i recently saw 'why we fight', a terrific documentary that i would highly recommend. this movie by eugene jarecki, brother of andrew - creator of moviefone and more importantly 'capturing the friedmans' - does an amazing job of reminding us all of the very recent past.
i honestly had forgotten how emphatically bush, cheney and rumsfeld argued that a) iraq was connected to 9/11 and b) iraq had weapons of mass destruction. in fact, the previous night i backed down in a debate with a conservative friend when he said we were all just being monday morning quarterbacks and that it was easy to blame the messenger after the fact. i felt hypocritical as i had been slightly in favor of the invasion at the time.
however, this movie points out how clearly we were all deceived. jarecki interview a former military officers from a special pentagon office that was set up. she explains how political appointees issued memos stating how she was supposed to refer to any issues relating to iraq.
even more powerful is jarecki's interviews with a former nyc cop and vietnam vet who lost his son in 9/11. this guy went from asking the airforce to put his son's name on a bomb to complete disgust for bush and for himself for being so wrong. at one point he pinpoints the exact moment when he realized bush was lying about it all and in fact jarecki shows a bush interview where he says he never tied iraq to 9/11.
if only jarecki could have narrated this film...afterwards he spent an hour talking about the point of the film, how it was the system that was corrupt more than just bush or either party. the film does a great job of showing how our country's industrial military machine needs wars to feed jobs.
anyway, the biggest point i walked away thinking about was -- when exactly did each of us come to the realization that we were duped into this war? do you remember a day or moment when you woke up and realized you didnt really support our original intentions for invading iraq? i cant pinpoint my moment.
somehow i feel like i've been in a passive daze just watching as events unfolded. seems like bush/cheney have been so gradual in moving us from the 9/11 connection to simply world security or extending freedom that even now it's all fuzzy.
the most ominous moment in the film is when pearl tells us that no matter what we think now, no matter who takes power next, we can never go back to the way it was. i dont think he meant it the way i took it, that we have so damaged america's reputation and so angered friends and foe that it's irreparable.
the movie has remained on my mind this week. i feel like we need a leader who can help us heal a lot of horrible, immoral actions we have brought into the world since 9/11. we have become a nation seeking vengence at all costs. like an angry parent, we have lost regard for other human life in our mourning the loss of our own. america feels more and more like a mean country, one that has lost all sense of community at home and abroad.
one of jarecki's final comments was that america under the republicans reminds him of 'it's a wonderful life' - we've had an oppty to see what life would be like under the most corrupt and evil of regimes. i agreed with this thought and the optimism he took away that we should be thankful to bush/cheney for so blatantly showing their true colors that we might wake up and choose to go back.
leadership or the lack of it matters a lot. i'm noticing its effects all around me. over new years a seemingly intelligent guy argued - why should we bother finding a moral justification for kicking ass in other countries? his point was we're the only super power, why ask for permission or need to justify?
i never imagined i'd live in a time when our country's values and actions were indistinguishable from those of criminal regimes and totalitarian governments.
and why is it that it's always the fucking, morals preaching, family values guys who are the most evil? if you think about it, it's really embarassing to have a george bush as our president. i mean i can forgive him for being an idiot (not the first), even for being corrupt as that's how you got elected in the 20th century, but talking to g-d? come the fuck on! and 'we' voted for this guy?