Winner 2006

Why We Fight

Charlotte Street Films LTD, CBC TV (Canada), BBC TV (United Kingdom), ARTE GEIE TV (France/Germany), TV2 TV (Denmark), YLE TV2 TV (Finland), WDR TV (Germany), VRT TV (Belgium), SVT TV (Sweden), VPRO TV (Netherlands), NRK TV (Norway), ETV TV (Estonia), European Union Media Plus Program, TVE (Spain)

Masterful as filmmaking, challenging as connect-the-dots reportage, Why We Fight links President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s famous caution about the dangers of a burgeoning “military-industrial complex” to five decades of American interventions abroad, including the war in Iraq. In writer-director Eugene Jarecki’s analysis, America so often fights rather than negotiates largely because of deep investments in armaments businesses—businesses as dependent on growth as GM or Google. Pork-barrel projects provide good-paying jobs in virtually every state and weaken barriers between defense industries and the Defense Department. This juggernaut is difficult to brake. Jarecki’s case is all the more persuasive for its even-handedness. In fresh interviews as well as archival footage, we hear from Beltway powerbrokers, hinterland clock-punchers, bomb-designers and peacenicks, soliders disillusioned and soldiers still gung-ho. Each is treated with respect. Viewers must ultimately decide if Eisenhower was right or wrong to worry. For linking U.S. military history and social history to ask crucial questions about who Americans are and what they want to be, Why We Fight receives a Peabody.


Executive producers: Nick Fraser, Hans Robert Eisenhauer, Roy Ackerman. Producers: Eugene Jarecki, Susannah Shipman. Director/writer: Eugene Jarecki. Videographers: Etienne Sauret, May Ying Welsh, Eugene Jarecki. Reporters: Mary Jane Robinson, MayYing Welsh, Eugene Jarecki.