WHY WE FIGHT (Eugene Jarecki, 2005)
The documentary WHY WE FIGHT examines the growth of the military-industrial complex and the reasons America goes to war. Director Eugene Jarecki posits that the two are deeply connected. Protecting freedom and stopping terrorism might be why the average citizen believes the country fights, but the film suggests that political and corporate interests are at the heart of the nation’s post World War II warmongering.
In today’s divisive political climate, WHY WE FIGHT is unlikely to persuade those who don’t already share the film’s skepticism regarding the current administration and their motives with the war in Iraq. Nevertheless, Jarecki attempts to mitigate partisan rhetoric by founding his argument on President Eisenhower’s warning of the mushrooming relationship between the military and defense contractors. Since then political ideologues have been added into the mix. In Jarecki’s view, this has created a dangerous situation in which national security and the welfare of soldiers is secondary to special interests and corporate profits.
While WHY WE FIGHT comes across as strongly researched and well reasoned, it can be a slog through information that has been in the public sphere for some time. WHY WE FIGHT premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2005 and bowed on television in the UK a year ago. It would have felt more vital twelve months ago than it does now. Jarecki raises important questions about war, empire building, and the people working toward those goals, but in this rapid media age, it feels like old news.