Fahrenheit 9/11, a 2004 documentary by Michael Moore, a political commentator is the most watched political documentary. The main argument is that the paranoia, patriotism and false values present in the American Security System (ASS) resulted to the incapability (poor decisions) of Bush administration when it came to dealing with security issues affecting the Americans including the devastating 9/11 terrorist attack.
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As the film shows, the first plane attack during the 9/11 terrorist attack took place when Bush on a journey heading to an elementary school. When the second plane crashed and Bush was informed that US was under terrorism attack, he was in a classroom with kids. Out of the patriotism (devotion) he had for his people, he did not want to create alarm and therefore continued reading The Pet Goat for about seven minutes until he could muse over and understand what was happening.
When examined under the Air National Guard, the false values of the ASS become eminent. We can see that Bush who is the president and has a fundamental function in the ASS overlooks the Americans interests and start an oil company funded by the Bin Laden family through James R. Bath who represents the Bin Laden family. In addition, we can see how Bush manipulates the ASS by launching war on Iraq and destroying the Iraqi’s life instead of paying attention to Osama Bin Laden, the real culprit.
To evoke a rationale response from the audience, Moore interviews retired FBI Jack Cloonan and Craig Unger who ascertain that after 9/11 attacks, Osama’s family members left the country without serious questioning (logos). Moore also uses figurative language and presentation to sensitize people.
When he learns that the Congress members do not read the PATRIOTIC ACT, he travels around Washington D.C. using an ice-cream truck and an external speaker to read the ACT to the Congress members (pathos). In addition, Moore uses his trustworthiness and sincerity (Ethos) to create a convincing argument. Moore enlightens Americans by showing how the Bush administration’s conflicts of interest are sabotaging the Americans welfare without being biased; he shows the ulterior motives behind the War in Afghanistan.
Numerous fallacies in the film have aroused much controversy. The most prominent one is present in a scene comprising the US soldiers and the Iraqi people. In the scene, Moore shows how sun burnt soldiers present in Iraq sing a ‘good song’ Let the bodies hit the floor to get ready for combat.
He juxtaposes a soldier’s voice when singing the song against the Iraqi civilians’ images depicting distress. Moore uses this scene to argue that Iraqi’s are innocent and the American soldiers are ignorant; they are just doing what Bush ordered them to do without knowing why they are fighting. It is deceptive to assume that the attack on Iraq was on innocent victims.
The Iraqi war targeted Saddam Hussein, the president who had financed the suicide bombing at Palestine, al-Qaeda, a terrorist group in Iraq and destruction of mass weapons, not the innocent victims. This is why the US forces are there to mitigate the insurgency and prevent the killing of the innocent Iraqis by the insurgents.
This analysis shows that for anyone making an argumentative film, ethos, pathos and logos are effective in creating a convincing argument. However, fallacies nullify an argument by making it sound doubtful and unreal. A film turns out to be mythical and therefore, filmmakers should avoid fallacies at all costs.