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The Cradle of Uncivilization

The victims of Saddam's atrocities tell their story in the new documentary, "WMD."

12:00 AM, Oct 27, 2004 • By ERIN MONTGOMERY
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Next, viewers are hit hard with footage of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, arguably the most graphic part of the film. There is no real segue from the segment on Saddam's victims to the story of those killed on 9/11, and could well be an attempt by Maaske to lead viewers to the (unfounded) conclusion that Saddam Hussein and the events of 9/11 are connected. Maaske also shares his disdain for the United Nations and its lack of support for the war in Iraq: "When I was in school, I thought the United Nations was a very noble concept, but now I realize that the U.N. is more like the TV game show Survivor. Each contestant pretends to be acting in the team's best interest while plotting to eliminate the stronger players in order to win the game for themselves."

Next, we get a little comic relief when filmmaker Evan Coyne Maloney confronts anti-war protesters on the street and quizzes them on their knowledge of the discourse surrounding the war. The answers to his questions surprise many of the peaceniks. "[Who said] 'Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile-delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members. Is it (a) Hillary Clinton; is it (b) Dick Cheney, or is it (c) George W. Bush?'" (If you said, (a) Hillary Clinton, you're correct.)

The film comes to an end with footage of a memorial service held on a high school football field in Exeter, California--Maaske's hometown. The service is being held in honor of Army Spc. Daniel Unger, a young man who was killed in Iraq while trying to protect civilian workers. Finally, the film closes with a lengthy list of the accomplishments the United States has made since the war began in 2003.

WMD is a compelling visual argument for the war in Iraq, but it's also a real hodgepodge of information (it starts out with an account of life in ancient Mesopotamia and ends with an American hometown hero's funeral), which could be confusing for some viewers. The film--if it doesn't convince viewers that the war in Iraq is indeed "worth it"--will at least remind viewers of the horrendous effects of Saddam's reign of terror, and that his reign is over because of the United States.

Erin Montgomery is an editorial assistant at The Weekly Standard.