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Showing 1-8 of 8 reviews(2 star). Show all reviews
on December 30, 2011
I think this movie was on the right track, and it was well made for a documentary. The problem is it seriously lacked content. It did little but scratch the surface of what it wanted to say about the military-industrial complex. It should have delved much deeper into things like how much Boeing/NG and other companies were being paid by the goverment for projects.

It would tease you with tidbits like 'every state is responsible for making part of the B2' (inferring it's a strategy to continue the political/economic demand to produce them. . . but then leave out SO MUCH potential information.

Overall, I was pretty disappointed.
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on July 22, 2008
I had high hopes for this documentary, because it's thesis is exactly right: as President Eisenhower feared, the United States has been hijacked by a military-industrial complex that has squandered its immense wealth on weapons systems, to the detriment of a good society.

Unfortunately, the film is a disappointing mish-mash of contemporary interviews and historical footage, incoherently told. Lacking a narrarator, who might have lended context and details, the film instead lurches from interview to interview -- a conservative here, a liberal there, and, look, here's Eisenhower's actual granddaughter! -- striving for "balance" but sacrificing intelligence.

I yearned for detail: some documentary evidence of the alliance between government and industry, or a probing look at just one of the multitude of unnecessary weapons systems that the Pentagon has foisted on Congress, or even simply a chart that illustrates how our military spending drawfs our spending on the common good, such as education. Details on the Halliburton scandal, for example, would have been especially compelling and illustrative. These topics are only superficially discussed by those interviewed. There is no real insight. Perhaps fearing that they would bore with too much detail, the filmmakers aim only for effect.

To be sure, the film does have some interesting emotional turns -- primarily a profile of 9/11 victim's father who was duped by President Bush's deceptive attempt to tie Iraq to 9/11. Though revelatory in an emotional way, the profile belongs in a different documentary and illustrates the film's essential weakness: a preference for mood over intelligence, in a film that absolutely requires the latter.
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on January 31, 2009
A thought provoking cautionary that attempts but ultimately fails to convincingly explain why America has gone to war several times since the end of World War II.

To its credit, it informs the viewer about the burgeoning business of war, that is, the commerce and industry that exists to manufacture weapons and materiel for war -- which President Eisenhower warned America about in 1961. But the film does not effectively make the case of how that industry has led us into wars.

It does chronicle the lies and half truths that Americans have been fed over the decades and in this regard I think the film is successful. Certainly many Americans today believe that the rationale for war with Iraq was false; that indeed Bush, Cheney, and other neo-conservatives may have been part of a much bigger strategy of global domination through the projection of military power. It rightly points out that our Congress did little in the way of deliberating whether the Iraq war was advisable; that it abdicated its responsibility in this regard. However, the film is not even handed and sometimes is dishonest.

In the latter half of the film, many scenes are added merely for shock value, and in the style of left leaning filmmaker Michael Moore, snippets of news footage of our soldiers in combat are juxtaposed in such a way as to suggest that our men and women in uniform are somehow indecent or even barbaric (for example, a scene of a soldier firing a shot at a combatant shortly after a deadly skirmish) as they go about the mission under extraordinarily difficult conditions that we civilians can never truly appreciate.

Yes, this film does give us pause to reflect, but it does not answer its own question of "why we fight". Ask any survivor of the holocaust why we fought. Ask the French and Dutch citizenry about Nazi occupation and their subsequent liberation by the Allies why we fight. There are two sides to this discussion -- unfortunately this film chose to only argue for one.
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on January 1, 2008
The film starts with the President Eisenhower's warning that the industrial military complex will turn America in a quasi-military dictatorship. The filmmakers failed to prove that, and worse than that, they even failed to stay focused on one premise. While I don't buy this conspiracy, I really tried to appreciate the film for its efforts, but I found myself doing time after 20 minutes. The film is about everything, and therefore about nothing. A retired NYPD officer is invoked as a character. The man lost his son at 9/11 and bids revenge on the Iraq. At one point he gets enlighted and figures that Al Quid is not coming from Iraq. And this is supposed to demonstrate that the industrial military complex is running the country? Call me dull but I just didn't get it. Well, in all fairness, the movie ends with the initial question "Why we fight?" This time the answer comes from a retired and disgruntled US Airforce lady officer. "Because not enough people like me quit fighting." And that is what we learned after 90.

