Pin It
Favorite

DVD Review 

by Leah Sottile


I hope Donald Rumsfeld has a Blockbuster account. Because he should pick up a copy of The Fog of War, bring it back to the Oval Office, pop some Orville Redenbacher for himself and W., then sit back and learn a thing or two from history.


The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert McNamara is essentially a 102-minute stream-of-consciousness interview between McNamara and director Errol Morris. McNamara colloquially shifts from talking about his time as president of the Ford Motor Company to courting his wife, and then frankly attacks the topic of the Vietnam War. In fact, it's that war that has branded McNamara with a scarlet letter by so many Americans -- but he hardly apologizes for it in this face-to-face documentary.


He may not be apologizing for the war -- but it's on that exact point that Rumsfeld, Bush and other warmongers can learn something from the former Defense Secretary. McNamara clearly learned something from the conflict in Vietnam, as well as his involvement with the Cuban Missile Crisis -- and it's a lesson of humanity, empathy and re-examination the justifications for violent conflicts. Morris pinpoints those three lessons, as well as eight others, in order to show McNamara's merciful qualities in a discussion of key parts of American history.


Aside from shocking content and a compelling conversation-like tone with McNamara, what earned Morris the Best Documentary Oscar is the way this historical piece is filmed. Using an invention he calls the Interrotron, Morris has McNamara responding to questions and talking directly into a camera that's only a foot or so away. The former Defense Secretary stares compassionately into the lens as his drooping eyes tear up when he mentions the assassination of Kennedy. Morris layers McNamara's words over footage of B-29s being mass-produced in factories, and images of those very same planes exploding in the sky.


When McNamara discusses his eighth lesson -- "Be prepared to re-examine your reasoning" -- he volunteers that perhaps the U.S. should have reconsidered going into Vietnam for the sole reason that our allies were not supporting the cause. Lack of international support, he says, is reason enough for any Defense Secretary to think twice about a conflict.





Publication date: 09/23/04

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • The Price of Progress
  • The Price of Progress

    The Grand Coulee Dam has created billions in economic activity, but it also devastated local river tribes. What's standing in the way of reparations for the Spokane Tribe?
    • Apr 1, 2015
  • Breaking the Silence
  • Breaking the Silence

    The Carmel of the Holy Trinity nuns live in silence and isolation — but a proposed development could make that difficult
    • Apr 1, 2015
  • Watch List
  • Watch List

    ISIS singles out an Idaho town; plus, Spokane's campaign for paid sick leave
    • Apr 1, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed
OR7 — The Journey

OR7 — The Journey @ Bing Crosby Theater

April 3-4

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Leah Sottile

  • Imaginary Friends
  • Imaginary Friends

    The very real role that fantasy plays in our everyday lives
    • Aug 13, 2014
  • Expert Advice
  • Expert Advice

    Dab? Vape? Indica? Sativa? A few tips for beginners
    • Jul 9, 2014
  • Gone Solo, Not Soft
  • Gone Solo, Not Soft

    After three decades of Melvins records, Buzz Osborne makes an awesome album by himself
    • Jun 18, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Why Idaho kids don't go to college

    And what that means for the Gem State
    • Mar 4, 2015
  • New Blood

    Candidates are launching bids for Spokane City Council and could bring big changes to city government
    • Mar 18, 2015
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


Comment


Publisher's Note


marijuana


long reads


© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation