid the ultimate price in the effort to combat a grave threat to this nation's safety and security.
 
Bin Laden wasn't defeated by superheroes zooming down from the sky; he was defeated by ordinary Americans who fought bravely even as they sometimes crossed moral lines, who labored greatly and intently, who gave all of themselves in both victory and defeat, in life and in death, for the defense of this nation."
 
A clumsier propagandist than Bigalow would have denied that torture ever took place. Instead her movie depicts torture as one of the sacrifices made by her heroes  - an additional reason for Bigalow's immense gratitude.
 
Bigalow wrote in the LA Times
 
“..we should never discount and never forget the thousands of innocent lives lost on 9/11 and subsequent terrorist attacks.”
 
Bigalow refers to US lives lost – the ones that count for her, not the tens of thousands of innocent Afghan lives lost in the “hunt for Bin Laden.” Some of us may remember that Afghanistan was bombed, right in the middle of a humanitarian crisis, and then occupied for years with that “hunt” serving as the major pretext. Living inside a rich and powerful country gives us the option of easily forgetting. It is as simple as turning a TV channel.
 
How does a film that makes heroes out of torturers (exactly as Bigalow intended) , and that writes tens of thousands of innocent victims out of history, get praised by Michael Moore?
 
There are two very depressing reasons:
 
1)  Moore thinks the movie showed that Obama made the CIA stop torturing and start doing effective police work.
 
And yet Moore also lectures us that “You should NEVER engage in a debate where the other side defines the terms of the debate — namely, in this case, to debate ‘whether torture works’”
 
I agree completely. Therefore I will not waste any words on which mass murdering president this film really glorifies – George W Bush Bush (as Liz Cheney cheerfully claims about the movie) or Barack Obama (as Michael Moore claims).
 
2)  The feminist spin of the film really impressed Moore. He wrote
 
Oh — and girl. 'Zero Dark Thirty — a movie made by a woman (Kathryn Bigelow), produced by a woman (Megan Ellison), distributed by a woman (Amy Pascal, the co-chairman of Sony Pictures), and starring a woman (Jessica Chastain) is really about how an agency of mostly men are dismissive of a woman who is on the right path to finding bin Laden. Yes, guys, this is a movie about how we don't listen to women, how hard it is for them to have their voice heard even in these enlightened times. You could say this is a 21st century chick flick — and it would do you well to see it.
 
Which women should we listen to?  Could Moore mean the Afghan women of RAWA who have been for years, and at considerable risk to themselves, denouncing the US government's savage misogynist allies in the "hunt for bin Laden"? Of course not. He means Western women who make big bucks – the ones dropping US bombs, propagandizing for them, or otherwise collaborating at a high level with the "war on terror". How enlightening.  
 
Moore should also read up on the US backed Haitian dictator, Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier, specifically, one of the top people in his torture state: Madame Max Adolph (aka Rosalie Bosquet). Papa Doc ruled Haiti from 1957-1971 and he was more than open to letting women in on the dirty work. In addition to elevating Madame Max to his inner circle, Papa Doc created the Fillettes Laleau, the female version of his infamous Toton Macoute death squad. Why waste female talent for brutality? Not a 21st century insight.

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