In Whose Interest?

2003, Politics  -   15 Comments

The United States proudly identifies itself as the major purveyor of peace and democracy across the world. But does this self-promoted image match up to their actual policies and military engagements throughout recent history, and is warfare actually a befitting means to achieving peace? Those are the central dichotomies addressed in the documentary short In Whose Interest?, a searing investigation of several key conflicts during the last half century and the crucial role the United States played in each of them.

Gone are the noble and justifiable efforts waged in conflicts like World War II. As reflected in the film, U.S. involvement in international conflicts since that time has often been in direct opposition to the notion of democracy. Take Guatemala, where their financial and military support led to the ousting of that country's president in 1954, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of citizens, and an end to a democratic revolution in the region. The reason? The actions of the democratically elected president ran counter to the economic interests of the country's largest corporation - United Fruit - and the United States by extension.

The film contends that the same was true in East Timor, a region that gained the attention of the U.S. due to its close proximity to Indonesia during the mid-1970s. When Indonesia's lucrative oil and corporate structures were under threat by the promise of democracy in neighboring East Timor, they called upon the assistance of the United States in strategizing and supporting a militarized intervention. The ensuing conflict resulted in more than 60,000 casualties, and the severe repression of a people.

The film continues to explore this narrative by exploring U.S. involvement in El Salvador, the ongoing Middle East conflicts, and Vietnam, which is perhaps the most profound wound that still festers within the consciousness of the United States after nearly five decades. Conversations with haunted veterans and scholars of history highlight the contrasts between how a war is sold to soldiers and the American people, and the selfish economic reasons that really motivate them.

Urgent, probing and appropriately incensed, In Whose Interest? seeks to look behind the fa├žade of false patriotism, and understand the reality of the United States' legacy through the world.

Ratings: 8.84/10from 134 users.

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15 Comments / User Reviews

  1. HobeSoundJay

    Since 1776, the US has been "at war" 93% of the time.

    The countries change, but the USA's game remains the same: imposing "freedom and democracy" upon smaller, weaker countries with bombs and bullets.

  2. mike m

    send 'em to school and they eat the books

  3. Peter

    Being a Canadian, I remember writing a paper in Jr. High after moving to the U.S. (1976) on U.S. military imperialism. I was called stupid and people said that the U.S. was just trying to spread freedom of choice by promoting democracy and protecting human rights. Americans tend to believe what their own press feed them without seeking external sources such as the BBC, Al-Jazeera, or alternative press.

    As a matter of fact, I teach at a Technical college in the mid-Atlantic and few of my students can answer basic facts such as what is the population of the world, the population of the U.S. the population of your state, percentage of the world's energy the U.S. consumes, the size of the GDP, amount of Defense spending, percentage of U.S. defense spending compared to the world, etc. And most of them don't seem to care, just as long as they can catch that next pokemon! It's quite the indictment of the U.S. educational system. I'm now testing them to see if they can find the U.S. on a map. TIC

  4. DustUp

    Agree with [bungabunga] and [cleosaurus] the storyline writer has not done their homework regarding ww2. Actually there are very few ww2 vets who had any incentive to do their homework after they got back. Either by the praise of supposedly saving the world from communism and/or fascism(also called corporatism, exactly what we have now in the usa) or not wanting to believe they suffered and their friends died for banking and corporate profiteering. However, a few vets did do their homework and instructed their children to steer clear of the lying military which uses the gullible young for cannon fodder. Many historians praise Winston Churchill for identifying Hitler as a threat and being a great statesman. Hogwash. Churchill saw Germany eating their industrial export lunch and wanted that to stop, not by becoming better but by supporting war against Germany. Europe caused Hitler through its overdone actually mean Treaty of Versailles.

    Here is a question to ask yourselves. In better times, how would amerika be viewed if the enemy bombed out our supply lines to the Japanese internment camps causing them to look like skin and bones while Typhus set in killing off many of them, bodies piling up fast towards the end of the war, having few with strength to bury their own, and the u.s. officers not wanting to catch disease, losing moral and ability to do much? What would your opinion be when you marched in and saw the Typhus and lack of food emaciated stacks of bodies, not connecting the dots of your bombing out their supply lines? Originally the Jewish propagandists put out a 12mln exterminated number. Apparently a prominent amerikan Jew, told them that was ridiculous and needed to be reduced or they will have no credibility. Is 6mln credible if far fewer than that were ever in the reach of the Germans? What is the actual number? Maybe you should search harder rather than listening to oft repeated propaganda. Okay none is good but how many innocent Germans did Eisenhower round up and dehydrate and starve to death in a camp in Germany at the end of the war just because he wanted to? Where is the war crimes for that? None. We elected him as pres. We are sadly lazy voters. And even worse at seeing to it decent people are running.

