Why We Fight (2006)

Why We Fight (2006)


Grand Jury Prize winner at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, WHY WE FIGHT is an unflinching look at the anatomy of American war-making. Granted unparalleled Pentagon access, the film launches a nonpartisan inquiry into the forces — political, economic, and ideological — that drive America to fight. Inspired by President Dwight Eisenhower’s 1961 Farewell Address in which he warned Americans about the dangers of the “military-industrial complex,” filmmaker Jarecki (“The Trials of Henry Kissinger”) weaves unforgettable stories of everyday Americans touched by war with commentary by a “who’s who” of military and Washington insiders. Featuring John McCain, Gore Vidal, Richard Perle and others, WHY WE FIGHT explores a half-century of U.S. foreign policy from World War II to the Iraq War, revealing how, as Eisenhower warned, political and corporate interests have become alarmingly entangled in the business of war. On a deeper level, what emerges is a portrait of a nation in transition — drifting dangerously far from her founding principles toward a more imperial and uncertain future. © 2005 Charlotte Street Films, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
MAN: From the White House
and the office

of the President of
the United States,

we present an address
by Dwight D. Eisenhower.

This is the farewell address
for President Eisenhower,

whose eight years as
chief executive

come to an end
at noon Friday.

Good evening,
my fellow Americans.

We now stand
10 years past
the midpoint of a century

that has witnessed
four major wars
among great nations.

Three of these
involved our own country.

We have been
compelled to create

a permanent armaments industry
of vast proportions.

Three and a half million
men and women

are directly engaged
in the defense establishment.

Now, this conjunction
of an immense
military establishment

and a large arms industry
is new in
the American experience.

We recognize the imperative
need for this development,

yet we must not fail
to comprehend
its grave implications.

MAN: What are we fighting for?
Why do we bury
our sons and brothers

in lonely graves
far from home?

Our men are dying to
preserve a way of life.

These privileges,
these rights,

if precious
enough to fight for,
precious enough to die for.

McCAIN: The United States
is the greatest force
for good in the world.

And we have,
not an obligation to go out
and fight and start wars,
but to certainly
do everything we can

to spread democracy and
freedom throughout the world.

We shall pay any price,
bear any burden,
to assure the survival
and the success of liberty.

WOMAN: What are we
fighting for?
I think we fight
because it’s necessary
and because it’s right.
We’re not talking simply
about the price of gas.

We are talking about
the price of liberty.

We seek neither territory
nor bases.

We fight for the principle
of self-determination.
America’s strength and, yes,
her military power
have been a force for peace,
not conquest.

our military strong,
by using force where we must,

America is making
a difference for people here
and around the world.
Our cause is just.

And no matter
how long it takes,

we will defeat
the enemies of freedom.

on my way into work

and I was taking the subway,
which is an elevated subway.

And as the subway
heads to New York,

there comes a point
where it makes a very
abrupt left-hand turn,
a 90 degree turn.
And when it does that,
the wheels of the subway
always screech loudly.
If you look out the window,
that’s when you can see
the World Trade Center.
I was sitting on
the subway reading,
as I always do.

Train made
the left-hand turn,
the wheels screeched,
everybody in the car jumped up
and started to gasp.
And I look up,
and there’s the building
with smoke pouring out of it.

I didn’t know if that
was my son’s building,
because Tower One
and Tower Two were
in perfect symmetry.
And I didn’t know
which tower I’m looking at.

And I’m just thinking
to myself, you know,
how did my son
get, get out of there?
Well, I don’t know how,
but he got out of there.
There’s no two ways
about that.
He can’t be in there,
’cause anybody who’s
in there is gonna die.
JOHNSON: Blowback.
It’s a CIA term.

Blowback does not mean simply
the unintended consequences
of foreign operations.
It means
the unintended consequences
of foreign operations
that were
deliberately kept secret
from the American public,
so that when
the retaliation comes

the American public
is not able to
put it in context,

to put cause
and effect together.

That they come up
with questions like,
“Why do they hate us?”
MAN 1: The forces of evil
declared war
on the American…

Not since Pearl Harbor
has there been so
much national rage.

MAN 2: Freedom and
democracy are under attack.

MAN 3: Why do they hate us?
That’s the question
everybody’s asking.

JOHNSON: Our government
did not want
the forensic question asked,

“What were their motives?”
And instead, chose to say
they were just evildoers.
And the towers keep falling.
Every five minutes,
there go the tower again.

I got on the phone.
I called NBC.

“I’m listening
to your newscast.
“How many times
are you gonna show
“those goddamn towers
coming down?
“Don’t you have
any respect for the people
“who have family
and friends in those towers?
“Do we have to keep
watching them fall down?
“I watched them fall
down 50 times already.
When are you gonna stop?
“Please stop.
“You’re ripping
my heart out.”
MAN: …to win a war
against people
that hate freedom.

SEKZER: God gave me two
of the greatest sons

that any parent
could ever ask for.

Why he took one back,
I’ll never know.

I can hear you.
The rest of
the world hears you.

And the people…
And the people

who knocked
these buildings down

will hear all of us soon.
ALL: U.S.A.! U.S.A.!
Somebody had to pay
for this.
Somebody had to pay
for 9/11.
I… I want enemy dead.
I want to see
their bodies stacked up
for what they did,
for taking my son.
There was a moment when
the entire world
was behind us.
There was a million people
demonstrating in
the streets of Tehran
in favor of the United States.
We had the world behind us.
Now kids are dying.

Billions are being spent
every month.

Animosity against
the United States
is stronger now

than it ever has been
in history.

What happened here?
Is it just the, the experience
of September 11th?
Or is there
something else going on here?

When something
like this happens,
you gotta take stock of this.
You gotta understand
what went wrong here.
We live here in
the United States of amnesia.
No one remembers anything
before Monday morning.
Everything is a blank.
We have no history.
MAN: Guatemala, 1954.
The United States
intervened unilaterally

to protect
its vital interests.

Lebanon, 1958.
The United States feels
its policy of containment

in the Middle East
is threatened,

responds openly
and unilaterally.

The United States
intervened in Laos,
the Congo, Brazil.

There are so many theories
about what happened in Iraq
and why we really went in.
But when
you look at the history

of the United States,
almost every president,

there is
something we don’t like
somewhere in the world
and we’ve gotta
dispense military force.
MAN: Ronald Reagan
invaded Grenada in 1983.

Last night, I ordered U.S.
military forces to Panama.
LEWIS: This is not
about one president
or one party.

We fight as a nation
because we perceive

it is in our interest
to fight.

And we then mention
words like “freedom”
and–and nice common
values that…
Who can be against freedom?
When, in fact, much more has
been going on privately.

Just completed
a meeting with
our National Security Team,
and we’ve received
the latest, um,
intelligence updates.
The deliberate
and deadly attacks
which were
carried out yesterday
against our country
were more than
acts of terror.
They were acts of war.
JOHNSON: September 11th, 2001,
provided a group of people

deeply committed
to the expansion of
the American empire

the opportunity
to implement plans

that they had been laying
since 1992.

At that time,
a young Paul Wolfowitz

was working in
a subordinate position
under Dick Cheney,

who was then
Secretary of Defense
in the Pentagon.
With the collapse of
the Soviet Union in 1991,

Cheney orders
Wolfowitz to write a plan,
to write a grand strategy.

That it was now our destiny.
That without
the Soviet Union,

there is no one
who can possibly

approach us in military terms.
It says that’s the way
it ought to be,
and our policy must be
to maintain and expand that.
That we are the new Rome.
That’s their strategy.
On 9/11,
they began to implement it.

It’s not just simply
a matter of capturing people
and holding them accountable,
but removing the sanctuaries,
removing the support systems,
ending states
who sponsor terror…
The people who came
in with the President,
or many of them, anyway,
were certainly
prepared to shift direction,
and in,
in a r-radical direction.
I think it’s fair
to say radical.
When September 11th happened,
the President
and his top advisors
said to themselves,
correctly I think,
“We need to rethink
American foreign policy.”
And I think that would
have happened

even without
a September 11th,

but September 11th
was really the event

that changed
American foreign policy.

KWIATKOWSKI: Well, I was in
the Pentagon when we got hit.

You know, I…
Yes, it did change.
It was a very, um,
dramatic and terrible thing,
and it does change
your perspective,
but the war in Iraq
had nothing to do with
the war on terrorism.
That was a huge leap,
a manufactured leap,

in order to implement
a very calculated

and pre-developed
foreign policy.

We must take
the battle to the enemy,
disrupt his plans,

and confront the worst threats
before they emerge.

The Bush Doctrine is
that, uh, preemptive strikes
or preemptive conflicts,
which were never
contemplated in the past,
now have to be contemplated
under certain scenarios.
If you saw a missile
about to be launched
and you could kick it over
before it could be launched,
you’d do it, of course.
If you saw someone
about to shoot at you
and you thought you
could shoot first,
you’d do it.
It’s common sense.
I don’t know anybody
who doesn’t agree with that.
So what’s the big fuss
about preemption?
March 19th is a night
I will never forget.
March 19th is one
for the history books.
It’s one for my
personal history books.
TOOMEY: When we first got
the phone call,

all we were told was
we have a high
priority mission.
A high value target
was what it was
released to us, was…
Yeah, it was gonna…
It was a leadership target.
The F-117’s
an extraordinary machine,
and it is only
ordered forward
uh, on the order
of the President
or the Secretary of Defense.
The first night
of the conflict,
the 117 pilots
were fully trained.
All they had to
do was be briefed,
have the weapons put on.
HOEHN: The whole mission
up to this point

was kept at
the top secret levels.

