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|Index||98 reviews in total|
This is truly a remarkable film. In its subtlety, and its poetry it
outshines "..9/11". While Moore's film remains an extraordinary piece
of work - the criticisms could be spun by the right as a 'liberal rant'
- largely due to Moore's obvious, and justified frustration.
Why we Fight presents a lyrical and devastatingly haunting portrait of a system that has failed the west - specifically America - time and time again in a repeating cycle. The narrative carefully builds an historical context for the present administration's actions, and unfolds a story of how Americans, even the most staunch supporters of Bush's policies, have gradually learnt that they've been lied to, lied about and then lied to again as the administration is called on to answer for their lies.
With extraordinary research, and some incredible interview contributors, the facts are again repeated - indeed, they gain, perhaps even greater impact because of the historical context - and the warnings of past leaders.
It is above all a film which at once makes you terribly sad - and frustrated. But the surprise - for me at least - was that my anger became levelled not so much at the arrogance of our governments, and those in the positions of power - but at the stupefying inaction of the voting public.
I need only direct you to another of the 'reviews' of this film to underline just how poisoned the populous is, and just how stupid people have allowed themselves to become.
-------- The director spoke at Sundance about how he consciously prevented this breathtaking documentary from being screened before the election in 04 - largely because he felt the message of the film is not partisan, and not about a particular administration - but it is about the system. My only frustration about this is that I can only imagine what the snowballing effects of this film might have been had it been allowed to swiftly follow 'Fahrenheit 911'.
The best film on the subject we've seen. Comprehensive, sweeping, factual; it covers many points of view but it is always the facts that rivet us and help us understand. "Why We Fight" clearly explains the reasons, starting with World War II right up to Iraq. The film features many luminaries, including the two US pilots who launched the first bomb strike on Baghdad, Senator John McCain, retired CIA experts, pentagon experts and ordinary citizens. The cinematography is first rate. The archival footage is rare and choice. The clips from Dwight D. Eisenhower are relevant and compelling. Highly recommended. Make sure you see this movie either in theaters or on DVD when it becomes available. It may still be playing on HBO. Worth going out of your way for this documentary.
Despite obvious comparison with Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11this is not a gonzo bit of egotistic movie making with a big cuddly shambolic star doing stunts. This is a serious piece of research and reporting of the highest standard. Instead of the meaningless Bushite mantra of 'freedom; freedom; freedom' it pinpoints the historical dimension of the Iraq war and the ideological manipulation and monetary and political interests of the military industrial complex that has landed USA into the hand of crypto Fascists who hide the truth from the people who instead are fed 'bread and circuses' by the culture industry. However Jarecki includes key neocons like Richard Perle and great clips of Rumsfeld schmoozing with Saddam Hussein our ally against Iran to whom US sold his wmd. Jarecki also includes a fascinating story of a Vietnam vet who backs the war because it was against Al Qaidia but falls apart as he watches Bush shuffle sheepishly away from that. It was been premièred at the Sundance film festival where it won the Grand Jury prize for documentary. But I doubt any of the US mass media which colludes with the military industrial complex as part of the 'national security state' will allow it to be shown. But we have had it shown In British TV.
Even if you don't agree with the sentiment of the movie, you have to admit that this is directed with great energy and pace. While Michael Moore touches the surface of it and Kevin Costner's JFK hinted at it, this documentary drives home the message (through facts) that it is the military-industrial-congress-think tanks complex that is driving not only US foreign policy, but a large part of the economy. One of the most memorable moments I got from this documentary was Richead Perle's conclusion that no-one should expect this situation to change - this is how things are, and they're not going back. Overall it is the most complete picture of US Foreign Policy I have seen.
I was disappointed with Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. As someone
with deep concerns about American foreign policy specifically and the
direction of American culture and discourse generally, I thought that
movie generated more heat than light. It did not spark conversation; it
extinguished it. Yeah, I think Bush and his cronies are doing indelible
harm to America, but I felt like I was being asked to swallow large
gulps of rhetorical kool-aid and endorse a somewhat histrionic script
in order to appreciate what Moore was saying. It turned off a lot of
other people too -- people who might have been able to come away with
some new perspective on current political dynamics, but for a tone
befitting Fox news (in reverse) were unable to see past the
Why We Fight is everything that F9/11 is not. Where F911 told, WWF explains. Where F911 ridicules, WWF allows items of fact speak for themselves. Why We Fight makes the assumption that its audience is educated and capable of examining multiple facets of an issue without resorting to unnecessarily polar characterizations of people or ideas. Just to be clear: WWF's take on these issues is unmistakable, but if F911 is a declaration, WWF is fundamentally a question.
