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Fans of Oliver Stone'sJ.F.K.will recognize the opening moments of writer-director Eugene Jarecki'sWhy We Fight, in which outgoing President Dwight Eisenhower warns of the pernicious and growing influence of what he called the "military-industrial complex." But Stone's movie, which uses the same footage, was a work of fiction. While those who disagree with the decidedly leftist point of view in this documentary will probably consider it the product of paranoid liberal fantasy as well, there's enough credible material, much of it supplied by the targets of Jarecki's criticisms, to make Eisenhower look like a prophet and everyone else uneasy about the dark confluence of politics, money, and war that controls the country's fortunes. The message here is that while there may be some who sincerely believe that America's various military engagements (in Iraq, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, and elsewhere) since World War II are the product of our God-given duty to spread freedom and halt the influence of evil ideologies around the world, the real reason we fight is that war is good business. This is hardly a bulletin; anyone who is surprised by allegations that politicians pander to defense contractors, or that Vice President Dick Cheney helped secure huge deals for Halliburton, the company he formerly headed, simply hasn't been paying attention (Politicians lie? How shocking!). In fact, the principal drawback to Jarecki's film is simply that there's nothing particularly revelatory or compelling about it. Only when he takes a personal approach does he go beyond the obvious; the story of a retired New York policeman and former Vietnam veteran whose son died in the World Trade Center, who wanted revenge, but who became seriously disillusioned when Bush admitted that the war in Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, adds some much needed human interest. Still,Why We Fight, which includes a director's audio commentary track and a few other bonus features, serves as a grim reminder that the world's most powerful nation has strayed far from the principles of our founding fathers, a development that does not bode well for America's future.--Sam Graham
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CastGore Vidal, John McCain, Ken Adelman, John Ashcroft
DirectorEugene Jarecki
Genre:  Documentary
Release Date:  2006
MPAA Rating:  PG-13
Screen WriterEugene Jarecki
DVD Release Date:  June 27, 2006
Runtime:  1hr 39min
Studio:  Sony Pictures
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More Why We Fight (2005 movie) reviews
review by . October 08, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Heartsick. As I should be. As any human being with a shred of humanity left should be. And no one more so than the patriotic American.     "Why We Fight," Oliver Stone's stunning documentary on the real reasons behind the wars in which Americans are and have been involved, is a film every American should view, and more than once. Is war ever the right answer? I will not argue that it is not. There are such times. And there have been wars that I believe we should have fought. …
review by . March 07, 2007
Why We Fight is an open-ended documentary that profiles the military-industrial complex of the USA and how it influences American foreign policy to the point that wars are started primarily for corporate profit. The movie starts and ends with President Eisenhower's farewell speech where he frankly and clearly lays out the danger of a powerful military industrial complex. In between, the movie gets interviews from John McCain, Richard Perle, Chalmers Johnson, William Krystal, Gore Vidal, and numerous …
review by . February 13, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Pacing, storyline, people chosen to speak      Cons: Title doesn't quite fit the subject matter      The Bottom Line: Why anyone fights is fraught with wonder and questions, why we are fighting now . . . idiocy comes to mind.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot.      Why We Fight deserved all the accolades it got, but I have difficulty with the title. Why we …
review by . November 01, 2006
I can't recall ever seeing a more thoughtful documentary on the most recent of our nation's military efforts. What separates the American experience from that of almost every other "empire" throughout history is the fact that critics of our government are allowed to voice their opposing views. Efforts by some to paint a message like this as anti-American are disengenuous and downright wrong.    Beginning with Dwight Eisenhower's farewell address that warned of the danger posed …
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