It's a piece from the NY Daily News about one of the soldiers featured in Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. Sgt. Peter Damon says he feels "violated in some way" at being used as fodder for Moore's political agenda.
Damon said he has no regrets about his service with the Army National Guard or doubts about the U.S. mission in Iraq and resents his unwanted link with a film offering a contrary view.
"I'd like to go to the Republican National Convention and speak out about it," Damon said. "I agree with the President 100%. A lot of the guys down at Walter Reed feel the same
Spokespeople for Moore said they had no intention of demeaning U.S. Soldiers in the film. (This, despite some of Moore's earlier comments that seem to imply differently.)
But there's lots of ways to demean. Listen to what Sgt. Damon has to say:
"The whole movie makes soldiers look like a bunch of idiots," Damon said. "I'm not a child. We sent ourselves over there" as volunteers for a cause, he said. "It was all our own doing. I don't appreciate him calling us children."
This is something that I haven't seen many people discuss. This treatment of the soldiers in the film. The idea that they are mindless, that they have no will of their own. That they are "children." That, my friends, is demeaning. Sgt. Damon is 31 years old. Sgt. Michael Pederson--the son of Lila Lipscomb, the mother Moore interviews--is 26. These are men, not children. Moore makes a point of asking congressmen: would you send your child over there? But these are men who make their own decisions. Post 9/11, would you ask the parent of a twenty-something why he let his child live in New York City, when there's a possibility he might be attacked by terrorists there? How about asking a fire chief whether or not he'd "let" his 31 year old son join the department, knowing that the job consists of running into burning buildings? "After all," Moore could say, "this isn't really your fight. Your house isn't the one on fire; there's no threat to you."
Men like Damon have every right to resent the way Moore presents them in the film. He presents them as victims, and uses them like pawns. Think about that for a second. Are there really that many soldiers out there who thought the idea of actual combat was inconceivable when they signed up? Remember what these men and women have to do to get where they are: the exhausting runs, the gruelling physical conditioning, the live fire exercises, the jumping from planes, the survival training, the combat training, over and over until it's instinctual. Hell, these "children" could chew Moore's head off like so much beef jerky.
Moore needs them to appear helpless victims. Reason one is that if they don't, then they must be there because they made up their own minds that it's the right thing to do, and Moore can't have that. The other reason is that he wants to further the Vietnam comparison--It's another quagmire, and young kids are dying. (of course, making no mention that many of those soldiers did not serve voluntarily.) That's it, Mike...take away any meaning their sacrifices had by making them look like sheep. And whatever you do, for God's sake don't tell them that we've overthrown two oppressive regimes in a remarkably short time with a remarkably low casualty rate, and are in the process of making that part of the world a better place--all the kids will want to do it.