Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini

Why We Fight

Why We Fight

Rated: PG-13 
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: January 20, 2006 Released by: Sony Pictures Classics

The title of Eugene Jarecki's slickly-packaged documentary can be traced to the famous series made by Frank Capra during World War II. The liberal, anti-war sentiment obviously will draw comparison's to Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, but this is a "cleaner" version with no Bush bashing.

The focus comes from the military industrial complex that America has become to be the dominant force to preserve freedom and democracy while fortifying defense companies (disregarding the dealing types as played by Nicolas Cage in Lord of War).

With the terrorist threat currently not being what many were led to believe, the world perhaps is in a similar state as it was in the early stages of the Cold War.

Former CIA man Chalmers Johnson puts the culpability on the US of global turmoil due to the ongoing secret workings of the government. That includes the attacks by Al Qaeda on the World Trade Center and the near-miss in Washington. No one want to admit fault as motivations like "no matter how long it takes, we will defeat the enemies of freedom" or "pay any price, bear any burden."

President Eisenhower's cautionary words about the effect of the military-industrial complex are felt in a film that is shrewdly edited with archival footage and interviews that personalizes the subject matter similarly at times to what the more radical Moore did. There is feeling from the loss of a NYC cop's son on September 11th, though Gore Vidal emphasizes "The United States of Amnesia." Apparently, President Truman's real reason to end World War II with atomic weapons was flaunting our power to Stalin.

Some may debate the facts presented by Jarecki as one wonders what percentage of the national budget is used for defense. 750 billion is a huge number, the largest in nearly half a century. Many may question how much is enough.

The likes of William Kristol questions the fact that the US could turn away from its aggressiveness that could change the future of the world.

The subject for many will seem dated with arms proliferations motivated by profit. How this works into the conflict of capitalism and democracy at the expense of freedom. Freedom correlates with strong democratic governments, and what Neville Chamberlain did shows what the power-hungry or terrorist cells can do.

The perspectives of this ambitious film may not be fully dealt with for some considering the possibilities of fighting or not, yet Jarecki has some sharp ironic moments especially real when coming from former CBS anchor Dan Rather on the vitality of ethics.

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Why We Fight       B       B

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