Dude, Where's My Country?

Michael Moore. Dude, Where's My Country?. NY: Warner, 2003.

Note: The following are notes from the above book. I found the book seminal, eye-opening, life-changing. I recommend that you buy and read the entire book. Only by reading the entire book will you get the whole picture. The following quotes, I hope, will whet your appetite. --Colby Glass


Sept. 11, Osama, Saudi Arabia

"In the first days after the terror attacks... Saudi Arabia supervised the urgent evacuation of 24 members of Osama bin Laden's extended family from the United States...

"..even though fifteen of the nineteen hijackers had been Saudi citizens -- the relatives of the number one suspect in the terror attacks were allowed not only to just up and leave the country, but they were assisted by our own authorities!" (4).

"..not only has the family NOT cut ties to Osama, but they have continued to fund him..." (9).

"..the bin Ladens have had business relations with [the Bush] family.. for the past 25 years" (6).

Bush Sr. "learned that whenever the dirty work needed to be done, the United States could always turn to Saudi Arabia. When White House aide Oliver North needed money to buy arms for Iran in the Iran-Contra Affair, it was the Saudis who provided the $30 million in secret cash...

"..the Saudi ambassador is the only diplomat in Washintong who receives his own personal State Department security detail, compliments of the U.S. taxpayers...

"Prince Bandar donated $1 million to the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Texas" (12).

"Bakar's firm [the Bushes' lawyer] would later represent the Saudi royals in the lawsuits against them by the families of the September 11 victims...

"A major chunk of the American economy is built on Saudi money. They have a trillion dollars invested in our stock market and another trillion dollars sitting in our banks" (13).

"Why have [Bush] and [his] father chosen to align [themselves] with a country that is considered by most human rights groups to be among the worst and most brutal dictatorships in the world?" (14).

"Who attacked the United States on September 11 -- a guy on dialysis from a cave in Afghanistan, or [Bush's] friends, Saudi Arabia?" (15).

"If fifteen of the nineteen hijackers had been North Korean, and they killed 3,000 people, do you think the headline the next day might read, "NORTH KOREA ATTACKS UNITED STATES"?

"Yet, when it comes to September 11, have you ever seen the headline... "SAUDI ARABIA ATTACKED THE UNITED STATES"?

"..so the question must--must--be asked: WHY NOT? Why, when Congress releases its own investigation into September 11, you, Mr. Bush, censor out twenty-eight pages that deal with the Saudi's role in the attack?" (17).

"..traveling by air was forbidden in the days following the attack" (19).

"Yet, members of the bin Laden family were allowed to fly in private jets, crisscrossing America as they prepared to leave the country... twenty-four members of the bin Laden family... were all flown to Paris, out of the reach of any U.S. officials... the FBI was "furious" that they were not allowed to keep the bin Ladens in the country to conduct a real investigation... none of the normal procedures were followed" (20).

Bush Lies

"George W. Bush has turned the White House into the Home of the Whopper, telling one lie after another" (42).

LIE: "Iraq has nuclear weapons."

"Joseph Wilson, a senior American diplomat [said], "It really comes down to the administration misrepresenting the facts"" (44).

"..Bush..tried to make CIA Director George Tenet the sacrificial lamb... But then came the memos from October that showed that Tenet's CIA DID tell the White House not to make such a bogus claim" (46).

LIE: "Iraq has ties to Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda!"

".. a British intelligence report leaked to the BBC said that there were no links between Saddam and Osama...

"But none of that mattered. The president had said it -- it had to be true!" (56)

"The Bush administration had succeeded in perpetrating one of the biggest lies of all time, confusing Saddam with Osama in the minds of the American public...

".. the problem with this whopper -- other than it is a cynical, premeditated fabrication -- is that Osama bin Laden considers Saddam to be an infidel.. Saddam and Osama were mortal enemies" (57).

LIE: "Saddam Hussein is the world's most evil man!"

".. the United States never gave a rat's ass about how badly Saddam the Dictator treated his own people. We NEVER care about that stuff. In fact, we like dictators! They help us get what we want and they do a great job of keeping their nations subservient to our galloping global corporate interests.

"We have a long and proud history of propping up madmen and they regimes as long as it helps us rule the world...

  • Cambodia... "United States.. support.. of Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge.. wiped out millions of his own people...

  • Zaire (Congo)... "the CIA got in bed with Mobutu Sese-Seku early, setting off years of horrific violence that continues today..." (58).

