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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Chronological look at the fiasco in Iraq, especially decisions made in the spring of 2003 - and the backgrounds of those making decisions - immediately following the overthrow of Saddam: no occupation plan, an inadequate team to run the country, insufficient troops to keep order, and three edicts from the White House announced by Bremmer when he took over: no provisional Iraqi government, de-Ba'athification, and disbanding the Iraqi armed services. The film has chapters (from History to Consequences), and the talking heads are reporters, academics, soldiers, military brass, and former Bush-administration officials, including several who were in Baghdad in 2003. Written by
First let me comment on the film's presentation. It was well-crafted from an editing/cinematography/graphics point of view. It looked far better than, for example, a Robert Greenwald documentary. It was woven together well and easy to watch.
The content was decent, but I felt that the reasons for invading Iraq were ignored while the film focused on individual people's mistakes as far as military strategy was concerned. If certain companies didn't have an economic interest in that region, the war never would have occurred in the first place, so motivations, to me, are a pretty important detail that many movies about the war seem to be leaving out.
While this film did provide an inside look at the lead-up to the war and Paul Bremer's atrocious handling of the occupation, I felt that it completely glossed over the massive profits that have been made in Iraq by U.S. companies (see the Iraq chapters in Naomi Klein's book "The Shock Doctrine").
Halliburton and a host of other U.S. companies have made a killing there while the Iraqi people continue to suffer. The true story of the war (and the hidden rationale for the war), which this movie hardly discussed, is the fact that it was a coordinated attempt to give U.S. companies access to a massive, untapped economic market. Oil reserves, reconstruction projects, and privatized warfare have the potential to be incredibly profitable.
In the past, U.S. companies had no access to these markets, due, in part, to the strict U.N. sanctions on Iraq. The companies that stood to benefit from the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and the destabilization of Iraq (a.k.a. the opening of an untouched new market) used their money and influence to produce think tank policy papers and talking heads that supported the invasion of Iraq. In fact, many members of the Bush administration, who are (or were) on the government's payroll, refused to divest themselves of their shares in the very companies that would go on to make outrageous profits in Iraq. They were well aware that this constituted a conflict of interest, but when asked to choose between their government posts and their money, they simply refused (or engaged in some "fuzzy math" shenanigans). So, the people who created the war directly benefited from it and it is in their interest to perpetuate it as long as there is money to be made.
From "The Shock Doctrine":
"The fact that Cheney still maintains such a quantity of Halliburton shares means that, throughout his term as vice president, he has collected millions every year in dividends from his stocks and has also been paid an annual deferred income by Halliburton of $211,000 roughly equivalent to his government salary. When he leaves office in 2009 and is able to cash in his Halliburton holdings, Cheney will have the opportunity to profit extravagantly from the stunning improvement in Halliburton's fortunes. The company's stock price rose from $10 before the war in Iraq to $41 three years latera 300 percent jump, thanks to a combination of soaring energy prices and Iraq contracts, both of which flow directly from Cheney's steering the country into war with Iraq. "
Or, put more simply by Boots Riley of The Coup: "War ain't about one land against the next; it's poor people dying so the rich cash checks."
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