December 22, 2006 -- This is a searing documentary about why America spends more on its military than all the other countries in the world combined and why it goes to war so often. This film is about the “military-industrial complex,” the intertwining of the defense-related industries, their lobbyists and Washington politicians. The idea is that the defense industry needs enemies and wars to maintain its high profit levels. After the collapse of the Soviet Union there was no real “peace dividend” because politicians in the pocket of the military-industrial complex (MIC) were able to find new enemies, notably terrorists, and new wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This is the first documentary I've seen which gives a satisfactory explanation for the Iraq War. It certainly isn't being fought because of weapons of mass destruction, or links between Al Quaeda and Saddam Hussein because those were both false rationalizations. It was fought to make money for the defense industry, and in that sense, the Iraq War is a huge success. It was fought to control oil in the Middle East and to establish military bases in Iraq. The phrase MIC was famously used in President Dwight D. Eisenhower's farewell speech in early 1961 when he said:
“A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction...
“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
As Senator John McCain noted in an interview seen in the movie, unfortunately, what Eisenhower predicted has come true. Eisenhower also said he feared the day when some U.S. president would come along who did not have his military experience (he was an army general in World War II). That day has come and George Bush is that president. The architects of the Iraq war, Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Richard Cheney, have never fought in a war. They proved to be easily swayed by agents of the MIC. Cheney, a former defense contractor (former president of Haliburton, which has made billions of dollars in war profits, much of that in no-bid contracts) is, in effect, an agent of the MIC. This film rates a B.
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