leave a comment --Ken Fox
Sponsored in part by the progressive, web-based advocacy group MoveOn.org, this straight-to-the-point documentary from filmmaker Robert Greenwood (OUTFOXED) pulls together, then tears apart, the various reasons the Bush administration offered Congress, the United Nations and the American people for its 2003 war against Iraq. Aside from a recent interview with Dr. David Kay, who resigned from his post as the leader of the Iraq Survey group in early 2004 after concluding that the alleged stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction did not exist, the film is similar to the version Greenwald released on DVD in late 2003. Greenwald offers no new earthshaking revelations (much if not all of what's covered here has already been reported in the mainstream press) but the catalogue of newsclips and commentary from a team of intelligence analysts and operatives, diplomats, weapons inspectors, politicians and journalists, strongly support what critics of the Bush administration's unilateral Iraq policy have claimed all along: The justification offered for the preemptive strike against former Iraqi president Sadaam Hussein was largely based on disreputable intelligence, distortions and blatant untruths. Greenwald's method is simple: He focuses on key moments in the lead up to the Iraq War when President George W. Bush and his inner circle made their case for a military invasion, then counters each of those assertions with testimony of his commentators. Greenwald first looks at the statements made in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, when National Security Advisor Condaleeza Rice, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Bush himself began making frightening but entirely unfounded connections between Sadaam Hussein and terrorist groups like Al Qaeda. Greenwald then turns to Bush's 2003 Sate of the Union address in which the president laid out Iraq's reconstituted biological, chemical and possibly nuclear weapons program with what former White House counsel Howard Dean here calls "distorted beliefs, estimates and guess-timates." Much of what President Bush offered Congress and the American people was later repeated before the UN Security Council by Secretary of State Colin Powell, who also provided new satellite photo "evidence" which Greenwald's professional image analysts pick over and laughingly dismiss. The film ends with a discussion of dissent and the true meaning of patriotism, but the most damning moment comes during a consideration of the unanticipated post-war insurgency that has killed hundreds of American troops and recruited a whole new generation of terrorists. Ironically, as the former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia Chas Freeman, puts it, Iraq has become what the Bush White House insisted it was at the very beginning, albeit for altogether different reasons: a battlefield in the war against terrorism.