"CHOICE BECOMES CLEAR EVERY TIME A SOLDIER DIES"
FROM: Nicholas Fry
SENT: Sunday, July 4, 2004 8:31 PM
SUBJECT: SPC Fry's last night in Iraq
My name is SPC Nicholas Fry, and I am a rifleman with the First Armored Division. I would like to thank you for the copy of Dude, Where's My Country? I read it in three days, which is fast for an enlisted soldier who was educated by the Arizona Public School System.
I also recently bought a bootleg copy of your new movie (tell your producer I apologize). I was so inspired by the book that when my best friend's dad, who is a Vietnam vet and for some reason is a Republican, sent me an email bad-mouthing your movie, I made an attempt at converting him. I respect and look up to this man greatly, so this was hard for me to do. Fifteen months. of pro- Bush email will drive a person crazy.
This is what I wrote:
Dear Mr. Tank,
I recently was sent a free copy of Dude, Where's My Country? from Michael Moore and a group called Books for Soldiers. It's basically the book version of the movie Fahrenheit 9/11. This book along with the bootleg copy of Fahrenheit I obtained in Baghdad, do nothing to dishonor soldiers in any way. All the movie and book do is show the financial gains of the Bush administration and the cost on the people who do their dirty work.
I would never preach to you about the loss of a comrade, as I'm sure you know it all too well from your time in Nam. I too have held the wounds of my friends and screamed "Medic" as we waited far too long for an evac. I have laughed at dead civilians and said, "Fuck 'em, they got in the way." I have collected my two grand a month while a bus driver for Halliburton makes five times what I do. I have returned from a mission covered in sweat and blood and had people that never leave the wire tell me I needed to shave. And most recently I have watched officers receive Bronze Stars even though they had not discharged their weapon ONCE. These most disgusting memories will stay with me for life as I'm sure yours do today.
I have a choice to make and that choice becomes more clear every time a soldier dies to line the pockets of rich men who will never lose sleep over the blood they have spilled.
My views may come as a shock to you, and I look up to you as a great man who served his country when it was not the most popular thing to do. I spent days wondering if I should send this email to you out of fear that you may look down on me. And I look forward to continuing this conversation upon my return in a week.
I do not consider myself a Republican or the least bit conservative and wonder how a person could. And this is why:
I do not come from a wealthy family. And I don't believe a CEO should make 200% more than his average employee and then sell his stock and buy an island where the law can't find him. I somehow fell in love with a beautiful black girl and do plan on mixing our races -- sorry, John Ashcroft.
I don't believe that the government should be able to know what books I'm reading or be able to arrest me without a trial (Patriot Act). I don't think that America should be the only Western country to put people to death as if it was God's will. I don't understand why we waste $24,000 per dopehead a year to lock up drug users when treatment is half the price. No American should be denied a trip to the doctor because he has no health insurance. It's not right to make money off of people because they are sick. And last but not least, I don't think we should be rebuilding Iraq for these fucks when we both know parts of Chandler, AZ, are just as bad.
I know this is a hell of a lot coming from a punk kid who was eating your wife's delicious meals and helping distract you while Scott stole your cigarettes only five years ago. But this is how I feel. I hope I didn't piss you off too bad, because that is not my intention. I love you and your family very much and know I am always welcome even if I am a bleeding-heart socialist LIBERAL. Hope to see you soon,
SPC Nicholas Fry B Co 2/6 Infantry, on what he prays will be his last night in Iraq.
I could not believe I had the balls to hit Send, but I did, and will continue to do it until this tyrant is out of office for good. I also brainstormed another way to help. I am gonna make it up to those hardworking producers of yours and give back some of the hard-earned American tax dollars at the same time. Upon my return to the States I will buy 100 tickets to your movie and pass them out at my local movie theater while in uniform.
Thanks again for the book and making that great film that I paid $3 to see.
"NO WAY I WOULD END UP IN IRAQ"
FROM: Micah Stathis
SENT: Wednesday, July 28, 2004 11:06 PM
SUBJECT: A soldier deploying to Iraq
Dear Mr. Moore,
My name is Micah Stathis and I am a specialist in the U.S. Army. I am currently in Korea, but I will be deploying to Iraq within the coming weeks. I am a Greek American, and I was, somewhat, forced to join the army. In Greece, it is mandatory for me to serve in the military for 18 months without any substantial pay. Usually, men go when they are 18; however, I was given an extension because I was in college. They called for me to serve about 18 months ago.
I was fully prepared to go. However, since I am also an American citizen, I am allowed to serve in the American military to fulfill my military obligation in Greece. After much deliberation I decided that a two-year stint in the U.S. Army was the best course of action, given the fact that I was going to get paid, and therefore able to help my mother financially. My recruiter told me that there was no way I would end up in Iraq, given the fact that Bush had announced an end to the major operations.
To make a long story short, I found out two months ago that I am going to Iraq. I have tried everything possible to get reassigned. My mother has appealed to the U.S. embassy in Greece because I am an only child; I have spoken to the chaplain about conscientious-objector status, but was refused. I have resigned myself to the fact that I am being forced into this and have no other option.
I recently saw Fahrenheit 9/11 and I was blown away. I immediately showed it to the rest of my platoon, and I was immediately told off by an officer because I showed something that would affect morale. Everyone here is excited about going so that they can kill someone. It sickens me to listen to the way many of my fellow soldiers speak. I feel like an alien in this world, especially considering that I lean very far to the left.
