Is American foreign policy dominated by the idea of military supremacy? Has the military become too important in American life? Jarecki's shrewd and intelligent polemic would seem to give an affirmative answer to each of these questions.
Chronological look at the fiasco in Iraq, especially decisions made in the spring of 2003 - and the backgrounds of those making decisions - immediately following the overthrow of Saddam: no occupation plan, an inadequate team to run the country, insufficient troops to keep order, and three edicts from the White House announced by Bremmer when he took over: no provisional Iraqi government, de-Ba'athification, and disbanding the Iraqi armed services. The film has chapters (from History to Consequences), and the talking heads are reporters, academics, soldiers, military brass, and former Bush-administration officials, including several who were in Baghdad in 2003. Written by
about as important a documentary you'll likely see this year
Sometimes seeing a documentary that has such immense and complex connotations like the war on Iraq can be so staggering that one might be tempted to rate it highly just based on how compelling the subject matter is. That part of it, of whether it's worthy for a documentary, is important. But first-time director Ferguson does an incredible job of amounting crucial interviews with former Generals and government officials, ex-soldiers, enough footage of Iraq destruction for two or more movies, and a mounting sense of dread over the unequivocal fiasco that what went on leading up to-during-and especially after America invaded Iraq, and the film was more than worthy of a special jury prize at Sundance earlier this year.
It's devastating and infuriating enough to get the people you might be with seeing the film into a heated argument (probably with everyone on the side, at least, that it was profoundly stupid to go into the country to start with, without a real plan anyway), because of the layers that can be taken into account. If one watched the news enough, or read what was available at the time, then some of the information may not be all new-news. But a lot of it is, which throws on fuel to the fire for Ferguson's thesis that with all the mounting mistakes, the most crucial ones came in taking for granted what would happen if say, for example, the Iraqi army was disbanded along with the Ba'ath party (if that's how it's spelled). Interestingly, Ferguson doesn't spend too much time on the blunder that was going into Iraq in the first place; that's for other films and he knows it well (namely Fahrenheit 9/11).
We went in. Now 'what to do next' is really where the cards are all layed out: the looting and rioting, which went on for days and ruined many of Iraq's small places of civilization like museums and libraries (which, of course, Rumsfeld and the US didn't mind and practically encouraged), then after that the whole huge f*** up that was the lack of real planning for after we toppled Sadaam's regime (for Germany after WW2 the plan was layed out two years in advance, for Iraq it started 50 days before the invasion), and very notably Walter B. Slocombe (who comes off stumbling through his interview as he can't answer why he wasn't talking to other advisers about the plans of what to do with the Iraq security) and L Paul Bremer, who crafted the three plans for reconstituting Iraq, which basically created the Insurgency. That part, of course, is a big chunk of No End in Sight, with the blunders continuing on and gaining force with the US involvement in Iraq.
So the question comes first to those thinking about the questions Ferguson lays out through his interview, aside from how in the living hell (literally, if you're over in Iraq) we've now spend two *trillion* dollars over there, which is: Why? To get a documentary like that now probably would make a big enough uproar to get people in the streets. But for now, No End in Sight will have to do.
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