I think they
really didn’t expect
both of us to come back,
which is why
they sent two jets.
TOOMEY: It’s now 3:30.
We have to hit
the target at 5:30
or all bets are off.

The President of
the United States
saw a target of opportunity,
and they wanted to
take advantage of it
and they did.
MAN: It’s, uh,
quite chilly and cold.
I’m looking southward,

expecting any attacks to
come in from the south.

The choice and the timing
is entirely now in
the hands of the allies.

JOHNSON: The Bush Doctrine
is certainly not
something unprecedented,

unknown in American life.
The statement that we
are going to dominate
the world
through military power,
that we reserve to ourselves
the right of preemptive war,

it is an extreme statement
of what has been there
in the works for a long time.

World War II is,
without question,

the formation of
the American military empire.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower,
supreme commander in chief,

Allied Expeditionary Force.
I have complete confidence
that the soldiers, sailors,
and airmen of
the United Nations
will demonstrate

that an aroused democracy
is the most
formidable fighting machine

that can be devised.
Eisenhower was there
and saw it happening.

He had seen the buildup of
the American military
to fight World War II.
In this war, more than
any other in history,

we are on the side of decency
and democracy and liberty.
very deeply in the necessity
for World War II

and felt that Nazism
was a terrible tyranny.
And he brought
this conviction
and drive to
defeating Nazi Germany.
MAN: People waited
for this moment,

the culminating victory,
the end of the war.

VIDAL: We were
on top of the world.

We were the only un-wrecked
major power on Earth.

Europe was bleeding to death.
Japan was gone.
Those paper cities
had all been burned up.
So what are we doing?
MAN: At 2:45 in the morning,
August 6th, 1945,

Colonel Tibbets
takes the
Enola Gay…
It is an atomic bomb.
It is a harnessing of
the basic power
of the universe.

JOHNSON: The United States
bombed the Japanese city
of Hiroshima

on August 6th, 1945.
And three days later,
they detonated
another atomic bomb

on the city of Nagasaki.
been done is
the greatest achievement

of organized science
in history.

VIDAL: I can remember
in the Pacific

when the word spread that
the bombs had been dropped.

99.9% of us were delighted,
because we’d
been convinced that

if Japan was not hit
by nuclear weapons,

one million of us
would be killed.

Drop those bombs and
they will surrender.

Well, they were trying to
surrender all that summer,

but Truman wouldn’t listen,
because Truman
wanted to drop the bombs.
MAN: Why?
To show off.
To frighten Stalin.
To change the balance of power
in the world.

To declare war on Communism.
Perhaps we were starting
a preemptive world war.
Eisenhower hated
the dropping of them

and thought it
should not have been done.

We just thought war was
terrible enough as it was.

I cannot, uh, trace
evolution in
my dad’s thinking.
He was complex.
He was a five-star general,

but he was never
a military fanatic, never.

One night in July of ’45,
that day,
the Secretary of War
had told my father

about the development of
the atomic weapon,
atomic bomb.

We were sitting
up in his bedroom,

and he said that
his own first impression,
his own emotion,
had been to, uh, to be
feeling down low.
We… He wished
we hadn’t invented it.
MAN: In the background
was the growing conflict
between two great powers

to shape the post-war world.
Already an iron curtain
had dropped

around Poland,
Hungary, Yugoslavia.

VIDAL: You see,
we had to fight Communism
wherever it was in the world.

So a decision was made
that the United States
remain militarized,

MAN: We lack the weapons
to defend ourselves.

“Build, prepare,” is the cry.
Quickly, the government
springs into action

and initiates a gigantic
rearmament program,

a program
designed to make America
the arsenal of democracy.

VIDAL: From that moment on,
the American empire was in
every corner of the Earth.

MAN: In Burma and Iceland…
VIDAL: We were going to
maintain dominance,

not just of Europe
and not just of Japan,
but of the entire globe.

♪ Oh, gee, I wish ♪
♪ That I could be
with you tonight ♪

♪ Gee, I wish, oh ♪
♪ And gee, I know ♪
♪ That everything
would be all right ♪

♪ Be all right ♪
♪ The crickets are singing
a love song ♪

What are we fighting for?
Fighting for
continued freedom.
T-t-that’s the only way
we’re gonna have it,
I think.
Why do we fight?
I think that the…
I honestly don’t
have an answer for you.
It’s just…
It’s the people
who start the war
who know what
they’re fighting about.
I think we fight for ideals
and what we believe in, so…
I hope that’s what it is.
we don’t have a broad-based
American, uh, feeling about
why we’re fighting in Iraq.
People’s confidence
in the United States

is not what it was
50 years ago.

It’s not what it was
during World War II.

MAN: Yesterday,
U.S.A., precious celluloids,

such as the Why We Fight
orientation films,
familiarizing our soldiers…

You know, it’s interesting.

Why We Fight was
actually the title

of a series of
World War II films

that were done by one
of the great directors.

MAN: Master of the art of
motion picture entertainment,
Frank Capra.

The Frank Capra films, even
back then, were propaganda

to kind of build up
a war fever.
MAN: Americans fighting.
that it was during
a global world war,

there were a lot of reasons
that Americans embrace.
MAN: We’re fighting
for liberty,

the most expensive
luxury known to man.

if you went downtown
to my local town,

and you asked five people
why we’re fighting in Iraq,
you’d get five
different answers.
Why do we fight?
I’m not quite sure,
but I think it’s, uh,
for power and control,
for greed.
I’m not sure, uh,
if we’re fighting
for the oil or not.
We could be. We could not be.
The government has
more knowledge than I know.

I think everybody
has a different idea
why we’re there,
and a lot of people think
we shouldn’t be.
What we’re seeing is
a disconnection of
our American foreign policy
from the citizen,
from the average
American citizen.
WOMAN: Why do we fight?
Oh, I wish we didn’t.
I wish we didn’t.
Sometimes you have to, though.
This is one of my
favorite pictures
of all time,
smiling with his two teeth.
Me and Jason.
What can I do for
my son’s memory?
I’m not a millionaire.
I can’t build
schools and libraries.
I’m just a regular cop
living on a pension.
I want to be able
to do something
so that hopefully one day
I can go over
to my son’s grave
and… I can go
over to my son’s grave
and tell him that I’ve done
something in his memory
that hopefully will be a step
in preventing
another attack like that.
The bomb is designed
to, uh, be delivered
inside a target, so…
My expertise is in
explosive technology,
um, and so are a lot
of my colleagues
here at Indian Head.
When the Pentagon called,

my position then
was the head of

what we call the payload team.
A bomb…
It’s–It’s the nomenclature
for–for “bomb.”
I find it sometimes amusing
when people ask me,
“What do you work in?”
And I would say, “Explosives.”
And they would…
But our mission was
to quickly weaponize

what was called a Penetrator.
It basically was a big bomb
engineered to
enhance its blast effect

inside confined structures
such as tunnels,
caves, etcetera.

MAN: We’re going to
attack somebody.

We’re gonna bomb some place.
There’s no question
about that.

The question is,
where are we
gonna do it and why?

Do you think that
after an adversary
gets nuclear weapons

is a better time to
engage that adversary
than now without?

Iraq continues to
flaunt its hostility

toward America
and to support terror.

This is a regime that
has something to hide
from the civilized world.

The invasion of Iraq
in 2003 is,
to a very
considerable extent,
about repositioning
the United States
as the country
that must be obeyed.
DYER: It’s an easy way to
send a signal to the planet

that the United States
is in charge,

and it’s going to do
what it wants.

And anybody who
defies the United States
will be punished.
TREADWAY: The decision
to attack Iraqi leadership
at the opening salvo,

it was a bold move,
it was a new
way of making war,
and technology was able to
provide our leadership
that opportunity.
HOEHN: Uh, we had received
this new weapon

called the Enhanced
Guided Bomb Unit-27.

And it was like
the new candy at
the candy store.
We needed something
that was gonna
give us the capability

to strike through the weather
and not worry about having
to bring the bombs home.

MAN: The whole of the city is
still lit very brightly,

but nobody is moving
on the streets whatsoever.

It’s like everybody here
is holding their breath.

We really didn’t know
who was there
and who was
gonna take the, uh, the blow
of what we were about to do.
Both Colonel Treadway
and I probably
had our suspicions
about who it was.
We had gotten
some indications
that it may be the sons.
It may be Saddam himself.
People sometimes think
with precision weapons
that maybe you can
now assassinate people
from very high altitudes.
I mean, golly.
First of all,
if it’s a fixed target,
like a building,
you have the time
to understand it,
its location.
ROCHE: The next hardest target
is one that moves around,

and the single
hardest target of all
is a human being.
Sometimes before
you can bring about
democratic change,
you have to remove
the obstacle to
democratic change.
You have to remove
Saddam Hussein,
because there’s no hope for
democracy with Saddam there.
The point,
in many ways, for these guys
wasn’t just to topple Saddam.
It was to
transform the Middle East.

