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Doc takes hard look at politics

Leigh Cooney | Interrobang | Lifestyles | April 17th, 2006



Before I begin, let me warn you that Why We Fight is a documentary, so you might actually learn something. Okay, for those people left, let me say that this film should be required viewing for anyone who considers themselves even slightly interested in not only social issues, but specifically the ongoing controversy in Iraq and the American war machine.

Looking at post World War II era military policy, Why We Fight asks the questions we should all be asking of our governments, and answers them as well. It has enough respect for its viewers, however, to assume somewhat that we can think for ourselves.

Certain issues are threaded throughout, surfacing as needed with pictures that often speak louder than words. Dwight D. Eisenhower's speech in 1961 that warned the nation of the countries increasing dependency upon the “Military Industrial Complex” is seen as a sadly underestimated and forgotten relic that would be passed off today as unpatriotic, and might have even gotten a republican ex-general like Eisenhower blacklisted.

From this point on, the film continues to justify its central theme that America is not in Iraq because of WMD's, and it's definitely not there for the freedom of the Iraqi people. It is there to line the pockets of the bureaucrats of both parties, and because the American economy is dependant military spending.

Why we Fight is destined to become a classic in the canon of left wing, social activist books and films alongside No Logo, the Corporation, Loose Change, Fast Food Nation, Control Room and Outfoxed. (If you haven't read or seen these I recommend that you do. Seriously! Loose Change is unavailable in stores I think, but can be purchased online at www.tvnewslies.org. Or you can e-mail me and I will burn you a copy. This practice is encouraged by the makers of the film to promote awareness of current issues that affect all of us.)

Just like these other sources however, the most important thing we must remember is to apply critical thinking to everything we watch and read. Unless you are willing to check every one of the film's sources, you must remember that the film's director has a slanted view of the situation and wants to convince you that his point is a valid one.

However, if the only documentary film concerning left wing politics you've ever seen is Fahrenheit 9/11, you might be glad to find that there is no entertainer here looking for screen time, and bludgeoning you with images of grieving mothers to invoke a reaction from the audience. Watch Why We Fight with an open mind and try to make a decision on your own; if you do this is there is very little doubt that you will come away a changed person, a little shaken perhaps, but with a new perspective on the people you trust to look after your best interest.

If nothing else, remember these facts: America spends more on defense than on all other parts of the federal budget combined, and, U.S. vice president Dick Cheney is a former military contractor and oil executive. Is war profitable? I'll let you figure that out for yourselves.

Comments can be emailed to l_cooney@fanshawec.ca
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