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In this documentary feature, filmmaker Robert Greenwald chronicles the Bush Administration's case to invade Iraq following the events of Sept. 11, 2001. The film examines the administration's argument for war through interviews with U.S intelligence and defense officials, foreign service experts and U.N. weapons inspectors -- including a former CIA director, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia and even President Bush's Secretary of the Army. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Presentation is a bit amateurish but it builds its case well with a good range of experts, although the lack of a non-dissenting voice is notable
19 March 2003. Over three years now since "we" attacked Iraq and we're still there with hundreds killed in insurgent attacks just the other day, no real end in sight and the US and UK politicians doing everything they can to work out how to "cut and run" without making it look like we're "cutting" or "running". Ironic then that the majority of those who opposed the war want to stay and ensure we stabilise the region just shows how sensible these people are because the worst thing we can do now is just give it all up as a bad job, we did it now we must pay the price and with Iran now in a more powerful position in the region than ever, we have yet to really see what that price will be.
As many of my fellow "cowardly liberals", I watched this film not to really learn something but just to feed my outrage at what has happened over the last five or so years in my name. I was surprised to see those reviewing this film attacking it for ignoring the weapons found and dismissing the film as having been overtaken by evidence discovered after the film was made (2004). Well, I suppose some viewers will have watched it just to pick holes at it. I want to review the film rather than the war but I will say that the case made in this film about the lack of WMD and the manipulation (putting it politely) of intelligence doesn't seem to me to have been a case that has been disproved. I'm not sure if these people disagree with Bush's statement of Dec 05 where he said "many intelligence agencies judged that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and it's true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong", because it seems he is backing up this film's earlier claims. Perhaps these viewers also disagree with the Senate Intelligence Committee's findings in Sept 06 that "Saddam Hussein was distrustful of al-Qaeda... refusing all requests from al-Qaeda to provide material or operational support" and that "Saddam issued a general order that Iraq should not deal with al-Qaeda - no post-war information suggests that the Iraqi regime attempted to facilitate a relationship with Bin Laden" again something this film claims as well, contrasting nicely with Cheney's assurances in Sept 03 that he had evidence of "Iraqis providing bomb-making expertise and advice to the al-Qaeda organisation". This was the same Senate report that reported "post-war findings do not support the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate judgement that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program". Those reviewers also seemed to find it very easy to dismiss David Kay but handily ignore that his replacement Charles Duelfer could find no evidence of movements of WMD out of Iraq and also could not find evidence of a weapons programme. The best he could come up with was evidence that Saddam had a pool of experts that could have been used to start such a programme worrying perhaps but still light years from the claims made by Bush, Cheney, Blair et al.
So if you can know all the knowns we now know and still scoff at the idea that the Iraqi war was planned long before it was justified then this really isn't the film for you because you will only see this as liberal lies and dismiss it as such. Stepping outside of my politics as best I can, this documentary is pretty interesting in how it builds its arguments even if it is very one-sided and not really a discussion so much as a presentation. The opening credits are terrible and made it feel like a cheap TV special and the first 5 minutes spent introducing all the experts was pretty dull but after that the film moves quickly through several subjects using news footage of the Bush administration contrasted with comments and insight from an impressive range of experts. It is very one-sided of course but, unlike Michael Moore, this at least feels like it is a reasoned argument rather than bullying and pushing. Of course it is more enjoyable if you are the choir to be preached to but if there are any neutrals left this film should certainly make a good case.
Overall then an one-sided documentary but a well handled one that brings together expert contributions to build a convincing argument about whether or not we were deceived into going into Iraq. Unlike those that criticise this film for being off-the-mark, I do think time has shown its arguments to be spot on. The delivery could have been a bit more professional but the way it builds its case is engaging and well done.
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