Friday, June 22, 2007

Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers

We start off our Iraqi documentaries fest with the most impersonal of the lot, the very sober and direct Iraq for Sale, made by Robert Greenwald and financed through an online petition which racketed up 750,000$.The real drive behind this documentary was not anything related to the subject matter itself, but just something explicitly tailored to get the democrats more votes in the Mid-term Nov '06 elections). The movie is a blatant condemnation of the exploitations and mistreatment of five large-scale no-bid corporations working in Iraq with the US army including the infamous Blackwater, Haillburton, CACI, TITAN and KBR. The documentary provides witnesses through interviewing families of deceased US soldiers and Iraqi detainees tortured at Abu Gharib, both report that those private companies played a big role in the killing of the former by malpractices and inadequate supplies, and the torture of the latter. While certainly bundled with a load of insight and information, what annoyed me about this movie is the fact that it's a totally drab piece of cold facts, an orthodox news report that tries hard to maintain a neutral tone for 90 mintues when it's anything but ; Okay, you could argue that i'm the wrong person to review this movie as I'm looking for IRAQI documentaries featuring IRAQIS (who appear only to repeat the same shocking details of the Abu Gharib prison in 2004 ) and it indeed has a right to regard information as its main source of inspiration, but it does drag on without any witty moments or pacing (Fahreneheit 9/11 comes to mind) to coat its subject matter for the less-interested general audience like myself, and it's not helping at all that it is not made by a neutral party, which somehow subdues its shock moments, and there are a lot of them, I mean the way this movie reads, it's like those companies are evil beyond redemption in every possible way, from causing the deaths of private contractors in Falluja by supplying bad armor and staff to completely botching the daily food ration. It'd make entities who just want to make the USA look bad like al-Jazeera spray shorts, which is why I saw it yesterday on it. Recommended only for those really interested about the topic. To Put it simply, all the human testimonies on the that appear on this movie serve as mouthpieces exploited for the harvest of information the filmmakers need to get across: Republicans Suck, Vote Democrats. The audience didn't need that much persuasion of course, as its opinion was already decided. For Iraqis like myself, I am quite confident that both sides don't care about us, and would lie their way to hell to get their forbidden fruits, so I couldn't give a shit about either.

Click here to WATCH the documentary on Google Video.

GOOD: Insightful information on the purpose and function of private corporations in the war
CONS: Shockers all outdated, unbalanced, subjective approach raises credibility concerns, very impersonal, no iraqis.
ROTTEN TOMATOES RATINGS: 20 red tomato reviews out of 20, 100% FreshTomato rating.
KONFUSED KID RATING: One Abu Gharib detainee's choked penis out of a possible five.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

They've never cared about us.. them cash-crazy white-collar criminals..

Bruno said...

Demps and GOPS ... two sides of the same coin. WTF have the Dems done to end the occupation now that they control congress? Nada, that's what. Their talk was empty promises.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

Well, Kid, there you have it. Everyone has an agenda and they're trying to promote it.

This reminds me of the movie "An Inconvenient Truth" by Al Gore. I watched that a few weeks ago with the thought of becoming better informed on global warming. But much to my surprise(why I don't know) it focused mainly on Al Gore and his speaking on this topic. Or so it seemed. Another one of those Gore good, Bush bad mantras. *sigh* I'm hoping the book "The Weathermakers"(which I bought) is a little more scientific.

Yes, and if you're looking for Iraq from an Iraqi standpoint, that is something that has real live Iraqis in it, you may have to look further then these types of films. They are geared towards an American audience that they want to influence.

As for who cares about Iraqis or not, well, that will have to be judged on an individual basis, I think.

programmer craig said...

Bruno cares about Iraqis. Maybe he should make a documentary. I'm sure he would condemn every man, woman and child in the United states with absolute impartiality.

Kid, I don't really know who will make what you are looking for. Arabs have their own ax to grind, as well. Interesting to hear your feedback on it, though. Hearing what you thought of it was probably more interesting to me than actually watching the thing would be :)

Anastasia said...

Kid-

Like I said before, if people start thinking in cold equations when they "grow up," I hope I die before I get old.

Craig-

Not all Americans hate Iraqis, not all Iraqis hate Americans. You seem to measure people up pretty fast, maybe if you held off judgement a little longer, your veiws might be challenged. No veiw is worth having if you can't allow it to be challenged.

But I agree about Kid's reveiw, I love hearing what he has to say about things.

Lynnette-

I hear you. I, personally, won't be bothered by the global warming debate. POLITICIANS are arguing over weather or not global warming exists. What is wrong with this picture?

