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For Release: July 26, 2004
Fahrenheit 9/11 is Having "Devastating" Impact on Military Morale, Says Soldier Deployed Overseas
Soldier Says "Young and Impressionable" Soldiers Just Returned from Iraq Deployments Are "Being Made to Feel Ashamed" of Their Service
The National Center for Public Policy Research has posted online an e-mail received from a soldier, Spc. Joe Roche of the 1st Armored Division, who says Michael Moore's film Fahrenheit 9/11 is "making the rounds" among soldiers at U.S. military bases overseas and is "shocking and crushing soldiers, making them feel ashamed" of their service in Iraq. The letter has been published online by The National Center without abridgment. The full text can be found here. Some excerpts:
"Michael Moore's film, Fahrenheit 9/11, is making the rounds here at U.S. bases in Kuwait. Some soldiers have received it already and are passing is around. The impact is devastating. Here we are, soldiers of the 1st Armored Division, just days from finally returning home after over a year serving in Iraq, and Moore's film is shocking and crushing soldiers, making them feel ashamed. Moore has abused the First Amendment and is hurting us worse than the enemy has. There are the young and impressionable soldiers, like those who joined the Army right out of high school. They aren't familiar w/ the college-type political debate environment, and they haven't been schooled in the full range of issues involved. They are vulnerable to being hurt by a vicious film like Moore's."
"Specialist Janecek, who is feeling depressed because a close family member is nearing the end of her life, just saw the film today. I saw him in the DFAC. He is devastated. 'I feel shitty, ashamed, like this was all a lie.' Not only is he looking at going straight to a funeral when he returns home, but now whatever pride he felt for serving here has been crushed by Moore's film. Specialist Everett earlier after seeing the film: 'You'll be mad at shit for ever having come here.' And there are others. Mostly the comments are absolute shock at the close connections Moore makes between the Bush family and the Bin Laden family in Saudi Arabia. 'Bush looks really really REALLY corrupt in this film. I just don't know what to think anymore,' is a common comment to hear. Some of these soldiers are darn right ashamed tonight to be American soldiers, to have been apart of this whole mission in Iraq, and are angry over all that Moore has presented in his film."
"Right now, just days away from what should be a proud and happy return from 15 months of duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom, your U.S. soldiers are coming back ashamed and hurt because of Moore's work."
"I sometimes want to be mad at my fellow soldiers for being susceptible to Moore's distortions, but I can't really blame them. These are good Americans, who have volunteered to serve our country. Nothing says they all have to be experts in Middle Eastern issues and history and politics to serve. That would be silly. ...But this is, of course, the vulnerability that Moore has exploited."
"I wonder how damaging and shocking a Moore project would have been in the 1940s making such a video of Franklin Roosevelt."
Spc. Joe Roche serves with the 16th Engineering Battalion of the 1st Armored Division. He and his unit were deployed in Iraq for 15 months. An archive of his e-mails can be accessed at www.nationalcenter.org/RochePage.html online.
The National Center for Public Policy Research is a non-partisan, conservative/free-market think-tank established in 1982 and located on Capitol Hill. It can be visited at http://www.nationalcenter.org online.
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