Most helpful critical review
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
An important but naive documentary about a critical issue that deserves more rigor than is present.
on December 27, 2014
The issues raised in this documentary are of vital importance to the current and future state of the human condition. Unfortunately, it suffers from several fatal flaws which, I regret to say, many such documentaries fall prey to.
It is ironic and tragic that those investigating and lamenting a problem so profound in its implications and so tied up with obvious and immense power, are not capable of perceiving the intrinsic capacity of said immense power to exploit naiveté and cognitive dissonance for its own benefit. This is a threat which many of my fellow idealists and peace advocates fail to apprehend.
You would have to work hard to find someone more opposed to armed conflict than I am, or more in favor of curtailing what has become a self-perpetuating system; that which we call the military industrial complex. Yet after a lifetime spent trying to investigate - to the extent a layperson can at least - and quantify this runaway nightmare, I am forced to come to the conclusion that those who assert a monolithic, carefully designed, contiguous policy at work behind it are oversimplifying something which is, much to my terror, a far more complex and nuanced construct.
I have great respect and admiration for those indigenous people who, as shown quite poignantly in this work, peacefully resist day after the day the presence of foreign forces in their ancestral lands. I believe their cause is a just one, however it is their perception of and hope to undermine the forces and dynamics at work with which I disagree and would counsel caution with regard to.
There seems to be an intuitive perception, born of cognitive dissonance and not a little naiveté, that there exists a singular, unitary command and policy structure at work underlying the military industrial complex, and those organs and apparatuses which support its functioning and growth in the world. The reality, in my opinion, is far more terrifying and amorphous. If there were a single monolithic structure at work, one might hope to quantify and oppose it. That there is not should be cause for far greater concern, and makes for inherently less cut and dried ideological underpinnings for any such resistance.
The emergence of a permanent armaments industry in the U.S. was precisely that - emergent. As in, emergent behavior. The importance of emergent behavior in human affairs must always be foremost in people's minds when considering these matters, if we hope to understand the realities facing us. There are no mustache twirling villains here, but rather a broad spectrum of ideologies, agendas, and motives. This includes the motives and ideologies of those like us who oppose war and imperialism.
ALL of these agendas, mindsets, and purposes, are pliable and potentially exploitable by those with far more power and resources than any individual interest group. When seeking truth, always bear in mind that your own cognitive dissonance and desires are always potentially being exploited by those with greater resources than you. It is in the interests of those with greater power and resources than you, to preserve said power and resources by misdirecting and obfuscating the currency of ideological resistance: blame.
The documentary correctly mentions neoliberalism, but does not touch upon neoconservatism. Both are two sides of the same slippery, difficult to see coin. If there is any control mechanism behind imperialism and fascism, then it is not to be found concentrated and centralized in a single state or power structure (even if its largest and most obvious tools or organs might be located therein,) but rather concealed in back door channels, and private meetings in lodges in the woods, private homes or retreats, and briefing rooms where no paper trail and no archival evidence will be recorded.
True compartmentalization occurs not as mandated by military regulations, but by those not bound by any regulations, military or otherwise, or loyalty, national or otherwise. People who leave no fingerprints, no public record other than circumstantial coincidence which might arouse suspicion, and no clear ideological motive other than the preservation of their own wealth and the capacity to exercise said wealth for their benefit and the benefit of those they deem worthy or necessary.
What you end up with if you fail to recognize this, is a rigid ideological façade which can be exploited by other interest groups. For instance, I cannot count the number of times I've seen those who hold the views espoused by this documentary - which I share, incidentally, at least generically - say they support Putin's Russia because he opposes American imperialism. This is the sort of manipulation of cognitive dissonance of which I speak. The enemy of the ideology you oppose is NOT your friend. To believe so is to be exploited by another power structure which, if the roles were reversed, would happily embark upon empire as well (and has done historically.)
The human mind grasps for recognizable forms and opponents with which to contend. However the reality is far more shadowy and nigh-invisible than people wish to accept, because this would mean embracing a sort of ambivalent skepticism, which most view as apathy even though they are not synonymous. I advocate great caution and rigor when considering these matters. Not to the point of apathy, no. But merely to the extent that one employs great care and openness to nuance and granularity versus broad strokes and simplistic consideration.
If a monolithic control structure exists, it is to be found in what many cliché prone investigators refer to as "secret societies," however the reality is likely even more hazy than resorting to that trope. There are secret, powerful interests at work. Yet they may be just as fractious and disordered as those of us who peacefully resist them. It's possible no one's hand is on the steering wheel. And that is perhaps the most terrifying prospect of all.
We have created a monster. The question is: is there a controlling force behind it that can be opposed, or is it more a self-replicating virus emergently spreading as befits its nature, than a beast that can be pinned down?
Be open minded, but be cautious. And as those herein advocate - as I will now echo - resist and educate yourself peacefully and with an aim toward egalitarianism so as to avoid inadvertently supporting those who would exploit a more radical approach to your otherwise good intentions.
I support peace. I oppose radicalism and violence.