Sunday, October 24, 2004

Soldier Peter Damon: "You know you've lied in making this movie."

Army Specialist Peter Damon sits under a shade tree and relates his war story from Iraq. As he and his best friend, Paul Bush, worked on a tire on their vehicle, an explosion went off. Bush was killed.

The camera pulls back, and you see for the first time that Damon didn't escape the incident unharmed. The explosion that killed his friend also took his arms from the elbows down. He is a young man with a young family, all with most of their lives ahead of them. His left sleeve is empty; his right arm has been replaced by a prosthesis with a sharp metal hook on the end. Damon is angry, and his voice takes on the tones of a man who knows he has been exploited.

He is not angry at President Bush for sending him to Iraq. Specialist Damon volunteered for the Army like all of our soldiers, and he is proud of his service in Iraq. He is not even particularly angry about the explosion that killed his friend and cost him his arms. He is angry with filmmaker Michael Moore.

While lying in a hospital bed at Walter Reed Army Hospital recovering weeks after the attack, NBC's Brian Williams interviewed the wounded soldier. Though Damon's arms are gone, he experiences "phantom pain" as if they were still attached. Though Moore never visited the military hospital and never even met Damon, he somehow obtained that NBC footage and used it in his film Fahrenheit 9/11, taking Damon's words out of context to make it appear that he is angry about the war and that his "phantom pain" is the pain of a soldier abandoned by his country and betrayed by his president. Nothing could be further from the truth.

At this point, Damon looks into the camera as though he is speaking directly to Michael Moore, and says, "You know you've lied in making this movie. You know you lied in my case, you know you lied in a whole lot of other cases."

Turning Up the Heat on Moore, by Bryan Preston. National Review Online, Oct. 20, 2004.