I am often told by my higher-ups that we are just following orders by going to Iraq. They believe that somehow absolves us of any responsibility. The Nazis were also just following orders. I don't know how it will be in Iraq, but I will do my best to let the Iraqis know that I am completely against this occupation.
I sincerely hope that I will be able to find other soldiers in Iraq who recognize the fact that we are being used as pawns by Bush and his entourage.
FROM: Craig Smith
SENT: Tuesday, July 6, 2004 6:07 PM
SUBJECT: I am a soldier
My name is Craig Smith, and I am currently an activated reservist. I volunteered to serve in Iraq when the invasion began in March of 2003.
After serving ten months in Iraq I came back to America with hopes of moving on with my life. That's when the nightmares started. I became very jumpy. You could call it being "edgy and irritable." I dealt with it for a while; then I decided that I needed help. I went to the Fort Carson Hospital to see how I could get treatment for PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder. I was given an assessment test. My paperwork was lost by the hospital. I went again for another assessment test. This time I was seen by a doctor. During my visit with the doctor, she told me that, yes, I do have PTSD. Later, when I viewed my documentation, it said that I did not have PTSD, but that that doesn't necessarily mean that I don't suffer from it. It also stated that the treatment was complete and successful. It also stated that I have nightmares about dead children. It also stated a lot of other stuff.
Frustrated and untreated, I kept asking for help. Fort Carson gave me a number to call -- a hotline. I was given a damn hotline to help me with war nightmares, Mr. Moore. I was then told that Fort Carson is understaffed and that they ONLY HAVE TWO DOCTORS ON STAFF TO HELP PTSD PATIENTS. Think about this, Michael. THOUSANDS of TROOPS returning from COMBAT and only two doctors to help them return to life! What are they doing to those who gave so much and only ask that our leaders make good decisions?
Fed up, I wrote my senator. He responded to me and is offering me help. Wayne Allard, to be exact. I thank him for his prompt response. I also went downtown in Colorado Springs to the Veterans Center to seek help from them as well. They offered me help. Everyone wants to help, Mr. Moore, except our own people.
Why is retention low? Why will no one stay in the military? Why are we fed up with duty? Not because of war, my friend. But because we are treated like un-important children. And I tell you this, no damn parade down Broadway can change that fact.
"WE WERE LIED TO AND USED"
FROM: Sean Huze
SENT: Sunday, March 28, 2004, 7:56 PM
SUBJECT: "Dude, Where's My Country?"
I am an LCPL in the U.S. Marine Corps and veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I am an infantryman and served with the 2d Light Armored Recon Battalion, attached to the 1st Marine Division from Feb 7 to May 24,2003.
Mr. Moore, please keep pounding away at Bush. I'm not some pussy when it comes to war. However, the position we were put in -- fighting an enemy that used women, children, and other civilians as shields; forcing us to choose between firing at "area targets" (nice way of saying firing into crowds) or being killed by the bastards using the crowds for cover -- is indescribably horrible.
I saw more than a few dead children littering the streets in Nasiriyah, along with countless other civilians. And through all this, I held on to the belief that it had to be for some greater good. That the sacrifices we made, and the sacrifices the civilians of Iraq made, mattered. I firmly believed at the time that what we were doing was making our nation stronger.
Months have passed since I've been back home and the unfortunate conclusion I've come to is that Bush is a lying, manipulative motherfucker who cares nothing for the lives of those of us who serve in uniform. Hell, other than playing dress-up on aircraft carriers, what would he know about serving this nation in uniform?
His silence and refusal to speak under oath to the 9/11 Commission further mocks our country. The Patriot Act violates every principle we fight and die for. And all of this has been during his first term. Can you imagine his policies when he doesn't have to worry about reelection? We can't allow that to happen, and there are so many like me in the military who feel this way. We were lied to and used. And there aren't words to describe the sense of betrayal I feel as a result.
The only way to make it right is to get rid of him in November and impeach his sorry ass after he's voted out. If lying about a blow job warrants impeachment, then lying about WMD and getting thousands of people killed certainly does, too.
"THE IRAQI PEOPLE WERE NOT FREED"
FROM: Keith Pilkington
SENT: Monday, July 5, 2004 4:08 AM
SUBJECT: How I celebrated the Fourth of July
Did you celebrate the Fourth of July? Today is the Fourth of July, 2004. Every other Fourth of July was a time of joy for me. Many are preparing feasts to celebrate, but I feel like eating nothing at all. I will go to none of them. I simply have no celebratory feelings.
I'm sure some would say that I am not patriotic, and that I do not love my country. What would I say to someone if they confronted me with that accusation? I could tell them of my service in the army. I could tell them of my service in the Iraq war, the war that still rages. I don't think that would be enough. I'm no longer in the army. They would say I'm un-American and left the army out of hate for my country, and shooting fireworks is true patriotism anyway. They would say I was no patriot at all.
The same people who question my patriotism would question why I am so sad on this day of celebration. I might tell them of the Iraq War and all those that fell and will fall. They would respond by telling me all those who fell and will fall fought for the freedom of the Iraqi people. I would tell them of the great struggle to topple the tyrant, Saddam. I would tell them the Iraqi people were not freed when we toppled Saddam and are not free now.
I would tell those who question my patriotism to actually read the Declaration of Independence they celebrate so much. The Declaration of Independence states, "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." I would tell them that the Iraqi people gave no consent for the American provisional administration, but that is not my point. The American administration never secured Iraqi rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. How many have been killed by terrorist bombings? How many innocents have died from our attacks on terrorists? How many have been the victims of crime because too few troops were there to protect them from criminals? I know. I was there.
