Well, time to fulfill an obligation, after getting at least one person to review The Path to 9/11 in exchange for reviewing a movie they wanted me to review. For this documentary, I’m pretty much writing the review at the same time I’m watching the film, occasionally pausing it from time to time. Sometimes that’s the style I use.
So the film begins by stating that Bush cheated to win the Florida election by highlighting how some family/party members associated with him were in charge of the voting counts that happened in that state. He also mentions how African Americans (specifically them) demanded recounts, but were denied because no Senator supported their cause. Of course, what Moore doesn’t mention that should be remembered is that other sources mention that other recount studies conclude that Bush would’ve still won Florida (Source). Not to mention there was a recount. In fact, to this day, it’s still controversial, with several sources saying a full state recount could swing one way or another (Source). Either way you look at it, there are uncertainties. Of course, there could still be voter fraud, something that has been a much-talked discussion for each election ever since the 2000 election. Regardless, Moore does make good points about the conflict of interest in Florida. Not sure if that bias would apply to the recount, but hey, I guess you could also mention that Gore himself decided to concede in December when he could’ve taken this argument all the way to Congress.
It goes on to mention how Bush couldn’t really get anything done as his popularity dropped and he became a sort of lame duck president, so he spent a good portion of his time vacationing and doing his hobbies that he did prior to becoming president. In other words, avoiding a lot of his responsibility due to a combination of spite and disinterest. Soon after that, the real story begins, when 9/11 happens.
Here’s the first thing I find interesting, that the rich Saudi bin Laden family had some private jets take them out of America during this time (September 13 and later), when all flights were grounded. 142 Saudis, including 24 bin Ladens. Something like this becomes even more suspicious when you consider the declassified 28 page report of the 9/11 Commission Report which mentions that money that financed the hijackers came from the house of a Saudi prince (Moore states that the Bush’s were responsible for that censoring). Prince Bandar bin Sultan, then the Saudi ambassador to Washington (Source). Footage of his interview on CNN is shown in the movie. Whether he himself actually financed the terrorists or someone else in his household did remains unknown, but at the very least that would put a big strain between US and Saudi relations, which is why I have a hypothesis that US officials would rather let them get away and be protected from investigation for the sake of maintaining peaceful relations rather than investigate them to find out more about the inner workings of the terrorist finance network. That, and there’s also the fact that they were allies during the Cold War.
At least, that’s something that Moore implies, that the Saudis were let go due to their Bush family relations and their financial influence within the United States, despite the fact that they likely have terrorist ties, which is implied with the CNN interview with Cloonan (an ex FBI agent) who states that the Saudis were let go without being interviewed. Problem with that is that the 9/11 Commision Report states that 30 of the Saudis were interviewed, and that the FBI expressed no interest in interviewing any others beyond the 30 they did interview before they left the United States. Now, one could argue that the 9/11 Commision Report could be making a false statement, or that the FBI did in fact want to interview more of the Saudis, but Moore didn’t want to bring the 9/11 Commision Report too much into his documentary because the report was made largely by the Clinton administration, which isn’t exactly something that is pro-Bush last I checked, which hinders his argument in the movie.
In any case, apparently at least one of the Saudis has a relationship with the Bush family. But then Moore starts to show his obvious bias and agenda against George Bush when he shows footage of Bush at that school and starts narrating something to the extent of, “Hmmm, I’m probably thinking that my Saudi friends were behind this, and I need to start covering my ass on this.” Problem with that is that there is a bit of evidence to indicate that this in fact was not what Bush was thinking. I’m sure Moore called it right in indicating that Bush didn’t take his job very seriously up to that point, making him ignorant and oblivious to the problems that were going on from the time he took office up to 9/11. But when he starts going into the whole, “He’s evil! He’s covering up something! Burn him at the stake! I’m going to chow down on hamburgers and invade Team America headquarters and blow them all up because fuck’em, muahahahahah!”, I tend to get suspicious. For example, soon after Bush became notified of the 9/11 attack and got on board air force one, he said, “I’m not going to let any two-bit thugs bring me or the American people down.”, something he didn’t want on record, for the record. In my opinion, if the Saudis did share responsibility for this, and if the Bush family did know about that, George W. Bush would likely be out of the loop on that. George H.W. Bush is a more likely candidate for the blame in that department, maybe even Jeb Bush. Just my opinion.
James R. Bath, an old war buddy of Bush’s who eventually went on his own to get into the aviation business, who would go on to be the Texas money manager for the bin Ladens. Something that US officials also didn’t want known. What they also don’t want know is how James R. Bath would use his riches to finance George W. so he could get his start in the oil business, while Bath had a business relationship with the bin Ladens.
