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Why We Fight

Why We Fight (2005)

January. 01,2005
| History Documentary

Is American foreign policy dominated by the idea of military supremacy? Has the military become too important in American life? Jarecki's shrewd and intelligent polemic would seem to give an affirmative answer to each of these questions.


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I cannot think of one single thing that I would change about this film. The acting is incomparable, the directing deft, and the writing poignantly brilliant.

Griff Lees

Very good movie overall, highly recommended. Most of the negative reviews don't have any merit and are all pollitically based. Give this movie a chance at least, and it might give you a different perspective.

L Stoltzfus

Why We Fight explores exactly that: as a nation, why are still fighting? Piecing together archival footage from everything from Eisenhower to news coverage of the March 19, 2003 bombing of Iraq, Jarecki frames a picture of the United States with it's own public documents, personas, and new media materials; his exploration of the profitability of war and the puppet string manipulations that he claims dictate the United States leave the viewer struck with the distinct feeling that something is rotten here.Beginning by asking the question that many Americans asked after 9/11, "Why do they hate us?" Jarecki presents a case strongly suggesting that that is exactly what the war hungry, corporate American government wants you to ask. Not only does it downright accuse the American government of being in bed with the corporate defense and weapon industry, it also speaks to a lack of general understanding of the United States history, implying that ignorance makes for easy control. Gore Vidal even states in the film, "We live here in the United States of Amnesia. No one remembers anything before Monday morning. Everything is a blank. They have no history." And by using plenty of close-up, eye level shots in various interviews with elected government officials and experts, the viewer can not deny that Jarecki establishes credibility with both the natural, framing of the shots and the shear notoriety of the individuals interviewed. Sound plays a huge role in this film; the diegetic war sounds in the archival footage and the one on one personal interviews with Iraqi citizens resonate in the viewer's mind long after the credits. Jarecki also incorporates quite a bit of intentional juxtaposition with his nondiegetic sound choices, playing poignant songs and instrumentals while crosscutting back to footage of war and death.This film left me sad and angry and once again questioning the state of this country, which, since of the release of this film in 2005, has only gotten more complicated. Adding undeniably emotional interviews with the father of a 9/11 victim and others and shots of children suffering after bombings in Iraq, Jarecki adds a personal element to the film that sticks with the viewer. Overall, the film is engaging, worthwhile, and thought-provoking, but good luck holding on to hope for the future after watching it.


Many on this site call this movie propaganda...obviously that is correct, but to be fair ever single book or movie or media in general is propaganda. We all have agendas and (hopefully researched) opinions for every single action of our lives. This movie is human nature and so clearly propaganda.The problem I have is that this movie pretends that imperialism & money only became connected with war since WWII. Lets not be naive...every single war in the history of the world has been motivated by power and money. From ancient Greece to the crusades to our current wars. EVERY SINGLE WAR EVER IS ABOUT $$$$$$$$$$$$$!

Mike B

Admittedly this film makes some good points.But it is also rambling and goes off in several un-related directions. For instance there is a sequence with an interview of a young man who has decided to join the military. He gives his own personal reasons for joining (why we fight) which seem to be good and forthright. This is examining war at the personal level – the rest of the documentary is taken up with examining war as a corporate venture – big U.S. business making a lot of big bucks in a war.The film bounces back and forth historically from the current Iraq war to World War II and Vietnam. There are historically very different reasons for American involvement in these three distinct wars. The documentary has a 30-second montage of a world map showing everywhere in the world that the U.S. has been involved in since the end of World War II. Is this to suggest that the American evil empire is continually trying to take over the world? The film puts Eisenhower on a pedestal and cites over and over Ike's warning about the military-industrial complex having too much power. It does not mention that towards the end of the Eisenhower era the Soviets launched Sputnik. This shocked the U.S. and made them suddenly feel inferior to the Soviet Union technologically. It helped spur the Cold War and the arms race.The documentary does good to point out the bold-face lies of the Bush administration. Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld look like buffoons mocking it up in front of the cameras. (well I guess you get what you vote for - or don't vote, for as 35% of the U.S. doesn't bother). But there are other bold-face lies in the documentary. Gore Vidal – in discussing the dropping of the Atomic bomb – states that the Japanese were making peace overtures to the Allies prior to the dropping of the bomb. In actual fact the Allies (Truman and Churchill) asked the Japanese to surrender and end the war in July. The Japanese derisorily dismissed this. And to get back to my original point – why was the Atomic bomb brought up? Are the film-makers trying to link the atomic bomb with another American corporate venture?Another interviewer states that 'Saddam was the puppet of the U.S.'. Saddam was nobody's puppet – he was his own dictator and he ruthlessly tortured and killed his own people. The same interviewer later says that Saddam was 'a one-time ally of the U.S.' – this is closer to the truth.It was a sad interview with the retired police officer whose son was killed in the attack on the twin towers. It is unfortunate that he believed the Bush lie about Iraq being behind 9/11. The film does show 'real war footage' that does not show the American military in a positive light. But why can't someone just say the 'War is Hell' no matter how glossed up it is with 'smart bombs' and high-tech enterprise.