They want to take
the U.S. military

and go in and shore up
American interest

in the key area of the world,
and that’s their vision.
They want to spread democracy
around the world

on the point of our bayonets.
I think most Americans don’t
want to police the world,
but I think
most Americans understand
that if we don’t at least
help police the world,
then no one’s going to.
Where the debate
and controversy begins
is how far does
the United States go?
And when does it go
from a force for good
to a force of imperialism?
KRISTOL: People complain a lot
about American arrogance
and American power,

but the great threat
for the future
is not American power
and American strength.
It would be American weakness
and American withdrawal.
DYER: They do believe that
this is not only for

the long-term benefit
of the United States,

but it’s for
the long-term benefit
of everybody else as well.

We’ll bring them
American values,

prosperity, peace,
all the rest of it.

But the way we’re gonna do
that is to take over,
even more than we did at
the height of the Cold War.

MAN: Three, two, one. Fire!
DYER: After
the second world war,

the United States literally
divided the world
up into commands,

and some American officer
was responsible

for every region
of the world.

There was this domino theory
that if any

of these places
fall to Communism,

then the next place
and the next place

and the next place
will fall as well.

And the next thing you know,
they’re in Missouri.
MAN: Once upon a time,
your hometown was safe,
but not now.

It is possible for a rocket
to strike your home

right now, today.
Right now.
And what defense remains?
ready if we need it.

When my dad first
became president,

he came in
at the real beginning
of the third nuclear age.
I think we have to put
the 1950s into perspective.
We look back today
and we think the 1950s
was a period of Elvis Presley
and poodle skirts,

but, in fact, it was a very
dangerous period of time.

Defense budgets
throughout the western world
doubled or tripled in
the four years between
’48 and ’52.
MAN: The Soviets
are out-producing
America’s aircraft factories.

DYER: There is a threat,
but we can’t measure
how much is enough

defense spending to
stop the Soviet Union.

So by the time
Eisenhower is president,

there is a huge,
new flow of cash

into defense industries.
the first to acknowledge

that a permanent
military establishment

would be required
during this period.

But then,
unless we could find
some kind of breakthrough,

that, in fact,
it would end up
creating a terrible cost.
The cost of one modern
heavy bomber is this:

a modern brick school
in more than 30 cities.

“It is two
electric power plants,
“each serving a town
of 60,000 population.
“It is two fine,
fully equipped hospitals.”
We pay for
a single fighter plane
with a half million
bushels of wheat.
“We pay for a single destroyer
with new homes
“that could have housed
more than 8,000 people.”
This is not
a way of life at all,
in any true sense.
Under the cloud
of threatening war,
it is humanity hanging
from a cross of iron.
as president, he had strong
guiding principles.

He used to say modern weapons
take food from the hungry

and shelter
from the homeless.

And so he was fighting with
the Pentagon all the time

for asking for too much,
and Congress for
giving it to them.

I don’t think we
should pay one cent
for defense more
than we have to.
Eisenhower saw us starting

to build
program after program

that was just out of control.
And his own ability to shape
national security policy
was being hemmed in
by these forces
he couldn’t control,
and he was the President.
On at least one occasion,

Eisenhower was heard to say
by those in the room,

“God help this country
when somebody
sits at this desk
“who doesn’t know as much
about the military as I do.”
My fellow Americans,

this evening, I come to you
with a message of
leave-taking and farewell

and to share a few
final thoughts with you,
my countrymen.

We have been
compelled to create

a permanent armaments industry
of vast proportions.

Three and a half million
men and women

are directly engaged
in the defense establishment.

The total influence,
economic, political,
even spiritual,

is felt in every city,
every state house,

every office of
the federal government.

We recognize
the imperative need
for this development,

yet we must not fail
to comprehend its
grave implications.

In the counsels
of government,
we must guard against

the acquisition of
unwarranted influence,
whether sought or unsought

by the
military-industrial complex.

The potential for
the disastrous rise
of misplaced power exists

and will persist.
CIRINCIONE: You have to
realize this is one of

the great presidents,
great military leaders,

on his way out the door
at the end of
his second term.
He says,
“By the way, watch out
“for the
military-industrial complex.”
People know that he
invented the phrase
“military-industrial complex.”
But very rarely do
you see the whole thing

and realize how utterly
strident his warning was.

I think it’s one of the most
profound statements ever made

by an American president.
Just like George Washington
gave his warnings about
foreign entanglements
and things like that,
my dad was giving
his warning against
letting this
military-industrial complex
get out of hand.
We must never let the weight
of this combination

endanger our liberties
or democratic processes.

♪ I want the good life
from now on ♪

♪ Come on, baby,
from now on ♪

♪ I want the bad days
to be gone ♪

♪ Come on, baby,
from now on ♪

♪ Tired of working ♪
♪ He’s tired of working ♪
♪ For my pay ♪
♪ Tired of working
for his pay ♪

♪ I want the good life ♪
♪ I’m going to change
just you wait and see ♪

♪ I’m going to have a lot
of girls chasing after me ♪

♪ I’m going to spend every
penny that I ever saved ♪

♪ When I move downtown
to my new place ♪

The President has asked
Congress for $401.7 billion
for fiscal year 2005.
BYRD: Our country
spends more on defense
than all of the other
18 members of NATO,
plus China, Russia…
From my standpoint,
I think numbers
almost are distracting.
MAN: This is
a medium machine gun,
7.62 millimeter,
over 450 rounds a minute.
So I’m here to see
the hit-to-kill technology.
I don’t know if
you’re familiar with it.
But it’s–it’s
a missile that goes up
and shoots tactical
ballistic missiles
out of the sky.
These are
my two daughters.
McCAIN: President
Eisenhower’s concern

about the
military-industrial complex,

his words have,
unfortunately, come true.
He was worried
that priorities are set

by what
benefits corporations,

as opposed to what
benefits the country.
Name any playing card
that will come
into your mind.
One, two, three, name a card.
Now, we’ve never met before.
No collusion,
which is really odd
because collusion
is our business.
Yes, collusion
with the military.
people sometimes think
of the defense budget

as you gotta arm the troops,
defend the nation,
but for most people
that are involved in it,

you realize this is business,
competition for contracts
between very
large corporations.

Industry has to have
a bottom line that’s black,
otherwise their shareholders
don’t like that.
So they have to find ways
to interest the government
in continuing to
buy the product.

TREADWAY: Lockheed Martin
and McDonnell Douglas
and Boeing.

Throughout America
there are factories,

there are corporations,
that are involved
on a daily basis

to produce the weaponry,
the ammunition,

to carry out
the American way of war.
I just want to take
your driver’s license.
Hi. Sorry. Cold hands,
cold hands, warm heart.
The overall Raytheon mission,
in general,
is to be the premier
supplier of solutions
and meet all our
customers’ needs.
ELLINGTON: Our job is
to provide tactical missiles
for all practical purposes,

Paveway laser-guided bombs,
Tomahawk missiles,
Stinger missiles,

Phalanx, which is
actually a great big gun.
TREADWAY: The American way
of war has been described as

overwhelming firepower
supported by
overwhelming logistics.
For every shooter out there,
every man with a gun,

there are hundreds behind,
providing the ammunition,

the boots, the gas
for the tanks, the oil.

I don’t guess
I’m real proud of the fact
that I make bombs, you know,
for what they’re used for.
WOMAN: I think about,
when I see something
explode over there,

“Did my hands actually help
make that, you know?”

I’d rather really be
helping Santa make toys,
is what I’d really
rather be doing.
and connect our people

with the actual guy in
the field, in the plane.
Some of them are
their sons or their daughters.

MAN: Your son is a reservist?
Yes, he is a reservist
with the 652nd Engineers.
Sometimes I’m okay,
and other times,
I could cry a river.
You wrap the flag
around every weapon system.
Every weapon system is
supposed to be for the troops.
Give the soldier
the tools they need,
but, really,
what it ends up becoming
is product competition.

SAEGER: If you had the same
car year after year,

if industry didn’t
change the car at all,
would you buy
a different car?
No, but when they
come up with something
that’s got extra
bells and whistles on it,
that suits
what you need it to do,
then you’ll buy more.
SPINNEY: If you look
at the weapons
that we’re buying,

new aircraft carriers,
new submarines,
F-22 fighters,

you know, for an attack
that the FBI estimates
probably cost, uh,
Al Qaeda or Osama
500K to pull off,
uh, we are now
spending more than we did
at the peak of Vietnam.
A lot of what’s going on
is simply because
people don’t understand

the larger architecture
of how the Pentagon operates.

MAN: Mr. Chairman and
distinguished members
of the committee,

I am the U.S.
Air Force program manager
for the Boeing Company.
Let’s use the example
of buying a weapon,
like a new fighter
plane for the Air Force.
SPINNEY: The action usually
starts in the Pentagon,

maybe at
the contractors’ initiatives,

but, essentially,
everybody’s working together.

