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GADFLY: Wrong Movie, George

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According to published reports, the President has invited the families of the victims of the crash of Flight 93 on September 11th to view the movie of the same name at the White House. Bush has said he views the passengers of Flight 93 as “heroes.” Just what we need---another opportunity for Bush to exploit  9/11 for political purposes.

But what makes this latest bit of political marketing particularly offensive is that it comes at the same time as another movie has been released that I'm going to bet Bush won't be inviting anyone to the White House to see (much less watch himself), “Baghdad ER,” the HBO documentary about a medical trauma unit in Baghdad  which depicts, in gruesome detail, the daily bloodbath of this war. If anyone should see this movie, it's George Bush.

It's easy for Bush to bang the 9/11 drum since most people still don't hold him personally responsible for what happened that day (even though less than half of the public believes the official version, or the investigations, of those events). But noone, whether they approve of Bush or not, can have any question about this president's responsibility for the policies that have resulted in the carnage our troops (not to mention innocent Iraqi civilians) are suffering. So, it's an ultimate act of denial, not to mention hypocrisy and cowardice, for Bush to avoid watching this heart-wrenching film about a hospital unit in Iraq, and the death and injuries its staff has to deal with virtually every minute of every day.

But Bush's avoidance of death and dying in Iraq isn't either unusual or unique. Even the Army's top brass, including the Secretary of the Army and the Surgeon General, who were invited to a screening of the HBO film ended up being no-shows.  And the Army even issued a warning that watching the film could exacerbate the post traumatic stress many soldiers are already suffering, a sentiment that is heartwarming considering what a lousy job the Army is doing dealing with the mental effects of this war , and that it is sending troops with diagnosed mental problems back into combat.

We know that Bush has done everything in his power to prevent the real toll of this war from being broadcast, whether it's by blaming the media for his unpopularity because it shows pictures of the violence, or prohibiting pictures of the coffins that return from Iraq bearing the war dead . This administration does't like pictures (moving or otherwise) that show the results of its own incompetence. It did the same thing during the Katrina debacle when FEMA attempted to ban the media from taking pictures of dead victims. And Bush himself refuses to attend the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq.

No, I don't think there will be a White House showing of “Baghdad ER.” The president is too busy blowing his 9/11 horn to pay any real attention to the heroes of his miserable war.

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