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This review is from: The Power of Nightmares: Rise of the Politics of Fear - An Adam Curtis Film [PAL - Clamshell Case} (DVD)
This is a fascinating series of documentaries following the events leading up to 9/11, the War on Terror and, subsequently, the situation we have currently in Afghanistan and Iraq. It begins with the Cold War relationship between the West and the Soviet Union and how this was misrepresented to the general public by politicians whose theory was that a common external enemy prevented internal disturbance. In many ways it shows how little the human race has progressed despite the rise of 'civilisation'. We draw up sides and each side is convinced by their leaders that they are the force of good against evil: general xenophobia exarcerbated by political falsehoods and the ensuing media frenzy. It seems that it is easy for us to mistrust foreigners but take the advice of our own governments as truth.
Take as an example the concept of the 'dirty bomb', an explosive device with connected radioactive material. I remember reading scare stories in newspapers that cities like London would have to remain empty for years if one were detonated. The nuclear scientists interviewed here explain that it would actually have negligible impact beyond that of normal explosives, which is why the military has already abandoned the concept for their own use. Why has the term passed into common speech? Simple - the chances of being caught in a suicide bomb blast is relatively slim for people who do not commute or use air travel but dirty bombs are fictional WMDs, able to create panic and fear in large numbers of people and engender support for more regime change.
This is an excellent series of documentaries but unlikely to be repeated on television, I highly recommend it. We should not blindly believe any information we are presented with, including documentaries like these, but there is sufficient information for further invetsigation and evidence gathering. Watch it and you will at least have an alternative view from which to form an opinion and that is a basic freedom we all deserve.
I should mention that this disc appears to have been made from recordings of the programmes on television (complete with the BBC2 announcer's voiceover at the end of episode one). The picture is 4:3 and not widescreen and the picture quality matches an off-air recording. Worth noting if that type of thing is important to you; it does not affect enjoyment (if that's the right word) or impact of the documentary in any way.