The KC-767A can
carry up to 190 troops.
what you do is you come in
and you low-ball
the initial estimate.
The actual…
Then your cost is
about half that estimate.
SPINNEY: You over-promise
what it’s gonna do,

and you underestimate
the kind of burdens
it’s gonna impose.
We separately met
with the companies, and both
proposals very good…
Once the Air Force
buys off on it,
then you start flooding money
to as many
congressional districts
as possible,
as quickly as possible.
The B-2 bomber
has a piece of it
made in every single state
to make sure that
if you ever tried
to phase that project out,
you will get howls,
howls from among the most
liberal members of Congress.
I believe in this military.
I am urging the Senate
to support this bill,
$66 billion for our men
and women in uniform.
Well, I just wanna
thank the Chairman
for working with me
in adding $100 million
to upgrade ten
additional B-1 bombers.
And that B-1 has
been a great asset
for the projection
of powerful…
The F-35 Joint
Strike Fighter,
the FA-22 Raptor and…
Because the
military-industrial complex
is not two links, it’s three.
It’s the military and
the industry and Congress.

For a Congressman,
defense spending means jobs.

Humvees are manufactured
in my district in Mishawaka,
Indiana by…
CIRINCIONE: Losing 100 defense
jobs in his district

could mean 500 votes.
CIRINCIONE: It’s not just
100 workers.

It’s their spouses.
It’s their children.

It’s the representative’s duty
to bring home the bacon.
I am also grateful
for the work
that the House
Armed Services Committee
has done to fully fund
the FA-22 program this year.
God bless our contractors.
It is our conclusion
that the Lockheed Martin team
is the winner of the Joint
Strike Fighter Program.
LEWIS: We have a snapshot
in time, after September 11th,

where at least 71 companies
that we were able to identify

are starting to get
contracts to go in in
Afghanistan and Iraq.

All of the top 10 companies
had former U.S. officials
who had worked
in the Pentagon
or other parts of
the U.S. government,
on their boards of directors
or as their top executives.
LEWIS: It’s known as
the revolving door,

and people cash in
all the time.

Public officials go
to work for companies
and they make triple,
ten times, sometimes,
as much money
as they used to
make in public service.
McCAIN: There is too close
a relationship,
and there is outright, uh…
I–I hate to use
the word “corruption,”
but it borders on it,
the behavior of some
of these individuals,
both in–in industry
and in the Pentagon.
The number one
recipient of contracts
was Vice President Cheney’s
former company, Halliburton,
and its subsidiary
Kellogg Brown & Root.
we’re the Army’s contractor
on the battlefield.
Currently 65,000 KBR people
around the world,
assisting the troops.
And ten of what?
CIRINCIONE: You know, the
military-industrial complex

isn’t just
the people in the Pentagon

and the people
producing the weapons.
It’s now increasingly got
a very large service sector.
Ham and eggs.
CIRINCIONE: Things that
troops used to do,

like peel potatoes
and do laundry,

you now have
contractors doing.

PERLE: Somebody has to
do this work.

And the Halliburton thing
is just an outrageous effort
to associate
the Vice President
with the activities
of a company
with which he has
no connection,
no connection at all.
WOMAN: Congressional
critics are questioning

whether Dick Cheney helped
Halliburton get a billion…

MAN: The FBI has revealed
it is expanding
its investigation

into how Halliburton company
billed taxpayers for
its contract work in Iraq.
MAN: And it now appears
some of those contracts
were awarded

with the knowledge
and approval of
the Vice President’s office,

which would seem to contradict
his previous statements.

As Vice President,
I have absolutely
no influence of,
involvement of,
knowledge of, in any way,
shape or form, of contracts.
We did a report that took two
and a half years, $600,000,
33 people, including ten
investigative reporters
on six continents,

looking at private
military companies

and outsourcing war
all over the world.

And we noticed that in 1992
there was
a contract of $9 million

given out to a company,
Kellogg Brown & Root,
to study the idea,
“Should the Pentagon start
using the private sector

“to do some of
the support type functions,

“like food service,
latrine duty,
“but even maybe some
military things as well?”
And the Secretary of Defense
at the time was
one Dick Cheney,

so Cheney gives
the contract out.

Kellogg Brown & Root
comes back
and says,
“This is a terrific idea.”
The next 10 years,
they get 700 or 800
contracts to do just that.

I ran Halliburton.
I’m proud of it.

a quintessential…

LEWIS: This company
brought in a Rolodex guy,

a former U.S. Congressman,
Defense Secretary,
Chief of Staff to a President

to make sure that
he could get doors opened,
not only in Washington
but in capitals
all over the world.
And, yes, he becomes
personally wealthy from that.

No question about it.
His net worth went from
a million dollars or less

to 60 or 70 million dollars
in the span of five years.

MAN: Are you ready
to take the oath?

I am.
Please raise your right hand
and repeat after me.

LEWIS: So we elected
a government contractor
as vice president.

Mr. Vice President.

This could be Indonesia.
It sounds like Russia,
No, it’s the United
States of America,
and everything I just
said is entirely legal,
and it is our system
of legal corruption.
If I am sure of anything,
I am sure of this.
Vice President Cheney
had nothing to do
with the award of
any contract to Halliburton.
He wouldn’t pick up
the phone.
He wouldn’t whisper
in someone’s ear.
I know him.
He just wouldn’t do it.
It looks bad. It looks bad.
And, apparently, Halliburton,
more than once,
has over-charged the,
the federal government.
That’s wrong.
WOMAN: How would you
tackle a problem like that?
I would have
a public investigation
of what they’ve done.
What’s that?
Vice President’s
on the phone? Okay.
WOMAN: You probably
have to take the call,
don’t you?
get into a situation

where anybody’s got
unwarranted influence,

it has the potential
to be deeply distorting.
It corrupts our system.
JOHNSON: You don’t have to
show that he directly came in

and hit
the cash register button,
the door flew open,

and he took some money out
and put it in his pocket.

It’s to say
anybody allocating things
at the Department of Defense
knows who
the Vice President is,
knows what his connections
are in Halliburton.
We have a process
that has a seamlessness,
where the corporate interests
that stand to benefit
are so intertwined
and interwoven
with the
political forces that
the financial elites
and the political elites
have become the same people.
You do have to follow
the money.
If you follow
the money here,
it’s not so much that
Halliburton wanted a war
so they told Dick Cheney
to go get one for them.
It wasn’t that, but you do get
a willingness to go to war.
MAN: Ayes are 296.
The nays are 133.
The Joint Resolution is passed
without objection.

a willingness to look at
the cost-benefit scenario.

American people who have
a son or a daughter

that’s going to be deployed
and maybe shot at,
maybe killed
or maimed in Iraq,
they look
at the cost-benefit,
and they go, hmm,
“I don’t think that’s good.”
But when politicians

who understand contracts,
future contracts,

when they look at war,
they have a different
cost-benefit analysis.

JOHNSON: The defense budget
is three-quarters
of a trillion dollars.

Profits went up
last year well over 25%.

I guarantee you, when war
becomes that profitable,
you’re going to
see more of it.
know how you would want
to assess the reasons

the United States
went to war in Iraq.

But, ultimately,
you have to ask yourself
at the end of the day,
“Does any of this contribute
“to whether or not
we are making valid
and appropriate decisions
“about our conduct
of foreign policy?”
TOOMEY: Why do we fight?
I don’t know why we fight.
Being a military officer,
I–I really don’t
sit back and look

at who’s with me
and who’s against me.

My job is to make
sure that my squadron,
my unit,
is ready to go to war.
There’s always gonna be people
that disagree
with what we do,

and we can’t stop that.
That’s part of democracy.
HOEHN: From a soldier’s
perspective and stuff,

it gets old, listening to
the debates on policy.

But it’s not ours to decide.
We do what we’re told.
MAN: The first light of
dawn is breaking above me.

No explosions yet.
Just the distant sound
of low rumbles
all across the city.

You can hear
dogs are barking.

They know that something
is about to happen.

MAN: This will be a campaign
unlike any other in history,

a campaign
characterized by shock,

by surprise,
by the employment
of precise munitions
on a scale never before seen.
You also have to
understand that
in trying to take out
Saddam during the OIF,
we wanted
the Iraqi people to have
their infrastructure there
and not be mad
at the coalition forces.
TREADWAY: That’s one of
the great, great results

of the
military-industrial complex,

the defense industry.
With the advances
in the weaponry now,

we can destroy the target of
our commander’s choosing

and minimize
collateral damage,
which is such
an all-encompassing term,
the risk to innocent life.
TOOMEY: Nobody’s out there
to just destroy things.

Just because I wear a uniform
makes me no different
than anybody else, uh,
that’s, uh, sitting here
in this room with me.
Uh, I have the same family.
I get up. I shave,
just like everybody else.
Uh, the only difference
is there’s times
when I have to leave my family
and go to another country
and go to war.
the greatest fighting forces
on the face of the Earth.

Our nation is blessed
to have so many
brave men and women

who voluntarily
risk their lives
to protect our country.

♪ Woke up this morning ♪
♪ I suddenly realized
we’re all in this together ♪

SOLOMON: Hello, my name’s
William Solomon. I’m 23.

