In re: Why We Fight

We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes.” Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jan. 17, 1961.

200px-why_we_fight.jpgSomehow I missed out on seeing this documentary for a long time, but a weekend spent shoveling (we had 20 inches of snow here hit us in Columbus as the ‘Blizzard of 2008’ swept in Friday afternoon sending half my office home around noon – I live close enough by that I didn’t have to head out to dodge the snow) Anyway, the movie documents the rise of the ‘military-industrial complex’ (a term coined by Eisenhower). While it might not be anything new for the people who watch it (mostly people I would assume who already believe that the major corporations ‘of war’ prop up politicians who in turn give them the wars they need to sell their products). Roger Ebert wasn’t too keen on the film as it didn’t bring anything new, but I still found it pretty compelling (I had thought it more balanced and probably shows my bias as he says that it is a preaching to the choir documentary – like most he suggest).

One story line that is pretty interesting even to Ebert (and I now quote him):

There is one story thread that stands apart, and is compelling. It involves a retired New York cop named Wilton Sekzer. His son died in the 9/11 attacks, and he successfully lobbied the government to put his son’s name on one of the first bombs that was dropped in Iraq. He wanted revenge, and to a degree, he felt like he got it. That was before President Bush observed (some felt rather belatedly) that Iraq and Saddam Hussein had no direct involvement in the 9/11 attacks. Now Sekzer is bitter: He feels that Bush lied to him, and that his patriotism was manipulated and misused. The story of Sekzer is new, and suited to film. Much of the rest of “Why We Fight” says things that can be said as well or better in print, and have been. This doesn’t need to be a film…(Read his review here)

For someone who didn’t know about Eisenhower’s warnings and wasn’t clear that we always had bases around the world and that it isn’t really normal to spend so much on one’s military I recommend it (and you can catch it right now on Starz on demand if you have it).

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