10 Must-See American War Documentaries
When thinking about international conflict, it is worth keeping a close eye on the nature of the conflict, especially in the United States, because its status as a global superpower has helped it cross borders. The idea that the enemy is on the other side is not always a reality. Furthermore, the enemy can be found in the existing power structures of a nation’s military. Documentaries focusing on war ask how and why we fight them.
For veterans, it’s not just about what happened during the war, but what happened after the fact and at the hands of their superiors. It is worth considering why war is fought and how soldiers can be both heroes and scapegoats.
“Hearts and Minds” (1974)
hearts and minds Reflects on the Vietnam War and the exchange of views between politicians, Vietnamese, and soldiers who fought in the war. Not only do the different narratives humanize many aspects of it all, but more specifically, the disagreement between soldiers and politicians about the morality of the war is striking, as some soldiers and politicians still defended their actions, while others deeply regretted it. .
The story, shown alongside the Vietnamese speaking about their experiences, shows the grim reality of what happened, and listening to the soldiers’ accounts shows that the massacres were somewhat hidden from view. The reports show how people can fall into the kind of hurtful rhetoric that can cause such vile devastation.
“The Tillman Story” (2010)
Tilma’s story as the name suggests, it is a story Patrick Tillman, a former soccer star who quit his career to join the military. While Tillman is an admirable man, the story follows his death, initially stating that he died on the line as a hero, and slowly unravels to reveal Tillman’s death at the hands of his fellow soldiers and the cover-up that followed.
His family’s struggle to uncover the truth while coming to terms with the loss of their son demonstrates the US military’s lack of empathy as a structure for people trying to do something they believe will help their country. The merciless vision of livelihoods is on full display, and as each new perspective speaks, it becomes clear how these power structures oppress those beneath them.
“The Invisible War” (2012)
The Invisible War is a documentary about the sad reality of sexual harassment in the military. While the main stories follow women, the documentary also includes men who are abused, explaining that it is often about power rather than sexuality. The story shows how attitudes towards masculinity and power in the military affect people on a personal level, as sexual harassment practices are based on maintaining that power. The women telling their stories reveal how high-ranking the men who assaulted them still are in the military, and what’s more, their irresponsibility.
The Invisible War goes above and beyond to show how upper-class women have learned to silence lower-class women who have been assaulted, or how women in general have been left out of these discussions because of the idea that they would be more empathetic to the plight of sexual assault. The documentary is incredibly powerful and goes through the history of military sexual assault scandals with a fine-toothed comb to show where failures still exist within the institution.
TransMilitary follows the lives of trans people in the military as they fight for their ability to serve openly, leading the Trump administration to push to ban trans people from the military. The documentary is both surprising and engaging, following their personal lives with their families and how being trans in the military affects them.
First-hand accounts help illuminate how many soldiers were able to integrate into the military and live freely because they arrived in a place where no one knew about their past. By coming out to friends, they helped make trans people more accepted in the military. The documentary ends with the Trump administration banning transgender people from joining the military, showing how the progress that has been made has largely failed.
“Why We Fight” (2005)
why do we fight It tries to answer why war is so widespread in the United States. The documentary theorizes that these wars are to maintain the “military-industrial complex,” where profits from weapons benefit those in power.
The story clearly highlights the veils that people place on war and how the uncontested nature of war is what sustains these power structures in the first place.
“Standard Operating Procedure” (2008)
Standard operating procedure While interviewing soldiers who tortured prisoners at Abu Ghraib, he focuses on how morale deteriorates during war. The documentary discusses with the soldiers why they did what they did or why they were photographed. Many point out that this is almost expected and that coming to prison is now the norm.
The documentary refrains from condoning them or whitewashing their crimes, but shows how these soldiers accept the fall of their leader and how people can convince themselves that these things are necessary. They were not the ones who designed or created the prison rules, but they eventually agreed with them. The documentary is strong in that it challenges one’s own level of responsibility in situations like prison.
“In the Year of the Pig” (1968)
A popular documentary released in 1968 in the midst of America’s war in Vietnam, in the year of the pig, It documents the history of America’s involvement in the conflict. The film slowly unravels the roots of the war, following French control of the Indochina conflicts, the US-backed government in Vietnam, and the eventual entry of the US military into the country.
There is no narration in the film, but there are key interviews interspersed between footage of politicians to present a cohesive narrative of how the conflict erupted. It shows the inhumane nature of what the United States is doing as an aggressor and colonizer trying to invade lands that are not theirs and how they justify it.
“The Control Room” (2004)
Control room Follows the conflict between the US and Al Jazeera media. The US government and media groups oppose the publication, claiming that it is pro-Arab and that the bias makes them inherently evil. The Bush administration even went so far as to call it bin Laden’s mouthpiece when reality showed up to the channel showing the impact of the war in Iraq on the Middle East and especially bringing humanity to Iraqis that the American media had worked so hard to bring. prevent.
The film shows how Iraq as a nation got involved with bin Laden and how this removal of humanity from its own citizens was part of what allowed people to be blinded by the war in the first place. The film and news channel challenges this dehumanization and forces viewers to think about the actions of the US government and media.
“War Made Easy” (2007)
War Made Easy based on the 2005 book by Norman Soloman, the media that explains the dynamics of politicians and simplifies war to make it attractive or useful to Americans. The play draws parallels between the conflicts that began in Iraq during the Cold War.
The film explores the tendency to shut down critical thinking that leads Americans to not think too much about ongoing conflicts and instead portray them as a moral imperative to go to war. This explanation removes the guilt of thinking about the real effects of these wars on other countries, denigrating the countries’ cultures, and in the process pretending that people only suffer from the “bad guys”.
“Iraq for Sale” (2006)
Iraq is for sale is an excellent documentary that explains the operations of war profiteers, usually the defense department, and how private companies are rewarded during conflict. It highlights how influence affects people at large, whether on the side of the United States or its opposition.
While he emphasizes the inhumane nature of war, he further touches on the benefits for private companies and how the government can compel them to do so. It provides valuable information about why these conflicts exist and who benefits from them.
CONTINUE READING: The World at War: The 10 Best Movies of the 1940s According to IMDb