The Washington Post has selected comments from the foreign press on “Fahrenheit 9/11”: “Michael Moore, ugly American.” First, the good news at the top:
Michael Moore can handle verbal abuse from the conservative pundits in America, but harsh words from Pete Townshend, lead guitarist for The Who, may hit closer to his liberal heart.
“I greatly resent being bullied and slurred by him just because he didn’t get what we wanted from me,” Townshend told Ireland Online.
Moore wanted Townshend’s rock anthem “Won’t Get Fooled Again” for use on the soundtrack of his anti-Bush documentary film, “Fahrenheit 9/11.” Townshend refused, saying he thought Moore’s previous movies amounted to “bullying.” In response, Townshend said that Moore accused him of being a war supporter. Townshend says Moore’s attitude was evocative of President Bush’s war on terrorism credo: if you’re not with me, you’re against me.
“It seems to me that this aspect of his nature is not unlike that of the powerful and willful man at the centre of his documentary,” Townshend observed.
Then the rubbish at the bottom of the downhill slide, with an accidental bump into the truth at the end:
Hussein Ibish, a Washington-based commentator writing for the Daily Star in Beirut, Lebanon, said Moore ignored “the massive paper trail demonstrating a pre-existing agenda, which placed the overthrow of the Iraqi regime at the center of both US and Israeli policies.”
Instead, Moore depicts “the malevolent influence of ‘the Saudis,’ a phrase that in the US is increasingly spat out with utter contempt, reminiscent of the tone reserved for ‘the Jews’ in anti-Semitic discourse, ascribing to millions of otherwise heterogeneous people the same menacing and hostile essence.”
“Moore may or may not affect the election,” Ibish concluded. “But he has certainly succeeding [sic] in bringing to a great many Americans the most powerful critique of US foreign policy they have ever heard, albeit one that rests on a bizarre and incoherent conspiracy theory and which confuses at least as much as it enlightens.”
I’m not sure Ibish really belongs in this roundup of foreign comment on 9/11. When last heard from, he was the director of communications for the Washington-based American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. (For more on Ibish, see “The insane rubbish of Hussein Ibish” by Erick Stakelbeck and “U.S. Arabs’ firebrand” by Daniel Pipes.)