Why We Fight

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Overview

In 1961, as Dwight D. Eisenhower gave his final address to the nation before leaving the office of President of the United States, he warned that America "must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence...by the military-industrial complex." Nearly 45 years later, as the United States finds itself waging a war in Iraq for reasons that seem increasingly unclear with the passage of time, Eisenhower's statement becomes all the more pertinent, and the question becomes more apt: has the machinery the ...
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Overview

In 1961, as Dwight D. Eisenhower gave his final address to the nation before leaving the office of President of the United States, he warned that America "must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence...by the military-industrial complex." Nearly 45 years later, as the United States finds itself waging a war in Iraq for reasons that seem increasingly unclear with the passage of time, Eisenhower's statement becomes all the more pertinent, and the question becomes more apt: has the machinery the United States established to wage war helped prevent conflict, or has it done more to inspire it? Documentary filmmaker Eugene Jarecki offers an in-depth look at how the United States has readied itself for battle, and why and how the nation goes to war in the film Why We Fight. Named for Frank Capra's famed series of Defense Department films which explained the motives behind America's entry into World War II, Why We Fight features interviews with foot soldiers, Army recruits, Pentagon personnel, decorated veterans, members of Congress, national security advisors, top military strategists, and many more as they talks about the core philosophies of American military strategy and how they have changed since the end of the Second World War. Why We Fight received the Grand Jury Prize at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Extra scenes; Extended character featurettes; Filmmaker TV appearances: The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, Charlie Rose; Audience Q&A with filmmaker; Filmmaker commentary with Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson; Theatrical trailer
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Eugene Jarecki's documentary Why We Fight takes its name from a series of propaganda films made by Frank Capra during World War II, which were designed to support the American war effort. But Jarecki has quite a different agenda now than Capra had then. Why We Fight is unambiguously anti-war, but unlike some 21st century anti-war documentaries, it doesn't exist just to hang the Bush administration out to dry. To be certain, Jarecki's film criticizes the faulty reasoning behind invading Iraq as stridently as anyone out there, specifically, Vice President Dick Cheney's connection to a company Halliburton that would directly profit from this invasion. But it presents another conservative president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, as the sage voice of reason underpinning the whole film, with his prescient warnings about "the military-industrial complex" -- in other words, a self-perpetuating war machine that burrows into the capitalist fabric of the country, independent of political parties and unaccountable at the polls. Meanwhile, Jarecki notes that Lyndon Johnson, a Democrat, used intelligence to justify military engagement in Vietnam that was just as flimsy as Bush's search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Why We Fight is an excellent balance between history lesson and current events, and it makes its case compellingly through the facts presented and the people interviewed -- most of whom agree with Jarecki's perspective, but some of whom do not such as conservative hawk Richard Perle. Most memorable among the interviewees, from a standpoint of journalistic fairness, are the Iraqi citizens whom Jarecki went to the trouble of interviewing in their own backyard. Their presence adds one more voice to the debate, a voice that even the most conscientious of Jarecki's peers might have overlooked. Why We Fight is a highly illuminating portrait of a national psychology, full of sobering truths.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/27/2006
  • UPC: 043396138940
  • Original Release: 2004
  • Rating:

  • Source: Sony Pictures
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 1:39:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Technical Credits
Eugene Jarecki Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Roy Ackerman Executive Producer
Brian Buckley Sound/Sound Designer
Sam Cullman Cinematographer
Hans Robert Eisenhauer Executive Producer
Nick Fraser Executive Producer
Sue Jacobs Musical Direction/Supervision
Nancy Kennedy Editor
Christopher Li Cinematographer
Alessandra Meyer Associate Producer
Peter Miller Sound/Sound Designer
Robert Miller Score Composer
Paul Rusnak Sound/Sound Designer
√Čtienne Sauret Cinematographer
Susannah Shipman Producer
May-Ying Welch Cinematographer
May Ying Welsh Cinematographer
Foster Wiley Cinematographer
Brett Wiley Cinematographer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Why We Fight
1. What Are We Fighting For? [7:50]
2. A One-Superpower World [10:22]
3. How Far Does the U.S. Go? [8:52]
4. Unwarranted Influence [5:20]
5. The American Way of War [5:18]
6. Too Close a Relationship [9:01]
7. Army of One [6:45]
8. A Militaristic Nation [5:39]
9. Blowback [11:26]
10. The Public Doesn't Need to Know [8:12]
11. The Opening Shot [11:35]
12. The World Has Changed [8:31]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Why We Fight
   Play Movie
   Subtitles
      French
      Portuguese
      Spanish
      Subtitles Off
   Special Features
      Extra Scenes
         Ike's Evolution
         The Missing "C"
         Frank Capra's Original Why We Fight
         The Dangerous Illusion
         What You Can Do
      The Characters
         Wilton Remembers Jason
         William and Yo-TV
         Karen's Story
         Franklin "Chuck" Spinney
         Chalmers' Evolution
      Talking About Why We Fight
         Audience Q&A
            What Do You Hope to Achieve?
            Doesn't America Need Defense?
            How Did You Meet Wilton?
            What Do High School Kids Think?
         TV Appearances
            The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
            Charlie Rose
      Theatrical Trailer
      Audio Commentary
         Commentary: On
         Commentary: Off
      Learn More
   Scene Selections
   Previews
      Sketches of Frank Gehry
      The Devil and Daniel Johnston
      Joyeux Noel
      The White Countess
      The Passenger
      The Fog of War
      Lightning in a Bottle
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(5)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A must see for every American citizen!

