Rob Reiner: 'Shock and Awe' a timely reminder of importance of truth

Fifteen years after the U.S. invasion, his Shock and Awe debuts Thursday on DirecTV. The movie tells the story of the Knight Ridder journalists who investigated the motives behind the U.S. invasion of Iraq after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.Woody Harrelson, James Marsden and Tommy Lee Jones star as reporters Jonathan Landay, Warren Strobel, and Joe Galloway. Reiner plays their editor John Walcott. The film follows the team as it questions U.S. President George W. Bush's plans to attack Iraq in 2003 based on alleged intelligence suggesting Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. (None was ever found).

The reporters, working in the Washington bureau, doggedly worked to uncover the truth as competing media outlets published the White House's claims without evidence. The Knight Ridder team said in the film they felt a responsibility to their readers in areas of the country where families were sending loved one off to war and deserved to know why."They were fighting against some very strong headwinds and they were the only ones that got it right," Reiner told UPI in an interview Tuesday.

Reiner -- who is 71 now but was of draft age during the Vietnam War -- said he wanted for years to make a movie about the George W. Bush administration's actions in the days after 9/11. "I couldn't believe that twice in my lifetime we were sending kids to war based on lies. ... I could see it happening. ... It's like watching your kid run into the street and feeling helpless to stop him from being hit by the truck," he said. "We ask our leaders to not send our kids into harm's way unless they have a real rationale for doing that."