Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore suggested top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani was comparatively a more beloved figure than several prominent U.S. military leaders.
“Just wondering – is there an American General for whom millions of us would turn out for his funeral? Mad Dog? Kelly? Colin Powel? William Westmoreland?” Moore tweeted to his more than 6 million followers on Wednesday.
Moore’s tweet was accompanied by an image showing a massive crowd assembled for Soleimani’s funeral procession in Kerman.
“Can anyone even name the chair of the Joint Chiefs? We all support those who serve but would we pour into the streets like this?” he added.
Moore, never one to shy away from criticism of President Donald Trump, has sharply condemned the Trump administration’s recent military actions against Iran, particularly the air strike that resulted in Soleimani’s death.
The “Bowling for Columbine” director appeared to question on Wednesday whether Soleimani was an appropriate target.
What Americans did Soleimani kill? Our troops, who were forced to invade Iraq, a country next to his which had nothing to do with 9/11? No.Our beloved troops were sent there to their deaths by Bush, Cheney &the 29 Democratic Senators who voted to commit this war crime. The Truth.
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) January 8, 2020
On Sunday, Moore announced he had personally messaged Iran’s supreme leader to ask that the ayatollah not respond to a U.S. airstrike against his top commander “with violence of any kind.”
In posts to his social media accounts, Moore reported that he had recorded the message of peace on his podcast and “DM’d” it to Ali Khamenei. He said he had suggested that instead of retaliating for the killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani, Khamenei should “let me & millions of Americans fix this peacefully.”
Social media users ruthlessly mocked Moore over the weekend for “sliding into the ayatollah’s DMs.”
Be not afraid, for Michael Moore has slid into the Supreme Leader’s DMs to stop all out war. “When the Ayatollah responds, I’ll post his reply.” pic.twitter.com/MDqJc9wU88
— Julia Macfarlane (@juliamacfarlane) January 5, 2020
The reaction on Wednesday wasn’t much different, as commenters blasted Moore for overlooking the authoritarian reality of life under the Iranian regime.
“You’re sharing televised propaganda from a population that was there under threat of force. They do that because they want to manipulate beliefs and will do so as long as it works. You’re actively helping them. Go team,” tweeted one commenter.
— JenBrooks (@JenBrooks727) January 8, 2020
Journalist Aboud Dandachi called Moore’s attention to the turnout at the funeral for Joseph Stalin, the former dictator of the Soviet Union.
Stalin’s funeral. Notice any similarities? ??♂️ pic.twitter.com/w0Ym5ngiMQ
— Aboud Dandachi (@abouddandachi) January 8, 2020
Several commenters shared photographs of mourners from other autocratic nations, such as North Korea.
If it determined whether we get to eat that month or not.
— Peloton Rider (@Riley94510202) January 8, 2020
Chris Loesch, a composer and pro-gun activist, said American generals “don’t slaughter thousands of innocent lives or sponsor terrorism.”
“We also don’t pay people to put into the streets. The Ayatollah plays you leftists like a fiddle. You should be ashamed for even trying to make this idiotic point,” Loesch added in a tweet.
Shadi Hamid, a senior Middle East expert at the Brookings Institution, warned Americans against taking the Iranian government’s images of national unity at face value.
“I have no doubt that there is a significant segment of the Iranian population that does feel strongly in some way about Soleimani, but then to say that Iranians writ large are united or Iranians writ large revere this man is absurd,” Hamid told the Washington Examiner.
“And anyone who says that is doing basically propaganda,” he added.