I’ve decided to enlist in
the United States
Regular Army,

and I’m gonna be shipping out
January 26th.

A lot of
the stuff that I’ve been
going through recently
with my mother’s death,
um, my financial hardships,
and my inability
to complete my education,
those three main problems
are all gonna, um…
Are plain and simple,
just gonna be solved
by my enlistment
in the military.
first came in, he was actually
talking to the Air Force,

but he asked me a question
about the Army aviation.

A-and once he asked
me the question,
I told him about it.

When they showed
me the brochures,
some of the helicopters, I…
And then like the RAH-66,
that’s a stealth helicopter.
I was like,
“Wait, they got this?”
At that point in time,
you know,
I explained to him our Warrant
Officer Flight program.
VALENTINE: You can take
somebody right off the street,

as long as the person has
a high school diploma,
can come in,
get a–a good job
guaranteed to them.
I think once Will
found out about that,
he was pretty much locked in.
SOLOMON: He was completely
unlike what I expected
of a recruiter

when I first spoke with him.
…outside of that stadium
we used to train in.
‘Course that’s an Apache
attack helicopter there.
SOLOMON: ‘Cause he told me
that Army recruiters, quote,

“Got the bad reputation
of car salesmen.”

The toughest part
about recruiting is,
is gaining a person’s trust.
Whatever we say
we back up with
black-and-white regulations,
so, um, there’s no smokes
and mirrors around here.
Y-you fixed up
my life real good, man.
You’re gonna make…
Because of you,
I’m gonna retire real nice,
’cause I’m thinking of it
as a career thing.
SOLOMON: Every little bit
of strife I’ve gone through
in my life,

every little inconvenience,
I’ve always,

or since I signed the papers,

I just looked at this
as something

that’ll make basic training
that much easier.

♪ Gonna build a fire ♪
♪ Lead the choir ♪
♪ In my song ♪
♪ Once ♪
MAN: We are an army of one.
One team,
one mission, one goal.
♪ It was around
my schoolboy days ♪

♪ New lines were drawn ♪
♪ And rules were made ♪
♪ I wear the scars ♪
SPINNEY: You know,
the whole idea of you can be

all you can be if
you join the Army.

Look at how we
appeal to them.
You’re gonna learn a skill.
You’re gonna get a trade.
You’ll be able
to go to college.
Give you all these benefits
if you go and serve
your country.
SPINNEY: We appeal to
people’s self interest

and then put them
into a situation

which is based
on self-sacrifice.

SOLOMON: I didn’t really have
much of a blood family.

My mom was the only blood,
me and my mom…
Hold on.
Hello? Yeah, Jimmy.
SOLOMON: I mean,
I got real good friends,

and they’ve been just as good
as a blood family,

but they’re not
that supportive
of me going in. They say…
They, you know,
try and give me
boogieman stories
about what’s
gonna happen in basic.
Um, as rough as basic
can be, it–it can’t be
as bad as they say.
I’m not worried.
Right now,
you have more of a separation
between the military
and particularly
the middle class
and the upper middle class
in this country
than existed even
under the draft era.
SPINNEY: If you go back
to Vietnam,

the inequity of the draft
helped prolong the war.

As long as the poor
and unrepresented were dying,

people went along with it.
You know,
we got out of Vietnam
effectively when
the lottery started
and middle class kids
were getting killed.

First thing that happened
was they went to this
all-volunteer army,

and that solved
the draft inequity problem,

because everybody
is a volunteer.

This is supposedly
a stealth helicopter,
which hopefully
will go into service
by the time I become a pilot.
And that makes the military
much easier to use,
uh, because, you know,
“You guys are
fucking volunteers.
“Screw you.
You signed up for this.”
You know, the, uh,
objections don’t carry
as much water.
MAN: In a period of
increased tension,

the advantage
gained by flying men
into position quickly

might represent
the difference
between success or failure

in a military operation.
SEKZER: I arrived
in Vietnam in July of 1965.

I was part of
the buildup to 50,000 troops.

I remember saying
to one of my buddies,

“You know, this keeps up,
“they’re gonna have
100,000 troops over here.”
And he laughed.
He said, “What, are you nuts?
“They’d have to declare war
for 100,000 troops.”
My fellow Americans,

renewed hostile actions
against United States ships

on the high seas
in the Gulf of Tonkin

have today
required me to order

the military forces
of the United States

to take action in reply.
I was assigned to
a helicopter company,
13th Aviation Battalion.
I was a, uh, door-gunner
on one of the helicopters.

It was quite
an experience for, you know,
a 21-year-old kid.
You’re involved in
taking people’s lives.
From the perspective
of a helicopter,

you’re up
X-number hundreds of feet

and you’re shooting
at little dots
that are running around.

You’re not shooting
at somebody face to face.

MAN: Okay, there’s
a blue shirt on a trail

down here.
He’s coming in right!

Okay, there’s our tank.
SEKZER: It’s almost like
they’re not real human beings.

They’re objects.
They’re objects.
ANH DUONG: As a refugee
of war, I think
I understand firsthand

the suffering, the pain
that war could cause.
I came here when I was 15.
We left Saigon on
the 28th of April, 1975,

right before
the downfall of Saigon.

I was very lucky
to made it here intact.

I always was very much aware
of why I’m here.

It’s because of
a strong thirst for freedom

that brought me here,
and the sacrifice
of other people
that brought me here.
MAN: A full-scale
evacuation had been ordered.

ANH DUONG: But I do remember
the desperation.

A lot of South Vietnamese
indeed felt

that the Americans have
left them fend for themselves,

that, in the end,
America deliberately
withdrew all the support.

But I separate that
from the American people.

SEKZER: I grew up
knowing that,
should the situation arise,

you were expected
to answer the call

when your country
made the call.

There was no such thing as,
“Well, I wonder if
my country’s right.
“Is anybody lying
to me about this?”
You–You don’t,
you don’t grow up
thinking that.
You grow up saying,
“If the bugle calls, you go.”
SEKZER: Well, as, you know,
as time went on,

and we found out, well,
this whole Gulf of Tonkin
thing was BS
and nobody
was really attacked.
So you say to yourself,
“You know what?
“That’s really crap, man.
Why–Why–Why did,
why did somebody lie to us?
“There was no need to lie.”
We have been lied to
in every military escapade,
um, frankly,
over the last 50 or 60 years,
uh, without exception.
LEWIS: There’s no
better example, probably,
than Vietnam,

where you had the President
of the United States
and the top generals
in the Pentagon,
out-and-out lying
about the Gulf of Tonkin
incident and
got us into the war,

about the casualties,
about how the war was going.

Anyone who has ever looked
closely at the Vietnam War

can see that the public
and the media
were manipulated,
uh, substantially.
LEWIS: We don’t like to
think of ourselves
as a militant nation,

but we are, in fact,
an incredibly militant
and militaristic nation.

It’s not a view of ourselves
that we wanna carry around,
but the fact is, we are.
If the President
and the
military-industrial complex,
the defense establishment,

if they all have decided
that suddenly
there’s a problem somewhere

and we need to drop some bombs
or even put land forces
somewhere in some country,

this is a ritual
that we have been seeing
for decades.
We’ve toppled governments.
We’ve done coup detats.
We’ve used
intelligence services
for covert purposes

and done horrible things
around the world.

And we have put up
with the most heinous

human rights
abusing countries.

We have propped them up.
We’ve even trained them
how to commit
human rights abuses.

Today’s demon
was yesterday’s friend,

all in the name of
either the Cold War,
or for commercial reasons.

It’s basically, uh,
economic colonialism.
LEWIS: No one uses
the colonialism word,

but instead of
just taking over

the countries,
we have a better way.

We just go in
and have free markets.
Whether we’re trying to
sell our products
to their citizens

or we’re trying to
mine their resources,

we need to be in that country
for some reason.

And, therefore,
we’re gonna talk

about free markets,
free trade.

But what’s
really going on is,

we want our companies
to get rich in your country.

MAN: There she is.
That’s what all
the fuss is about, oil.

It’s kind of pretty, isn’t it?
Oil coming up
out of the ground

to make life a bit
more easy for all of us.

JOHNSON: The United States
is the world’s

largest consumer
of fossil fuels.

Oil is what drives
the military machine
of every country.

That is, it provides
the fuel for the aircraft,

for the ships, for the tanks,
for the trucks.

Control of oil
is indispensable.
When you run out of it,
your army stops.
JOHNSON: There is a direct
connection between events

that happened more
than 50 years ago

and the war in Iraq today.
In 1953,
the Prime Minister of Iran,
Mohammed Mossadegh,

became extremely irritated.
The British were ripping off
his country’s
national resources.

He wanted
a greater share in it.

The British came to
the new president, Eisenhower,
and asked for help on this.
Eisenhower very conveniently
declared Mossadegh
to be a Communist,

and we then set the CIA to,
uh, overthrow him.
MAN: Three days
of bloody rioting, culminating
in a military coup…

JOHNSON: The result was
we brought the Shah to power,

and he created
an extremely repressive regime

that within 20 years had led
to a revolution against him.

