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January 20, 2006

Why We Fight: The Movie

I had not heard of this movie until I read the review by Kyle Smith in the New York Post. I don't believe it's in wide release (it's not playing anywhere around me). Have any of you heard of it?

However, reading Smith's review, I don't think I'm all that eager to see it. The whole thing is worth reading; I'm posting it in its entirety:

I love that "Why We Fight" landed Dwight Eisenhower on the cover of "Time Out New York" — next week, I hope to see Douglas MacArthur spotting visible panty lines for the Us Weekly Fashion Police. But this rehash of familiar pacifist arguments offers neither heat nor light. It's "Fahrenheit: Room Temperature."

Arguing that America is now and has been for decades an imperialist power in the grip of the defense industry, this documentary relies heavily on boring interviews with nerds from the "Carnegie Endowment for Peace" and "The Center for Public Integrity" spouting nonsense about our "attempted democracy."

"Why We Fight" lazily splices together aspects of "JFK" (which, like this one, hangs its paranoia on Eisenhower's warning about the power of the "military-industrial complex"), the Michael Moore movies (goofy pop songs on the soundtrack cue us to laugh at, say, those dopes who make missiles) and even "Dr. Strangelove" (ironic use of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again").

We're told that the Iraq war was a cover-up. Then come clips showing the massive media access.

"Why We Fight" does have a secret weapon, though: a touching, emotional ex-New York City cop whose scenes are by far the most powerful in the film. The cop lost a son on 9/11 and later turned against the war. But the film's use of this man is a cheap trick. Like the rest of the major media, it grants absolute moral authority to antiwar Americans who lost loved ones in Iraq or on 9/11, but simply ignores those in this group who are pro-war.

When three toothless old T. rexes — Dan Rather, Gore Vidal and Sen. Robert Byrd — creep out of their amber, you pray that they won't make fools of themselves all over again. But alas. Vidal informs us that Japan was "trying to surrender" in the summer of 1945 but "Truman wouldn't let them." Surrender doesn't require "trying." You say, "I surrender," the bombing stops. In reality, Japan rejected our ultimatum more than a week before the Bomb was dropped. Even after Hiroshima, Japan still didn't surrender.

Disgraced former journalist Dan Rather: "What you have here is a miniature version of what they have in totalitarian states." Got the documents to prove it, Dan?

And Sen. Robert Byrd, as dim today as he was when he joined the Ku Klux Klan: "There is no debate, there is no attempt for the nation to lay out the pros and cons of this particular war." If there was a single moment in the last three years when the nation wasn't doing exactly that, I missed it.

He gave it 1.5 stars out of 4. Thanks, Kyle. You just saved me $10.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 10:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Entertainment
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