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Bad to worse 

"It's worse than we thought." Those were film critic David Fellerath's words to describe the message behind the film Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear and the Selling of American Empire, which the Independent is showing around the Triangle next week. Even worse has been the message of the news over the last couple of weeks: It's just as bad as we thought.

First there was Paul Bremer, America's commissar on the ground in Iraq until the so-called turnover of power, saying he'd warned from the beginning that there wasn't enough troop strength to do the job. Then there was the U.N. report that found what many of us believed from the beginning: The sanctions against Iraq, painful as they were, were working. Iraq hadn't had a chemical or a nuclear weapons program since the early 1990s. It also confirmed that the American nuclear and intelligence communities knew that those aluminum tubes were for rockets, not centrifuges. In other words, the Bush administration's entire rationale for going to war with Iraq was a lie--no al Qaeda ties, no WMDs, no threat.

So why did they do it? That's where this movie comes in. Better than any documentary so far, Hijacking Catastrophe shows that the neoconservatives at the top of the administration had been waiting for 10 years to implement a plan that called for the invasion of Iraq, and 9/11 gave them their excuse. It's being called the best documentary about the war in a year with many very good (and popular) documentaries about Iraq. If you already knew all this, take someone who doesn't believe you.

***

Food journalism has always been an important part of the Independent, as you can see from this week's Dish issue, which was put together by our restaurant writer, Besha Rodell. Our latest accolade comes from the Association of Food Journalists, which this month awarded Wine Beat writer Arturo Ciompi first place for food columns among newspapers nationwide with a circulation below 150,000. "You made me want to run right out and buy some zin," wrote one judge.

You can read Ciompi's Wine Beat column this week (on page 96) and on the second Wednesday of every month. He runs in rotation with Sharon Kebschull Barrett, who writes about families and cooking the first week of the month; David Auerbach, who writes about food politics and other topics the third week of the month, and Rodell's restaurant features the fourth week of the month. And be sure to check out the new "Now Serving" column in our weekly Cuisine Scene listings. It highlights a new restaurant and restaurant events regionwide in the week to come.

More by Richard Hart

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