The American administration in Iraq was not a failure. It did not secure the rights of the Iraqi people, but it did secure other things. The oil fields are secure, and American corporations secured multibillion-dollar government contracts to plunder that Iraqi oil. We should all be proud. Our right to Iraqi property is secure. Let freedom ring!
Those who question my patriotism would say that Iraq is free now. They have their own government. I would say that the Iraqis have a government instituted by the consent of the Americans and enforced by American troops, who can enter any home without any say by an Iraqi citizen. It should be Iraqi forces securing the Iraqi people's liberty. Let freedom ring!
I'm sure those who question my patriotism would have now grown quiet, their arguments against me spent. I would not take the opportunity to question their patriotism. Not everyone is as unlucky as I to have witnessed battle and have truth burned in their soul. However, I would calmly share with them the truths I have learned.
"I BELIEVED MY PRESIDENT"
SENT: Monday, July 12, 2003 4:57 PM
SUBJECT: Iraqi freedom veteran supports you
Dear Mr. Moore,
I am an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, so Fahrenheit 9/11 kind of hit close to home.
All my life I have pretty much been a conservative. I grew up in Elkhart, Indiana, so there were conservatives aplenty telling me how things should be the whole time I was growing up. I decided to join the military in December of 2001 while I was in college. At the time I was turning pretty liberal, not crazy, but I was moving toward the left. I wrote a paper on gun control for my sociology class. It was very radical for me at the time because I had always been Republican, conservative, and gun control was not something that I ever cared about.
Then when I joined the military, for some reason my views began to go back the other way. I was being brainwashed and lied to all because some idiot from Texas decided to act out of vengeance and hatred instead of just accepting the fact that there are people who aren't like us and that we cannot always be right.
I went to Iraq with thoughts of killing people who I thought were horrible. I was like, "Fuck Iraq, fuck these people, I hope we kill thousands." Why? I am not that kind of person. I believed my president. I thought G.W was awesome. He was taking care of business and wasn't going to let al Qaeda push us around, or any terrorists for that matter.
I was with the 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry, 3rd Infantry division out of Fort Stewart, Georgia. My unit was one of the first to Baghdad and pretty much led the charge the entire way through Iraq. I was so scared. Didn't know what to think. Seeing dead bodies for the first time. People blown in half. Little kids with no legs, thanks to a few well-placed bullets. It was overwhelming, the sights, sounds, fear.
When we started working with the people when we got to Baghdad. I thought I saw us helping them. They seemed so happy to see us, so happy that we were there. We heard during the war that the Iraqis didn't trust us because we left them during the first Gulf War and didn't help them then to get out of the shadow of Saddam. They thought we were going to leave them again.
I was over there from Jan '03 to Aug '03. I hated every minute. It was a daily battle to keep my spirits up. While I was in Iraq I read in the Stars and Stripes newspaper that you had received an Oscar for Bowling for Columbine and during the acceptance speech you bad-mouthed ole G.W. My first thought was, Wow, this guy is a shithead. I came home from Iraq and became very. complacent with my life and my career. It didn't take long either.
Then a very good friend said that I should watch Bowling for Columbine. I was like, "No way am I going to watch a movie made by that guy." But he pretty much forced me to watch it. It was the best thing that anyone has ever done for me. My wife and I were seriously changed forever. I guess what I am trying to tell you is thank you for compelling me to be a more compassionate person and for showing me that everything is not as it seems.
I have shared my views with a lot of fellow coworkers, and the response has ranged from very harsh to very accepting. I have been called a communist, Canadian, "a person who hates this country yet milks it for all its worth," traitor, liberal faggot, tree-huggin' hippie, etc. I was called into my platoon sergeant's office after the rest of the platoon provoked me into an argument about politics, and I was told that I was not allowed to give my views anymore because we have "young impressionable soldiers who can't hear those things because it lowers morale."
I retorted by saying that I fought for the right to have my freedom of opinion. My platoon leader said that when I joined the military I gave up all my rights. My platoon sergeant called me a communist; the rest of the people in the office laughed at me, and he was making me do push-ups the whole time this was going on. I was told that if I wanted to suck dick or whatever I wanted to do that was fine, but not to bring my views to work with me because I am not allowed to talk about George Bush badly because it didn't support my chain of command.
I hate the army and my job. I am supposed to get out next February but will now be unable to because the asshole in the White House decided that now would be a great time to put a stop loss in effect for the army. So I get to do a second tour in Iraq and be away from those I love again because some asshole has the audacity to put others' lives on the line for his personal war. I thought we were the good guys.
"DON'T SACRIFICE OUR LIVES UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY"
FROM: SGT, U.S. Army
SENT; Thursday, July 22, 2004 4;43 AM
SUBJECT: Thank You
I just wanted to write and thank you for producing Fahrenheit 9/11. I was aware of many of the facts in the movie before I saw it (thanks to a book called Sleeping with the Devil by Robert Baer), but I'm so happy you chose to include the personal story of a military family's grief after the loss of their son.
Fortunately, and amazingly, none of my friends have died in this war. Some have been wounded, and many are deployed in hostile areas as I write this. I think it is very important that the American people understand that you can be promilitary and against the war in Iraq. I also hope that the American people know that many soldiers, like myself, are only doing their duty. My favorite line in the movie was something to the effect of: These young soldiers enlisted to protect our country and are willing to die to defend our freedom; all they ask us is to not put them in harm's way unless absolutely necessary to defend America. That phrase epitomizes how I feel about serving in the army. I am proud to serve my country, but please don't ask me or my comrades to sacrifice our lives unless absolutely necessary.
