Against All Enemies Image

Against All Enemies

By Perry Norton | April 1, 2024

Against All Enemies does well in corraling a diversity of service members to discuss the flux their vocation has dragged them through recently. Perhaps the most impressive participant is Stanley McChrystal, former Commander of Joint Special Operations Command and thus probably deserving of the title of Ultimate Badass. “As you learn the ability to lead, you learn the ability to get people to do stuff,” he explains, sketching out what he knows too well. A military background and training can be a dangerous force multiplier when it sours.

Unfortunately, we’re told this in a segment on General Flynn, Trump’s 21-day joke of a National Security Advisor and fringe character. The footage of Flynn geeing up libertarians is sad, not scary. The flick immediately condemns him for falling foul of Russiagate when joining Trump’s government. But we all remember Russiagate. It was an egregious thing that went on for years and came to very little. This exact flavor of shameful bullshit enraged the worst of the whack jobs on January 6th. It is the poorest conceivable argument for more power to the government’s elbow. Yet here it is.

The critical error in Against All Enemies is that little insight into the root cause of the broader situations described is provided. This is despite being crammed to the rafters with well-educated wonks who excel at such study. The impact of globalization that underscores a great deal of the world’s terrorism is not pinpointed as any issue. A study such as Thomas Friedman’s Pulitzer-winning The World is Flat, published 20 years ago, provides an actual, liberal view of these drivers, where the Internet and supply chains have demolished the shape of the world and the market states that comprised it. Now that the world is collapsing further into the metaphysics of social media there is as little space between our opinions — something this seems ignorant of. The same corrosive force of Big Tech has made our healthy shame into a lethal weapon, and the picture appears blind to or highly comfortable with its role within that dialectic.

“…certainly an issue here worth isolating…”

For example, Gab is summarized by Goldsmith, unchallenged, as “created to be a safe space for neo-Nazis” rather than a right-wing replacement for social media apps launched when all of them were proudly left-wing. Yes, Gab is a cesspool, but Goldsmith’s careless description is unfair. Beyond that, we have the very recent memory of Elon Musk feeling compelled to yank Twitter’s public square out from under California’s arch-liberals and Washington’s three-letter agencies. For a documentary that claims to want to preserve democracy, it’s blinkered on what that truly is.

That there has been an ongoing migrant crisis now since Libya fell is not touched upon. But you will get about 15 minutes on the Ku Klux Klan. This film conflates all recent political conflicts with racism and white supremacism. Sadoff ignores as illegitimate (or just unfashionable) any person in Western liberal democracies who wants to maintain their borders and the rule of law they were given, betraying this group as usual so soft soap like this can continue desperately scrubbing away at reality.

Against All Enemies fails to escape the gravity of its polemics. There is certainly an issue here worth isolating and examining: that of veterans finding their oaths at odds with the state. How the movie considers this theme is dangerous and confusing. It’s an out-of-touch and partisan documentary, wasting its talents to stir mud.

Against All Enemies (2024)

Directed: Charlie Sadoff

Written: Kenneth Harbaugh, Sebastian Junger, Charlie Sadoff

Starring: Kristopher Goldsmith, Stanley McChrystal, Kristofer Goldsmith, etc.

Movie score: 3/10

Against All Enemies Image

"…an entirely incompetent and partisan documentary, wasting its talents to stir mud..."

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  1. Alec says:

    This review is the perfect example of bothsiding. Supporting the continuation of democracy, the constitution and the rule of law in the USA is described as a “partisan edge” by Norton. No idea if he has a short memory or never paid attention in the first place, but 61 lost election lawsuits by Trumps fellow travellers, and violence and conspiracy madness of the 6 Jan insurrectionists all definitely happened.

  2. R.Wiley says:

    Sadly Mr Norton probably didn’t watch this terrifying docu….His partisan rambling missed the point……there you have it…
    He is the type of audience that can learn from it……

  3. Hugo Fukov says:

    “…an entirely incompetent and partisan review, just another trump hack blindly throwing mud like a headless chicken, wasting your time and mine. ” or is that you Don Jr???

  4. Jonty says:

    Reviewers should leave their bias at the door.

    Those who don’t have no business reviewing such films.

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