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Why We Fight (2006)



Average Rating: 7.1/10
Reviews Counted: 111
Fresh: 87 | Rotten: 24

A provocative and timely film that explores the military/industrial complex and the motivating forces that lead us to war.


Average Rating: 7.2/10
Critic Reviews: 37
Fresh: 29 | Rotten: 8

A provocative and timely film that explores the military/industrial complex and the motivating forces that lead us to war.



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Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 67,484

My Rating

Movie Info

"Why We Fight" is an unflinching look at the military industrial complex and the rise of the American Empire. Inspired by Dwight Eisenhower's legendary farewell speech (in which he coined the phrase "military industrial complex"), the film surveys the scorched landscape of a half-century's military adventures, asking how -- and telling why -- a nation of, by, and for the people has become the savings-and-loan of a system whose survival depends on a state of constant war. The film moves beyond


Documentary, Special Interest

Jun 27, 2006


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All Critics (113) | Top Critics (38) | Fresh (87) | Rotten (24) | DVD (10)

Ultimately, Why We Fight reveals itself as yet another leftie doc with an anti-war agenda. But the mere fact that it takes time to ask questions and listen to opposing viewpoints sets it apart from the pack.

November 27, 2006 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A film that stands out for its passion, ambition and clarion-call sincerity, even amid the contemporary onslaught of political documentaries.

October 7, 2006 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Extremely timely and urgently relevant.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The fact is, Jon Stewart on The Daily Show uncovers this same hypocrisy every night, and does it in two minutes with irony and humor, while Why We Fight attempts it with outrage and scolding.

March 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Eugene Jarecki's Why We Fight takes on enough subjects to make five great documentaries, but as a result is so scattered that it doesn't quite make for one good one.

March 15, 2006 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's impossible to imagine anyone, right-leaning or left, coming away from this hugely important documentary unshaken by its representation of the United States and its military establishment.

February 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Left-leaning audiences will readily agree with it, but the lack of ideas on how to take on such an enormous enterprise as the military-industrial complex limits the film's intrusion into reality.

December 17, 2013 Full Review Source: Stop Smiling
Stop Smiling

Surely, Jarecki's expose is an engrossing and startling documentary, but it never gives those who keep up with world events something they haven't known for years.

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Why We Fight is a shell-shock of a film.

February 28, 2008 Full Review Source:

While this misleading doc lauds neo-conquistador Eisenhower for coining and anticipating the military industrial complex, let's not forget how he propagated something else - the CIA extra-legal tactic of target assassinations.

September 29, 2007 Full Review Source: WBAI Web Radio
WBAI Web Radio

The film may find a niche and raise interest from those of both sides of the political spectrum.

June 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Scouts
Film Scouts

U.S. imperialism exposed as a categorical imperative by this damning documentary about the Military Industrial Complex.

March 31, 2007 Full Review Source: Upstage Magazine
Upstage Magazine

Finally, the real reason we're stuck in Iraq.

January 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

How does all this disparate material fit together? Uneasily.

November 11, 2006 Full Review Source: The Nation
The Nation

Yes, the deck is stacked, but the converts that Jarecki presents are pretty convincing.

July 4, 2006 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

The film's strength is that it isn't hesitant to name names on either end of the political spectrum

May 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Is he preaching to the choir? Yes, but they'll find it beautiful music.

May 12, 2006 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

When Jarecki segues into what could be called "Why We're Fighting" -- in Iraq, that is -- his film loses much of its focus and its power.

April 21, 2006 Full Review
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

A dense documentary that explores why America goes to war

April 14, 2006 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

Entertaining, informative and thought provoking "Why We Fight" clearly exposes the enemy within. Don't miss it.

April 6, 2006 Full Review Source:

While Why We Fight comes across as strongly researched and well reasoned, it can be a slog through information that has been in the public sphere for some time.

April 5, 2006 Full Review Source: Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

Jarecki reminds us that there is no reason to believe that U.S. supremacy is destined to last forever

April 2, 2006 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews
Old School Reviews

You might think that any explanation of so human an undertaking as war would give a nod to folly, ignorance and misguided idealism. You won't find any of that here.

April 2, 2006

Audience Reviews for Why We Fight

Why We Fight discusses America's need to defend the world through war. This is a very interesting documentary that features great interviews by Gore Vidal, John McCain and others on why the US is the only Superpower in the world. This is a powerful film that does make you think and gives you important answers. I found this film to be very good at giving us the facts and it goes in depth with the facts. Although some may not be interested in the subject, those who are should give this film a viewing. The film covers many aspects of why the US uses its military to control and make sure peaces reigns in the world. Many aspect are covered, everything from the Cold War to the war in Iraq. We get to see why the US government tries to concentrate more on its defense than other serious issues. Eisenhower was the first to oppose an extensive National Security policy and warned about the extensive Military industrial complex. We get to understand why the US polices the world and spends more on defense than other nation. This is quite shocking, as you can imagine what other countries spend their budget on. The documentary takes a look at how Military Corporations makes money off the government and it is quite interesting at how all the contractors bid for the biggest contracts for new military hardware. Why We Fight takes an unbiased look at all this, and it's quite effective in giving us both sides of the argument. This is a smartly crafted documentary that is shocking and very interesting from beginning to end.
June 1, 2013
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

A documentary-by-numbers, in a sense, and about the Iraq War mostly, but I found this to be as much about Eisenhower than anything else, which was great, because I didn't know as much about him and his meaning when he famously coined the term Military-Industrial Complex.

I liked this documentary because it was as damning as a Michael Moore film and much less sentimental, and the message was stronger because of it. There are situations that just make you throw your hands in the air, and the Iraq War is certainly one of them. Worthy of its accolades, no question.
June 27, 2011

Super Reviewer

Good documentary with some great moments of emotional power, but it doesn't say all that much new about the current state of the USA that hasn't already been discussed in superior films.
May 20, 2008

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]"Why We Fight" is an informative but flawed documentary, that despite providing a comprehensive history lesson through talking heads, participants and archival footage, does not make a very good case. It starts off with Dwight Eisenhower's 1961 farewell address where he explains the menace of the Military Industrial Complex.(It is curious that the film praises Eisenhower's presidency in many ways but two of the most infamous Cold War foreign interventions - Iran and Guatemala - happened on his watch.) The central thesis of the movie is how that has corrupted American foreign policy but I would argue that the weapons makers are simply a group of bottom feeders and war profiteers who have no direct affect on foreign policy. Instead, the government's self-righteous attitude leads the United States into perpetual conflict, first with the Soviet Union and now moving onto Iran and North Korea. In fact, the invasion of Iraq was nothing more than a cynical exploitation of post 9/11 blood lust, waged by an administration looking for an easy win to heighten its popularity, with little congressional opposition due to a lack of backbone, not corruption. And it is ironic that one of the reasons for the invasion was to stop terrorism, when instead it seems to be the cause of the opposite. [/font]
April 19, 2007
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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