I almost didn't join the army after Bush won in 2000 -- that's how strongly I felt that he would be a terrible commander in chief. But $30,000 in student loan repayment and a nice bonus for a five-year commitment meant a little more to me at the time than who my new boss would be. I probably still would have joined the military knowing what I know now, but I would have done it differently. In the days after 9/11 I was never more proud to be a soldier because I thought we would be used to defend our country. In some aspects I think we have been utilized to defend our nation, but in too many instances our leaders have lost focus and we have been used inappropriately.
Your movie will hopefully affect the outcome of this presidential election. I had hoped greatly that GEN Wesley Clark would have been on the ticket somewhere, but with any luck he will be the next secretary of defense. Thank you again for all of your ef- forts to fire my boss. I appreciate it greatly, as do many of my colleagues who believe that patriotism is defined by the love of your country and your willingness to defend her, not by Bush's definition of: "If you aren't with us, you're against us."
SENT: Saturday, July 3, 2004 11:19 PM
SUBJECT: Former Marines
I saw Fahrenheit 9/11 and I just wanted to thank you personally for letting us know the truth about what is really going on in this country. I served four years on active duty in the Marine Corps, and now I'm being told that there is a chance that I might be called back to go to Iraq and fight. I would rather sit in jail before I go and fight a war for that man who won't even fight for me and mine.
I am a single mother, and I don't understand why they are going through so much trouble to bring in reservists and retired military personnel to fight this war when there are so many other healthy people who will never be considered (i.e., the Bush twins). I do not, nor did I ever, support the war in Iraq. However, I do support our troops, and it is time to bring our troops home where they belong with their families.
SENT: Monday, July 5, 2004 3:39 PM
SUBJECT: Thank you!
I am an army vet, and I served in Iraq for 11 months. My younger brother is a Marine and is in Iraq now. My mother, for obvious reasons, has had a very rough time for the past year and a half. She is an avid fan of yours and has seen your film at least five times. She hates the entire Bush administration, and I think that your movie helps her cope with her fear and anger.
I've been looking around on your website today, and I'm glad to see that you have links to organizations that support the troops in Iraq and encourage people to vote. Just out of curiosity, I went to the home page for the White House and to President Bush's reelection website, and I couldn't find any link to anything that really even mentioned what the troops over there are going through. It seems that they are concerned more about the Iraqi people and their precious money than they are about the welfare of the American soldiers.
FROM: A Marine lieutenant
SENT: Tuesday, December 23, 2003 6:44 PM
I am an officer in the United States Marine Corps who has recently returned from Iraq after nearly six months. I bought a copy of Dude, Where's My Country? on a whim, and read it nonstop in about two days. The issues that you raise are ones that I have dealt with firsthand. I find it difficult to believe that there is a more Orwellian environment in the country than the military, where expressing anything other than complete adoration for Bill O'Reilly and Fox News is considered tantamount to treason.
My unit was one of the initial units to enter Iraq. Prior to the start of the war, several of my Marines (1 was a platoon commander at the time, in charge of 60 Marines) came and asked me if it was true that we were going to war for oil, as many Marines were saying. This concerned me so much I called the platoon together and explained to them why we were going to war with Iraq, as I understood it.
I told them that Saddam Hussein was a vile dictator who posed a serious threat to our national security and to world peace, largely due to his possession of weapons of mass destruction. I told them we knew for sure he had them, and were going in to capture his WMD so he couldn't kill anyone with them. My Marines seemed to accept this as a good reason to risk their lives. Time and our senior leadership have proven me to be a liar; we apparently went to war for, as you put it, fictitious reasons. This angers me more than I can possibly express.
If you choose to post this email, please remove any information that might identify me. As you know, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the laws that govern the military, make speaking contemptuously about our nation's leaders a criminal offense. I don't believe that I've done that. After all, I'm only saying they failed us (the troops), but as an officer they'd really stomp me if they thought I had. Thank you very much for your time.
FROM: Nathaniel Franco
SENT: Thursday, July 8, 2004 3:05 AM
SUBJECT: IRR troop
I am a soldier in the IRR or individual ready reserve. I was released from active duty May 25, 2004, with an honorable discharge. I participated in both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom and now find myself facing the possibility of having to go back again.
The main point I would like to make is that the IRR option on our contracts is only supposed to be exercised in case of a "national emergency." It says plainly in our enlistment contract. How can anyone consider insurgent attacks in a land far, far away a national emergency? After all, the MISSION ACCOMPLISHED banner was hung long ago. Mike, thanks for all you do for the troops.
Fahrenheit 9/11 is by far the most outstanding support our troops need right now. Thank you for caring and trying to make George W Bush and his contemporaries responsible for their villainous acts.
"MAKE RICH IDIOTS RICHER"
FROM: SGT Alex Ward
SENT: Friday, April 16, 2004 7:23 AM
SUBJECT: Greetings from SGT Ward
My name is SGT Alex Ward, USMC. I'm an Arabic linguist Stationed in Fort Gordon, Georgia. I volunteered to go to Iraq, but was denied. I wanted to go to support my friends over there, not to support this idiotic war.
