TWN Co-Hosting Eugene Jarecki’s Award-Winning Film, “Why We Fight” Tonight & Some TWN Thoughts on Bush and the State of the Union


Tonight, come watch the film and meet director Eugene Jarecki for a Washington, DC pre-release premier of “Why We Fight“.
The Washington Note, the American Strategy Program of the New America Foundation, the NYU Center on Law & Security, and the Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy are co-hosting this evening’s screening.
You must RSVP to me — soon — today. E Street Cinema (555 11th Street, NW). RSVP at
But be warned if you RSVP that you are attending and fail to show — you are keeping someone else from a seat. That will be remembered, frowned upon, and you will be cast out of the village (mura hachibu for those in the know).
We are gathering at 6:30 p.m. The screening starts at 7:00 p.m. sharp. At 8:40 p.m., we will have a brief exchange and discussion with the film’s director Eugene Jarecki.
This film won the 2005 Sundance Grand Jury Prize and has opened in Los Angeles and New York — and will open this next week in Washington, D.C.
The personalities depicted in this film, which plays off the old pre-WWII Frank Capra films of the same title include:

Wilton Sekzer — Officer, NYPD
Fuji & Tooms — Stealth Fighter Pilots, U.S. Air Force
Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski — Officer, Pentagon Middle East Desk
William Solomon — New Recruit, U.S. Army
Anh Duong — Explosives Expert, Indianhead Naval Center
Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff, Department of State
Senator John McCain (R-AZ)
Chalmers Johnson, CIA 1967-73; President, Japan Policy Research
Joseph Cirincione, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Gore Vidal, author
Charles Lewis, Center for Public Integrity
Richard Perle, Pentagon Advisor; American Enterprise Institute
William Kristol, Editor, The Weekly Standard
Col. Richard Treadway, Commander, Stealth Fighter Squadron
James Roche, Secretary of the Air Force
John S.D. Eisenhower, Son of Dwight Eisenhower
Susan Eisenhower, Granddaughter of Dwight Eisenhower; Eisenhower
Gwynne Dyer, Military Historian
Donna Ellington, President, Raytheon Missile Systems
Col. Wally Saeger, U.S. Air Force Munitions Directorate,
Franklin “Chuck” Spinney, Pentagon Systems Analyst (ret)
Dan Rather, CBS News

It’s a powerful film that you should see.
My friendly critique of it is that it should not have included Gore Vidal, as much as I admire Vidal. And Chuck Lewis — who is also a great and old friend — give some sweeping generalizations about U.S. foreign policy that seemed gratuitously left-ish to me. But the rest of the film is empirical and informed by the candid commentary of real practitioners of foreign and national security policy, war, and intelligence.
On the subject of last night’s “we don’t need to make any choices” State of the Union address, I was at a pre-party hosted by the Atlantic Monthly at the Library of Congress. There, I hung out with Congress Jim Kolbe who has seriously depressed me with the news that he is retiring from Congress this next year. He is one of the decent moderates on the Republican side.
The place seemed to have more Republicans milling around than Dems — though they were there, semi-hiding.
Grover Norquist and I spoke about the need for a right of center American Civil Liberties Union. Grover’s wife has just returned from a two month stint on an US AID project helping to build capacity in the Palestinian arena. I was there with Helga Flores Trejo, the German director (of Mexican descent; I note this because Germany needs many more such Helgas) in Washington, D.C. of the German Green Party-affiliated Heinrich Boell Foundation.
The Atlantic didn’t have a place to actualy “watch” the State of the Union (my intel sources told me that the Atlantic’s real VIPs ensconced themselves at Charlie Palmer’s), so we hurried over to the Center for American Progress which was packed with hundreds of people.
Air America’s Majority Report with Sam Seder operated from CAP as President Bush gave his speech.
I’m letting the speech percolate in my head a bit. It was too soothing of a speech; no sense of the big choices facing the nation.
But what most critics won’t say — but I have to admit — is that George Bush and his team have shaken off most of the constraints that have been tying them down the last several months. Newly sworn in Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito was a taunting ornament in the evening — whose presence punctuated Bush’s resurgence.
Those (like me) who had said that his lame-duckness had begun must admit that Dems and moderate Congressional Republicans failed to keep the White House off-balance and wobbly.
Bush’s power was not what it once was; but make no mistake, he and Cheney are back. . .Big Time.
— Steve Clemons