  5. cleosaurus

    Dear Philio,

    WWI--Western Imperial war largely fought over access and control of essential resources, mainly oil. US gets involved to secure a larger role/position in world banking, a concession from GB. Not a US conflict, per se.

    WWII--Blowback for the misguided choice made by rich European Monarchies to place a far right radical strong man in Germany (Hitler, who had lost democratic election in 1932) as a buffer against anti-monarchist threats coming from Russia. German war is not a US conflict, per se, but America plays with both sides to its advantage. Japanese involvement against US is precipitated after US cuts off control of SE Asian oil to Japan by naval blockade, leaving that empire on the brink of industrial shutdown. Guilty of using nuclear weaponry against civilian populations when it was known Japan was about to surrender.

    Stalin--After the failure of the Lenin's revolution, essentially attributable to Western economic isolation, the West gives support to this corrupt strong man as a way to plunge Russia into a long civil unrest, also keeping Russian oil off the international market.

    There's always an angle to these conflicts. Post WWII the US grew up and went into empire games on its own. This docymentary only scratches th surface.

  6. Philio

    Pin these 20th Century horrors on US interests,
    11,016,000 WWI Casualties
    59,028,000 WWII Casualties
    170,000,000 - est. Stalin Genocide & Democide
    49-78,000,000 - est. Mao Ze-Dong Genocide & Democide
    2,530,000 - est. Ismail Enver (Ottoman Turkey)
    1,700,000 - est. Pol Pot (Cambodia) Genocide
    1,600,000 - est. Kim Il Sung (North Korea) Genocide & Democide

  7. Alison Rubin

    It's too bad that the film maker totally distorted the conflict between Israel and the Arab nations. That land was partitioned. Both sides extremely poor when that happened. The fact that Israel build itself into a viable economy was not at the peril of the Arabs. The Arabs could have done the same thing but chose to invest in attacking Israel and sending all their aid money to banks in Switzerland. I am tired of the left constantly supporting a myth.

  8. lawrence wills

    This is a start but I think you will be surprised to see how deep the rabbit whole goes. Keep search for the truth.

  9. bungabunga

    "noble and justified conflicts like world war 2"

  10. Roger Andout

    Those who DO NOT vote are more culpable because they refuse a citizen's duty (to vote), even if to spoil it.

  11. sanna mambureh

    America is not God to decide our faith and we all know that very dog has a day and is just a matter of time. The mercy of the world poor and disabled lies is the hand of Good who will surely come to our aid. No able person can imagine how such a powerful nation has nothing to do but to kill the weak based on the cruel Zionist agenda perpetuated by Evil Israel.

  12. User1

    Thank you for the doc. I always had a feeling about this, but never really explored it in great detail. I'm pretty sure this whole mindset continues in the middle east today. I've seen reports of something like 9 out of every 10 war casualties are civilians. As we label every smart weapon "smart", it will only get easier to do.

  13. Wayne

    Those who do not vote are less culpable to the outcome then those who do vote.
    But both those who vote and those who do not vote are equal in their guilt through enabled silence.
    Even more so, those who vote claiming knowledge of their selection while abandoning their involvement soon after their act.
    It is the silent and willing masses that government agents rely on to step out of the way for those who's power has been presumed.

  14. Tim Stadler

    Excellent documentary, interesting how it has such a low rating, Americans obviously don't like the truth, "TELL THE TRUTH AND RUN"

  15. 80085

    great documentary, but its not going to do much in helping us with the future. i imagine the united states much like the roman empire, eventually it will begin to crumble from within. greed matters more, this documentary should have been called "for what interest" instead. just gift wrap the truth and put a big bow on the top of it and nobody will ever know the difference, because reality is what you make. its a big pretty gift! but wait, no its not. they know that, but you dont. also, evil is a perspective.