I spent time in Guantanamo; I was interpreting for the detainees down there. Actually, that is where I checked out your book Stupid White Men at the base library. I believe what we did in Afghanistan was justified, kicking out the Taliban and al Qaeda there. This Iraq thing is more than a debacle, it is a freaking abortion! It was obvious Saddam had no WMDs, that there were no al Qaeda links, and that the unholy trinity of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld already had their minds made up that they were going in, no matter if anything was found or not.
I'm extremely pissed that my friends are fighting and dying to make rich idiots richer, when they could actually be looking for the real terrorist, Mr. bin Laden. Iraq has been a drain on our manpower, resources and national morale, and has turned a nation that had relatively few terrorists into one swarming with them. Keep up the good work, bro!
"CAN'T WE IMPEACH THIS JACKASS???"
SENT: Wednesday, May 5, 2004 9:41 PM
SUBJECT: National Guard and scared shitless
I am writing you today because I am with the 834th Support Battalion of the Minnesota National Guard. Due to the fact that the Bush war machine needs more bodies to be put into it, we have been activated to be shipped to the front on Aug. 1 of this year. We have been told that we are to spend the next TWO years in-country! My wife is due to give birth to our son a month before I am to leave for that hell on earth.
My life is ruined if this happens. Loss of wages, medical care, and God knows what other things. TWO fucking years! My son will be walking by then, and who knows if I will even make it back at all to see my family! I hate our leaders who take part-time Guard members, who are NOT professional soldiers, and destroy their lives to make theirs more profitable. Can't we impeach this jackass???
I joined a few years ago so I could get a loan for a house. Christ, now I'm staring down the barrel of a gun my president (ha-ha!) has pointed at my head.
NOTE: Sean and his wife had a baby, a son, in the summer of 2004. He is very healthy and active.
"THE DIRECTION MY COUNTRY IS HEADING"
SENT: Tuesday, May 4, 2004 12:45 PM
SUBJECT: Letter from a veteran
Dear Mr. Moore,
I have served over five years in the army as both an enlisted member and an officer. I just got back last month (April) from Iraq. I spent 15 months over there and it was definitely crazy. In addition to the campaign medals, I also received the Bronze Star for my service. I don't regret having served my country, but I have become very frustrated with the direction my country is heading. I have decided to resign my commission, and I am moving up to Seattle to start a pizza restaurant (which also has a vegan menu) with Joe, a friend from college. Right now, we're doing the research on getting permits, taxes, etc. Hopefully with Joe being a minority and me being a vet, we will be able to get some grant money.
Anyway, after reading your book we wanted to use the principles you stated to business owners: pay your workers more, give them health benefits, and hire minorities. I suppose the reason I wanted to write you is that in case our business ever gets off the beaten track for whatever reason, and Joe and I are not living up to our own mission statement, I think I may need someone like you to show me my own letter and say, "Pete, you promised to be a good business owner. You also promised to change the direction of this country and you're not doing that! " I guess I wanted to write you so that I ensure that I never turn my back on my own ideals.
NOTE: Pete ultimately retracted his resignation paper, deciding he should stay in the military because he felt he could make more of a difference there.
"IT REALLY MAKES ME WANT TO VOTE"
FROM: Vadim Nuniyants
SENT: Thursday, July 15, 2004 11:57 AM
SUBJECT: From an ex-Marine. Thanks, Mike
My name is Vadim Nuniyants; I am 22 years old and I live in Reton, Washington. I have just finished watching Fahrenheit 9/11 and wanted to thank you personally for making this film. Only about a year or two ago did I start to get more political, and that's what I loved the most about this movie. It makes the everyday Joe want to act on his opinions/beliefs. It really makes me want to vote, which I will be doing for the first time this upcoming election.
I spent three years in the Marines, up until January of 2003, when I got orders to ship out to Kuwait and Iraq. I told my commanding officer that I refused to go. I spent the next five months in New Orleans, Louisiana, where I met other Marines who refused to fight this war. The military classified us as conscientious objectors, and our commanders classified us as flag burners. The young men whom I have met in New Orleans were some of the bravest people I have come across. They would have rather gone to jail than fight in Iraq. One of my buddies down there, Stephen Funk, was actually court-martialed, and did go to the brig for six months. But I'm sure that he saw that as a small price to pay for doing what he believed in. But the funny thing is, he is the only CO I've met who had to go to jail. This is because he was the only CO who went public with his refusal to fight. He has done inter- views with radio shows and newspapers.
In the end, I got an honorable discharge, which is why I urge more and more members of the military to stand up for what they believe. Stephen got discharged after serving jail time. And some Marines get denied, like my friend R.A., who refused to fight, like me, but his claim was denied and he was sent back to his unit. About a month ago his unit got activated again, and so he is back in New Orleans going through the big green process.
You know, about a year ago when I would tell someone that I refused to fight in Iraq, most people considered me unpatriotic. For me, the only unpatriotic thing I could have done would have been to go over there and fight for a cause that I knew to be false. These days more and more people are starting to see things more clearly. More and more people are forming opinions. More and more people are shedding their fears, and more and more people are growing full from being fed lies and being' told what to do. People are taking control and taking responsibility.
"WHY WERE WE THERE?"
FROM: Joseph Cherwinski
SENT: Saturday, July 3, 2004 8:33 PM
SUBJECT: "Fahrenheit 9111 "
I am a soldier in the "United States Army. I was in Iraq with the Fourth Infantry Division. Thank you for your movie; I know most of my fellow soldiers and I wondered day to day why were we there. "For the freedom of the Iraqi people," we were told, but day by day, Iraqi workers came into our base to work, and on those days I would ask, "Is it better that we are here? ," and every time they would say worse, or the same.
