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Will They Ever Trust Us Again?
is a collection of letters from soldiers and their families sent to Michael
Moore through his website http://www.michaelmoore.com.
It was published in 2004 not long before the presidential election, and many of
the letters express a hope that George W. Bush will be thrown out of office.
Indeed, some say they are sure that he will not be re-elected, but of course
they turned out to be quite wrong.
The letters are from servicemen and
women who are serving in Iraq, those who serve in other countries, veterans,
and families. They are all against the Iraq war and condemn President Bush, Donald
Rumsfelt, and the large corporations who are profiting from the war. They talk
of their fears of getting killed, worries or grief for losing their loved ones,
and their anger at a war without justification. They talk about how the young
people joined the military as a way to solve their economic problems and help
their families, and how recruiters lied to them. Many of them explain that
they are from Republican families or families with a long history of military
service, but how they have been disgusted by the current political leaders who
they regard as corrupt and lacking in honor. Many of the letters say that Moore's
film Fahrenheit 9/11 and Moore's notorious Oscar speech when he won Best
Documentary for Bowling for Columbine shook them up and made them see
all the more clearly how Bush and his team cannot be trusted.
So these are letters full of
emotion that talk of patriotism and supporting the troops and a powerful sense
of betrayal. Listening to the unabridged audiobook is at times a powerful
experience too as different individuals tell their stories in different ways,
and one gets a strong impression of many people from different backgrounds
coming to the same conclusion about the wrongness of the Iraq war. The
readings by the performers are full of conviction and drama, helping to express
the feelings behind the words. These letters show a perspective that is rarely
emphasized in mainstream media and deserves attention.
Of course, Moore also has a
political purpose in publishing these letters. Partly it was in hope of
affecting the result of the 2004 election, but that did not work. As the
climate of public opinion about the war seems to shift, this book may still be
important in helping people make up their minds about the issues and deciding
when it is time to insist that the USA withdraws its troops from Iraq. One
might worry that a work like this is not written by experts in international
security or terrorism, and one might even dismiss the letters as
unrepresentative of the majority view in the military. However, it seems that
in the current climate of opinion, the public is losing faith in the competence
of most so-called experts, and indeed, the argument for war in the first place
was based much more on emotion than it was on rationality. We might wish that
political debate could be conducted objectively and reasonably, but it may be
that this is not possible in the era of Internet rumors, talk radio and biased
TV coverage, so books such as Will They Ever Trust Us Again? are as valid
a contribution to the current discourse as anything else.
© 2005 Christian Perring. All
Perring, Ph.D., is Academic Chair of the Arts & Humanities
Division and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island.
He is also editor of Metapsychology Online Review. His main
research is on philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.
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