By Gregory Crofton
High expectations for this film left me somewhat disappointed. The slightly hokey but undeniably powerful “DIRTY WARS: THE WORLD IS A BATTLEFIELD” documents journalist Jeremy Scahill’s reporting in Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia to expose terrorist kill-list operations carried out by the U.S. military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).
It was a JSOC unit that killed Osama bin Laden in his Pakistan hideout. But it was also a JSOC unit behind the murder of two pregnant women and a Afghani police official at a social gathering, a missile strike that killed a large group of civilians in Yemen, and drone attacks that took out an American citizen and his 16-year-old son living in Yemen.
Most surprising is not that JSOC exists, but that its dark, unfettered and probably illegal operations have multiplied under President Obama. The doc ably conveys how the U.S. “War on Terror” has evolved in the last decade. And now that this war machine – “hammer” – is up and running, it needs targets – “nails” – to pound, and so, inevitably, its kill list has grown longer.
The hoke of “DIRTY WARS” develops out of too much Scahill on screen, a noir-like melodramatic feel and sound design, and a running time (90 minutes) that could be shorter. But overall it’s a film worth watching, especially for U.S. citizens because it puts a human face on handful of victims out of thousands in our war on terror. You can find out where “DIRTY WARS” is playing HERE.