Cinema Signal:

The Smartest Guys in the Room:
The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron


Writing, Directing, and Producing Documentary Films and Videos
. "The Oil Factor: Behind the War on Terror"

Some of us might not think another documentary is needed to reveal the political manipulations that satisfied George Bush's and his White House cohorts' selfish desire to invade another country and get America immersed in a shooting war quagmire. But this one analyzes a part of it that most of us know or have long suspected: diminishing oil reserves and the geo-political cooperation needed for its delivery. How big a propulsive force was this in fueling the administration's precipitous motivations?

As it examines the links to the oil industry -- as though what's already known about the president's and vice president's immersion in it weren't enough -- it offers some new footage and interviews to help us get a more solid grasp of why there was an "Operation Iraqi Freedom."

Producers Gerard Ungerman and Audrey Brohy ("Hidden Wars of Desert Storm," "Plan Colombia: Cashing in on the Drug War Failure") bring it to us but their documentary, in terms of style and talent, is more a matter of piling combat operation footage on with explanatory talking heads than a cinematic presentation that might enhance the impact of revelation. Ken Burns, it isn't. Nor Michael Moore, the story of "Enron: The Two Smartest Guys in the Room" and others. Despite Ed Asner's narration, this is documentary filmmaking technique 101.

But the purpose and the justification for the film are other matters. The line of argument presented is unassailable, as is the filmmakers' purpose in exposing deception and opening eyes to cleverly submerged truth. One is forced to agree with the producers that this is material that must be seen.

Bush's war on terror might one day be seen as an opportunistic ring of politicians' distortion of facts in the aftermath of a tragedy in order to gain congressional approval for extreme and unprecedented actions--the underlying and cynical purpose of which was to control oil supplies and safeguard the intrastructure to deliver it to the U.S. and other markets. That it plays well toward the re-election of a "war-time president," for a supposed legacy, and for payback purposes, were added benefits to warm the hearts of the Washington rightist elite. For all of this, an uncooperative regime in the area that had nothing to do with 9/11, WMD's or any of the other falsified claims against it, had to go.

The claim of fighting terrorism by invading Iraq is, and has always been, a cynical device, as thin as an oil slick. This piece of work dissolves that shaky assertion--as though 1,700+ dead G.I.'s with multiplying suicide fanatics still arraying against them weren't enough.

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                                      ~~  Jules Brenner  





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