Films on JSOC

JSOC is the Joint Special Operations Command of the U.S. military.

Dirty Wars

Documentary 2013 NR 1hr 26m. A 2014 Oscar nominee for Best Documentary Feature, this film explores America’s controversial covert operations around the globe. It documents journalist Jeremy Scahill’s extremely courageous mission to look clearly at what the “war on terror” has actually produced and what that means for the future of the world. A key point that this guy makes is that there are unofficial/undeclared ‘wars’ led by the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and they are doing ‘illegal’ things. JSOC’s primary mission is to identify and eliminate terror cells worldwide. JSOC killed Bin Laden in his home. This film brings to light US special operations that the everyday person may not know about – that’s good. It tells the truth about how a majority of our government leaders believe that killing of innocent civilians are just a byproduct of war that can’t be avoided. Much of this film shows emotion of people who have fallen victim to U.S. special forces attacks. Digging bullets out of murdered pregnant women to cover up their atrocities! The section on the killing of two Americans by drone without a trial gave me new insight into how Awlaki had been transformed from support to opposition, and I was shocked at a picture of his 16 year old son assassinated two weeks later. Journalists protect this nation from abuses of power and Scahill’s work is a prime example of this. For Jeremy Scahill to have the desire to expose the secret operations that are going on all over the world so the public will be informed is a good thing. He is not criticizing the men and women who put their lives on the line to defend the nation, rather the people giving them the orders, and especially the complete lack of oversight of JSOC by the military and the government. The narrative tries to illustrate that the war on terror just breeds more terrorism. This film claims the War on Terror has generated an ever-increasing number of enemies without trials on a hit list to be killed by Drones, which also kill civilians as “collateral damage”.  How is this different from the many “enemies of the state” killed by Stalin, and Hitler, the South American dictators, and other dictators worldwide throughout history? Even for someone who has decent familiarity with some of the questionable things going on in U.S. foreign policy, there will certainly be many new facts here. My issue is the “look at me!” way in which it is covered. It says something about a film, and the people making it, if the subject matter is given less screen time than the creators. Jeremy Scahill’s book (same title) is an engrossing but long slog through all the terrible things the U.S. government is doing, through our extremely expensive military might, to “keep us safe.” As expected, the book was much, much more thorough with a lot more information. The film should be viewed as a complement to the book, not a substitute.

Killing bin Laden

Documentary 2011 TV-1443m. This program offers an intimate account of the Osama bin Laden operation, from crucial intelligence gathering to the burial at sea.

Zero Dark Thirty

Docudrama 2012 R 157 minutes. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, this gripping dramatization — seen through the eyes of a tenacious CIA operative — chronicles the decade-long search for Osama bin Laden in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.


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