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'Dirty Wars' is a study of national security practices that need exposing

'Dirty Wars' is by documentarian Richard Rowley.

By Peter RainerFilm critic / June 7, 2013

'Dirty Wars' centers on journalist Jeremy Scahill as he explores the covert war being carried out by the Joint Special Operations Command in countries like Yemen and Somalia

IFC Films

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Documentarian Richard Rowley’s “Dirty Wars” brings to startling light the investigatory digging of “Nation” journalist Jeremy Scahill, best known for his 2007 bestseller “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.” (A book version of “Dirty Wars” was published in April.)

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Utilizing Scahill as first-person narrator and on-camera presence, the film delves into Washington’s sub-radar national security policy and the larger covert war being carried out by the Joint Special Operations Command in countries like Yemen and Somalia, where no official war has been declared. The military strikes, more than 1,700 in number, are unauthorized by Congress. I wish Rowley didn’t so often dabble in standard movie-thriller-style stylistics, but his film is an exposé of practices that need – demand – exposing. Grade: A- (Unrated.)

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