From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
Uncovered is "slowly making waves"

July 6, 2004 9:39 AM

Dallas Morning News:


Michael Moore's showy Fahrenheit 9/11 clearly is the big noisemaker in the campaign against the Bush administration's war in Iraq. But veteran producer/director Robert Greenwald's quieter, though certainly not gentler, approach may prove to be a sturdier vehicle in the long run.
[...]
This obviously is an advocacy film dedicated to the proposition that the Iraq war is a grand-scale mistake. But it's also fairer-minded than Fahrenheit 9/11, which has made its big splash with a belly-flop while Uncovered slowly makes waves.

Subtle 'Uncovered' carries just as big a stike as '9/11'
By: Ed Bark
Dallas Morning News, 7/3/2004

Michael Moore's showy Fahrenheit 9/11 clearly is the big noisemaker in the campaign against the Bush administration's war in Iraq. But veteran producer/director Robert Greenwald's quieter, though certainly not gentler, approach may prove to be a sturdier vehicle in the long run.

His 87-minute Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War is a low-budget, bread-and-butter documentary powered by a wealth of talking heads rather than a cache of flamboyant filmic touches. Many of these 25 opponents of the Iraqi war have worked at top levels of the government, the military or the CIA.

Among them is Col. Mary Ann Wright, a 26-year U.S. Army veteran who resigned from the Foreign Service early last year in protest of the decision to invade Iraq. Ms. Wright offers searing criticism of President Bush's May 1, 2003, landing on the USS Abraham Lincoln, which brandished a "Mission Accomplished" banner at the time.

"You don't want your president to be seen as a hot dog," she says. "And when your president gets into a jumpsuit and gets in the back of a jet and lands on an aircraft carrier and then waddles out with his little straps between his legs ... ."

She briefly halts and then fires a second round: "You want a sign of maturity and not testosterone blasting through when you're talking about things so fundamentally important as sending a nation to war and sending young men and women to their deaths."

One of Mr. Greenwald's production partners is the hardly impartial MoveOn.org, openly dedicated to defeating Mr. Bush's re-election bid. On Friday, it opened a new offensive by commissioning filmmaker Errol Morris, director of the Oscar-winning documentary The Fog of War, to direct a series of ads starring "real Americans instead of actors." Their "powerful stories about the failures of Bush's policies" are scheduled to hit TV screens during the Democratic National Convention, which begins July 26 in Boston.

MoveOn also has sponsored screenings of Uncovered at house parties throughout the country and says that more than 100,000 DVD copies have been sold via the Internet. Cable's Sundance Channel plans to premiere the documentary Sept. 6, just four days after Mr. Bush accepts his party's nomination at the Republican National Convention in New York City.

Mr. Greenwald, 58, has been making TV movies since 1975 and also directed Olivia Newton-John's less than esteemed Xanadu musical in 1980. His TV work ranges from 1984's Emmy-nominated The Burning Bed (starring Farrah Fawcett as a battered woman) to 2000's The Audrey Hepburn Story, with Jennifer Love Hewitt in the title role. He prepped for Uncovered with Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election, which questioned whether George W. Bush won the White House fair and square.

Uncovered was screened at this year's Cannes Film Festival but otherwise wasn't entered to compete against Mr. Moore's prizewinning Fahrenheit 9/11. It begins with cut-and-dried introductions of all 25 interview subjects, hardly an approach designed to quickly grab the attention of younger viewers. But Mr. Greenwald is determined to be deliberate, compiling a case against the war by counterpunching the warnings Mr. Bush and his top-level lieutenants used to justify it.

"Delay and indecision and inaction could lead to a massive and sudden horror," the president said early on.

"We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud," agreed National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.

Critics say the intelligence used to buttress the buildup to war amounted to leftovers served on different dinnerware.

"They call this data mining, going back over old information and coming up with new conclusions," says former CIA operative Robert Baer, who spent 21 years in the Middle East.

Uncovered is at its most persuasive in dissecting Secretary of State Colin Powell's pivotal Feb. 5, 2003, address to the U.N. Security Council.

"Leaving Saddam in possession of weapons of mass destruction for a few more months or years is not an option," Mr. Powell declared while CIA Director George Tenet, who since has resigned, sat directly behind him in a show of solidarity.

"It was a masterful performance, but none of it is true," contends ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern, who describes Mr. Tenet as "a prop, almost like a potted plant."

Those who question the war say no one in turn should question their allegiance to the United States.

