Sunday, April 30, 2006
The documentary Why We Fight is playing at City Cinema for the next couple of days. It's definitely worth checking out. It's got a lot more in common with CBC-style documentaries than with the Michael Moore / Robert Greenwald style. Interviews are done respectfully with all of the subjects, there's no effort made to include footage to make someone look stupid, what they have to say stands or falls on its own in the context of the facts presented in the film. This is more subtle, and makes you have to use your brain to sort through the information presented, since there's no clear 'these guys are right and these guys are wrong' cues in the production.
This produces a film that is actually more convincing precisely because it's presented as a piece of reporting more than a sensationalist piece of the worst actions and incidental faults of world leaders.
So William Kristol's and Richard Perle's opinions are presented, along with Gore Fidal's and Chalmers Johnson's, and weighed against the documented U.S. foreign policy actions of the last 60 yerars you are left to put it all into perspective, and sort out false statements from true ones.
The personal stories they presented in teh film were also more illustrative of the range of thought of ordinary people, from the retired police officer who wanted nothing more than revenge for his son's death on September 11, 2001 and who was genuinely aghast that the President would lie to tie Saddam Hussein to the 9/11 perpetrators in order to justify invading Iraq to the 20-something man who had no other options in his life so he joined the military just to feel like he had a purpose to the Vietnamese refugee who became a nuclear scientist. They all have their reasons for supporting or not supporting the actions of the US government and military, and aren't made out to be good or bad. Everyone is simply a participant in the self-propelling system.