  • Brazil... "Preferring friendly authoritarian rule to democracy, the United States pushed a coup in Brazil, which resulted in 15 years of terror, torture and killing...

  • Indonesia... "In 1965, yet another democratically elected president was overthrown with the help of the United States government, which installed in his place yet another military dictatorship... Around half a million people were killed...

"Of course, there are many, many more examples, from dictators we supported to demcratically elected governments we simply threw into chaos or got rid of altogether (Guatemala and Iran in the fifties, Chile in the seventies...)...

"These days, China, the world's biggest Saddam-o-rama, is our favorite dictatorship" (59).

LIE: "The French are not on our side and they may be our enemy!"

"...accusing the French.. was done to distract the American public from the real rats who were in Washington" (63).

"You don't disobey the United States and get away with it! And you certainly don't tell everyone we're lying -- ESPECIALLY when we are.." (65).

"Then there's the simple jealousy factor. Most Americans know the French are more sophisticated, more intelligent, more well-read than the average American. We don't like to admit that it was the French who invented the movies, the automobile, the stethoscope, Braille, photography, and most important of all, the Etch A Sketch. They brought us the Enlightenment [which] paved the way for the widespread acceptance of all the ideas and principles that American was founded on. Then when we find out that the French have to work only thirty-five hours a week and everyone gets at least four weeks paid vacation, all we can do is make snide remarks...

"We like to forget that we could never have won the [Revolutionary] war without the French... [Paul] Revere's father was.. French (and it wasn't Revere -- it was Rivoire!).

".. They sent troops, ships, 90 percent of the gunpowder we used, and tens of millions of dollars" (68).

"The war ended at Yorktown with.. the Brits... surrendering to the French. The Redcoats were boxed in by the French Navy, and on that final day, there were more French troops in the ranks than colonists.

"In fact, France has always been the best friend to the United States. Almost a third of France's direct foreign investment is in the United States. They are our fifth largest investor, and the French employ 650,000 people in the United States. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was written by a committee chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt with Rene Cassin of France as the vice-chair..." (69).

"How soon we forgot that it was the French who led the United Nations Security Council on the day after September 11 to condemn the attacks and demand justice for the victims. Jacques Chirac was the FIRST foreign leader to travel to America after the attacks to offer his support and condolences" (70).

Information Evaluation Methods

The Pile-On Effect - "... if you are caught in a lie, just keep denying it and keep lying no matter what" (81).

It's in the past, so forget it - Example: Ari Fleisher, after Bush's many lies were revealed: ""The president has moved on. And I think, frankly, much of the country has moved on, as well."" (83)... Another example: "It's wasteful digging up the past, let's move on."

Use of Fear (form of agit prop) - "There is no terrorist threat" (95).

"..just because there are a few terrorists dost not mean we are all in some exaggerated state of danger. Yet when they [the government] speak of terrorists, they speak of them as if they are in the MILLIONS, that they're EVERYWHERE...

"They call it a war on "terror." How exactly do you conduct a war on a noun? Wars are.. not fought against nouns or problems, and any time it has been attempted -- the "war on drugs," the "war on poverty" -- it fails...

"..it is time to do a reality check...

"In the year 2000, your chance as an American of being killed in a terrorist attack in the United States was exactly ZERO. In 2002, your chance of dying in a terrorist incident was, again, ZERO. And in 2003, as of this writing, the total number to die in the United States from acts of terror? ZERO. Even in the tragic year 2001, your chance as an American of dying in an act of terrorism in this country was 1 in 100,000.

"In 2001, you had a greater chance of dying from the flue or pneumonia (1 in 4,500), from taking your own life (1 in 9,200), being a homicide victim (1 in 14,000), or riding in a car (1 in 6,500). But no one freaked out over the possibility of being killed every time you drove in your dangerous car to buy a heart-disease-induscing doughnut from a coughing teenager. The suicide rate alone means that YOU were a greater danger to yourself than any terrorist. All these causes of death were far greater than the terrorism, but there were no laws passed, no countries bombed, no emergency expenditures of billions of dollars per month, no National Guard units dispatched, no orange alerts and no non-stop sickers scrolling details across the bottom of CNN to send us in a panic over them. There was no response from the public but... an acceptance that these tragedies were just part of life" (96-97).

"The only thing more amazing than this phony game of BOO! is our ability to fall for it. What happened to our basic common sense? You know, that reflex in your brain that used to make you scream BULLSHIT! when contronted with such obvious nonsense?...