Instead of worrying about just Saddam and his minions, they had to worry about everyone. I would then ask what would help, and they would state, "We need clothes, food, water, and electricity."
I was guarding some Iraqi workers one day. Their task was to fill sandbags for our base. The temperature was at least 120. I had to sit there with full gear on and monitor them. I was sitting and drinking water, and I could barely tolerate the heat, so I directed the workers to go to the shade and sit and drink water. I let them rest in the shade for about 20 minutes. Then a staff sergeant told me that they didn't need a break, and that they were to fill sandbags until the cows come home. He then told the Iraqis to go back to work.
After about 30 minutes, I let them have a break again, thus disobeying orders. If these were soldiers filling sandbags, in this amount of heat, those soldiers would be bound to a 10-minute work, 50-minute rest cycle, to prevent heat casualties. Again the staff sergeant came and sent the Iraqis back to work and told me I did not have to sit out in the sun and watch them, I could sit in the shade. I told him no, I had to be out there with them so that when I started to need water, then they would definitely need water. He told me that wasn't necessary, and that they live here, and that they are used to it.
After he left, I put the Iraqis back into the shade. I could tell by their faces that some were very dehydrated; most of them were thin enough to be on an international food aid commercial. I would not treat my fellow soldiers in this manner, so I did not treat the Iraqi workers this way either.
A few months after this, I was on the Iraqi escort detail again. We had received a bunch of housing units for the base that day, and the Iraqis finished up for the day at sunset. The problem here was that the truck drivers were contracted out from Jordan, and their trucks were low on fuel. The same staff sergeant refused to give them any of our fuel on the base, and told them they had to use the Iraqi fuel station down the highway. That was not very appealing to the drivers since the insurgents did not just attack the troops, they went after anyone who was working for us. So the drivers asked if they could stay on the base till morning, and the staff sergeant said no. So as we sat there and watched them leave the base, unarmed, unescorted, with fear and dread written on all of their faces, I could only think that if this is the way America does business with others, no wonder they want to put bombs on the side of the road for us.
This went on for 8 months while I was in Iraq, and going through it told me that we were not there for their freedom, we were not there for WMD. We had no idea what we were fighting for anymore.
"WHERE ARE THE WMDS? WHY ARE WE REALLY OVER IN IRAQ?"
SENT: Friday, August 6, 2004 1:11 PM
SUBJECT: Bush the almighty
I will be on active duty for at least two more years. I have been in for eight years total.
I would like to ask Mr. Bush personally why he is saying he supports us troops, yet we are still downsizing our forces and our funding continues to get thinner and thinner. They are giving people the option of getting out of certain career fields right now, closing bases on top of it. Yet Osama bin Laden is still at large; we are not even really doing anything over in Afghanistan, and the forces we do have, we are sending into a nightmare. That nightmare was a lie from the beginning.
Where are the WMDs? Why are we really over in Iraq? Why the hell are our troops dying? Mr. Bush, how are we safer now than we were before you stole office? There were a lot of people I saw when I was deployed in the desert whose spirits were down, and a lot wondered why the heck we were even in Iraq. You don't know friend from foe, and a country that DID NOT have any terrorist training camps is now thriving with them. Iraq will never be stable, another Vietnam in the making. Hope you are proud of that one, Mr. Bush, because I know I am not.
We still have people over here who are uninsured medically, homeless, jobless. Even veterans' benefits were cut. We know right where Mr. Bush's priorities lie. They are in bed with companies instead of the American people.
Mr. Bush, I have sworn to protect this country from all enemies foreign and domestic. You have gone against all American values and Americans in general in pursuit of greed and power, stepping on those who look up to you to run this country in the right direction. You have lied to all of us and sent our brave men and women off to war to die for your cause and not America's. You have also compromised the safety and security of every American in this great country, using dirty politics to scare and cheat all Americans.
The definition of a TERRORIST is: "the systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective." Sounds to me like you fit the description well, Mr. Bush.
I will do my part as a military member and American citizen to make sure to protect the country from you. That means doing my part in November, going to the polls and casting my vote, to vote you and your administration out of office. And don't think you will steal this election. There are plenty of people who are going to vote you out of office. Thanks for burning that bridge a long time ago -- helps to make for an easy decision.
"THIS Is ALL BULLSHIT"
SENT: Friday, July 9, 2004 9:54AM
SUBJECT: Reservist who doesn't want to go to Iraq
I am a reservist in the navy. I have been in the Reserves for 3 years and have been activated for 1-3/4 years (right after 9/11 for homeland security). I have recently been informed that I am to be activated again, but this time I will be going to Iraq. I am Seabee, and we will be building schools and hooking up electricity and water over there. I am not thrilled about this. Seven Seabees have already been killed trying to help the Iraqis. I have not had a chance to see your new movie, and my husband says that maybe I shouldn't. He thinks that it will make me angrier toward Mr. George W.
I just want you to know that there are many of us reservists who think that this is all bullshit. I am not looking forward to leaving my one-year-old daughter for eight months or more to fight a battle that I believe is wrong. The Iraqis don't want our help. If they did, they would not be trying to kill us.
