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Why We Fight

A 2005 Documentary directed by Eugene Jarecki

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Proud to be an American, and Proud to Watch this Movie

  • Nov 1, 2006
  • by
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 by a military-industrial complex, the filmmakers build an intriguing case of both pros and cons associated with much of American military efforts over the past 50 years. Yes, it has a largely critical view of the quagmire that is the Iraq War, but that's hardly unique these days.

Two participants stand out in my mind. One is the retired New York policeman whose response to his son's death in the World Trade Center attack was to request that a bomb be labeled with the name of his son. As time elapsed and information came to light, his view regarding the war changed dramatically. Does he approve of the war now? No! Does he regret his effort to memorialize his son? Still no, although he qualifies that with the notation that he was operating with the information available at that time. Would he do that again? I doubt it.

The other noteworthy player in this ensemble is Senator John McCain, who may very well use his participation in this work to woo political moderates should he make a run for the White House in 2008. His expression of his ideas and reactions underscore his basic decency and indepence from the current administration (in marked contrast to some of his more recent efforts to pander to the fundamentalist right wing of the Republican Party).

This is an excellent documentary, one that I suspect will easily withstand the test of time and be just as interesting from 10 to 20 years from now.

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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 …
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Michael Meredith ()
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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 ...
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Director: Eugene Jarecki
Genre: Documentary
Release Date: 2006
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Eugene Jarecki
DVD Release Date: June 27, 2006
Runtime: 1hr 39min
Studio: Sony Pictures
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