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During a Tuesday night appearance on The Beat with Ari Melber, the Fahrenheit 9/11 director threw his support behind Biden’s decision to end the decades-long war in Afghanistan and the presence of American troops in the country. “I think that I’m so proud of President Biden — who I did not vote for in the Michigan primary; I voted for and I worked for Bernie Sanders — and I have been completely surprised and feeling we’re all blessed to have Joe Biden in the White House in these last months,” Moore said.
Moore expressed that he was not only impressed by what the president has been able to achieve in his first year in office, but in his ability to stand bravely and never walk back “like a politician, and especially a Democratic politician would.”
“They would get afraid of the Republicans in the right-wing,” Moore said. “Democrats [have] such a history of walking things back like this. He wouldn’t walk it back. He just said, ‘No this is wrong. I promised you when I ran for office, I’m pulling those troops out. This war is going on way too long.’ And it’s exactly what he did. A politician kept his word.”
Biden’s decision to move ahead with the August withdrawal, after extending the May 1 deadline originally set by the Trump administration in 2020, has been met with criticisms following several chaotic weeks in the country as Americans, Afghan allies to the U.S. and others have attempted to leave the country following the Taliban’s unexpectedly swift takeover of the government. The disorganization of the exit was punctuated by an Islamic state attack at the Kabul airport — where people had been congregating around the clock in an effort to evacuate — that killed 13 Americans soldiers and more than 100 Afghan civilians.
Moore described the withdrawal as “crazy” but said that most withdrawals and evacuation war efforts have been, before sharing his condolences over the lives lost in the past few weeks.
“You can have the discussion of how crazy it went at the end, but all evacuations — from Dunkirk, before and after — [have],” he said. “I mean, Churchill is considered a hero with Dunkirk. There were 15,000 allied lives lost in trying to evacuate those soldiers off that beach in France at the beginning of World War II. It never goes right, it never goes well.”
Moore has long been vocal about his opposition to the Afghanistan war, openly and publicly rebuking the decision of Congress and then-president George W. Bush’s administration to invade both it and Iraq. He critically tackles it in his 2004 documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11, along with the wide-ranging political and media support of the war following the Sept. 11 attacks. But when asked how he was feeling after the official withdrawal and end of America’s longest war, the director said there were “no points for being right.”
“If anything, I feel like, what could I have done better 20 years ago or 18 years ago when we invaded Iraq to communicate to the American public that we were making a horrific mistake, that would cost us thousands of American lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan lives?” he said. “So, there’s no celebration today.”
During the nearly 20-minute MSNBC interview, the award-winning director also reflected on his 2003 Academy Awards speech, during which he was booed by attendees for speaking out against Bush and the Iraq war. After Melber noted that Moore was “shunted off stage” with a music cue and to a mix of boos and applause while accepting the best documentary feature award for Bowling for Columbine, Moore shared that his mic had also been lowered in the midst of giving his comments.
“This was the fifth night of the Iraq War, the Oscars. How could I not say something?” Moore told Melber about why he spoke out. “Especially because this movie was about violence and guns and everything and so I said what I said.”
The director also opened up about studios refusing to work with him following his on-stage comments. “A few days later, the studio that was going to fund and distribute my next film ripped up the contract, and said, ‘We’re not doing anything with you.’ And nobody would do anything,'” Moore stated. “Look at Barbara Lee, the only member of Congress that voted against the Afghanistan war. Every Democrat in the Congress voted for the Afghan war, except her. And I’ve talked to her over the years. It’s a lonely place to be.”
Moore, who plans to stream his 2004 film Fahrenheit 9/11 on his website for free Sept. 10th, said that America’s experience in Afghanistan is yet another lesson that America has learned.
“I think that we need to learn our lessons from the past. We lose these wars because the wars are wrong. There are wars we have fought that we’re right, and we won them,” he said. “But for the last umpteen years — 20, 30, even 40 years — it’s been for the wrong reasons. And I don’t want this to happen anymore. I don’t want to lose any of our young men and women. I don’t want to kill people in other countries who pose no threat to me or you or anybody else, who’ve never attacked us.”
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