"THE WAR BUSINESS"
SENT: Thursday, July 1, 2004 6:34 PM
SUBJECT: I was in the war
I wanted to personally write you and thank you. I was there in Kuwait, and remember quite vividly how despicable the whole thing was. I was a counterintelligence agent (please don't hold it against me) and an Arabic linguist. I remember people saying that we were fighting for America, or even oil, but it was apparent even at the earliest stages that this was about big business. The war business. I remember the obvious waste, and how the KBR guys would lose it if we used their phones to call home, free phones I might add. Phones that didn't have a 3-hour wait. I remember seeing entire battalions sit in a warehouse for a month, then get sent home without ever doing a thing in the war effort. I had conversations with members of these units and was told that they basically came to the war because their battalion commander wanted a deployment on his resume.
I felt as hot as I had ever felt in the desert, and my eyes burned with tears. My heart raced, and my entire body felt as uneasy as I had ever felt during a scud alert. I relived my time in the war during that short instant in your film. Thank God I spoke my mind just enough to get sent home without getting court-martialed. After losing my sergeant stripe and some pay, I got a plane ticket home. I will make that deal any day, and I am never going back to that country in that capacity again!
I used to be a staunch supporter of the GOP. I used to toe the party-line. I used to think that those in Washington cared. Now I know the truth! Democrats and Republicans are nothing more than elitists. What can be done? I can't possibly vote for the Dummy, and Kerry is no better. Same college, same fraternity, same bank account, same lying ways and half truths. These people are completely out of touch with the American people! Is there anyone in Washington who is in touch? I guess that is why I am now a registered Independent.
I haven't always agreed with you, but I will be dammed if I wouldn't die protecting your right to call it the way you see it! Thank you, Michael Moore. Thank you for expressing your freedom of speech!
"WHERE IS THE OIL GOING?"
FROM: CHRIS F.
SENT: Thursday, May 6, 2004 10:49 AM
SUBJECT: A view after returning from Iraq
Dear Mr. Moore,
I was in Iraq from April1, 2003, until March 23, 2004. I spent the beginning of the war without even the basic combat load of ammo. We were driving Iraqi city buses transporting enemy prisoners of war and trying to understand why when we stopped at a newly secured base we could not find any weapons of mass destruction. Later in the war we ended up just outside of Fallujah and stayed there until the Marines took over. There we ran another prisoner-of-war camp.
What I wanted to say is that most of my unit wants to quit the National Guard and never pick up a weapon for this current ad- ministration again. We left thinking that we were protecting the Iraqi people and the people of the United States from terrorism. When in truth we are the terrorists.
Oh, and before I forget, tell me, if U.S. soldiers are escorting over 100 trucks a day hauling oil out of Iraq, then where is the oil going?
"WHAT THE FUCK WE ARE DOING THERE"
FROM: Edward Dalton
SENT: Thursday, March 11, 2004 7:25 PM
SUBJECT: I just returned from Iraq
Dear Mr. Moore,
I just returned from Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division after being there for eleven months.
I was the lowest common denominator in "President" Bush's foreign policy. I am just a working- class man who joined the army to payoff my student loans and all of a sudden 9/11 happens, and the next thing you know I wake up one day in Afghanistan. One year later I am in Iraq and cannot figure out what the fuck WE are doing there.
It amazes me how blind people are, especially my fellow soldiers, who suffer at the hands of Bush but still continue to vote for him. Ah, the power of the media and the fear that they instill. I am more afraid of my government than I am of the Middle East and their leaders.
Thank you for your continued efforts, your in-your-face approach, and your many years of speaking the truth. You do not have to wear a uniform to serve your country, and you have proved that time and time again.
"PRESIDENT BUSH USED US"
SENT: Friday, July 16, 2004 12:52 AM
SUBJECT: "Fahrenheit 9/11"
I recently came back from an eight-month deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Joint Task Force Liberia. I returned home and am still proud to serve my country and proud to protect this nation from harm's way. Recently the commanding officer of my ship, the USS Iwo Jima, informed us that we will have to return for a second deployment by March 2005.
At first, I was disappointed, I wanted to know why. We just came back.
So I asked him. His response was, "The war is not over and we have a job to do in Iraq." I couldn't say anything except, "Roger that." I finally came to accept the fact that I made a commitment and I will stand by my word to defend this great country of ours. However, after seeing Fahrenheit 9111, I felt as if President Bush used us.
There are no lies behind this documentary, for there is proof (literally) behind each of your words. After seeing this documentary, I will not return to Iraq for a second deployment. I will probably get arrested, discharged, or even executed according to the Uniformed Code of Military Justice.
It's about time we, the people, take a stand against President Bush. I am.
I am a United States sailor. I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America and I will obey the orders of those appointed over me.
I represent the fighting spirit of the navy and those who have gone before me to defend freedom and democracy around the world.
I proudly serve my country's navy combat team with honor, courage, and commitment. I am committed to excellence and the fair treatment of all.
"WE CAN'T AFFORD THIS WAR WE ARE IN!"
FROM: SPC Matthew Burns
SENT: Thursday, July 15, 2004 5:31 PM
SUBJECT: Thank you
Dear Mr. Moore,
I am a soldier currently stationed in Fairbanks, Alaska. My name is SPC Matthew Burns. I really appreciated that you didn't place the blame for our current catastrophe on the shoulders of soldiers. We carry so much already, and it is great to finally see blame where it is most deserved. I will go anywhere and do anything my country asks me to, because that's what a soldier does. I don't trust my political leaders anymore to make reasonable decisions. We can't afford this war we are in!
Our military budget is larger than that of the top ten closest in the world COMBINED, but my unit can't afford the training and equipment we need. There is always a budget problem paying for our training. I will go to Iraq if I am needed there, but it would be nice if I had the training I, and every other soldier, deserve. Where is this money going?
