President Barack Obama has come under fire recently from many liberals for his use of drones overseas. (Will his exploding fist-bump with a Republican senator during the state of the union last night be able to save his image?) Think tanks and highly respected intellectuals from the left have come down on the president for the moral ambiguity and possible illegality of using robotic air strikes in the war on terror. Given it’s the hot button issue of the moment, director Michael Moore had to weight in.
Best known as an issues-based documentarian, Moore’s 1989 debut film Roger and Me came to embody his style of filmmaking—direct and inserting himself into the frame, he tracked down the CEO of General Motors to ask the exec how he felt about the effects of downsizing in Flint, Michigan, Moore’s hometown. With Bowling for Columbine (2002) Moore became a household name, won an Oscar, and cemented his image as a loud liberal. (Though let’s not forget comedy runs in his blood, as he also helmed 1995’s Canadian Bacon with the late John Candy.) Outspoken against President George W. Bush, (though he did defend Zero Dark Thirty), Moore has critiqued Obama before and decided to not break form last night.
Awarding a prize to the Palestinian film 5 Broken Cameras in New York, The Hollywood Reporter asked the director about Obama’s use of drones. “It’s wrong. Obama is wrong,” he replied, going on to state: “What did we think was the endgame of this? At the end of all this, where are we going to be as Americans? Shit out of luck. Seriously, with the whole world hating us.”
He did have kinder words for Obama’s recent plans to take a harder stance on gun laws following the shooting in Newtown, but returned to the thesis of Bowling for Columbine, in which Canada is central: “There’s something wrong with us [Americans]. They have gun laws in other places and they work, but they work in part because the people are different. Canadians still have—there are 12 million households in Canada and there are seven million guns—yet they shoot about 150 of each other a year.[…]They’re not better than us, the Canadians. So why don’t they kill each other like we do?” Maybe it’s time for another documentary, Mr. Moore.