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June 2006

Why We Fight DVD Review

By Kam Williams

Why We Fight DVD Review


Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Rated PG-13 for brief profanity and gruesome war images.
Running time: 98 minutes
DVD Extras: Extended scenes, extra scenes, a half-dozen mini-documentaries,
TV appearances, directory and Army colonel’s, theatrical trailer, a DVD Rom
section, plus a Military Industrial Complex featurette.

The Military Industrial Complex Examined in Damning DVD

In his nationally-televised farewell address delivered on January 17, 1961, outgoing U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned the country of the coming emergence of the Military Industrial Complex. Despite being a Republican and a retired four-star general, Eisenhower sensed that the Department of Defense was likely to wield a disproportionate amount of power in the not too distant future, a sad sate of affairs for a representative democracy.

Today, we see that those fears were not unfounded, as America spends more money on the military than on all other federal expenditures combined. Thus, priorities are being set by defense lobbyists based on what will benefit war profiteers as opposed to what will benefit the citizenry.

These hard, cold truths are exposed in Why We Fight, directed by Eugene Jarecki (The Trials of Henry Kissenger). Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, this damning documentary interweaves file footage with running commentaries by a “Who’s Who” list of both liberal and conservative luminaries like Senator John McCain, Gore Vidal, Richard Perle and Bill Kristol.

The neo-cons, of course, rationalize away U.S. imperialism as a categorical imperative, while Department of defense detractors point to frightening trends, such as the fact that the Pentagon now devotes over a billion dollars a year to recruitment alone in this age of the all-volunteer army. Perhaps the most disillusioning prospect painted by this pessimistic picture is the expectation of further unprovoked invasions in the name of “freedom” and “democracy,” since, as Mr. Vidal suggests, in a profit-driven, capitalist society, the more lucrative war becomes, the more war will be mandated by Wall Street which is interested only in the bottom line.

Excellent (4 stars)