16 months hence Errol Morris and Robert McNamara‘s The Fog of War will be officially 20 years old, and I’m wondering what our wonderful cancel culture fanatics would say about it today. “This film coddles a war criminal!…normalizes and rationalizes mass murder!,” etc.

I still regard The Fog of War as one of the most emotional docs I’ve ever seen. Phillip Glass‘s techno score is one of the most haunting ever created for a non-narrative feature.

Even in its meticulous recountings of wartime strategies and mistakes that led to mass killings on an almost unimaginable scale, The Fog of War is fraught with feeling…with ache and nostalgia and puddles of regret and candid admissions that cut like knives.

The combination of Robert McNamara stating that while working for Col. Curtis LeMay during World War II he was “part of a mechanism” that fire-bombed and murdered 100,000 Tokyo citizens, and his story of the B-29 captain who was furious that the 5000-foot bombing altitude led to the death of his wing-man, and in recounting LeMay’s response McNamara starts to choke up. 100,000 Tokyo citizens burned to death across 15 square miles, and McNamara weeps about a single Air Force guy who caught a bullet.

If that doesn’t get you emotionally, I don’t know what would. Alternately startling, numbing, unnerving…I’ve never forgotten it.

In early ’04 The Fog of War won the Best Feature Doc Oscar.