War on Whistleblowers Enunciates the Nation’s Servility to Corporate Fat Cats


You don’t have to be a rightwing wacko or naive lefty to be chilled by some policies and practices of the Obama administration. Nothing illustrates that better than the administration’s treatment of whistleblowers who take on the federal government. Robert Greenwald’s latest documentary focuses on the brutal fallout faced by four people—Michael DeKort, Thomas Drake, Franz Gayl, and Thomas Tamm—who exposed corruption in branches of the government or corporations working with the government. Though the individual cases are riveting (for the heroism involved) and infuriating (for illuminating the venality of the powers-that-be), what is most sobering about this timely and unsettling film is what it reveals about how thoroughly owned our government is by big business interests. The common thread between all four examples in the film is just how ruthless and callous fat cats (businessmen and politicos alike) can be when their bottom line is threatened. War, filled with archival footage and news clips that reference such iconic whistleblowers as Karen Silkwood, Frank Serpico, and Daniel Ellsberg (also interviewed in the film), is given analytical heft by heavyweight journalists like Seymour Hersh and Dana Priest, as well as a slew of experts in assorted fields. Fast-moving and sleekly crafted, the film packages its dire warnings about the ways truth-speakers are penalized, and what that portends for the country, in a way that is accessible without sacrificing nuance or intelligence.