Uncovered: The War on Iraq
2004, NR, 83 min. Directed by Robert Greenwald.
REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., Oct. 8, 2004
The latest from Robert Greenwald, the director who also recently gave us Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism and produced another political documentary currently in circulation Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election, examines the fallacies of judgment which occurred in the months leading up to America’s second war in Iraq. He puts forth a wealth of documentation to make his case that there was never any clear and present danger to support the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Much of the evidence will be familiar to regular news hounds: the inability to find any WMD in Iraq, the illusory purchase of uranium in Niger, the rocket launchers presumed to be centrifuge tubes, and so on. Greenwald views these matters of such urgency that this film is a re-edited, longer version of his 2003 film Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War. Semantics aside, this new film makes a strong argument for the belief that this administration decided on September 12, 2001 to invade Iraq and that all the classified intelligence that has followed since then has been manipulated to justify the United States’ going to war. To make his points, Greenwald calls on a couple dozen experts, all of them former CIA, military, and administration officials, and the like. The film opens with introductions to each speaker, even though they are well-identified throughout. It gives the creeping sensation that this is going to be a talking-heads documentary, which Greenwald delivers in spades. Some of the speakers – like Stansfield Turner, Scott Ritter, John Dean, Richard Clarke, David Kay, Joseph Wilson – will be familiar, but the majority are rank-and-file intelligence analysts, whose experience is able to debunk the flimsy evidence put forth by this administration. If you’re a junkie for this kind of stuff or if you haven’t been paying close attention to the news, you’ll find plenty to home in on in Uncovered. An extensive amount of information is efficiently presented, and the closing segment’s focus on the neoconservative agenda actually poses some thoughtful ideas. Also on the bill with Uncovered is the short film "Soldiers Pay" by David O. Russell (whose I Heart Huckabees also opens this week), Tricia Regan, and Juan Carlos Zaldivar. Russell, who also made Three Kings in 1999, interviews veterans returning from the war and Iraqis and soldiers who support the war. The The 35-minute film was intended to be packaged with a pre-election re-release of Three Kings and as an extra on the DVD, but the project was ultimately scrapped by Warner Bros. The orphan film was picked up by distributors Cinema Libre, to appear in conjunction with their release of Uncovered. "Soldiers Pay" was not screened at press time.