The way I see it, it doesn't matter if it EXISTS. I wish people would spend more time worrying about how a lot of the things people are suggesting we do about global warming are also helpful in other ways. Like alternate energy sources will cut down on our dependancy for forgin oil. And it would be cheeper, which would improve our economy. If people stopped using plastic shopping bags and used cloth ones instead, or if companys started using less packaging that just gets thrown out anyway, we'd have less waste to dispose of. If people stopped using so much hairspray, it would stop seeping into their brains, and we'd have fewer Paris Hiltons in this world ;)

...just kidding. I know CFC's were banned from aerosol cans.

programmer craig said...

Anastasia,

Not all Americans hate Iraqis, not all Iraqis hate Americans. You seem to measure people up pretty fast

As do you! What is it you think you know about me?

maybe if you held off judgement a little longer, your veiws might be challenged.

My views on what? I've been a regular on Iraqi blogs for over 2 years. I used to be more open-minded than I am now. I used to think most of the Iraqi bloggers were basically good people. Now, I separate all Iraqi bloggers into dirtbags and decent human beings. I consider the Kid to be a decent human being. I consider people like Raed Jarrar to be dirtbags.

Stick around for a while, and you'll probably find the same happens to you, although you might separate people into different categories than I do. A lot of bad shit has happened since I've been reading Iraqi blogs, and a lot of the bloggers have shown their true colors.

No veiw is worth having if you can't allow it to be challenged.

And what do you think my views are? In the last 2 years reading middle-eastern blogs, I've gotten closer to an Arab Muslim woman than I've ever been to anyone else in my life, including my ex-wife. How much more do you want my views to change? :O

Well. Anyway. Bottom line. My views have changed the most in the last few years in regards to Islam. I used to think it was just another religion, like Judaism or Christianity. And that it was just being misused. I no longer believe that. I've read substantial portions of the Quran, and I've watched very closely how Muslims are actually behaving, all over the world. I don't believe Islam can co-exist peacefully with non-Muslims. See? I've changed my view! It's good, right?

programmer craig said...

Not all Americans hate Iraqis, not all Iraqis hate Americans.

Oh, I see! You think Bruno is Iraqi? Bruno is a white South African who hates Americans so much he cheers on anyone willing to do violence to us.

And no, I don't think all South Africans hate the US, and I don't hate all South Africans. I've never actually corresponded with any South African except Bruno, and I certainly hope he isn't a representative sample.

Anonymous said...

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ella said...

Programmer Craig

It is not that islam can not co-exist with other religions, I think that some schools of Islam can not do so.
There are, for example, muslims in Bosnia or in far-away Kashmir. They were fine, they just wanted their own, independent, states, until the money and da'wa from KSA and other gulf states changed the way they view their religion. It is not surprising when the KSA and other gulf charities often give them money only on the condition that they will conform to the wahabi norms. Do you know that in Kosovar people were one of the few who were really upset by 9/11 and some of them even wanted to go to States and fight for USA against Taliban. But now it is changed because of money coming from the KSA & Co.
I also read parts of Quran and changed some of my views , but I am still incorrigible optimist.

As for the movie, I agree with Lynnette, everyone have their own agenda and these kinds of movies are geared to american audience. *sigh*

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

Anastasia,

I wish people would spend more time worrying about how a lot of the things people are suggesting we do about global warming are also helpful in other ways.

Yes, things can be so interconnected. Alternative energy sources like wind power are an excellent way to cut down on foreign oil but also will cut down on greenhouse gases. Coal on the other hand, if not processed right, will add to the global warming problem. Which is why China can influence that situation so much. They rely so heavily on coal.

My brother works for an electric utility. They are currently putting up windmills left and right. They also are involved in building an ethanol plant and a coal burning plant that will burn coal cleaner. It may not be a lot, but it's a start.

I think we are already seeing some effects here in Minnesota of global warming. Or at least, warming. Whether or not it will be permanent rather then some cyclical thing, I obviously don't know.

But anyway, I am doing what I can. Like replacing regular light bulbs with more energy efficient ones.

Ella,

Nice to see you again. I missed your commentary.

Tina Louise said...

The war being waged in Iraq must end not only to allow you to live your lives in relative peace, but to unite as humanity and stand up against those who use war and politics for financial gain and power.

We need to SHOW the strength of opposition to the war, to show that regardless of race, religion, politics or location – that we want this war to be brought to an end now. In the media, Iraqis are shown divided and violent – but we know that media is not accurate and that it is often used by those in power to manipulate public sentiment.

If you as an individual, as an Iraqi, as a member of any race, want an end to this war, please join visibly with others from all religions, politics, races and places, by wearing a home-made, white fabric armband to show your agreement with just one statement “I want an end to the war in Iraq”.

I realise that in this harsh and complex world, that simple symbolisms of unity seem small – but with this easily available and free symbol, we can show our numbers, our opposition to the situation and our desire to stand against the violence and abuse.

After I started the ARMS AGAINST WAR campaign (www.armsagainstwar.info), I came across a quote that perfectly reflects it:

[Two thousand years ago, a Roman Senator suggested that all slaves
wear white armbands to better identify them.
"No," said a wiser Senator.
"If they see how many of them there are, they may revolt."]

