Sony Pictures Classics | Release Date: January 20, 2006
7.6
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Generally favorable reviews based on 22 Ratings
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7
MarkB.Apr 22, 2006
Who would ever have foreseen the day in which President Dwight D. Eisenhower would become not only a hero but an avatar to Democrats everywhere? Not that he was perfect, mind you, or didn't have a lot to answer for: Ike pretty much Who would ever have foreseen the day in which President Dwight D. Eisenhower would become not only a hero but an avatar to Democrats everywhere? Not that he was perfect, mind you, or didn't have a lot to answer for: Ike pretty much stood back and allowed Joe McCarthy almost total free rein for a couple of years, and was so wimpy on civil rights that if presidential term limits hadn't be put into effect after FDR, we might STILL be eating at segregated lunch counters. Eisenhower's finest day in office might well have been his last: in his farewell address, he warned the American people to beware of the burgeoning military-industrial complex. As both a military man and a politician, he should know; as the much-loved general he was during World War 2 he--like all good soldiers--really hated war. But the American corporate machine has to keep rolling and increasing in speed and power...and with it, so do the tanks and bombers. [***SPOILERS***] That's the thesis of Why We Fight, Eugene Jarecki's comprehensive examination of the US's inevitably expansive military presence worldwide from WW2 on, inevitably culminating in and focusing on the current, apparently endless Iraq debacle. This movie is the perfect documentary expansion of the old T-shirt and bumper-sticker slogan "War is good business--invest your son", but viewers looking for another Bush-bash-a-thon will find that the blame is spread pretty evenly; in fact, of all the US Presidents of the past 60 years, the only two who AREN'T catalogued or blamed as partial contributors to the problem are Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. Why We Fight is decidedly straightforward in pursuing its point; maybe the fact that Jarecki almost never leavens his message with humor, puckishness or sarcasm the way that Michael Moore, Robert Greenwald or the folks who brought you Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room do explains in part why Roger Ebert wasn't too thrilled with this film. What Why We Fight DOES give you, however, are three absolutely unforgettable, no-screenwriter-could-do-them-justice individuals: there's retired cop Wilton Selczer (who bears a remarkable resemblance to actor Bruce McGill), this film's rough equivalent to Fahrenheit 9/11's Lila Lipscomb: he's a grieving dad who spends years trying to exorcise his pain over his son's 9/11 death by having the boy's name painted on an Iraq-bound bomb. There's former career Air Force officer Karen Kwiatkowski (who bears a remarkable resemblance to actress Emily Watson), an incredibly decent, admirable woman who clearly loved her work but couldn't reconcile her sworn duty with what the administration is asking her to do, and so she resigned...and then there's William Solomon (who bears a remarkable resemblance to the kid down the street), a sweet, likable young man who sees military service, which of course almost inevitably involves going to the Middle East, as his only ticket out of economic oblivion. For a real one-two gut puch, watch this film, absorb its conclusions, and follow it up by reading the provocative best-selling book Is The American Dream Killing You? by Paul Stiles, (a former military man and Wall Street power player, and a social conservative who walks his talk). It's a sprawling but thoroughly credible expansion of Stiles' thesis that the all-encompassing (and ethically barren) American business market will not be denied, dominates every aspect of American life, and whose unchecked reign has led to everything from high divorce rates to road rage to gang violence to Super Bowl wardrobe malfunctions...and, yes, to the war in Iraq too. Digesting both these works will certainly cause you, when hearing politicians and pundits claim that we're fighting for freedom (whether providing it around the world or protecting our own), to filter most of their rationalizations through the slightly rephrased words of Mae West : "Freedom has nothing to do with it!" Expand
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7
DaleM.Feb 26, 2006
This could have been a great documentary if it stuck more to "why we fight" rather than the more narrow theme of "why are we fighting in Iraq." The people in the theatre where I saw it applauded at various anti-current government statements. This could have been a great documentary if it stuck more to "why we fight" rather than the more narrow theme of "why are we fighting in Iraq." The people in the theatre where I saw it applauded at various anti-current government statements. I feel many missed the broader point that it makes no difference which party has been in power the past 50 years. I applaud this film for reaching toward some broader political statement than Michael Moore's unabashedly anti-Bush film. I disagree with some reviewers that the film was really anti-war. The director seems to have no qualms about WWII or about the NY Policeman's feeling that we ought to get whoever was responsible for 911. However, the director is clearly against the way the military-industrial- congressional complex manipulates things. Unfortunately the director succumbs to pandering to the ready-made anti-Bush crowd by over-focussing on only one of the wars of the past 50 years. One further note: The director spoke after the film at the showing I attended. He said he recently screened the film at West Point and says he has been asked to screen it again there. It's not really surprising that soldiers are interested to learn how they might be being manipulated. I think this points out that the film is not really so much anti-war in general as it is against the collusion between the two major political parties, the defense industry, and the leaders of the military. Expand
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10
NavidFeb 25, 2006
We are at the point in history that our collective action has far more horrendous effect than we can enviosn. "Why We Fight" tells us, in a subtle way, what future will be awaiting us. In 1906, no one could predict the coming of WWI and its We are at the point in history that our collective action has far more horrendous effect than we can enviosn. "Why We Fight" tells us, in a subtle way, what future will be awaiting us. In 1906, no one could predict the coming of WWI and its massive killing of human beings...I think, we are all blind, and the only thing that will sober us all (humanity on earth) is a massive catastrophic war, graver than any war we have seen... Expand
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8
AlexB.Feb 20, 2006
Very good movie overall. A bit light, however, on the macroeconomic rationale for the war machine; regrettable, as it is this rationale that has induced every President since the Great Stock-market Crash of 1929 (except Jimmy Carter) to Very good movie overall. A bit light, however, on the macroeconomic rationale for the war machine; regrettable, as it is this rationale that has induced every President since the Great Stock-market Crash of 1929 (except Jimmy Carter) to "prime" the economy by growing the military. Expand
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10
JasonJan 30, 2006
Very well put together and lucid film. Weather you are for the war or against it... why we fight is a must see.
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10
TariqW.Jan 24, 2006
There are two sides to every story and I happen to be on the anti-war front. Thus, this film is quite superb.
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