Friday, August 12, 2005

ETC.: Bada-bing, bada-boom

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• Witness Peter's first pair of sunglasses! Hurray! And his first Hawaiian shirt! Double hurray!

• Still on my Errol Morris kick, I watched 2003's Oscar-winning "The Fog Of War" for the first time the other night. What a movie. You would think a movie that basically consists of one man, former Secretary of Defense Robert MacNamara, talking for nearly two hours, couldn't be that interesting. But MacNamara played a pivotal part in Vietnam, World War II and much of America's war policy in the 20th century. He's been around, and for the movie, Morris dissects his philosophy. MacNamara, now in his late 80s, alternately defends and apologizes for the chaos of war, and offers fascinating insights into how it's waged. What amazes about "The Fog Of War" is seeing how little things have changed since Vietnam. There's a particularly chilling clip featuring Lyndon Johnson talking about hunting down "the enemy" that sounds like it could've been said yesterday by G.W. Thought-provoking and remarkably even-handed documentary work - and I'm torn about MacNamara himself. Even though he's the architect of enormous death and destruction, he seems so gosh-darn nice on camera, and remarkably intelligent and thoughtful for someone in his line of work. We see a level of introspection there that is rare in politicians and soldiers, but at the same time, MacNamera wriggles off the hook at the end when Morris tries to pin him down on whether he feels guilty for Vietnam or not. Highly recommended viewing for students of history, war or just plain ol' human nature.

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