Are there any clean ones?
All documentaries are imbued with a certain dose of subjectivity and “Dirty Wars” (based on the book of same title by Jeremy Scahill) is no exception; the difference lies in the conscience of reporter Jeremy Scahill and brilliant direction by Richard Rowley. They tackle the tactics of counterterrorism since 9/11: erasing boundaries, acceptance of collateral damage, absence of accountability on the part of the U.S. Government (especially acts perpetrated by the Joint Special Operations Command or JSOC); the film carries the viewer through the carnage of war -ravaged Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia.
Scahill and Rowley tenaciously travel where others fear to tread; as an investigative reporter Scahill interviews the family of a slaughtered police chief (and two pregnant women) in the village of Gardez, Afghanistan. Cell phone technology adds to the gory validity of the erroneous, lethal raid; subterfuge lies at the core of government sanctioned strikes.
“Dirty Wars” beautifully filmed, fearlessly criticizes the Bush and Obama administrations, their covert and clandestine use of drone warfare as a legitimate means to an end. Scahill, with incredible temerity, garnishes interviews with massively-armed Yemen soldiers; the father of Anwar al-Awlaki (assassinated radical Imam) and mistakenly, his sixteen-year-old grandson; Somali warlords, supported by Washington, in the elimination quest of al-Qaida. Scahill’s empathy elicits formidable, horrifying outbursts, wreaking with animosity from the interviewees.
“Dirty Wars” sadly poses questions that may never be answered; unsolvable, problematic conundrums; gray areas never to be defined, clarified; unrelenting, exponentially increasing war on terror; a pyrrhic war that gleans teeming hatred for America, and all its citizens. Depressing, frightening and bereft of hope, Scahill/Rowley’s portrait of counter-terrorism is uncensored; a tribute to the First Amendment; no greater document has ever been conceived; America is flawed, but will always breathe free.