"I don't think it's patriotic to stand by and remain silent while your country stumbles into disaster," says Chas Freeman, the former ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

This obviously is an advocacy film dedicated to the proposition that the Iraq war is a grand-scale mistake. But it's also fairer-minded than Fahrenheit 9/11, which has made its big splash with a belly-flop while Uncovered slowly makes waves.

E-mail ebark@dallasnews.com

More from the archive in Uncovered.

Uncovered is "slowly making waves" (07.06.2004)

Next Entry: Keith, Drudge and 30,000 feet (07.10.2004)
Previous Entry: Michael Moore is on the cover of Time (07.05.2004)

Read the 2 comments.

dhermesc:

The film industry publication Screendaily.com reports that the movie will soon debut in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain.

“In terms of marketing,” Screendaily.com announces, Mr. Moore “is getting a boost from organizations related to Hezbollah.”

Yes, that Hezbollah: the Syrian- and Iranian-backed terrorist group that pioneered suicide bombings against Americans more than 20 years ago in Beirut, the terrorist group second only to al Qaeda in number of Americans murdered, the terrorist group that now operates against the US in Iraq, the terrorist group Richard Armitage, deputy secretary of state, dubbed the "A-Team of terrorists" -- more skilled and cunning than almost any other.

“We can't go against these organizations,” explains Gianluca Chacra, the managing director of Front Row Entertainment, the UAE-based firm releasing Moore's flick in the Middle East.

Mr. Chacra added: “Having the support of such an entity in Lebanon is quite significant for that market and not at all controversial. I think it's quite natural.”

Yes, of course. And it's not as if Mr. Moore's views of America differ dramatically from those of Hezbollah. If you think I exaggerate, look at the two statements below. One is from Mr. Moore, the other from Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. Guess which belongs to the Hollywood celebrity and which to the mass murderer.

“The U.S. government started the war with Iraq in order to make it easy for U.S. corporations to do business in other countries. They intend to use cheap labor in those countries, which will make Americans rich.”

“This is the war of a despotic, arrogant, and cruel country against the nations of the world.”

Mr. Moore is becoming as famous in Beirut as he is in Beverly Hills. For example, Mr. Moore says that the U.S. “is known for bringing sadness and misery to places around the globe. …It's all part of the same ball of wax, right? The oil companies, Israel, Halliburton."

A communique from Hezbollah might express similar views about Americans – though probably in more eloquent language.

Mr. Moore's perspective on 9/11 might be described as middle-of-the-road -- if that road runs through downtown Damascus. “Three thousand Americans were killed,” he notes. “There's 290 million Americans, all right? The chance of any of us dying in a terrorist incident is very, very, very small.” Wonder how he would feel if he knew he was going to be one of the 3000?

With views like that, is it any wonder that Michael Moore is the Heartthrob of Hezbollah?

If Mr. Moore is uncomfortable at having fanatics as fans, there's a simple way for him to prove it: Say publicly that he does not want and will not accept support from Hezbollah or any other terrorist organization. Fire Gianluca Chacra and cut ties with Front Row Entertainment.

Terry McAuliffe, the affable chairman of the Democratic National Committee, pronounced the film, “very powerful, much more powerful that I thought it would be… there are a lot of interesting facts that he [Moore] brought out today that none of us knew about.” That most of those “facts” have proven to be lies and distortions ought to be taken into consideration. Mr. McAuliffe added: “I think anyone who goes to this movie will come out en masse and vote for John Kerry.”

Thu Jul 8 2004 11:17 AM


clockwork:

How come everyone on the right continues to keep regurgitating the same crap? Anyone who says anything against this administration is either "unpatriotic" or, as you are promoting here, "with the terrorists". You do realize that the original statement that Bush made was regarding other countries, not here at home. Difference of opinion within a democracy is ESSENTIAL and a critical analysis of our leaders and their actions is also IMPERATIVE to maintaining a health democracy.

Instead of repeating the usual pre-fab statement that "Fahrenheit 9/11" is all lies, why don't you start an intelligent conversation and address each issues brought up within the film and refute it wil FACTUAL sources... sadly, you will find that much of the political and business connections discussed in the film are very well documented.

Spin is great at pushing the envelop in one direction or the other, but in the end we all just end up dizzy, nauseous, and sick of the whole thing. Be a true patriot and fight to find the truth, not some partisan version of it.

Sun Sep 26 2004 2:04 PM


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