    This is a must see for every American citizen. History is so important as it really does repeat itself. Watching this made me realize what has really gone on in this country for the past 50 years. We've strayed so far from the reason this country was founded. This is very informative and shows how the Military Industrial Complex has in fact become the center focus in our country. It is a definite must see to understand, as the title states, "Why We Fight".

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Thought Provoking

    I have often said that Eugene Jarecki's films have a certain plot line. He will give all sides say, but the one Jarecki agrees more with he gives that viewpoint more time. Liberals, like Chalmers Johnson (author of Blowback) in the movie had much more time explaining the truly disturbing tandem of the Military-Industrial complex. Neoconservatives like Richard Perle and William Perle didn't get as much, even though I disagree with them politically, they deserve their time too. The most enlightening person who was featured in this program was the cop whose son unfortunately died in the September 11, 2001-that horrible day we should never forget. He gave common sense answers and passions of the middle-class families that go to work everyday and may not know as much as the "effete snobs" of the thinktanks in the movie.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    a must, to be seen twice

    To me, the most important moment of this well made film is when we see that the original farewell address by Ike said: "THE MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL-CONGRESSIONAL COMPLEX'. it was cut out and not said, but it is the real truth as Ike saw it and he was right!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Should be viewed by all school-kids with their parents at their sides

    Ask yourself why you've never seen this on PBS or some other "mainstream" media outlet. If Americans were aware of the information in this video our current "wars for empire" would come to a screeching halt. We've been had time and time again. The Bush wars are simply the latest installment in our own warmongers' quest for petroleum dominance and global military supremacy. In the meantime, the citizens get a drowning economy and tent-cities springing-up around the country. To pooh-pooh the information in this video is sheer lunacy, if not the suicide of the Republic.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    For Dopes Only

    Shallow, despite the hugely encompassing title, but at least a thorough examination of corporate influence upon the US military and its motives. This film is confined to post-WWII, although fighting has gone on a tad longer, and it does not explore an ounce of the psychology behind it, only recent propoganda. Unfortunately, the film itself propogandizes and, thus, castrates some of its own validity. One main fault is moving straight to Iraq War lies from 9/11 in order to prove the point that the administration went to war unjustly--which utterly skips the inconvenient contradiction to this idea that Afghanistan was and still is supported as a just conflict. The other main fault is interviewing uneducated dupes--a parent of a 9/11 victim who fell for the administration's WMD excuse in his unhealthy need for revenge. A military analyst who, despite a library of books on the subject and in the face of history, actually never thought a government could lie. And then there's simple and insulting anti-lie lies, particularly the exaggerated use of the word dominance. Gore Vidal describes the US' post-WWII situation as "dominating" the globe when the USSR was never dominated. The administration's pre-Iraq War message described as dominating all discussion in the media--there was plenty of opposition voiced. And be ready to be insulted by the exaggeration that we believe guided bombs prevent civillian casualties. Do you honestly know anyone who believes that? But, despite the innate sarcasm (interludes mocking military supporters with happy jazz music--been done 1,000 times), there are solid lessons for kids about how Washington doesn't work. There are much healthier books on the subject of war.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    It'll really open your eyes.

    In short: If you ever wondered why most of the world hates us, this will answer your question.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Don't waste your money

    Thankfully, I borrowed this from a friend. Do not waste your money on this unless, perhaps, you have an affinity for Michael Moore-type garbage. I will not waste my time with an in-depth review. Caveat Emptor.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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