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13 December 2009 (USA)  »

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Powerful documentary
23 November 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A big message implied by this documentary is that the United States holds a lot of responsibility for the chaos and suffering that ravages Iraq today.

When we invaded Iraq in 2003, aiming to oust Saddam Hussein, it seems there was little understanding of what was likely to transpire once the brutal dictator was out of the way.

This program does a good job of reviewing the major campaigns of the eight-year conflict, illustrating them with news footage, reminiscences of the combatants, and often precariously captured snippets of cell-phone video.

I took the opportunity of stumbling across this film on the National Geographic Channel to take notes and look up such things as battles, cities, and weapons on Wikipedia -- doing everything I could to provide some scaffolding for a story that has flashed across our TV screens for years, but is difficult to keep in perspective. This documentary did a lot to clear things up for me.

The war began in 2003, when, in the wake of the devastating 9/11 attacks in America, the US dispatched a stealth bomber to take out Saddam. We meet the pilot who dropped the bomb, though somehow Saddam got away, only to appear on TV within a matter of days.

Shortly thereafter, President George W. Bush ordered an invasion of the country, and it wasn't long before our Abrams tanks were rolling across the Kuwaiti border toward the 300-miles-distant Baghdad, from which the Saddam, a Sunni Muslim, had brutally oppressed Shiites, who hold the majority in terms of population, for the previous couple of decades. There was a concern then that Saddam could use weapons of mass destruction (WMD's) if he felt pushed into a corner. So our troops were ready for the worst.

Along the way I learned, through this documentary and looking things up, that:

1) Sunnis and Shiites have been fighting for centuries over a dispute concerning the rightful successor to the Prophet Mohammed as the caliph of the Islamic world. Shiites are a minority in the Islamic world, but constitute 60% of Iraqis.


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