Why We Fight
Spring 2006 Documentary series
Wednesday, May 3, 2006 at 7:00pm
Rated PG ·
English / Arabic
Released as the American military continues to make its presence felt in Iraq and across the globe, Eugene Jarecki’s (The Trials of Henry Kissinger) Why We Fight asks some pertinent questions about the economic necessities of war. Speaking to a number of key figures including Republican Senator John McCain and author Gore Vidal, as well as lesser-know names such as Wilton Sekzer—a Vietnam veteran and ex-New York City cop who lost his son in the World Trade Center attacks—Jarecki’s film is a bipartisan treatise that was inspired by Dwight Eisenhower’s 1961 farewell address to the nation. Eisenhower spoke of a burgeoning American military-industrial complex, which he believed would threaten democracy across the globe. Jarecki takes a look at whether this has occurred by questioning his subjects on the links between big business and the military, while also talking to people whose lives are inexorably tied to the business of war. Fascinating revelations unfold, from Sekzer’s attempt to pay tribute to his son to the thoughts of the fighter pilot who dropped the first bomb on Iraq at the dawn of the second Gulf War. Each of them gives their own unique take on the American military machine, while Jarecki intersperses their discussions with rapid-fire scenes of the machine as it lumbers into action.
Why We Fight cleverly reflects the sharp divide that exists among the American people on why we are in Iraq. A number of people on the street are questioned throughout the film, with Jarecki asking them ‘why do we fight?’ His subjects give a broad range of answers, and Jarecki himself does not search for a definitive solution to the question. Instead he simply gives us a variety of truths and lets the audience try to salvage something from an incredibly complex, sometimes mysterious, and often terrifying state of affairs.