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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
The incursion into Iraq by the U.S. and the so-called "Coalition Of The Willing" that took place on March 19, 2003, and is only starting to wind down as 2011 draws to a close, proved to be one instigated largely on half-truths and out-and-out lying on the part of president George W. Bush, vice-president Dick Cheney, and that entire neo-conservative cabal that had America locked in the grip of fear from the moment of 9/11. The biggest lie of all was that Iraq's dictator Saddam Hussein not only still possessed biological and chemical agents twelve years after the 1991 Gulf War, but that he had a hand in assisting Al Qaeda in the attacks of 9/11 that eviscerated 3,000+ in 102 minutes during that terrible morning in 2001. By the time these lies were found out, however, it was too late; the Bush/Cheney regime had locked America onto a course from which, as had been the case with Vietnam, there would be no turning back even if we wanted it. Just how all of these lies coalesced into such a debacle that it took Bush's successor to extricate us from is told in documentary filmmaker Robert Greenwald's incisive 2004 film UNCOVERED: THE WAR ON IRAQ.
Part of a 2003-2004 trilogy known as the "Un" series (UNPRECEDENTED: THE 2000 ELECTION; UNCONSTITUTIONAL: THE WAR ON OUR CIVIL LIBERTIES), UNCOVERED, released at a time when documentaries of a decidedly liberal slant were erupting out of all corners to challenge the corporate and military fascism of the Bush/Cheney regime, definitively uncovers a lot of evidence of to what extent they lied in order to ensnare us into a conflict that neither gave us revenge for 9/11, nor enhanced national security. It was very well known by United Nations weapons inspectors for several years that Saddam Hussein, as evil and despicable a despot as there has been since the days of Hitler and Stalin, had had his stockpile of "weapons of mass destruction" expunged from existence long after the last shots had been fired in the 1991 war. In essence, he was basically impotent at least until 9/11, when Bush and his minions used the attacks to make it seem like he had suddenly become a direct threat to America. As such, a nation living in fear of being attacked in far worse ways than big jets smashing into buildings placed their trust in a regime where most of the participants, draft dodgers Bush and Cheney especially, had little or no foreign policy acumen, but plenty of misplaced ideologies. To expose these facts, much as Ed Murrow had done with respect to senator Joseph McCarthy's Gestapo tactics at "exposing" Communists during the 1950s "Red Scare", Greenwald utilizes the very words of Bush, Cheney, and the rest, to indict them all; and, as Michael Moore would do in FAHRNEHEIT 9/11, he also shows us footage of Donald Rumsfeld having shaken hands with Hussein on a visit to Iraq in 1983, at a time when Hussein was still America's "friend", and undergoing their own war against the evil Islamist dictatorship next door in Iran.
Adding to this, we also get a whole nest of interviews with people like UN weapons inspectors Scott Ritter and Hans Blix, who had done on-the-ground inspections in Iraq for seven years, and, while they ran into Hussein's stonewalling on any number of occasions, were able to ensure in the end that the Iraqi dictator couldn't use any WMDs on his people or his neighbors; government analysts like Larry Johnson, Chas Freeman, and Ray McGovern, who give very damning assessments of the Bush/Cheney rationale; former ambassador Joe Wilson, who exposed Bush's claims that Iraq was importing yellow cake uranium from Niger as false and saw his CIA agent wife Valerie Plame get exposed as retaliation; and, last but not least, a man who is no stranger to world-class lying, former Nixon special counsel John Dean, who speculates that the amount of lies being told about the war in Iraq by Bush himself could very well have warranted direct impeachment proceedings. This is extremely heavy stuff to take in, and Uncovered does it in less than 90 minutes.
Like so many responses to the Bush/Cheney line that came following the 2003 incursion, UNCOVERED was made the target of the administration and its minions on the Far Right on Fox News, talk radio, and the blogosphere. In the end, however, the truth so smothered the attacks that such a defensive backlash was inevitable; and by the time 2007 rolled around, Iraq was a shambles. Greenwald, even with his very liberal political credentials, was only exposing what the Bush/Cheney junta wanted to keep a permanent secret from the American public. And when all is said and done, while Bush/Cheney will almost certainly be considered the most corrupt presidential administration after Nixon's, Greenwald, and other truth tellers and whistle blowers like him, both liberal and conservative, will come out the big winners. Hopefully, so too will the American people; and even more hopefully, we will come out a bit wiser next time.
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