War Made Easy exposes the government’s and the media’s history of deceiving the American people and leading the nation into war after war. Using archival footage of past presidents and media correspondents — including the revered Walter Cronkite — the film sheds light on propaganda and draws parallels between the Vietnam and Iraq wars. This documentary is akin to taking a step backwards and looking at the big picture. Norman Solomon strings together a compelling and intriguing thesis in this documentary. He presents a history of presidential rhetoric as tired slogans and treachery. The trajectory of Solomon’s dialogue is very logical and persuasive. The stock footage creates the links between every American conflict since Vietnam, and how the same reasons and appeals to patriotism have rallied support for wars that the public doesn’t understand. War Made Easy is one of the most pointed assessments of the American War Machine that has ever been made. It spares no presidents in the analysis and tries not to make a pro-war/anti-war discussion but to analyze the correlations between media treatment of war throughout the years and the manner in which the war is presented to the general public. This film is a long, hard, sobering look at U.S. agenda and its history of deception, misdirection and the flat-out lies driving America’s war machine that has spanned nine presidents and multiple wars. This film is essentially a sobering history lesson intended to bring to light the disturbing way in which the USA goes about engaging in wars. All in all, a great documentary that distills the last 50 years of repeated American marches to war. A very smart and fair assessment of how the media and the federal government are complicit in the propaganda they feed the public when it comes to warfare. As journalist I.F. Stone says, “All governments lie” at times. I’ve always known the U.S. government lies, but I never realized to what extent the media plays a role in shaping public opinion in favor of war. This documentary will open your eyes and give you irrefutable evidence that not only is the government not to be trusted, but that there isn’t a single voice within the media that can be trusted as well. This documentary makes the point quite clearly that the politicians are not just wrong, but are knowingly wrong, lying in the right moments to generate momentum for war. The film goes on to show us, with dozens of clips pulled from CNN and all-time spin favorite Fox News, just how gung-ho American journalists get when its go-time for America. Reporters become enamored with war technology. The film reveals U.S. war-spin through the decades. The media weakens democracy by not questioning and challenging the spin. Despite popular opinion against war, leaders push armed conflict, and the media follow like sheep. The critiques made in this documentary, especially regarding the role of the US news media during times of war, are no doubt a bitter pill for the American public. This documentary brought to me the revelation that Orwell’s 1984 was prophetic and is upon us. The lead character in Orwell’s classic, Winston Smith, worked for the media to spin the factual news into palatable propaganda on the behalf of the government — just as in our time the president, media, and pundits of our own country do. This documentary has real merit in identifying consistent patterns of propaganda employed by the military-industrial complex to glorify going to war and ostracize those who speak against it. Those who seek peaceful solutions are considered “crazy.” This documentary shockingly illustrates how those reporters who do oppose the war are libeled and fired from the networks, and the few politicians who have the courage to stand against the tides of war are made to look unpatriotic and foolish. We are reminded in the film that the very act of dismissing dissent or disagreement with government policies as anti-American flies in the face of true democracy and shuts down healthy analysis which is vital to making well thought-out policy decisions. Many people have been brainwashed into believing it is anti-patriotic to question the national authority. This film clearly shows Bush and Chaney as the crooks and liars they are. But this also shines a harsh light on both Democratic and Republican presidents. No party is exempt from these horrific acts that most people actually like, or at least condone, and do nothing about, except those beautiful people of the 1960s that protested and stopped it all for at least a time. Embedded journalists report dramatic battles, but don’t show human suffering. This documentary points out a steady increase in each war’s killing of civilians. It says civilian casualties went from 10% in WWI to 50% in WWII to 70% in Vietnam to 90% in Iraq and Afghanistan. Before the bombing of cities in WW II, civilian casualties were avoided in wartimes. The trend of rising civilian casualties over time is alarming, especially considering the claims of pin-point accuracy of Smart Bombs. There is so much to talk about in regards to how war functions in society and how it has affected the world that too often documentarians get off track when making films about war. They have a central thesis but get bogged down by trying to cram too many peripheral items into the film. War Made Easy does a great job of keeping its focus and presenting the argument in a way that easily makes sense. This documentary ends with the words of Martin Luther King, calling for a change as we are “pressed by the demands of inner truth.” I was moved emotionally through most of this film, but was literally in tears at the end during Dr. King’s speech, “A Time To Break Silence.” Thank you Dr. King, and thank you Norman Solomon. War Made Easyis subtitled: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. This documentary is based on Norman Solomon’s revealing book and narrated by actor Sean Penn. This is a wonderful documentary that deserves to be seen by many, on either side of any war issue. This movie should be shown to every American in high school. It may not change a tightly closed mind, but it can at least show that freedom means thinking critically, and that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. This documentary should also be translated into all languages and seen by every single citizen of the world and repeatedly played on all TV channels every time any evil elitist bozo suggests going to war. Overall, a thought-provoking film worth watching. An excellent documentary delivered with finesse. Irrefutable – concise – eye opening. A must-see for all people of conscience. Documentary 2007 NR 73 minutes.
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