Uncovered: The War on Iraq Reviews
The film begins with an introduction to the contributors, establishing their credentials as intelligence, military or diplomatic specialists with unimpeachable knowledge of and access to US corridors of power. The reason is obviously one of clearly establishing the credibility of the film's argument - these are not 'outsiders', these are not academics with a theoretical understanding of events, these are not people who can be dismissed as Left-wing or as politically partisan. They are all patriots, often very close to the Republican party and 'orthodox' US thinking, and they are all concerned that the reasoning behind invasion was highly dubious and both militarily and politically wrong.
Unfortunately, it slows the pace of the film, not only because it takes several minutes to establish the credibility of this dramatis personae, but also because it establishes a cut-and-paste style for the meat of the production.
Bush and his close Neo-Conservative advisers are shown to have cobbled together and distorted evidence to substantiate the invasion. There was no link between Saddam and terrorism - Al Qaeda was totally opposed to Saddam and Bin Laden regarded him as an infidel. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 ... yet, for a time, the US public seemed to have been convinced that it had. Evidence was fudged, misinformation was seeded, and partisan Iraqi dissidents posed as the voice of democracy and reason.
The UN weapons inspectors had meanwhile proved highly effective and had obliged Saddam to destroy virtually every contentious piece of weaponry in Iraqi possession. Their dismissal as ineffectual was based on carefully orchestrated political lies as the Bush regime set about marketing its view of American might and right.
The Neo-Cons broadcast the message that the USA had won the Cold War, it could therefore do what it liked as the world's only superpower. America could reshape the world in its own image and to its advantage, oblivious to the fact that the rest of the world was hardly likely to remain passive and docilely accept dollar imperialism and military colonialism.
Invasion of Iraq was never a problem, militarily. Holding the country was always going to be the intractable challenge. The invasion simply created a political power vacuum, making it ripe for the emergence of competing, oppositional forces who could legitimise resistance to the invader and sow fertile ground for terrorism to emerge. The film repeatedly evokes the Vietnam experience and wonders how could the White House have forgotten that so soon?
Opponents to the war were meanwhile branded as traitors as the regime wrapped itself in a cloak of the Stars and Stripes and posed as having the monopoly on patriotism. "Uncovered: the War on Iraq" disposes of this posturing and myth. Patriots have the right, and the democratic duty, to oppose their government when they believe it to be wrong.
The arguments put forward by the film are substantial and convincing, and should cause all but the most blinkered to sit back and think. It's a film which should be watched by people beyond the USA because the warning of political distortion and misinformation is vital to us all.
However, the production is deeply flawed. The editing is unconvincing. For stretches of the film the commentary drones on and on. I hate to say it, but it needs 'sexing up'. What should have been an impressive piece of journalism dissolves into a mediocre piece of cinematography, and its arguments are seriously dissipated because of this.
The one saving grace, however, is the inclusion as an 'extra' of an inquiry into the manipulation of the Presidential vote in Florida in 2000. This is an intense and absorbing piece of reportage and, if you are feeling slightly sleepy after the main feature, the supporting act is an excellent example of what good cinematic journalism can achieve.
A curate's egg of a DVD - very good in parts ... but.
[i]The War on Iraq [/i]is a re-edited and extended version of [i]The Whole Truth About the Iraq War[/i]. But what makes the DVD such a great rent is David O. Russell's [i]Soldiers Pay[/i], a bonus documentary running about 35 minutes or so. He speaks to soldiers and actors from his film [i]Three Kings[/i] (and others) about the war. Russell's film still manages to seem fresh, even amongst the raid of antiwar films as of late.
[size=7]HOW ARE 59 MILLION PEOPLE BE SO F[i]U[/i]CKING STUPID?!?!?![/size]