Regardless, I just wanted to say thanks for giving us credit for what we do. Fahrenheit 9/11 touched my heart and that of my spouse. Give my regards to your friend in Flint who lost her son. I hope the army can give my family more than a phone call.
I am scheduled to be deployed next summer to this war I don't agree with. I will go, as I don't wish to dishonor my family or country. I know others who feel the same way. I hope our leaders can be trusted to make better decisions in the future. Oil is not worth one soldier's life lost. Too many young Americans are dying for this cause. The deaths of September 11, 2001, must not have been enough to please Mr. Bush. I hope the "thief in chief' isn't chief much longer. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
"I FELT BETRAYED AND USED"
SENT: Monday, December 22, 2003 7:21 PM
SUBJECT: Could it get any worse?
I came home from Iraq in September after nine months with the 101st Airborne Division. What I came home to was not the same country I left.
I will admit that before the war, I bought into much of what Bush was saying. Don't get me wrong, I didn't vote for him before, and I didn't trust him. Still, Saddam just HAD to have all those weapons, right? Why else would he be giving the run- around to all the inspectors? It just made sense. I didn't really believe that he posed a direct threat to us, but by God, he just HAD to have those weapons. I was never scared of being shot, or hitting a mine. What scared me to death was being on the receiving end of a chemical or biological-tipped scud and not getting my mask on in time.
If anyone has ever seen or read about what these weapons can do, you will understand my fear. The first two days of the war we had an alert every time a missile was launched. The fear of getting that mask on as fast as you can and then waiting to see if you beat the odds or had the scud hit you is something I never want to experience again.
A funny thing happened on the way to Baghdad: we soon put away our chemical suits and gear. Saddam never launched a chemical attack. I thought that surely we had some general to thank for not following orders, since Saddam just HAD to have all those weapons. I mean Colin Powell (the one and only man in the administration whom I had any trust in) went in front of the UN and argued that point. Well, I won't bore you with the rest of the story since you know that the weapons (which Rummy claimed to know the exact location of) have never been found.
I felt betrayed and used. As an officer I am not supposed to show these feelings in front of the soldiers. We are supposed to put on a good face and ensure that the men and women we give orders to never lose sight of the mission and the task at hand. The thing was, I didn't even know what the mission was anymore. Soon other officers and I began whispering thoughts that would make Ashcroft send out the thought police. At first we skirted around it, but after a while, we began to come out and say it: We had been lied to and used.
Of course, all of you at home were being told how great our morale was and that we were happy to be doing our job. To this I said, "Of course we don't have low morale. That would imply that there is some sort of morale to measure." It was an amazing sight: thousands of soldiers not giving a rat's ass about our mission, but only wanting to stay alive long enough to get home. Does this sound like another war in our nation's past?
It makes me angry to see all this happening and knowing that people are getting away with it. I feel like a caged animal not knowing who to strike at or where to turn. I still have three years left in the army before my time is up (unless they decide to "stop loss" me and keep me in PAST the time I agreed to serve). I think the best thing I can do is to enact change from within.
I will devote my time to opening the eyes of as many of my fellow officers and soldiers as I can before the 2004 election. After all, it was probably our absentee ballots that got Bush "elected" the first time around.
If I can change the minds of enough people over the next year, then maybe we can put this whole sordid mess behind us and start fixing this great country.
(I'd give my name, but if they kick me out or send me away to Gitmo, I can't change anyone's mind.)
P.S. I think it is fair to tell you that in the mid-nineties I was a Rush-loving, Dole-voting, Clinton- bashing machine. I have now recovered from this problem and am trying to put my life back together. I hope I don't slip up and enter a tailspin like that again. My hope is that if I can change, others can, too.
"I FEEL LIKE I HAVE BLOOD ON My HANDS"
FROM: Dan Rackley
SENT: Friday, July 2, 2004 6:17 PM
SUBJECT: Michael, I just saw your movie. ..I was moved
Hello, my name is Daniel Rackley. I recently turned 23, and about four months ago was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy.
I recently saw Fahrenheit 9111. First thing, I have never driven two hours to go see any movie. Yours was the first. Watching your movie brought back a lot of memories of when I joined the military along with the prowar hysteria.
The first night that Baghdad was bombed, I was on watch on the USS Bataan. I was steering the ship while bombs were being dropped on Iraq, and some of those bombs likely came from Harriers on board my ship.
In the background while I was doing my job, a television had CNN running live coverage of the bombings. Like so many of the people who got caught up in what was going on, I started cheer- ing and wishing death on people I didn't even know. Not just the troops, but everyone.
It didn't hit me until I saw your movie that I was driving the ship that was sending planes to kill people.
I've never killed anyone, shot a gun, or even been in any serious fights; but I feel like I have blood on my hands. I've never meant to hurt anyone, but my actions were, in part, helping to destroy houses, kill children and families. Sir, in your opinion, do you think the guilt I'm feeling is proper for me to be feeling? Or should I just say to myself that it wasn't my fault, and that I was just doing my job? My entire time in the navy, I never was put in a situation where I had to put a gun to someone's head, but in some small way, I feel like I've done it to thousands of people.
This new movie put a spark in me to get up out of my chair and get ready to make sure that things like this never happen again. I saw on your website a list of ways to take action, and I'm going to try to do as many of them as I can.
In closing, thank you for making that movie. It opened my eyes to many things. All the bullshit that people are giving you over this, tell them that Daniel Rackley says they should go to hell.