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Why We Fight (2005)

8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 8,710 users   Metascore: 68/100
Reviews: 98 user | 143 critic | 32 from Metacritic.com

Is American foreign policy dominated by the idea of military supremacy? Has the military become too important in American life? Jarecki's shrewd and intelligent polemic would seem to give an affirmative answer to each of these questions.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Ken Adelman ...
Himself
John Ashcroft ...
Himself (archive footage)
...
Himself (archive footage)
...
Himself (archive footage)
...
Himself (archive footage)
Robert Byrd ...
Himself (archive footage)
...
Himself (archive footage)
Dick Cheney ...
Himself (archive footage)
Joseph Cirincione ...
Himself
...
Himself (archive footage)
Anh Duong ...
Herself
Gwynne Dyer ...
Himself
...
Himself (archive footage)
John S.D. Eisenhower ...
Himself
Susan Eisenhower ...
Herself
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Storyline

He may have been the ultimate icon of 1950s conformity and postwar complacency, but Dwight D. Eisenhower was an iconoclast, visionary, and the Cassandra of the New World Order. Upon departing his presidency, Eisenhower issued a stern, cogent warning about the burgeoning "military industrial complex," foretelling with ominous clarity the state of the world in 2004 with its incestuous entanglement of political, corporate, and Defense Department interests. Written by Ørnås

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It is nowhere written that the American empire goes on forever.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for disturbing war images and brief language | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

January 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dlaczego walczymy  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$53,571 (USA) (20 January 2006)

Gross:

$1,436,279 (USA) (12 May 2006)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

[from trailer]
John McCain: The United States is the greatest force for good in the world.
John McCain: We have not an obligation to go out and start wars, but certainly to spread democracy and freedom throughout the world.
John McCain: ...When does the United States go from a force for good to a force of imperialism?
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Connections

Followed by Standing Army (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Hurt
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Written by Trent Reznor
Performed by Johnny Cash
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User Reviews

 
thought provoking
9 February 2006 | by (St Louis, MO) – See all my reviews

The negative reviews of this film seem to center around "those arrogant, hypocritical Europeans." If any of these reviewers had done their research, they would know that Jarecki is a New Yorker. Just because the film takes a firm stance against America's militarism does not mean that Mr. Jarecki is European.

Why We Fight is a superb complement to Errol Morris' Oscar-winning Fog of War. Morris took indirect shots at George Bush II by showing a Lyndon Johnson speech referring to Vietnam as "a war against tyranny and aggression." In that speech, Johnson also reiterated, "We won't leave until the job is finished." Sound familiar?

Jarecki picks up where Morris left off, more directly highlighting the similarities between Vietnam and the present conflict in Iraq. There are most certainly differences, but the parallels cannot and MUST NOT be ignored if the American people are to have any hope of learning from our government's past and present missteps. Most significantly, Jarecki shows how each conflict was escalated through a lie (Gulf of Tonkin/WMD) and nonsensical pro-freedom rhetoric from the government and the media.

Unlike Michael Moore's poorly constructed Farenheit 9/11, Jarecki does not limit the scope of the film to simplistic Bush team bashing. That's not to say this is absent from the film; Jarecki is obviously anti-Bush and left-leaning. However, he successfully illustrates how all of our elected representatives, Republicans and Democrats, are influenced by the Industrial-Military Complex.

You cannot fight a war against an abstraction (i.e. War on Terror, War on Communism, War on Drugs, War on Crime, et al). People are the true targets of wars. Declaring war without officially declaring it and abusing words like freedom and liberty are just ways of dehumanizing the conflict, and if we dehumanize war, we will never stop fighting.

This is a film that everyone in America should see, and if it is truly so enraging to the right-wingers, I would challenge them to make a comparable documentary defending the Iraq War. I would gladly watch it to see their side of the coin.

"We will bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security."

  • Dwight D. Eisenhower




"If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." - James Madison

"The Department of Defense is a behemoth...With an annual budget larger than the gross domestic product of Russia, it is an empire." - The 9/11 Commission Report


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