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Moore Distortions?
How many mistakes can Michael make? No, not Michael Moore. Newsweek's Michael Isikoff, recently on the rampage against Fahrenheit 9/11. Craig Unger lays them out...for example:

Isikoff erroneously dismisses the relationship between the Bushes and the House of Saud at the Carlyle Group as a distant one. "Six degrees of separation" is the term he uses. Yet according to a December 4, 2003 email from Carlyle's Chris Ullman, James Baker and George H. W. Bush made four trips to Saudi Arabia on Carlyle's behalf, and that does not include meetings they had with Saudis that took place in the U.S. During the course of these trips, Ullman says, former president Bush sometimes met privately with members of the Saudi Binladen Group. At times, Carlyle officials have characterized these meetings as "ceremonial." But in fact, at least $80 million in investments came from the House of Saud and allies such as the bin Laden family. It would be unseemly-- and unnecessary-- for former president Bush or James Baker to actually ask for money from the Saudis at such meetings. Instead, David Rubenstein's team did that after Bush and Baker spoke. For a more complete account of this, see Chapter Ten in House of Bush, House of Saud.

7) In the same article, Isikoff tries to pit me against Michael Moore by asserting that my book, unlike the movie, concludes that the role of James Bath, a Texas businessman who represented Saudis and was close to George W. Bush, was not terribly significant. Isikoff writes, "The moviewhich relied heavily on Ungers bookfails to note the authors conclusion about what to make of the supposed Bin Laden-Bath-Bush nexus: that it may not mean anything."

Isikoff is wrong again. It is true that no conclusive evidence has yet answered the specific question of whether or not bin Laden money actually went from the bin Ladens to Bath and then into George W. Bush's first oil company, Arbusto. But beyond that unresolved issue, the bin Laden-Bath-Bush nexus is crucial to the birth of the Bush-Saudi relationship. Even if bin Laden money did not go into Arbusto, Bath introduced Salem bin Laden and his good friend Khalid bin Mahfouz to Texas. A host of contacts between them and the House of Bush ensued. Bin Mahfouz shared financial interests with James Baker. His associates bailed out Harken Energy, where George W. Bush made his first fortune. Money from both the bin Ladens and the bin Mahfouzes ended up in Carlyle. This relationship is what House of Bush is about. Isikoff cherry-picks information that suits his agenda and leaves out the rest.

Selective presentation of the facts? Isn't that what he's accusing the other Michael of?

Posted by aalkon at July 8, 2004 8:22 AM


You seem to find great significance in some perfectly ordinary and legal business transactions.

After DDT was banned in the US, my own personal father helped American chemical companies sell their DDT stocks to Sub-Saharan countries who prize it highly because it's the only effective way to kill malaria mosquitoes. Now if some enterprising muck-racker was to come along and apply the Unger technique to my family, he could claim that I was causing birth defects on the basis of "ties", "connections", and "nexuses" of precisely the character that Unger digs up about people named Bush and people named bin Laden.

This is garbage journalism, and Moore uses it to "explain" some imaginary special treatment given to bin Ladens in the US after 9/11. That makes it garbage film-making.

Don't be so gullible, Amy.

Posted by: Richard Bennett at July 8, 2004 3:12 AM

No one disputes the fact that DDT was/is a very effective insecticide, but that was not the issue. The long term cost for the use of these products will not be paid for by you, or your father, or the companies he represented.
And besides, even if you are not convicted that particular crime, you probably committed some other crime you didn't get caught for. In this country you are guilty unless proven not guilty, or wealthy. In the case of wealth, the law does not apply to you.
God bless Ronald Reagan.

Posted by: John O'Neil at July 8, 2004 11:53 AM

Republican Motto: There is no crime if it is committed by a corporation [or businessman] in the commission of profits." That is "JUST"[ice] free enterprise... No matter how many birth defects there might or might not be as a result. I mean like, after all, like, PROVE IT!? Gosh my science can beat your science, so there! And after all why should we be held responsible, if we were, like, trying to help those poor savages anyway... Geez not every baby had a birth defect and those birds; well they aren't human... so who cares?

And who says Americans are Ugly? Duh? I can't imagine...

Posted by: Chris at July 8, 2004 2:24 PM

Back in my Washington journalism days, we called Michael Isikoff "Izzy." And sometimes "Dizzy Izzy."

Posted by: A Fly on the Wall at July 9, 2004 1:00 PM

George Soros has a $100M stake in the Carlyle Group. The bin Laden stake was $1.2M, and was withdrawn right after 9/11, same time GHW Bush severed ties with them.

Soros funds MoveOn, and profits from the war on terror. Do the math.

Posted by: Richard at July 9, 2004 3:05 PM

Richard, I like you. Your Carlyle numbers better be solid, because I'm going to use them.

Everyone who cares about malaria and DDT presumably read this whole article:

"DDT is a victim of its success, having so thoroughly eliminated malaria in wealthy nations that we forget why we once needed it," the paper says. "But malaria kills Africans today. Those worried about the arrogance of playing God should realize that we have forged an instrument of salvation, and we choose to hide it under our robes" (Tina Rosenberg, New York Times, April 11)

Not that we should get all precious just because it's in the Times....

Posted by: Crid at July 9, 2004 8:38 PM

"This is garbage journalism, and Moore uses it to "explain" some imaginary special treatment given to bin Ladens in the US after 9/11. That makes it garbage film-making."

Sorry, am I the only person who remembers the flights the Bin Ladens took out of the U.S. after 9-11? Richard, do your research.

Posted by: Sheryl at July 11, 2004 9:31 PM