While looking for this film, I stumbled on "The World Without US" - a documentary similar in topic. After checking out the trailer at the film website, I got the DVD and it was quite good. It takes the premise of "Why we fight" a step farther by asking, what would happen should the US withdraw its military completely from the world? Answering a hypothetical question is hard, for any author and filmmaker, however this movie did, weather you agree with the answer or not. Check it out also.
The World Without US - With Niall Ferguson
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on June 23, 2009
When it stuck to data it was compelling. It lost credibility with the personal tales of the guy who lost his son and the female soldier. Yes, there is ample opportunity for greed in military contracting. True, not everyone is ethical. Yes, there are probably motivations which we can only speculate on, and it is frustrating that some real issues are not discussed openly.
But for these two people to either profess or feign their ignorance that these are complicated issues, does not interest me. If your are going to ask me to sit for a presentation, please present ideas that are going to teach us something, not that some average joe was duped. I don't want to hear about them. I feel bad for this guy, but tying his pain into this was a bad way to make a rational argument.
I was filled with dread, when we went into Afghanistan. I was heartbroken when we went into Iran. I was also furious when we went into Serbia, to wag the dog for Clinton.
Listing McCain on it was also very cheap. He is so peripheral to the main theme that it is infuriating to see his name listed. He must be very frustrated over this as he makes only the most general statements which have little to do with the beginning of the film and nothing to do with the end.
Why doesn't somebody make a movie about something worth debating, instead of this conspiracy theory nonsense. Example: Should the U.S. maintain a significant presence in foreign lands for the purposes securing strategic resources, in the presence of unstable governments which lack popular support and freedom for their people? There is something to talk about. Maybe its not sexy enough for Mr. Jareki, but at least it is a tangible and open issue, that nobody can deny exists. Start there!
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on June 23, 2007
The basic premise of the film is that the post-WWII militarization of the United States has created a collusion among the Pentagon, private defense industry, Congress, and think-tanks that has led to political corruption and profiteering among other things. While the film does make some good points, there is nothing here that is original or even very insightful. What starts out as a documentary with terrific potential ends as a diatribe about the evils of the Bush administration and the "real" motives for invading Iraq.

The director is clearly trying to reach out to his core audience of people who want to reaffirm their hatred for the Bush administration and impressionable young people who do not keep up with politics or current events so that they too can one day recite the anti-war, anti-Bush talking points. While I am not a supporter of the Bush administration in any way or an advocate for the Iraq war, a documentary needs to present all the facts and nuances so that the audience can decide for itself. Clearly, this film does not add anything to the national discourse about America's role in the world. Its only saving grace is that it does remind us of Eisenhower's prophetic words of the great dangers of a military industrial complex to a democratic nation.
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on August 27, 2006
The makers if this film rely heavily on stock footage and conjecture that they do not provide any facts to support to make the argument that the defense industry is the driving force in America's wars from Korea to Iraq (since WW2 was an anti-fascist crusade it is carefully omitted from direct reference in the "documentary").

There is the references to Haliburton and Cheney connection but again provide no proof whatsoever that Cheney influenced the contracting of Haliburton in Iraq. Again only conjecture but no facts.

This "documentary" is nothing more than a big budget hatchet-job directed at the already "converted" i.e. those that think America and American foreign policy is evil and controlled by "hidden forces" behind the scene.

In Russia under the Czar these hidden forces were "Jews." In contempoary America it is the "military industrial Complex."

"Why We Fight" is propaganda that is packaged as an "objective" documentary.

If you are a person that believes American foreign policy is dictated by Big Business then this film is for you. If you are someone seeking an objective view of why the United States is in Iraq or elsewhere then keep on looking you won't find it in this propaganda as documentary.
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on October 26, 2006
The film Why We Fight, I believe is nothing more than another movie that looks to criticize America. I felt that the movie, only told one side of the argument, and that side was clearly not pro-America. The film portrays the United States as a power hungry nation, which is looking to create an empire and extend its influence around the world. The film constantly criticizes the decisions of America leaders to engage into foreign combat. The film however, does not present an alternative solution. It fails to take into consideration that America may be acting out of self defense. The film constantly criticizes America for engaging in combat throughout the world. What I have to say to the director of this film is: Is it not alright to defend your nation, after terrorist drive planes into two buildings, killing 3,000 people? Is it not alright to defend your nation against religious zealots, who are looking to destroy your way of life? Is it wrong to attempt to bring freedom and peace to the Middle East, by toppling a murderous dictator? When I see these questions, I have to answer no to all of them. I feel that if America feels threatened, it should not have to seek permission to defend itself. President Bush put it properly I feel when he stated "After the chaos and carnage of September 11th, it is not enough to serve our enemies with legal papers," and "America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our people." This film can criticize America and label it as a bully nation, but these terrorist must be brought to justice. President Eisenhower once said, "Peace and justice are two sides of the same coin." As the most powerful nation in the world, it is our duty to spread freedom throughout the world. It is our duty to allow the people of other countries the privilege of enjoying the same rights that we as Americans, sometimes take for granted. Since when, has it become wrong to defend your nation. Why must America be criticized for engaging in conflict, when it feels threatened? Is it not the job of the President of the United States to defend the 300 million people he was elected to represent? Does anybody think for a second that these people would hesitate to attack America again, if they are given the chance? We can never let our guard down. Freedom does not come free. On September 11, 2001 we saw firsthand how evil, those who want to destroy us can be. You can not negotiate with these types of people. The only way to solve this problem and protect ourselves is to act decisively with force. On the morning of the September 11, 2001 attacks, President Bush stated that "Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward, and freedom will be defended." Indeed freedom was and is being defended, and I see nothing wrong with that. Words are not enough to protect our nation. President Theodore Roosevelt said, "Great thoughts speak only to the thoughtful mind, but great actions speak to all mankind," and our great action, will be to defend this great nation. In the words of President Hoover, "Freedom is the open window through which pours the sunlight of the human spirit and human dignity," and it is America's job to ensure that the people of the world have the opportunity to live in freedom. Remember: "Words without actions are the assassins of idealism." Herbert Hoover
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