The paper "Why We Fight" is a perfect example of a movie review on visual arts and film studies.
What is the main plot and/or the storyline of the film you watched? The film explores the nature of the United s’ involvement in war and probes the various reasons or motivations for this involvement. It considers the nature of American hegemonic power and foreign relations. It posits 9/11 as a central turning point in the United States approach to international affairs and indicates that after this event ‘preemptive’ strikes became a more prominent element of the defense. It goes on to investigate aspects of the military-industrial complex as a whole and considers the ethical nature of the relations between the military and defense contractors.
Who are the main characters in the film?
As the film is a documentary there are no specific characters in the fictional sense, but rather a number of central themes and entities that are explored. Without a doubt, the most central entity to the film in the United States. The country is explored for its wartime motivations and is examined over an extended period of time, beginning with its involvement in World War II through the Iraq conflict. Another major entity featured is the military-industrial complex, which is investigated for the validity of its connections. The production quality is relatively high, with competent stylistic techniques, including editing and film sound, as well as an engaging use of historical stock footage that is used as supplementary material.
Pick three of the following concepts, or issues and explain how they make their way into the film. It will be useful to define the terms as well. Nation/Nationalism, Race, Radicalization, Racial Formation, Racism, Diversity, Discrimination, Gender, Ethnicity, Cognitive Dissonance, Essentialism, Assimilation, Prejudice, Push/Pull Factors.
Nation/Nationalism emerges in a number of instances throughout the film in relation to American hegemonic power. In many instances, the film features individuals supporting nationalist sentiments in favor of the United States. One specific instance occurs at a rally held by President George W. Bush at the rubble of the World Trade Center at which chant of “USA” are heard after the President announces that the individuals responsible for the WTC attacks will be brought to justice.
Essentialism is also featured prominently throughout the film. Many individuals, such as John McCain, present the United States as a morally just nation that is engaging in international relations in an act of essentialist moral authority. Essentialism is further explored in terms of the Iraq conflict. One notable quote is that “They [America] wants to spread democracy around the world at the point of their bayonets.”
Radicalization is another theme that is explored in some depth throughout the film. Radicalization emerges in a number of instances, the first of which concerns the United States swift shift to military action after the 9/11 attacks. Some might even argue that the film itself is emblematic of a radicalized approach. Indeed, there are a number of ‘radical’ quotes, including one by Gore Vidal who claims that the Japanese had attempted to surrender before the atomic bomb was dropped but that they were ignored because President Truman wanted to demonstrate the United States’ military power to the Russians.
Do you think the film is a fair representation of the concept or issues you have identified from the above list?
It seems that the film’s underlining thesis may be explored to the neglect of a more objective approach. In this sense, the film is decidedly anti-war in that it seemingly attempts to expose the more idealized reasons for conflict, with a more realistic understanding of American aggression. In certain areas, the film does function to consider a variety of viewpoints, as it balances interviews with politicians with individuals that oppose their aims. Furthermore, it includes interviews with a variety of cultures and includes the perspectives on people living in Iraq as to their perspective on America. It also has an extraordinary investigation into what President Eisenhower termed the military-industrial complex. It traces the corporate influence into United States defense spending and how lobbyists are capable of attaining and maintaining congressional support for these projects.
What is your gut feeling about the film?
My gut feeling about the film is conflicted. While I realize that it is undeniably slanted against war and the military-industrial complex, I also realize that it makes a number of striking points. The connections it draws between the corporate interests and military actions are extremely convincing; in this sense, the film functions to reveal the dark reality of what is actually occurring in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. I believe that it ignores some of the noble purposes, but I don’t think it would be cynical to say that the truth of American involvement has much more in common with the film’s conception of reality, than the reality that is presented by politicians and the media. In all I believe, while slightly slanted, the film is a powerful documentary on the reality of American involvement in the war.