I had to watch this movie on the Internet yesterday from a site in England. That should give you some idea of how much censorship we now have in 'the land of the free and the home of the brave'. I'm in Boston and so far, there's no distributor for this movie, not even Landmark. We have to have meetings in our homes to show it.Ironic, that the Republican Eisenhower, a true conservative and brilliant mind who DIDN'T hide out in Alabama during the war, warns us in his understated way of the dangers from the 'military/industrial complex'. This complex has now grown to include our federal government in on the continuing cycle of war. And this point, the movie so aptly makes.I worked for Raytheon and we were sure to co-opt our military Program Manager by letting him know that he had a job with Raytheon after retirement from the military, a practise many 'defense'/war contractors follow. So, no wonder the Patriot missile didn't work at first. Our tests were then and are now programmed to succeed. Of course, they fail in the field, for which I used to be happy, not wanting more death for our enemy dujour. Now, however, as I see the thousands of innocents dying because of these dumb bombs so highly touted as 'smart', I regret my part in designing weapons for our 'defense'.We are now involved in Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, a policy so well pointed out here, that will keep our defense/war-mongering corporations profitable until we reap the eventual consequences of national evil. The allusions made to the Roman empire are actually too few for my liking. And there are VERY few allusions to the Germany of the 30s, not even to indicate that Bush's grandaddy helped finance the Luftwaffe factories until shut down by a more virtuous federal government than we have now.We are indeed the arms merchants of the world, and it is not an accident, but a plan. We spend more on 'defense' than on anything else in our budget, and yet we are the mightiest in the world. This movie makes the point very well. As well as the hypocrisy that accompanies it, which of course is why you will have a hard problem seeing the movie.Better, get the original Capra movies and watch them in sequence with this one. Makes the point even better. Instead of fighting the nationalized evil of Germany as we did in the 40s, my country, the freedom-loving U.S.A., is now the epitome of nationalized evil. We lie to our children, as the Sullivan boy is lied to in this movie by the recruiters, and sacrifice them on the altar of greed. If you can stand it, watch 'Munich', 'Syriana' and 'Why We Fight' in sequence. Clear pattern of a degenerating republic at the national level and extremely Biblical in proving that "He who sews the wind reaps the whirlwind." The educational system dies, and with it, the sheeple's power to analyze the lies coming from the totalitarian corporate owners. I"ll be interested in observing whether this comment even makes it to the IMDb database. Viva Maria! (1965) This would be funny if we weren't being Bombed Ourselves, 13 July 2005(This comment was deleted by IMDb based on an abuse report filed by another user) Brigitte Bardot makes a very convincing bomber, political assassin as she learns about bomb-making and executing the blasts from her father all over Europe and Central America. It's a play on the Irish hatred of the British.They just blow some troops up, and melt into the surroundings, much as our modern terrorists do.......and with a child like innocence about them. Malle makes fun of a lot of old-time westerns with the hero (Hamilton) dramatically dying for his love. Jeanne Moreau is quite a dancer, which I never realized before, as she and Brigitte 'invent' the striptease.This was in glorious technicolor and the naivete and innocence of the time when this movie was made can't help but sadden you as you realize how low we have sunk in this oil-crazy world where the mad dictator (Bush, not Hitler this time) invades any oil-rich countries he wants to under the guise of 'bringing democracy' to the people (althouth we have to kill them to do it). If our time wasn't such a Keystone Cop melodrama in itself, I'd make more fun of this movie. But it's fairly realistic, if you judge by what goes for reality these days.