Why We Fight asks its audience to consider Eisenhower's presidential farewell address, and amount of it he devoted to warning against the rise of the "military-industrial complex," coining a new phrase.
"This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society." (1961)
Viewers of Why We Fight are consistently returned to this warning as they are reminded of the last fifty years of American military conflicts.
We are introduced to an ex-NYPD cop, Vietnam vet and father of a 9/11 victim who wants revenge on the bastards who killed his son. We meet an Air Force Lt. Colonel who resigned her post in intelligence at the Pentagon when political urgencies began to warp and distort her work of 20 years. The pilots who dropped the first bombs on Baghdad in 2003 talk about their mission. We hear commentary from think-tankers Bill Kristol and Richard Perle, and candid reservations about American military power from Senator John McCain. All have something valuable to say about the conflict in which the United States is engaged.
Fundamentally Why We Fight asks questions of involvement and influence: who are the players, what are their interests, and what are the stakes? It's not about one man, a group of men, or a political party. There are no conspiracy theories; merely a serious question. How much military might is necessary? Given the amount of money spent on defense, the number of jobs the industry provides, the numbers of congressmen in office due to contracts being brought home to their constituents, should we be concerned how the business of war drives the politics for war? Are the needs of a defense corporation different than those of humans? Who is in control, and how much power should they have?
On the surface, the movie is about how we got into Iraq. Deeper, it is asking what the future holds: American military supremacy? For how long? How long did the English or the French or the Soviets hold on to their hegemonies? Just how did we get from Iranians, Jordanians and Frenchmen proclaiming "we are all Americans" in the days following 9/11, to being seen around the globe as the single biggest threat to peace in the world? Can we ever get back?
Richard Perle makes a statement I found chilling largely because I find it hard to disagree. He says something to the effect of, "people think that you can just elect a new man to office, and everything will change. It's already a different world. We have already changed." The degree of truth of that statement is worthy of debate, and that's why I wholeheartedly recommend this movie.
I'm as put off by liberals who see only from the perspective of the
left as I am by conservatives who see only from the right, so I didn't
much enjoy Michael Moore's films. This film however, is not about
bashing anyone. This film illustrates how money influences politics,
and that is bad for America no matter if you are Republican, Democrat
or other. True patriots don't wrap themselves in the flag, they ask
hard questions. This film does just that.
And what answers do we find? We find that Eisenhower, a military man of all people, was very scared that having this much power and money invested in a standing army and a huge profit driven industry supporting it, would haunt future Americans.
The film then sets out to show, very convincingly, that we have indeed been involved in conflicts we should not been involved in, and did so for all the wrong reasons. One of the films most important moments is when it shows Bush on tape stating that we did not go into Iraq for reasons related to 9/11. Most American citizens, completely buffaloed by Fox News Channel (when they can be pulled away from watching sports), are completely oblivious to this fact.
For all those interested in understanding a little better the motives behind wars in the last 60 years (at minimum), this movie will show you different points of view about "why we fight" (the original title of a US military propaganda of the past). In the meantime, you'll also see a lot of facts (yes, unquestionable facts) backing up the presumption yielded at the last minutes... that Capitalism is winning over Democracy. Patriotism, Militarism, Corruption, False democracy, Lies, etc, etc. We are used to those. This time, the topic is the military-industrial complex, something even a Republican (Dwight Eisenhower) warned about.
As a European I've wondered about America's preoccupation with war and
military. Most Europeans oppose military solutions, even when there's a
good case for it, probably because of our history of many, many bloody
This movie explains the historic, financial and political reasons for America's enormous military spending (but I'm still left wondering why the people of USA want it).
Eisenhower's farewell speech was very insightful. I had no idea he had seen the dangers already 40 years ago. Using this speech as the base, the filmmaker looks at how the military-industrial establishment has grown to enormous proportions. The military is a part of American society in a way completely different from most European countries.
I would like to see a sequel to this movie, dealing more with American society, perhaps contrasting it with some other big countries (England, France, Germany).
As a viewer of this movie at the premier last year in Park City, I was deeply impacted about the truth and objective reporting that this movie tries to portray about our country and the logical (and historical) progression that lead us to war. When Jarecki was asked in PC why he did not release the film during the election, he steadfastly stated that the film was not about Bush bashing, but was about trying to show the American public how democracy works, (both pro and con). I do not usually get worked up about a film or politics, but after viewing this film a year ago, I have talked about it continuously and it's lessons to all who are willing to listen. I steadfastly believe that this film should be shown in the classroom to educate, and perhaps forewarn our youth about being vigilant of our sometimes overreaching capitalistic tendencies. This is coming from an individual who has enjoyed the bounties of capitalism, but got a wakeup call. GO SEE THIS FILM!
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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