Why We Fight

Rated 3.0

Filmmaker Eugene Jarecki uses the title of director Frank Capra’s series of World War II propaganda morale-boosters for a propaganda film of his own—but where Capra’s films might have been called Why We Have to Fight, Jarecki’s could be Why We Fight When We Don’t Have To. Jarecki begins and ends his film with Dwight D. Eisenhower’s farewell address warning of the growing influence of the “military-industrial complex” (a term Ike himself coined); in between, Jarecki portrays American power brokers—Republican and Democrat alike—in thrall to arms manufacturers. Jarecki is like a staid, more dignified version of Michael Moore, doggedly building a case to reinforce those who agree with him rather than to persuade those who don’t. Is he preaching to the choir? Yes, but they’ll find it beautiful music.