This was a thought-provoking documentary that fell into the trap that bedevils many "controversial" documentaries. It is not presented as an unravelling of the truth but as a series of arguments to back a foregone conclusion. We all know Moore's religious, social, anti-corporate bent but by his own admission he lives in a million dollar home in NYC. He argues what we expect him to argue and no-one can accuse him of not presenting it humorously (very, in the first 30 min) and with much rhetorical force. Indeed the climb-down that he forces Wal-Mart into is extraordinary and worth the whole film. However, he mixes cause and effect in the most duplicitous way. He implies that the welfare for work programme is to blame for the death of a six-year old child at the hands of another. My parents have left for work every day for as long as I can remember for work at between 6 and 7 in the morning and I have never felt the slightest inclination to take a gun to school. Europe is living proof of that fact that large-scale state funding of just about anything, including welfare doesn't work. Look at Europe's pensions and National Health fiascos; financial time-bombs that will blow society apart. He implies that the presence of a Lockheed-Martin base in Columbine is indirectly to blame for the aggressive gun culture that resulted in the Columbine massacre. He neglects to say that it is the largest employer in the town and in some measure responsible for it's survival. He also implies that the bellicose nature of United State's politicians is to blame for this US gun culture and he trots out the usual litany of US blunders. To be sure the US has been less than perfect in its international interventions but lately its record is much, much better. Moore mentions Kosovo and the civilians that were killed. What he does not mention, again selecting the facts he reveals with care in order to support his thesis, is that, first, this intervention was done against the wishes of the UN and secondly, that it resulted in the saving of millions of Muslims, mark that Muslims, lives. Another moment in US history that no one mentions is the Cuban missile crisis. Had not the US spent considerable amounts on defence and the weapons that Moore so decries and had the strength and the bravery to out-stare the Russians the outcome would have been very different and Moore's life and that of the rest of us would be much altered. The point of the documentary should have been to show up just how racist and disingenuous Charlton Heston is and in that it succeeded breathlessly well.
The US, a beacon of the free world, is undoubtedly riddled with defects. They happen to be the same defects that all other democracies have. However, the US, as the leader of the free world is held up to scrutiny far more. Its enormous strength is its freedom. What other country would allow the dissemination, nay laud (he has just won an oscar) a documentary that so comprehensively attacks US culture. However, the US attracts large-scale and virulent envy and needs to defend itself and the way of life it represents. Time and again against world opinion they have reached for their guns and their young men's life to defend us despite our protestations. I for one, hope that they don't tire of our pacifist bleating. In the end pacifism will end up killing far more people than war. I don't think Mr. Moore understands that or if he does, unfortunately, it doesn't fit in with his conclusions.