“Dude, Where’s My Country?” Book Review

“Dude, where is My Country” is a book written by Michael Moore and published by Penguin Books in 2004. In this book, Moore provocatively and boldly discusses several socio-political events in America. He takes on George W. Bush, the Conservative brigade and corporate wheeler dealers in America and offers wide ranging remedies which place the country’s redemption squarely on the shoulders of the liberal forces. The author dissects America’s problems in topics ranging from tax cuts, the Iraqi war, among others and demonstrates the failure of the nation-state to be a direct consequence of conservative ethos.
Moore first seeks to debunk what he calls the ‘Big Lie’, that America is inherently and pervasively conservative. He terms this belief as a propagandist fib, perpetuated by the right in order to put down the liberal masses. “….. So, in the tradition of all propagandists, they lie. They create an opposite truth: AMERICA IS CONSERVATIVE. Then they pound away with that false message so hard and so often that even their political opponents come to believe that it’s true,” Moore asserts (Moore, 2003 page 2).
To prove that most Americans are indeed liberal, Moore gives facts which demonstrate majority support for the Civil Rights movement, abortion, the Roe vs Wade ruling, the Green movement, gun restrictions, universal healthcare (or socialized medicine as he puts it), community as opposed to jail service for offenders, gay and lesbian rights and unionization. He then wonders why conservatives hold the rein of leadership in the country and proceeds to offer his ten cents worth. Chapter one poses seven seemingly rhetorical questions to Bush. Home of the Whopper” is the heading of Chapter two and it serves as an allegorical forerunner of the issues presented herein. Here, the author discusses the lies told by the Bush administration before narrating a fable featuring his great-granddaughter who seeks to find out from him the state of the world when oil and plastics were available and seeks to understand the reasons behind the failure of planning. In a sense, this chapter indicts the Bush administration for its lax energy policies and seems to suggest a bleak future for America occasioned by these policies.

Chapter four is titled “The United States of Boo” and it takes the form of an essay. In this chapter, Moore demonstrates that death through terrorism is statistically impossible. As he so ably shows, there are other countless and plausible ways through which Americans can die that terrorism threats count for nothing. The ruse by the conservative war makers is a subterfuge meant to take away Americans’ civil liberties. Nowhere is this more succinctly evidenced than in the Patriot’s Act, Moore infers.
The next chapter delineates ways in which ordinary Americans can reduce acts of terrorism. In subsequent chapters, Moore launches into an angry offensive tirade against George W. Bush that is laced with acerbic humor. The Bush years are summarized as a failed presidency and various facts adduced to support this claim. The war against Iraq is presented in great detail and used as an example to show Bush’s weak leadership. Similarly, the Enron debacle, the infamous Bush tax cuts and the collapse of other firms are cited as products of failed economic policies.
The author lays bare the association between Bush, Osama Bin Laden and Saudi Arabia. He goes on to make staggering claims about alleged business connections between the Bushes and the Saudi Arabia nobles. Contrary to the wishes of FBI and notwithstanding the fact that only four of the 19 hijackers were non-Saudis, the Bush government shielded the Saudi Arabians from investigations while other Arabs in America were apprehended just like the Japanese were during the post world war II interment.
Moore dismisses the high approval ratings enjoyed by Bush in 2004 thus: “the high ratings for Bush are not an endorsement of his policies. Rather, it is the response of a frightened country that has no choice but to back the man charged with protecting them. America has not fallen in love with Bush-it’s more like “love the one you’re (stuck) with. ” (Moore, page 6). Railing against the “Christian Coalition”, Moore eloquently makes pitch for a presidency built around persons who live and understand America as it is.
In regard to this, he introduces the “Draft Oprah for President” movement. Oprah, it seems, is the very representation of this people president that America so desperately needs. A clarion call for liberals to redeem their country from the ‘undesired’ hands of the conservatives is sounded. Moore gravely states that Democrats should not be left to “screw up” the [2004] election and instead details what he calls “Operation 10-Minute Oil Change” where everybody is called upon to do something for ten minutes daily in an effort to drive out Bush and his oil cronies.
While the book is written in an easy to understand language with poignant examples, some hard facts and disturbing and weighty questions that inevitably stir up reflective thought, one cannot help avoid the feeling that it is grossly subjective and devoid of serious discourse. Additionally, ‘Dude, Where is My Country” seems like an unabashed endorsement of General Wesley Clark and the Democrat platoon. I do not agree with Moore because his book is redolent with numerous misrepresentations, falsities and inaccuracies.
In page 69, he deliberately misrepresents facts about American’s dealings with Iraq, conveniently trashing the provisions of UN’s food for oil program. He gives a long list of persons supposedly aggrieved with the Patriot Act in page 111. However, according to the sources he has given, the listed persons were never in any way affected by the legislation. In a brazen display of dishonesty, Moore claims that closure of schools in Oregon in 2003 was as a direct result of the Bush tax cuts whereas they were actually due to a new law that decoupled the state’s income tax system from that of the central government.
There are many other claims which cannot stand the test. They seem to have been intentionally twisted so that they can prop his claims. Some of his assertions border on the speculative. A good example of this is the unsubstantiated claim that Saudi military acted in cahoots with Bush and the Saudi government to launch them. While some claims are backed by solid fact, many others are not factual and it is precisely this reason that makes it hard to agree with Moore lock, stock and barrel.

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