Please give this campaign your consideration, no money, no other agenda, just an easily agreed single statement that unites a divided world in one act of unity, one step to choosing our more peaceful future and one step to self empowerment.

Thanks for reading and I sincerely wish you well.

Namaste,
Tina Louise
www.armsagainstwar.info

Jeffrey said...

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale
A tale of a fateful trip
That started from this tropic port
Aboard this tiny ship.

The mate was a mighty sailing man,
The Skipper brave and sure.
Five passengers set sail that day
For a three hour tour...a three hour tour.

The weather started getting rough,
The tiny ship was tossed,
If not for the courage of the fearless crew
The Minnow would be lost...the Minnow would be lost.

The ship's struck ground on the shore of this
Uncharted desert isle,
With Gilligan, the Skipper too, the millionaire, and his wife,
The movie star [Tina Louise], the Professor and Mary Ann,
Here on Gilligan's Isle.

*

Bruno said...

[bruno] “Dems and GOPS ... two sides of the same coin.”
[craig] “I'm sure he would condemn every man, woman and child in the United states with absolute impartiality.”

And, dear Craig, what IS the problem you have with me pointing out that the Democratic Party in the US has done very little to remove the US from Iraq, as per the mandate of the people that voted them into Congress? I suppose that you must be very enamoured of the bipartisan political structure in the US. I on the other hand, would like to point out that it does not even reflect the wishes of the common American that voted in the elections. Calm down, stop being hysterical, and think about the implications of my condemnation of the US political system in light of this fact.

[craig] “Now, I separate all Iraqi bloggers into dirtbags and decent human beings”

Not surprising. After all, that black and white distinction process is what you’ve been indoctrinated to do. But wait for it, here’s proof:

[craig] “I don't believe Islam can co-exist peacefully with non-Muslims.”

Yes, ladies and gents, here we have Craig’s impartial blanket condemnation of every Muslim woman, child and man, delivered with deadpan obliviousness to the irony that results when contrasted with his previous comments. I’d expect nothing less from Craig.

programmer craig said...

Bruno, do you have a reading comprehension problem in that fucked up language you guys speak in your fucked up country too? Or does the problem only surface when you're struggling with English?

Anonymous said...

craig, how comes you consider raed jarrar to be a dirt bag?

Marcus said...

Lynnette

"there you have it. Everyone has an agenda and they're trying to promote it."

Do you need an agenda to be against theft? I would have thought that was such an obvious standpoint that it didn't require a certain agenda.

Initially it's the american taxpayers who are being screwed, do you pay tax? If you do then why would you want the money you pay to end up in the pockets of Halliburton stock owners and CEO:s? Do you WANT to be robbed?

Ultimately, however, it will be the Iraqis who pay. They have already begun paying out of their oil for food accounts. "Reconstruction" it's called. "Cost plus robbery" might be an equally valid term to use.

Every time you answer to ANY critizism against anything done that has anything to do with the war in Iraq you get defensive to the point of sheer stupidity! You do sound completely ignorant. You sound like a person who would have trouble locating Canada on a world map, becaause in your narrow mind there is no need to know. Are you so ignorant or do you have an agenda?

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

Marcus,

Do you need an agenda to be against theft?

Well to be against theft in itself is an agenda, now isn't it? And, yes, I would consider it a worthy one.

However, if you read the article that the Kid linked to within his post, you will see that perhaps that wasn't the filmmakers agenda.

Earlier this year, Greenwald was searching for a new subject/target. He knew he wanted to make a movie to be released in the push-and-shove of the coming midterm elections, when interest in his politically charged material might be high and when his film might help remove Republicans and insert Democrats (which, for Greenwald and his supporters, is the point).

So now I will ask you:

Are you so ignorant or do you have an agenda?

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Lynn said...

Cynicism is an easy way to approach life, I suppose, and makes it so you never get hurt. That doesn't make it an ideal way to live or a good philosophy. I think I once sent you info on a guy named Capt. Jonathon Powers, who is now going to run for Congress as a Democrat. His first enterprise in public life? Running a charity that specifically helped the youth in Iraq. He was a soldier in the war in '03/'04, and retired from the military. He could have walked away from it all, without looking back. But he didn't, because his time going to an Iraqi orphanage had an effect on him, and damnit -- he gave a shit. I guess it's easy to say everyone is corrupt, nobody cares, it's all just an agenda. That is true for many politicians, I will acknowledge. But once in a while you find the real genuine article. Who will fight for what is right. However, if you're cynical you'll miss it.

I liked "Iraq for Sale", but I liked "My Country, My Country" better. Call me crazy, I even liked the music, as we don't get to hear that much Iraqi music in the States.

Take care, Kid.

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