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.
Eugene Jarecki - American Director
Theatrical Release: January 20, 2006
"[The] film takes a piercing, panoramic look at the growth of the 'military-industrial complex'..." - 01/01/2006 Movieline's Hollywood Life, p.101
"[P]assionate and sobering....We're left with a vision of America grown accustomed, if not addictively numb, to the deadening spirit of war." -- Grade: A- - 01/27/2006 Entertainment Weekly, p.65-66
3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Jarecki sets archival war footage from the past half-century against the political maneuvering behind the scenes. The impact is shattering." - 02/09/2006 Rolling Stone, p.73
"It's a story Mr. Jarecki tells with appreciable energy, using images culled from newsreels, educational and military films, and original material." - 02/03/2006 New York Times, p.E10
"This is a very interesting and thought-provoking soundtrack." - 07/01/2006 Widescreen Review, p.71
3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[A]n important documentary....This is a damning indictment of the American war machine." - 07/13/2006 Rolling Stone, p.110
"Jarecki takes a holistic approach to examining [our culture]..." -- Grade: A- - 06/30/2006 Entertainment Weekly, p.145
5 stars out of 5 -- "[A] superb reflection on the militarization of the culture and economy of the United States....[A] poised, intelligent documentary..." - 05/01/2008 Uncut, 128
"Jarecki builds his case methodically....A passionate and involving essay on the perils of empire..." - 05/01/2008 Sight and Sound, p.95