The Ayatollah Khomeini
creates a government

that is
violently anti-American.

MAN: Khomeini said, quote,
“I pray to God
to cut the hands

of all those
foreign advisors…”

In the After Action Report
by the CIA
on what they had
done in Iran in 1953,
they said, “We’re going to get
some blowback from this.”

We then made a puppet out of
Saddam Hussein in Iraq,

who was a friend of ours.
He was an asset
in the CIA’s computers.

We did so because
he was anti-Iranian.

He was very fearful
that the revolution in Iran
would spread into his country.
He, therefore,
went to war with Iran.

The war was extremely bloody,
went on throughout the 1980s.

for Saddam Hussein,
he began to lose the war.

At that point,
in comes the United States

in the form of
Donald Rumsfeld,

sent to Saddam Hussein
by President Reagan
to tell him,

“We will supply you
with intelligence.

“We will supply you
with the weapons

you may need
through covert means.”

It is why cynics
in Washington say,
“We know Saddam Hussein
had weapons of
mass destruction.
“We have the receipts.”
JOHNSON: This is
what we mean by blowback.

He remained a friend of ours
right up to his invasion,

in the summer of 1990,
of Kuwait.

We became alarmed
when he invaded Kuwait,

that he could also go on and
invade Saudi Arabia itself,

the largest reserves
of oil on Earth.

We’ve stationed troops
in Saudi Arabia.

It was a mistake in
every sense of the term.
JOHNSON: Remember,
Osama bin Laden had said,

“I resent the government
of Saudi Arabia
“for using Americans
to defend Saudi Arabia
against Iraq.”
At that point,
we began to fear

that we were going
to lose our position
in Saudi Arabia.

Well, the second largest
source of proven reserves
on Earth are in Iraq.
This leads us now
to demonize our previous ally

and to prepare
the American public
for the thought
that we must take him out.
KWIATKOWSKI: I’m a retired
Air Force Lieutenant Colonel,

retired from
the military after 20 years.

I initially started
in the Air Force.

Then they trained me
as a communication
electronics officer,

and I did that
for about 15 years.

And once I joined
the Pentagon,

I became a political
military affairs officer

for sub-Saharan Africa
and Middle East.
Things were strange
from the very beginning
of my assignment.

Within a week or so,
it became clear to me
that war was gonna happen.

This toppling
was going to happen.
It was just a matter
of bringing
the American people
up to speed
and getting them
behind this effort.
A number of people from
outside of the Pentagon,

political appointees,
were flowing into our office,
and they were working
Iraq issues.
These political appointees
that we had

came from a very
small set of think tanks.
DYER: As Eisenhower said,
the military-industrial
complex is really
three components.

There is
the military professionals…
there is defense industry
and there is Congress.
There is now
a fourth component,
and that is the think tanks.
one of the little known
secrets of Washington

is that policy isn’t really
generated very much
within the policy apparatus.
A great number of the ideas
come from
outside the government,

from various think tanks,
like the Project for
the New American Century.
KRISTOL: Saddam Hussein,
here’s the man.

Here he is, in his box.
I wouldn’t exaggerate
the influence

of the Project for
the New American Century.

It’s a very small think tank,
but, in some respects,
we argued for,
I suppose you might say,
elements of the Bush Doctrine
before the Bush Doctrine
or before George W. Bush
became president.
JOHNSON: The group included
principals like Rumsfeld,

but it also included
a large number of people

more or less unknown
to the American public.

And these people
all know each other.
CIRINCIONE: They had all
worked together before
the Bush administration.

I used to write speeches
for Don Rumsfeld
in the Pentagon.
And we came up
with this phrase that,
“Weakness is provocative.
“Strength deters.”
KRISTOL: Our report on
rebuilding America’s defenses

said, even before
September 11th,

the defense budget
was too low.

It looked ahead
to the kinds of wars
that we’ve now
ended up fighting
in Afghanistan and in Iraq.
DYER: What think tanks do
is come up with

new rationalizations
and new threats.

That’s what
they’re paid to do.

Iraq, under Saddam Hussein,
was a terrorist state.
I think Iran
is a terrorist state.
North Korea is, uh,
a very special problem.
PERLE: They can build
nuclear weapons

and they are perfectly
capable of exporting them,

and we cannot allow that.
These are states that
not only host
but in a way fund
international terrorism,
international terrorism.
They have to be eliminated.
This was almost
completely adopted
by the administration
in part because
the people who wrote this
had all been brought
into the administration.
We must prevent
the terrorists and regimes
who seek chemical,

biological, or nuclear weapons
from threatening
the United States.

It is not at all accidental
that when the President
names our enemies
in the 2002 State of the Union
message in the axis of evil,

that it includes Iraq,
Iran, and North Korea.

So, in a real way,
we have this new phenomenon
where think tanks
are now an integral part
of what we used to think of
as the military-industrial
may well have been predicting
these people

when he talked about,
if we didn’t keep

an eye on the
military-industrial complex,

we would see what he called
a disastrous rise
of misplaced power.

People making policy
who have zero accountability
to the voter.
So throughout the summer
something was operating in
the Pentagon that was unique.
In August of 2002,
it was announced to us

that all of those folks
that had come in

and made up this
expanded Iraq desk

would be called
the Office of Special Plans.
JOHNSON: The Office of
Special Plans was created

in the Rumsfeld
Department of Defense

in order to produce
the intelligence

that the President
and the Vice President wanted
making an enemy out of Iraq.
of Special Plans
had one primary job

and that was to produce
a set of talking points

on the topic of Iraq,
WMD, and terrorism.

And we were to use them in
any document that we prepared

exactly as they were written,
in their entirety.

We were, all of us,
myself included,
very familiar with
what the intelligence
was saying about Iraq.
KWIATKOWSKI: But the problem
was when you’d look at

what was in
these talking points,

you could tell
it was designed
to convince the reader

that Iraq and Saddam Hussein,

constituted a major, serious,
terrible, evil threat
to not just his neighbors
but to the United States.
His regime has the design
for a nuclear weapon,
was working
on several different methods
of enriching uranium,
and recently was discovered
seeking significant
quantities of uranium
from Africa.
And that would be
the statement.
“He’s actively seeking it.
“And this is… This means
that he’s a danger.”
But the intelligence
actually said
that Saddam Hussein in
the ’80s, in the late ’80s,
actively sought
fissionable materials
in Africa,
but he hasn’t done
anything like that
in the past 12 years.
The statement, we act like
he did it yesterday.

Taking bits of intelligence
out of context,
without the qualifiers,

without the rest of the story,
and placing it as a bullet,
and presenting it
as if it’s a factoid.
There is no doubt
that Saddam Hussein now has
weapons of mass destruction.

And this was given to us,
action officers,
to use in, in papers
that we would prepare for
our higher-ups,
to include guys
like Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld.
The United States knows
that Iraq has weapons
of mass destruction.

The U.K. knows
that they have weapons
of mass destruction.

Any country
on the face of the Earth

with an active
intelligence program

knows that Iraq has
weapons of mass destruction.

These guys were manipulating
public opinion,
okay, creating, uh,
falsehoods and fantasies
to inspire fear
in the American people
so that they
could have their war.
The President
of the United States.
If war is forced upon us,
we will fight with
the full force and might

of the United States military,
and we will prevail.
Evidence from
intelligence sources,
secret communications,

and statements
by people now in custody,

reveal that
Saddam Hussein aids
and protects terrorists,

including members
of Al Qaeda.

SEKZER: I remembered
when I was in Vietnam,
we used to get requests,

“Can you put my father
or my son’s name
“on the side of
the helicopter?
Can you put it on a rocket?”
I said, “You know what?
“That’s–That’s a good idea.
I’m gonna do that.
“I’m gonna try to do that.”
SEKZER: So I sent out
emails to the Secretary
of all the Armed Forces.

“I’m a retired New York City
Police Department Sergeant,

“and a proud Vietnam veteran.
“I lost my son on 9/11.
“I can’t tell you in words
what his loss means to me.

“I would respectfully request
“if you could put his name
on some piece of armament

“in the Iraq war.”
You know,
we haven’t caught bin Laden,
but, you know,
let’s do something here.
Who is responsible?
Come on. Let’s hit him.
Iraq was responsible.
Good, let’s go.
You say Iraq?
Let’s go. Let’s get in there.
Let’s kick the hell
out of them.
It turns out
it’s not that hard
to get a country to go to war.
CIRINCIONE: That even in
a country like
the United States

where there is
freedom of information

and multiple media channels,
that an administration
can just dominate the debate,

dominate the argument.
LEWIS: We have this idea
that we have lots of
information available.

There’s so much
that’s not available,
and so much of the “truth”
is obscured
by political actors

who don’t want the world to
see what they’re doing.

Needless to say,
the President is correct.
But what’s going on,
I’m sorry to say,
is a belief that the public
doesn’t need to know.
WOMAN: …policy is?
I’m–I’m working my way
over to figuring out
how I won’t answer that.
RATHER: Limiting access,
limiting information

to cover the backsides
of those who are
in charge of the war
is extremely dangerous
and cannot and shouldn’t
be accepted.
And I’m sorry to say
that up to
and including the moment
of this interview
that overwhelmingly
it has been accepted.
for many years now,
since Vietnam,

has worked extremely hard
at shaping news
and how the media
reports that news.

