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Fog of War Film Analysis

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Essay title: Fog of War Film Analysis

The Fog of War Analysis

Nearly 160 million people were killed during the 20th century, and film maker Errol Morris wished to show the reason for this in documentary form. He interviewed former US secretary of Defense Arnold McNamara and the two discussed and analyzed some defining moments in US history, thus “The Fog of War” was made. The movie was set up in 11 lessons. However, I only found three to be completely reasonable.

The first lesson that is highlighted in Morris' film is that which says to empathize with your enemy-Vietnam was used to highlight this point. On the individual level of analysis, our mind set during the war was called into question. Morris argues that we did not empathize with our enemy or allies, South Vietnam. We refused to understand why they were fighting or what terms would allow for them to cease their battle, thus we were unable to come to an acceptable resolution. The domestic level of analysis for the Vietnam War called attention to the public opinion and demonstrations against the war putting pressure on the government to have a speedy resolution. Also, the rejection of Vietnam-wide elections by South Vietnam in the fear of a communist victory was also attributed to further tension in that nation. The interstate level of analysis focuses on the Tet Offensive of 1968 in which the Vietcong attacked the large cities of South Vietnam and the horrors from that attack. Also, the movie discusses South Vietnam's rejection of any peace treaty that they felt would pave the way for a communist takeover when they were presented one by the United States. In this situation the United States failed to empathize with Vietnam and such actions led to much death and destruction.

Morris went on to juxtapose our lack of empathy for Vietnam with the empathy we showed in the Cuban Missel Crises. Once again, the individual level of analysis was the main focus. In the movie, McNamara discusses a conversation between him and Castro in which Castro explained that Cuba did have nuclear warheads ready to launch and that it was recommended that Khruschev use them. Morris’ explains that the only thing that prevented a nuclear war was Tommy Thompson's ability to convince President Kennedy that military response was unnecessary. Thompson knew Khruschev very well and understood what he wanted. Morris placed the prevention on the individual level of analysis in Thompson's understanding of the situation and ability to influence. Our empathy stopped a nuclear war.

Another valid lesson shown was that rationality will not save us. Morris once again uses the Cuban Missel Crises as an example. From the global level of analysis, the movie highlighted on the feeling of terror that the US had toward the Soviet Union because of its placement of nuclear warheads on the island of Cuba. On the interstate level, the movie discusses the president of Cuba, Fidel Castro, and how he went from welcoming the United States to falling in line with the Soviets and President Kennedy's plans to overthrow Castro in the Bay of Pigs invasion. The domestic level of analysis focused on President Kennedy's formation of the Executive Committee of the National Security Council, (ExComm), and their efforts to stop the Soviets from placing more

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