Why we fight

“Why we fight” is a 98 minute documentary by Eugene Jarecki. It was released by Axiom Films in 2005. I picked my review copy up from the local library after having it languishing on my Amazon Wish List for way too long. My gut instinct about this movie was correct. It is stunning. It is, without doubt, one of the most moving and effective feature-length documentaries since Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”. I was absolutely riveted. This is powerful stuff and should be shown to every American School Child. The talking heads are a veritable “who’s who” in Washington and the Pentagon. Even our favourite Gore Vidal gets a look in but only briefly. Others include Senator John McCain and Richard Perle. The film revolves around the 1961 farewell address of President Eisenhower where he warns the American people to be vigilant about the over-burgeoning military-industrial-complex. The original speech actually intended to say “military-industrial-congressional-complex” but Ike got cold-feet about the mention of Congress. Everything about this movie is both telling and touching. Jarecki cleverly inter-weaves the documentary format around a couple of stories. The first is the tale of former New York cop and Vietnam Veteran who lost his son in the Twin Towers on 9/11. The second takes us to the opening shots of Gulf War 2 via the cockpits of the F-117 stealth fighters who dropped the first bombs. As their stories unfold we see the glint of pride in the eyes of these pilots. We hear the NY cop’s anger and lust for revenge. However, as we soon learn, the pilots’ bombs missed their targets killing innocent civilians. The NY cop learns that his President lied to him about the link between 9/11 and the war in Iraq. We see his bitterness and despair. This is a movie that Michael Moore might have made but it lacks his polemic. This also stands head-and shoulders above John Pilger’s’ last feature length movie on the role of the Media in War. If you have one DVD in your collection that explains America’s military dominance of the world then let it be this one. It is packed with information from Pentagon and Congressional insiders. The handful of interviews with neo-conservatives and weapons manufacturers leave them hanging by the rope of their own words. They come over as callous children playing toy soldiers with other people’s lives. We have a nice touch in the tale of the lady weapon scientist who we find was actually a refugee from another one of America’s failed wars – Vietnam. I could gush about this film for hours. It claims to be non-partisan but its objectives are clear. It exposes the lies for what they are. It exposes the military-industrial-complex for what it is. It asks “how can we stop it?” The final words are left to one retired Pentagon insider who simply answered “when enough people stop participating in it”. Poignant.

About post-carbon-man

A passionate advocate of a peaceful transition to a sustainable political-economy, Mark hails from a working class farming background. Today he is a Company Director and Chairman of the Low Carbon Chilterns Co-operative. Whilst at University (Engineering Masters) he was active in Conservative Student politics but has had no affiliation since. He has travelled widely on business covering the USA, Europe, Middle East and Central Asian Republics. In 2007 Mark founded Post-Carbon-Living and a year later co-founded Transition Town High Wycombe. He lives with is wife & daughter in a home they retrofitted to be carbon-neutral. Today he blogs about surviving politics on a shrinking planet and is passionate in his rejection of Nationalism.

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