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
In retrospect, I suppose 2007 will go down as the year in which filmmakers began addressing the problems in Iraq. The number of Iraq-themed films has piled up and disappeared at a breathtaking pace. Maybe it's not a surprise that the best of them so far is the one that doesn't try to turn the conflict into something fictional. All of the other Iraq movies have been well intentioned but limp; you can tell they want to address what's wrong without truly enraging anyone. Well, Charles Ferguson, the writer and director of "No End in Sight," has no such qualms, and his film enrages indeed.
Meticulously crafted, "No End in Sight" proves what everyone has already known for a long time: the Iraq conflict is a complete disaster. The film is certainly biased; anyone who wants to discount it based on that fact is welcome to. But anyone who wants to deny that America's handling of post-invasion Iraq has been anything but a complete "quagmire" (to borrow a word from the film) is hopelessly deluded. "No End in Sight" is not about whether or not the war in Iraq was justified; in fact, the film goes out of its way to affirm that at first many Iraqis were happy that the U.S. had deposed Saddam Hussein. Rather, the film is about what went wrong after the invasion, about how groups that actually had a reconstruction plan were met with indifference at every step by an administration that really cared nothing for the Iraqi people even as they fed the American public a lot of hooey about bringing freedom and democracy to them. This film makes clear that for all of its recent talk about dangerous nations destabilizing the world's peace, the United States is one of the most dangerous countries currently in existence.
It's terrifying that governments are run like this; if this film is accurate, my office at work is better managed than the project for occupying post-war Iraq. Ferguson can't be blamed if his film seems one sided. None of the key decision makers managing Iraq policy -- Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Bremer -- agreed to be interviewed for the film. The only consolation the film offers is that Cheney, Bush and Rumsfeld now look like complete fools. Either they thought they had a good plan for rebuilding Iraq and proved themselves to be ridiculously incompetent; or (and more likely) they never really cared about what happened to Iraq in the first place and have proved themselves to be downright scary.
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