Even more interesting is the Carlyle group, which profited from the 9/11 disaster, and had connections with other organizations, including United Defense. Business friends of the Bush family became investors of the group, and the bin Ladens also had investments in the group. They profited from the group due to the increased spending and finances put into United Defense as a result of 9/11. Because of the financial and diplomatic relationship between the Bush family and the Saudis (and potentially the American government in general and the Saudis), this is why they kept those 28 pages of the 9/11 Commission Report classified until recently.
Here’s the thing though. As much as Moore bashes on the Bush family for all of this, it’s worth mentioning that most of those on the 9/11 commision and who wrote the 9/11 commision report were tied to the Clinton Foundation, save for 1 republican (whom Moore highlights, of course). And there’s plenty of hate on the anti-Clinton side of the spectrum to indicate bias on the report on the Clinton side, not just the Bush’s (if not more-so, considering how many were involved in the Report). The main thing the Bush seems responsible for in terms of bias on the report is the classification of those 28 pages, which are public now (save for a couple redacted parts).
Then Moore does more of his speculation when he points out that the Saudi ambassador Bandar bin Sultan was “dining” with the Bush’s at the White House. Speculation, in that Moore starts thinking aloud, “I wonder what they were talking about? Probably about shoving an Arabian dick up the asshole of America and getting paid for doing it, because we’re evil rapists like those Wall Street wolves! Muahahahahah!” Long story short, Moore tried to paint the most paranoid and evil picture as possible on that meeting, based on pure speculation. Well, I can speculate too. I can speculate that the Saudi ambassador would come over to try to explain the situation and hope to avoid a war with Saudi Arabia, and discuss why they should or shouldn’t go after potential suspects in Saudi Arabia. That could be for any number of reasons that would remain secret from the public for obvious reasons. That said, I don’t agree that they should’ve been left alone, because that is bullshit.
Let me go back to the bin Laden finances for a minute, because there are some things Moore leaves out. Firstly, 53 of bin Laden’s siblings disowned him in 1991, well before 9/11. Second, the bin Laden’s also did financial deals with the Carter Administration (as in ex-president Jimmy Carter), so the Bush family isn’t the first. In fact, it doesn’t seem uncommon for presidential administrations to have foreign business/investment dealings with questionable figures (unfortunately). Just ask the Clintons (though they’ll deny it). My point here is that others deserve hatred just like Bush, though Moore tends to forget that because he’s a biased asshole.
Anyway, another thing that is interesting and worth noting is how Bush and Donald Rumsfeld seemed to want to invade Iraq before 9/11 (something Moore could’ve highlighted earlier in the film), and then used the invasion of Afghanistan as a starting point to eventually lead into an invasion of Iraq. Why invade Afghanistan? Because that’s where Osama Bin Laden was holed up at the time. So why not just make it only Afghanistan if they couldn’t touch Saudi Arabia and if Iraq had nothing to do with it? Moore gives good reason for avoiding Saudi, fails to highlight Osama Bin Laden and his role in all of this (though at the time I suppose it was safe to say everyone knew his role), and doesn’t really build up the reason for Iraq.
“Special forces didn’t get into the area Bin Laden was in for two months.” – Richard Clarke
Moore sees an opportunity to exploit this line by implying that Bush gave bin Laden a 2 month head start for the war. It’s worth mentioning that first one would have to locate “the area bin Laden was in” first, and then get to said area with the invasion, getting through Al-Queda forces in the process, forces which were armed with weapons that were used to drive out the Russians during the Cold War.
That being said, Moore does bring up an excellent (albeit potentially unfocused) point about plans to build an oil pipeline through Afghanistan (and Turkmenistan and Pakistan and through the Caspian Sea). A plan which originated as early as 1997, signed by the Unocal company, with the contract for the rights to the pipeline signed by the Halliburton Company, which was headed by fuckface Dick Cheney (yeah, I have some bias towards that guy, but he’s earned it, more-so than Moore and Bush). Oh, and Enron served to profit from this too. Interesting also that Taliban officials visited the US to get this deal done. Which is kind of insane.
