I’ve been consumed with this film. I can’t stop turning it around in my mind, arguing with it, agreeing with it, playing devil’s advocate. This in itself proves that it is a worthy film, whether or not it is “right.” About the content: the first two 60 minute segments show in great detail the rise of two very powerful cults. One: the current cabal of extreme Muslim fundamentalists, who for the first time are neither fighting for specific domestic goals, or focusing their violence against their own people who have strayed into decadence — rather they are attacking, vaguely, The West, with the intent of rallying their own populace into change. And two: the neo-conservative theorists who have allied themselves with Christian fundamentalists (even though most of the important neo-cons are Jews — something this film doesn’t point out, but I will) and jingoism in an effort, again, to change the nature of the American populace. The first hour of the film goes to great lengths to give the 60 year history of these two groups, their leaders (Said Qutb and Leo Strauss) and point out the eerie similarities. The second hour shows the two working together — in Afghanistan, fighting the Soviets. A little bit of a BS detector went off in my head when the film suggested that the military positioning of the US was not what led to the downfall of Communism. “It was a house of cards doomed to fail from internal corrosion” one talking head says. That may be true, but why was it so screwed up? I feel confident that one of the main reasons the Soviet system collapsed was that they were unable to spend their full energies on, you know, factories and grain, and had to get caught up in the arms race with the US. Had the US ignored the Soviet Union, they probably would have prospered. But this is all a maybe, and the arguements presented in the first two-thirds of the film are very plausible. The third hour is where the film kinda loses me. The dot-connecting of the film does its best to prove that Al Qaeda, the gigantic terrorist network, is actually a lie constructed by Bush administration. And they make a pretty good case. That Al Qaeda is not an organized mafia-like system, rather just a single idea that appeals to angry young Muslim men, is the thesis of this film. I say, Who cares? Catching Bush, Blair & Co. in another lie is hardly news. The trains in Madrid and the tube in London still blew up. Lone gunman or a conspiracy — hardly matters to the dead. Some will watch this film and call it left-wing propaganda. The first two-thirds certainly aren’t. They are remarkably fact based and fascinating. And amazing to watch — I can’t believe how much of this footage I’ve never seen before. The last segment does have a point of view, but I don’t know if it is specifically left-wing. By the end, I was left with a taste of overall nihilism in my mouth. The film seemed to be saying “everyone is corrupt.” Some good news: as recently as 1997 things were looking up in the Muslim world. Egypt and Algeria had overcome its own extremist element. (Remember all that fighting in Algeria — when the Algerians tried to democratically vote in a party that would then abolish democratic voting? Man, isn’t that a mindfuck?!!) Anyway, 9 years ago feels like a long time, but it isn’t. There’s hope yet. Keep and open mind and see this movie if you can. The film is very well put together, has remarkable footage and even is funny at times. Right now, the only way to see it is to download it, for free and legally, from the internet. Or have someone lend you their burned copy.