[Picture of projector]

Laramie Movie Scope:
Meeting Resistance

Up close and personal with the Iraqi resistance

[Strip of film rule]
by Robert Roten, Film Critic
[Strip of film rule]

January 23, 2008 -- This documentary does one thing and does it well. It provides first person interviews with people who were attacking U.S. military forces in Iraq in 2003. These people's faces are obscured or simply not shown. Their identities are hidden behind such aliases as “Teacher, Traveler, Warrior and Fugitive.” They explain why they took up arms against a foreign occupation army and often the explanation is as simple as “because there is a foreign occupation army in our country.” One man asks people in the U.S. how we would feel if our country was occupied by a foreign army. Millions of Americans actually thought the Iraqis would welcome the American invaders with open arms. Some did, but the honeymoon didn't last long, and nobody with a spark of intelligence thought that it would last.

This documentary would have been ground breaking had it been released in 2003 or early 2004, but it is old news now. Resistance fighters in Iraq who were interviewed in 2003 couldn't believe that Sunni or Al-Quaida Muslims would attack Shia holy sites in Iraq but they did. Resistance fighters also thought that Sunni and Shia Muslims would remain unified and would not attack each other, but they split apart and did attack each other. Resistance fighters blamed the US for attacking Shia holy sites, which is telling, but it is hard to believe even the mismanaged U.S. military forces would be that stupid. American forces want order, not chaos. American forces want a civilian population which can be controlled, not anarchy. The last thing American forces wanted was to be caught in the middle of a civil war. Al-Quaida, which thrives in chaos, is the most likely culprit.

This film doesn't bring us up to date with the fact that some Iraqi tribal leaders are now working with US forces against Al-Quaida forces. It doesn't deal at all with the warring Shia factions and the whole situation in the southern part of Iraq with the exit of British forces. It doesn't address the issue of the Kurds and the growing tensions between Turkey and Kurdish rebels in Iraq. At best, it is a snapshot of Iraqi resistance in a small part of that country, and an out-of-date, faded one at that. Still, it is a cautionary tale about why it was such a tragic mistake for the U.S. to attack Iraq in the first place. The small number of people in the Bush Administration who made the decision to attack Iraq had a very simplistic view of Iraqi politics. This movie gives us an idea of just how how complicated Iraqi politics really is. The failure of the Bush Administration to grasp the complexity of Iraqi politics is the main reason for U.S. failures in Iraq. This film rates a C+.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

[Strip of film rule]
Copyright © 2008 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
[Strip of film rule]
Back to the Laramie Movie Scope index.
[Rule made of Seventh Seal sillouettes]

Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)