A review of “Why We Fight” by Jeanne Aufmuth


Stars: ***

Rating: PG-13 for mild language and war images

Run Time: 1 hour, 38 minutes



The $400 billion a year American war machine is often characterized as overwhelming firepower supported by overwhelming logistics. Not to mention an overwhelming number of tax-payer dollars funneled into an imperialistic battle plan.

Eugene Jarecki’s stirring anti-war documentary takes its cue from President Dwight Eisenhower’s profound 1961 farewell address that touched on themes of the calamitous rise of misplaced power and the acquisition of unwarranted influence.

We are an incredibly militant nation according to the talking heads of Jarecki’s urgent dirge; the “United States of Amnesia”, who conveniently manage to forget bungled corruption, mass manipulation and fractured government policy from one war to the next.

Despite the changes wrought by the events of 9/11 there is still a vast disconnect between unrelenting patriotism and the basis on which we send our sons and daughters to war. War-profiteering and economic colonialism rear their ugly heads while the media skews its evening news with deadly doses of exploitation and greed. To what end?

Senator John McCain, Gore Vidal, ex-CIA operative Chalmers Johnson and retired Lt. Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski among others attempt to unravel the twisted core of our national detachment amidst colorful theories of corporate greed and the relentless responsibility to spread democracy and freedom.

Though Jarecki’s path to deciphering fifty years of military misadventures is generally bipartisan (and intermittently without focus) the journey’s end is clear: why do we fight, and when are we going to stand up and say we’re not doing this anymore?