CELSIUS 41.11: THE TEMPERATURE AT WHICH THE BRAIN BEGINS TO DIE Add To My Top 10
Defending President Bush
Release Date: October 22, 2004
Starring: Narrated by Tony Calabrese
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 82 minutes
Distributor: Citizens United
That’s pretty much the extent of the humor in this neo-conservative defense of Republican President George Bush’s policies toward Islamic terrorism, Saddam Hussein and national security following the terrorist attack on New York City and Washington, D.C. on September 11, 2001. While some of Mr. Bush’s policies may not seem prudent, especially in light of biblical teaching and traditional conservative philosophy, the movie argues forcefully against the kind of wild, slanderous attacks made by people like Michael Moore and others. It then launches into its own attack on Senator John Kerry’s political and public record, while comparing President Bush favorably to Sen. Kerry.
The movie opens, after a brief intro about the terrorist attack and President Bush’s initial reactions to them, with scenes of anti-Bush and anti-American left-wing protestors and self-described pacifists going bonkers, shouting obscenities. These protestors don’t seem very peaceful, a young man says into the camera. He also notes their support for “killing Jews.”
The movie then overtly accepts the assumption that both President Bush and Senator Kerry are decent men, but asks why the left seems so hostile to the President. “Why all this hatred?” asks neo-conservative Michael Medved.
Before launching its attack on Sen. Kerry, the movie addresses the false left-wing, Democratic charges that 1) President Bush did not win the 2000 popular vote in Florida and, in fact, cheated; 2) President Bush didn’t do enough to stop the 9/11 terrorist attacks; 3) President Bush is stealing our civil liberties; 4) Bush lied about the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq; and, 5) President Bush’s policies inflame the Muslim world. After refuting these charges, the movie refutes Kerry’s proposed plans to deal with the Islamic terrorists through the United Nations and the international community. The United States can’t afford to wait until another attack, the movie’s neo-conservative pundits argue. The United States must hit the Islamic terrorists and the “outlaw” states that support them before they hit us, they add. Furthermore, although Iran, Syria and Yassir Arafat, the father of modern Arab terrorism, may seem like more likely targets, the fact remains that Saddam Hussein in Iraq was already in violation of his international obligations. He also seemed more likely in the near future to use chemical and biological weapons and nuclear weaponry, delivered by his nascent missile technology, than these other states.
Finally, before an epilogue praising President Bush, interspersed with images of American heroes and children, the movie notes Sen. Kerry’s use of his Vietnam War record at the 2004 Democratic Convention. It shows, however, that Kerry apparently lied about being in Cambodia in 1968. It also shows how Kerry became a venal anti-war protestor in the 1970s, whose comments clearly endangered the lives of American soldiers and POWs still in Vietnam. The movie shows that Kerry went from fighting American policies in Vietnam to fighting President Ronald Reagan’s anti-Communist policies against the Soviet Union and its stranglehold on Eastern Europe. President Reagan’s policies, by the way, ultimately led to the downfall of the Soviet Communists. Kerry also opposed President Reagan’s efforts to keep Central America free from Communist and Soviet control, which also succeeded. Kerry also opposed the war to free Kuwait from Saddam Hussein in 1991, when America had a bigger international coalition than it has now in Iraq. The movie also points out some of Kerry’s notable flip flops on President Bush’s order to attack and capture, or kill, Saddam Hussein and his top leaders.
The strongest arguments in CELSIUS are those regarding Sen. Kerry’s perplexing and immoral political record, the 2000 vote in Florida, President Bush’s actions before 9/11, and President Bush’s fears about Saddam Hussein’s nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs. The filmmakers and the pundits they use don’t give much hard evidence, however, to support the controversial parts of the Patriot Act and President Bush’s neo-conservative policies regarding American civil liberties. Furthermore, although it is clear that most Muslims in general, and most Arab Muslims in particular, don’t need much excuse to vent hatred toward the United States and Israel, there is no denying that Bush’s policies toward Iraq, and his strange, lackluster defense of those policies, have become a public relations nightmare.
This last point seems especially true considering the apparent lack of decisive, prudent action by President Bush’s administration following the fall of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. As President Truman once remarked, the buck stops at the president’s desk. President Bush doesn’t owe an explanation for the current chaos in Iraq to the mad-eyed nincompoops running most of the Democratic Party and most of the mass media, but he does owe a proper explanation to the American people. He can’t just place all of the blame on the evil actions of a motley band of evil Muslim terrorists and malcontents.
The neo-conservative doctrines of pre-emptive war, military intervention in the Middle East and defense of Israel deserve honest and open debate. After all, the Israelis need to bow before the biblical authority of Jesus Christ just as much as the Palestinians and the other Arab peoples must. In fact, as Jesus and Paul make clear in the New Testament, the Kingdom of God resides within the Christian Church, not in Israel, nor Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, France, or even the United States. Through Christ, both the Jew and the Gentile become one, Paul says in Ephesians. The modern state of Israel is a secular anachronism lacking traditional, orthodox biblical support. By refusing to acknowledge these biblical truths, the neo-conservative pundits in CELSIUS 41.11 fail to grasp the deeper spiritual, moral and biblical issues behind today’s major international conflicts.
That doesn’t mean, of course, that the Palestinian and other Arab Muslims running the Islamic societies in the Middle East have a moral leg to stand. Their evil actions against Christians, Jews, Israel, and their own people have been sickening, and the United States government has given them more than ample opportunity to change their evil ways.
Instead of bleeping out several strong profanities made by anti-Bush protestors, the filmmakers leave them in their movie. They also include a scene of Saddam Hussein’s henchmen chopping off someone’s hand or fingers. This content earns the movie an unnecessary R rating, which limits the audience for this movie. Why would you want to do that in a political documentary? The neo-conservative filmmakers of CELSIUS 41.11 should know better than this.
The filmmakers also limit their audience, not to mention their chances of critical success, by making a movie that relies so much on talking heads. This is fine for TV, but a theatrical movie needs more pizzazz in order to make an impact.
Despite these problems, CELSIUS 41.11 is well worth watching for its more cogent, more valid arguments in support of President Bush and his policies. Its worldview is moral and patriotic, which is a lot more than one can say for the diatribes of anti-American Neo-Marxists like Michael Moore.
The strongest arguments in CELSIUS 41.11 are those regarding Sen. Kerry’s perplexing and immoral political record, the 2000 vote in Florida, President Bush’s actions before 9/11, and President Bush’s fears about Saddam Hussein’s nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs. The other points rely too much on unproven comments by a bunch of clearly biased talking heads. CELSIUS 41.11 also retains two “f” words uttered by obnoxious anti-Bush, anti-American protestors, rather than bleeping them out. This gratuitous foul language and some brief violence earn the movie an R rating, which limits the audience for CELSIUS 41.11.