We train people
to say certain things
in a certain way.

Our defeat and humiliation
in South Vietnam…

JOHNSON: What they learned
from Vietnam above all
was that they lost the war

because they
couldn’t keep it private
from the American public.

LEWIS: After the Vietnam War,
the Pentagon began studying

how can we make sure
there are no more

body bags in
American living rooms?

And we must find a way
to no longer allow
reporters in the field

to actually see death.
JOHNSON: You get to
the Iraq war

when they’re discovering
this new typical
Pentagon jargon
called “embedding.”
Heavy gunfire coming from
the tops of the building.

We’ve gotten to know
these Marines very well.

We–We do live with them.
We eat with them.
We travel with them.

But I–I have, I think,
remained objective.

LEWIS: Embedded coverage
had flags and banners,

but no one was actually
finding out the truth
about the reasons,

the rationales, for going in.
I have great respect
for the media.

I mean, our, our society
is a good, uh, solid democracy

because of a good,
solid media.

But I also understand
that a lot of times

there’s opinions
mixed in with news.

We won’t disagree
with that, sir.

LEWIS: Let’s just
really be honest.

and news organizations
need access to power.
LEWIS: They need
the President.

They need
the Defense Secretary.

They need these people
to speak,

to be on camera,
to do interviews.

What you have
is a miniature version
of what you have
in totalitarian states.
They produce films about
how great the great leader is
and how he’s getting greater
in every way, every day.
be a day of reckoning
for the Iraqi regime,

and that day is drawing near.
MAN: Ladies and gentlemen,
the United States
Army Chorale.

♪ Another day is dawning ♪
♪ In America ♪
♪ From coast to coast,
our spirit shines
right through ♪

Saddam Hussein and his sons
must leave Iraq
within 48 hours.

Their refusal to do so will
result in military conflict

commenced at a time
of our choosing.

♪ So don’t stop ♪
♪ Believing in
what we stand for ♪

♪ What we stand for ♪
♪ Don’t stop ♪
♪ Believing in America ♪
♪ Believe ♪
♪ Believe ♪
♪ Here’s to America ♪
♪ We truly are
the land of the free ♪

♪ Of the free ♪
♪ The free, the free,
the free ♪

♪ Here’s to America,
our spirit will be free ♪

♪ It will be free ♪
♪ It’s in the hearts
of people everywhere ♪

♪ The true American dream ♪
♪ Here’s to America ♪
♪ Here’s to America ♪
♪ Here’s to America ♪
♪ Land of the free ♪
SOLOMON: I’ve only got
nine days left,

and I, I’d rather
spend as much time
with my friends as possible.

Get all my stuff in storage,
’cause there’s still
a few items
I gotta put in storage.

Except for this TV,
a couple of weights there,
and this right here,
this hammer and
this Snoopy soap thing
I’ve had since
before I can remember.
That’s just stuff
I wanna put in storage
’cause of its
sentimental value.
I never really
had that many feelings

for the place
except for the fact that

my mom lived in it
for a while,
but my mom
ain’t here anymore.
So all the, all the feelings
I had associated
with that place
went away along with my mom.
There was a point
where I almost
blamed myself
for my mom’s passing.
I’m handing over the keys.
SOLOMON: Because she so
didn’t want me to go
into the service.

I had spoken
with her about it.

And said,
“If anything goes wrong,
“I’m gonna have to
go into the service.”
I told her. I told her that.
If anythings go wrong…
If anything goes wrong,
if you pass away,
I’m gonna have to go
into the service,
because, as it is,
I can’t take care
of myself, normally,
in the civilian world.
But what I’m gonna
miss the most, like, just
a normal day sitting down
with your friends,
’cause that’s not
what I’m gonna get
for months
on end at a stretch.
That I’m gonna miss,
and this view right here.
This view looking
outside the window,
I been seeing this since,
like, 1990.
I used… You know,
I used to hate this view.
I think somehow I still do,
but it’s strange to think
I might actually miss it.
Probably not.
It’s just buildings.
It’s my friends
that I’m gonna miss.
KWIATKOWSKI: I have two sons,
and I will allow
none of my children

to serve in
the United States military.

If you join the military now,
you are not defending
the United States of America.
You are, uh, helping, uh,
certain policymakers
pursue an imperial agenda.
JOHNSON: In February of 2003,
10 million people
around the world

marched to demonstrate
against the war in Iraq,

the largest demonstrations
in British history.

Two million in London,
400,000 in New York City,
a million each in
Berlin, Madrid, Rome.

BYRD: On this February day,
as this nation stands
at the brink of battle,

every American on some level
must be contemplating
the horrors of war.

And yet this chamber is,
for the most part,

ominously, ominously,
dreadfully silent.
You can hear a pin drop.

There is no debate.
There is no attempt
to lay out for the nation

the pros and cons
of this particular war.

a Congress that failed
in every way

to ask the right questions,
to hold the President
to account.
Our Congress
failed us miserably,
and that’s because
many in Congress
are beholden to the
military-industrial complex.
CIRINCIONE: I would think
Eisenhower, you know,

must be rolling over
in his grave.

In some ways, the
military-industrial complex

may have become so pervasive
that it is now invisible.

This is about, you know,
ideas and influence

and what’s safe
for your career.

Being seen in opposition
to strong defense policies
is a liability,
not just for a politician
who wants to run for president

but for an expert who wants to
make a name in town,

for a journalist who wants to
get his or her story

on the front page
of the paper.

In this way, restricting
the level of discussion

to this, this rush for war.
Mr. Vice President,
do you think the American
people are prepared

for a long, costly,
and bloody battle?

I don’t…
I don’t think it’s likely
to unfold that way, Tim,

because I really do believe
we will be greeted
as liberators.

TOOMEY: I was just starting
to–to see the creepings
of the sun coming up.

As we approached the city,
a low deck of clouds
showed up.

Uh, in the past
that had been a bad thing,
’cause in the F-117
we drop laser-guided bombs.
So if you can’t see
your target,
you can’t drop a bomb on it.

Uh, this day I had
the Enhanced GBU,
and now I was kind of happy.

They couldn’t see me.
I couldn’t see them.
But my bombs could find
a spot on the ground.
MAN: But still,
people heading towards work.

One or two cars
are actually racing past me.

They know things
are going to happen now.

TOOMEY: The target area
was called Dora Farms.

It was
a presidential-type palace
along the side of a river.
I see the river.
I know I’m in a right part
of the town
where I was told that
I need to deliver the bomb.

WOMAN: Let’s just
have a look at the, uh,
scenes live from Baghdad.

MAN: Air raid sirens.
WOMAN: Air raid sirens
are being sounded
in the Iraqi capital.

TOOMEY: Pressed in
across the target,

I think, our time
over target was about 0530.

HOEHN: And so I let
the bombs go, let them rip.

MAN: You can hear those
air raid sirens howling…

MAN: So now things do
seem to be heating up.

We dropped four enhanced GBU
2,000 pound bunker busters,
MAN 3: There’s a
large explosion.

They both came off,
seemed to come off.
I didn’t notice anything
adverse about it.
I’d dropped bombs before.
When the weapons
fell out of the airplane,
I realized that this is
the opening strike
of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
And I said, “Well,
if we did our job tonight,
“this whole thing
might be over tomorrow.”
There’s no question
but that the strike

on, on that, um,
leadership headquarters

was successful.
We have photographs
of what took place.

MAN: The mystery
of what happened begins here

at a palace compound
called Dora Farm.

One weapon clearly missed.
Others landed just
outside the wall,
destroying other buildings.

SEKZER: I think I was
reading something
about the bombing in Iraq,

and, uh, I get this email.
SEKZER: To Major
Thomas V. Johnson
from Lieutenant Commander
Stephen Franzoni.
The private to the corporal
to the captain to this, all…
Must have been,
like, 42 emails,
and some of them were saying,
“Oh, I don’t know
if we can do this.”
SEKZER: “Sirs,
normally we do not take
personal requests.”
“Son died on 9/11,
wants to know
if we could put name
on bomb.”
Passing it up,
“Harry, this is Jerry.
“Do you think
we can do something
like that?”
“Joe, Fairly easy,
don’t you think?”

SEKZER: “Well,
we’ll look into it.
Let me go ask Harry.”

And you read this
whole list of emails.
SEKZER: “Sorry for the delay,
but business is booming.

“The weapons don’t stay still
long enough to write
on them.”

And finally, it goes to
uh, this Marine,
uh, Air Division.
“Can do. Semper fi.”
Boom, boom, boom.
I get back the pictures.
SEKZER: I’m looking
at the picture, I’m saying,
“Holy smokes.”

There’s a picture of a bomb
and then a close-up of
the same bomb
and on the side of it…

“In loving memory
of Jason Sekzer.”

And the story that this is
a 2,000-pound guided bomb

and that it was dropped
on April 1st,

and it met with, uh,
100% success.
The weapons
that are being used today
have a degree of precision

that no one ever dreamt of
in a prior conflict.

