Brave New Films, 2006, 75 minutes
There are documentary films that open the eyes to worlds one never knew existed. Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers, though, brings to light a world that a lot of people know exists, but which is so disturbing that many folks would rather not hear about.
Directed by Robert Greenwald, the film tells the story of the corporations who profit from monopolistic and cartel-like practices in the pursuit of lucrative Defense Department contracts. The film also highlights American contractors killed and wounded in Iraq, the families of whom are bitter about their loved ones being misled and harmed by the companies for which they worked.
The shady business activities of such corporations as Halliburton and its former subsidiary KBR are fairly well known to Americans, but the film also profiles some less-well known contractors as CACI, Titan Corporation, and the Blackwater USA.
The film avoids overt partisanship, although in general the GOP does not come across particularly well. Well documented in the film is the idea that many contracts get awarded to corporations without competitive bidding, and that contracts often get awarded on a cost-plus basis. Greenwald captures such lunacy as contractors burning misordered or obsolete supplies since they face no penalty for billing the government, or KBR managers driving loaded Hummers, all fully paid for by the U.S. taxpayers.
Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers is an important film, and ought to be viewed by every thinking American, regardless of political affiliation, as the unsettling questions raised by the privatization of war affect all of us.