"Why has our government gone to such absurd lengths to convince us our lives are in danger? The answer is nothing short of their feverish desire to rule the world, first by controlling us, and then, in turn, getting us to support their efforts to dominate the rest of the planet" (101). "PNAC.. argued that America should have but one goal: an unchallengeable military-imposed, U.S.-run world" (101).."radical right-wing nut group" (102).

"..to maintain the endless war, they need endless fear, a fear that can only be extended indefinitely by taking away our basic civil rights.

"The right wing needs to keep this war... going for as long as possible because it keeps people distracted" (103).

"..this band of deceivers has used September 11 as the excuse for EVERYTHING. It's no longer just to pass measures to protect us from a "terrorist threat." September 11 is now THE answer... Want a new weapons system... Well.. 9/11! Want to relax the pollution laws... Why? 9/11! Want to outlaw abortion?... Why? 9/11! What does 9/11 have to do with abortion? Hey, why are you questioning the government?" (113).

Misdirection - "September 11 was allegedly committed by a multi-millionaire... but we never define Osama by his rightful title: multi-millionaire. Why have we never read a headline saying, "3,000 Killed By Multi-Millionaire"?.. Why didn't that become the reason for profiling potential terrorists?.. Round up the multi-millionaiares! Throw them all in jail! No charges! No trials! Deport the millionaires!!" (116).

Bush

"I believe God wants me to be president" -Bush.

"Can you believe this nitwit?" -Michael Moore.

Labor

"Blue-collar workers who are union members actually live longer than nonunion industrial workers because they are paid better and have good health benefits" (147).

Myth: Americans are Conservatives

".. in the tradition of all propagandists, they lie. They create an opposite truth: AMERICA IS CONSERVATIVE. Then they pound away with that false message so hard and so often that even their political opponents come to believe that it's true...

"Fifty-seven percent of the American public believes that abortion should be legal in all or most cases".." (168).

"...86 percent of the American public say they AGREE with the goals of the Civil Rights movement" (169).

"Eighty-three percent of Americans say they are in agreement with the goals of the environmental movement" (170).

"Ninety-four percent of the American public want federal safety regulations enacted on the manufacture and use of all handguns" (171).

"Eight in ten Americans believe that health insurance should be provided equally to everyone in the country... Yes, Americans are socialists.." (172). [Sources, see pp. 239-242.]

"Sixty-two percent of the people you share this country with support changing current laws so that FEWER nonviolent offenders are sent to prison.. American are soft on crime!" (173).

"Eighty-five percent of Americans support equal opportunity in the workplace for gays and lesbians" (173).

"..58 percent thought labor unions were a good idea..

"Eighty-eight percent have little to no trust in corporate executives... 65 percent think there needs to be major reform of Corporate America..." (174).

"Conservatives know this is the real America and it drives them crazy... You can hear them any day of the week on talk radio or the Fox News Channel; screaming, foaming-at-the-mouth... spewing so much bile about traitors, liberals, faggots, liberals, weasels, liberals, the French, liberals.." (175).

"Of course, most Americans would never describe themselves as "liberal." In the last two decades, it has become the dirtiest word in American politics" (178).

"..Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines the word liberal this way: "Not narrow or contracted in mind; not selfish" and "not bound by orthodox tenets or established forms in political or religious philosophy; independent of opinion... friendly to great freedom... generous..

"And THAT is exactly how the majority of Americans think.." (179).

Neo-Conservatives

"They are, at their core, very, VERY afraid. They are afraid because, ultimately, they are ignorant... The fear quickly manifests itself into hate... conservative rage... many are lost in their own anger and have been manipulated by propaganda intended to get their blood boiling" (184-5).

"What you will encounter win the conservative mind is fear. Fear of crime. Fear of enemies. Fear of change. Fear of people not exactly like them. And, of course, fear of losing money on anything" (188).

Nixon

"Nixon was more liberal than the last five presidents we've had. His administration opened up a dialogue with China. He was instrumental in establishing affirmative action in hiring and protecting the rights of women. He was the first president to sign agreements on nuclear weapons control. Nixon was responsible for the 1970 Clean Air Act and created the Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency. He gave us Title IX to force tax monies to go to women's sports. He also attempted a type of welfare reform that would have guaranteed an income for the poor. Nixon still should have been run out of office, and the millions of dead in Southeast Asia will haunt him throughout eternity" (193).


Colby Glass, MLIS