Anyway, so Moore also uses a news reel to show how Bush didn’t seem to have much interest in going after Osama Bin Laden, which is also kind of insane. I’m with Moore on this one, “What kind of president is he?” And then there’s this montage of the news flaming up the paranoia factor by saying that terrorists can attack anytime, anywhere, with anything, which cumulates in one of the most hilarious things I’ve ever seen in my life. “Could these cattle be a target for terrorists?” And then we see a cattle shake his head up and down, mooing each time. Ok, I’ll give credit where credit is due, that was fucking funny. 49:02
Anyway, this is to emphasize how the media and FBI and politicians have been hyping up terror levels to make the citizens scared shitless, so that they would be further encouraged to be ok with a war in Iraq, as irrational as that whole thing was. I kinda woulda liked to have seen the news interview some people in Texas about all this. “Sir, what if terrorists attacked this town.” “We would take out rifles and blow their dicks out their assholes before shooting their teeth into their brains. Yeehaw! Fuck terrorists!”
So, the Patriot Act, that suckass law. Moore makes an interesting note on how Congressmen didn’t even read the fucking thing before passing it into law (much like Obamacare). What the fuck do we pay them for? But then Moore starts to make an ass of himself by taking an ice cream truck and using the loudspeaker to drive around and read the report out loud in the streets of Washington. It got even worse when the parents of children nearby accused him of being a pedophile and he then got arrested by police. I made that last sentence up.
Oh, right, and the TSA motherfuckers suck ass. Did Moore mention that? Yes he did, I just thought I’d repeat it in more colorful language.
Gets a bit sidetracked with Oregon police cuts.
Alright, over an hour into the movie, and then we get to the meaty stuff that most people remember from this movie, the beginning of the Iraq war. Before the invasion, highlights of happy happy joy joy, kids playing in a park, muslim women actually smiling, the joy of haircuts, restaurant eating, bicycle riding, happy families, kite runner, riding a sli-BOOM BOOM BOOM, drop bombs, kill em all! Oh the carnage and the humanity!
Make no mistake, the Iraq war was bullshit (no WMDs, even though Bush and others said there were). But let’s get one thing straight, despite that cheery footage he showed you, it wasn’t all peaches and roses even before we invaded. No mention of the “gassed Kurds, mass burial fields, and dismembered Iraqi political prisoners. No dissenters hung from meat hooks, no torturing with blowtorches, vices, or drills. The sordid evidence from thirty years of Baathist war crimes, repression, and aggression are missing–they don’t fit the thesis.” — (Source) Plus you also have to take into account that, in all wars ever, there’s always collateral damage. But anyway, yeah, despite all that, the Iraq war was bullshit. Of course, there’s also the new Afghanistan constitution and democratic election to consider, and the Afghanistan emerging army, and NATO’s protection, or how Britain, Australia, Poland, Spain, and Italy (all part of that “Coalition of the Willing” that Moore mentioned, even though those countries were not mentioned) got involved, but it’s still something that we probably shouldn’t have gotten involved in, not like this. We didn’t need some sappy biased as fuck message to tell us that.
War is hell. People die, innocents suffer, but that’s the risk of it all when one is trying to eliminate terrorist threats, especially if they hide among civilians. One shouldn’t get into war unless there’s a damn good reason for it. The real reason for the war, as Moore states, was for oil (well actually he said gas at one point, but then he changed his mind later). That might have been true, but if it was, it wasn’t for the reasons Moore describes, considering that the UNOCAL deal either was never signed, or was tossed out some time after being signed (Source), but if that was the only reason, I doubt people would be behind it. There’s also the whole humanitarian thing going on. Plus there’s also the possibility that Iraq was, in fact, actually harboring Al-Qaeda terrorists who were linked to Osama bin Laden who was hiding in Afghanistan. And there’s another possibility that the invasion was to further encircle and put economic pressure on Russia, before they did the same (if that was even on their agenda). I haven’t read up enough on the subject to know how strong the evidence of any of the above is (humanitarian reason aside, that one is definitely true, though probably not a strong enough reason on its own for an invasion), but I do know that this isn’t the movie to be seeking answers from.
Anyway, from this point on, the film highlights the horrors of wars, and casualties on both sides, showing US troops in hospitals with missing limbs and such. And then it shows a bunch of crying families, whom it lingers on for far too long.
Movies like this are dangerous. They don’t encourage critical thinking or independent research, they just say, “Think like I do, or be damned.” To be fair, most documentaries are like that, but there are at least some that raise questions that they at least admit they don’t know the answers to, though they may offer a hypothesis; in any case, they encourage more independent researching from viewers than films like this do. That being said, there are some good points this film brings up, but there are too many other points brought up that are just flat out dangerously biased that I can’t in good conscience recommend it (not to mention it’s outdated at this point). So I say that if you are going to watch this film, make sure you look for second opinions as well.
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