Sunday, February 19, 2006

Why We Fight - A Film By Eugene Jarecki

Good flick. Definitely a must-see. But I don't like how it gave so much time to Neocons to spit their nonsense unchallenged. All these films are just preaching to the choir, but they're not even converting us. We're left with a false dichotomy - either promote freedom or scale back our military industrial complex. That's what's left by the time this film is over, with the Neocons having had 20 minutes of a 90-minute film to talk about 'democracy' and how great America is for 'doing it' for other countries. It's total bullshit.

There are some people in the film who try to clean up the lies of the neocons, but it's not nearly enough. We've been propagandized with the neocon line for, oh, 5 or so years now - how about a different point of view for once?

I didn't think I'd learn anything - or anything of much importance - in this film, but I did - two very big, very important things:

1) There seems to be a fundamental conflict between capitalism and democracy. I've heard this sentiment expressed before by Socialists and by Chomsky (who probably qualifies as some type of pseudo-socialist, though I really don't know much about his financial/economy thoughts) - I think, and I wasn't sure if I bought into it, this apparent conflict between capitalism and democracy, but I'm starting to buy, now. I believe it was Charles Lewis in the movie who said the 'capitalism vs. democracy' thing, and I respect his opinion. He's been a crusader against politician bribe-taking in both parties for years. He's very much an equal-Party basher - and that's a very good thing, in general. I need to read more on this now - how corporations are tyrannical by nature and how they obviously don't get along well with democracy. I guess it was the extremist lefty-winger (and Republican), Dwight D. Eisenhowever, who most famously expressed that opinion the night before he left the Office of the POTUS.

2) Chalmers Johnson said that the reason the U.S., or any other country, needs oil is because that is the thing that fuels a nation's military - figuratively and literally. Without oil, a nation's military could not function - thus, a nation would be left virtually defenseless, or at a minimum, unable to carry-out its imperialist adventures without great cost. This rings true because that is apparently what forced Japan to attack us at Pearl Harbor - we'd cut off their oil supply, among other things. Japan apparently had a choice of radically changing their foreign policy or going to war with the U.S. and the UK, and they chose war. My reading thus far suggests that President Roosevelt was seeking a way to get the U.S. into the war, and this was how he hoped to do it. Mission accomplished, asshole.

As a footnote to this second 'lesson learned' from the move 'Why We Fight', I have to mention that it was a hard-core, Bush-loving, liberal-hating, Republican that once told me about Pearl Harbor:

Well, they had no choice. We cut off their supply of <something>.

I certainly don't remember what that 'something' was, or maybe I never heard it right in the first place, but I certainly do remember that this guy, a fanatical Republican, said of Japan - a foreign country that viciously attacked the United States of America, where over 2,403 Americans were murdered, of which 68 were civilians - that Japan 'had no choice' but to murder those 2,403 Americans. This was shocking to me for any number of reasons, but to hear a Republican suggest that his own government had some responsibility - from his statement, much if not all of the responsibility - for Pearl Harbor, was quite unbelievable. Because of that Republican, though, I learned something new. Maybe not four years ago, when I first heard it, but now, after it'd been drilled into my head a few more times. I finally got it. I finally get it. What's the lesson, here? Several:
1) Even Republicans speak the truth once in a while.
2) We should not disregard everything a person says because we disagree, in general, with most of what a person says.
3) Activism means drilling a message home, over and over, often over years. Not in a propagandistic way - sometimes it just takes people - people like me - several times of hearing something to start to really consider it. The brainwashing we'd received throughout our lives it tough to overcome. [That's why we need to get into the classrooms and start teaching our children the truth about our history.]

Finally, wanted to mention that Ike had supposedly originally written 'military-industrial-congressional complex' instead of just 'military-industrial complex'. Forget whether this appeared in the movie or not - I think it did. The Wiki says this:

In the penultimate draft of the address, Eisenhower initially used the term military-industrial-congressional complex, indicating the essential role that U.S. Congress plays in propagating the military industry. But, it is said, that the president chose to strike the word congressional in order to avoid offending members of the legislative branch of the federal government. The author of the term was Eisenhower's speech-writer Malcolm Moos.

Here's the director on the Daily Show.

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