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Fighting over "Why we fight"

Posted at 5:45 PM on February 23, 2006 by Euan Kerr

Eugene Jarecki has been on a wild ride with his documentary "Why We Fight." It took the Grand Jury prize at Sundance in 2005, but now as it appears in dribs and drabs around the country, and finally this weekend in Minnesota, it's been getting mixed reviews.

The movie launches off President Dwight D. Eisenhower's final address to the nation. In it the President, a two term Republican and World War II hero, warned of his concern that the military industrial complex in the US would keep growing to the point that it would mold Congressional policy. Jareki's film, begun before the invasion of Iraq, argues Eisenhower's warning has proven prophetic.

Jareki uses interviews with hawks and doves in Congress and in the Pentagon, along with a host of ordinary folk to make his argument. He has been accused, even by some people who say they sympathize with his message, of merely creating a cinematic montage, and not digging in and producing a film that proves his case.

I must admit I'm a little confused by that stance. It's compelling watching, and I think it will provide fodder for people on all sides of the debate.

There has been a lot of discussion recently, particularly with regard to the future of the Oak Street, about need to encourage post-cinema debate. It seems to me this would be an ideal film to do just that.

Eugene Jareki was in the MPR studios a few weeks back and you can hear the hour-long conversation in the Midmorning archive.

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