JOHNSON: For a long time
the American military

has been emphasizing
this idea

of precision-guided munitions,
that we can now wage war
and prevent casualties
to civilians.
JOHNSON: It simply isn’t true.
The bombs
aren’t that reliable.

The precision guidance
isn’t that good.

I would say, is there
a personal computer owner
on Earth
who has not had
his machine bomb on him
or lose his work that day?
There’s not a one
who hasn’t had
that experience.
Now the
military-industrial complex
has handily provided
these guys
with all sorts of weapons
and, basically,
a level of technical arrogance

that, “We can go
do anything we want
’cause we got smart weapons

“that do the job
with a minimum
of collateral damage.”

But it’s BS as far
as I’m concerned.
TOOMEY: It still seems
like a dream to me.

I mean,
we tell the story about it,

and we’d sit down
and talk with your kids,

and, uh, you get some
tough questions.

You get asked
by your daughter, “Did you

go out and, uh, and try
to kill Saddam Hussein?”

And that’s a tough one to
answer to a little kid.
When we saw him on TV, sure,
one side of me said,

“You know,
I guess we didn’t get him.”
But in the end we got him.
How many times in a lifetime
does an individual
get the opportunity
to take the opening shots
in a conflict that will
liberate a people?
Two minutes
till death and destruction!
♪ Shadows are falling ♪
♪ And I’ve been here all day ♪
♪ It’s too hot to sleep ♪
♪ The time is running away ♪
♪ Feel like my soul
has turned into steel ♪

MAN 1: He’s faking
he’s fucking dead!
MAN 2: Yeah, he is playing…
♪ I’ve still got the scars ♪
You got a weapon?
♪ That the sun didn’t heal ♪
Jesus Christ! Fuck!
♪ There’s not even
room enough ♪

Get up! Stay on there.
♪ To be anywhere ♪
So let there be no doubt
that the liberation of Iraq…

♪ It’s not dark yet ♪
♪ But it’s getting there ♪
MAN: …how we defend our
country in the 21st century.

MAN: Four more U.S. troops
lost their lives
today in Iraq.

The only son I had.
RATHER: With U.S. casualties
mounting in Iraq…

♪ It’s not dark yet ♪
WOMAN: Smart bombs
exploded and too much blood

was shed there today
on a horrific scale.

♪ But it’s getting there ♪
MAN: Under fire
from critics who charge

he’s been blurring the lines
between Iraq and 9/11,

President Bush was forced
to clarify yesterday.

W-W-We’ve had no evidence
that Saddam Hussein
was involved with
September the 11th.

Now, what the Vice President
said was, is that he has…

SEKZER: What did he just say?
I mean, I almost
jumped out of the chair.

“I don’t know
where people got the idea
“that I connected
Iraq to 9/11.”
What is he, nuts or what?
What the hell
did we go in there for?
SEKZER: We’re getting back
for 9/11.

Well, if he didn’t have
anything to do with 9/11,

why are we going in there?
I–I was mad.
I was mad.
My first thought is,
you know,
“You’re–You’re a liar.”
SEKZER: I’m–I’m from
the old school.

Certain people walk on water.
The President
of the United States
is one of them.

If I can’t trust the President
of the United States,

I don’t know.
It’s a terrible thing
when American citizens
can’t trust their president.

You begin to wonder
what the hell is
with the whole system.

There’s something wrong
with the entire system.

The government exploited
my feelings of patriotism,

of a deep desire for,
uh, revenge
for what happened to my son.
But I was so insane
with wanting to get even,

I was willing
to believe anything.

Undoubtedly, there are people
who may listen
to my statements
and think that I’m no good,
that I’m an SOB,
I’m a warmonger, I’m this,
I’m that, whatever.
I should never have put
my son’s name on it.
I should be ashamed that I put
my son’s name on it.

Am I sorry I asked
for my son’s name
to be put on the bomb?
Because I acted
under the conditions
at that time.
Was it wrong?
Yeah, it was wrong,
but I didn’t know that.
So is it regrettable?
The reason we’re in Iraq,

first off, has,
has not honestly been told
to the American people.

It certainly
had nothing to do

with the liberation
of the Iraqi people.

It was never
part of the agenda,
and it’s not part
of the agenda now.
JOHNSON: We know we did not
have an exit strategy
in the invasion of Iraq,

because we didn’t
intend to leave.

We are in the process,
right now,

of building 14
permanent bases in Iraq.

LEWIS: There is this
incredible hubris, right now,
that we are invincible

and we are
the pre-eminent power
on planet Earth.

American power
and American empire
is actually flaunted
in people’s faces
around the world,
where we rub
our–our shoe in their face

and tell them
that we are top dog.

MAN 1: Get down now!
MAN 2: Head down!
LEWIS: And you will
work with us,

because you sure as hell
don’t wanna be against us.

The world has changed,
and we’re not going back
to where we were.
I–I find one of the
sillier ideas is the notion,
and you hear it
all the time, uh,

American policy
has been hijacked
by a handful of people,

and as soon
as they’re out of there,

we’re gonna go back
to the way it was.

They’re wrong about that,
because we are not
the same people
we were before.
walking on thin ice.

We are treading
the same path

taken by the first
democratic regime

ever created
in the Western world,

namely the Roman republic.
The Roman republic
inadvertently acquired
an empire around the world,

and they then discovered
that to maintain, expand,
protect this empire,
they required
standing armies.
Standing armies
is what George Washington

warned us against
in his farewell address,

that they will destroy
the structure of government

that we tried to create
in our Constitution

to prevent the rise
of an imperial presidency.

JOHNSON: The single
most important article
in our Constitution

is the one that gives
the right to go to war

exclusively to
the elected representatives

of the people,
to the Congress.

Our Congress,
in October of 2002,

voted in both houses
to give this power
to a single man,
including the use
of nuclear weapons,
if he so chose.

And, of course, less than,
uh, six months later,

he did choose
to exercise it in Iraq.
For too long
our culture has said,
“If it feels good, do it.”

Now America is embracing
a new ethic and a new creed.

Let’s roll.
LEWIS: I think the history
of the United States,
as a work in progress,

and our attempt
at democracy here,

is a, a constant struggle
between capitalism
and democracy.
And there have been
ebbs and flows
where democracy
looks like it’s winning.
You rein in
those powerful forces,

but the fundamental reality
is that most of the
government’s decisions today
are substantially dictated by
powerful corporate interests.

capitalism is winning.
JOHNSON: In my lifetime,
I have seen the collapse
of the Nazi,

of the imperial Japanese,
of the British, French, Dutch,

and Russian empires.
They go down pretty easily.
What I want Americans
to understand today,
the price of liberty
is eternal vigilance.
And we have not been vigilant
since Dwight Eisenhower
issued his warning to us
back in 1961

about the dangers
of unauthorized power

in the form of the
military-industrial complex.

take nothing for granted.

Only an alert and
knowledgeable citizenry
can compel

the proper meshing
of the huge industrial

and military machinery
of defense

with our peaceful
methods and goals

so that security and liberty
may prosper together.

You gotta realize,
20 years in the military,

you’re trained always
to respect authority,
to be a team player.

When the war started in Iraq,
I hit a turning point
in–in where my values
as an officer, diverged.
KWIATKOWSKI: Hey, buddy!
basically remove myself.

So, um, why we fight?
I think we fight
’cause, uh, too many people
are not standing up saying,
“I’m not doing this anymore.”
♪ I fought in a war ♪
♪ And I left
my friends behind me ♪

♪ To go looking
for the enemy ♪

♪ And it wasn’t very long ♪
♪ Before I would stand ♪
♪ With another boy
in front of me ♪

♪ And a corpse
that just fell into me ♪

♪ With the bullets
flying round ♪

♪ And I reminded myself ♪
♪ Of the words you said ♪
♪ When we were getting on ♪
♪ And I bet you’re making
shells back home ♪

♪ For a steady boy to wear ♪
♪ I fought in a war ♪
♪ And I left
my friends behind me ♪

♪ To go looking
for the enemy ♪

♪ Of the decade gone before ♪
♪ I reminded myself
of the words you said ♪

♪ When we were getting on ♪
♪ And I bet you’re making
shells back home ♪

♪ For a steady man to wear ♪
♪ Round his neck ♪
♪ Well, it won’t hurt
to think of you ♪

♪ As if you’re waiting for ♪
♪ This letter to arrive ♪
♪ Because I’ll be
here quite a while ♪

♪ I fought in a war ♪
♪ I didn’t know
where it would end ♪

♪ It stretched
before me infinitely ♪

♪ I couldn’t really think ♪
♪ Take me home now ♪
♪ Keep your head down, pal ♪
♪ There’s trouble plenty ♪
♪ In this hour, this day ♪
♪ I can’t see hope,
I can’t see light ♪

♪ I reminded myself
of the looks you gave ♪

♪ When we were getting on ♪
♪ I bet you’re making
shells back home ♪

♪ For a steady man to wear ♪
♪ Round his neck ♪
♪ Well, it won’t hurt
to think of you ♪

♪ As if you’re waiting for ♪
♪ This letter to arrive ♪
♪ Because I’ll be here
quite a while ♪

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