In March of 2002--a whole year before George W. Bush launched his war against Iraq--the President interrupted a meeting of national security officials who were discussing diplomatic alternatives with words better suited for a would-be Napoleon than a would-be Metternich: "Fuck Saddam. We're taking him out."
Thousands of corpses and $87 billion later, Saddam is still missing, the weapons of mass destruction have yet to materialize and even some of the war's most powerful supporters are wondering how things went wrong. But after two years of post 9-11 intimidation, America's progressives have finally begun to fight, and this weekend the troops will rally before a simultaneous nationwide screening of a scathing new documentary.
Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War is the work of filmmaker Robert Greenwald, a veteran of dozens of projects about controversial social and political topics (perhaps most famously, he directed the Farrah Fawcett TV movie The Burning Bed). In his new film, Greenwald interviews former spies, diplomats, politicians, journalists and U.N. inspectors to try to unravel the web of motives and decisions that led to the fighting of a war whose justification seems dicier by the day. Among the highlights: Greenwald interviews former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, whose wife's identity as a CIA operative was revealed by the White House as punishment for his lack of cooperation with the war planning.
For all the talk about the so-called liberal media, it's astonishing how Uncovered is only finding an audience through the commitment and fierce patriotism of a loose-knit web of ordinary Americans. Lacking the distribution resources of the mainstream media, Uncovered is being distributed virtually underground. Networked together by such Web sites as MoveOn.org, America's leftist patriots are organizing screenings in living rooms, libraries, night clubs and churches.
So, on Sunday, Dec. 7, Uncovered will be playing in a living room near you, in addition to being screened in such venues as Helios in Raleigh and Ringside in Durham. Check out www.MoveOn.org for details. And, on Monday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m., The Independent Weekly and the Carolina Theatre of Durham will co-sponsor a screening including a post-film discussion with Rania Masri, program director at the Institute for Southern Studies, who has been writing about Iraq since 1995 and is working on a documentary about the Iraqi people called About Baghdad. The screening is free, but donations are encouraged.