End in Sight (USA; 102 min.)
directed by: Charles Ferguson
Bruce says: "Critics of the Bush Administration’s war in Iraq have been quick to disagree with almost every important decision made along the way. Dismissed as naysayers and accused of lacking patriotism, the critics had difficulty disproving decisions for the ramifications were largely unknown and the facts were hardly forthcoming. With time, that all has changed. Few of us, however, have taken the time to go back over the sequence of events to analyze the many pitfalls and wrong turns. NO END IN SIGHT is an overview of the war and the major mistakes that have been made. The evidence of those mistakes is now obvious to most Americans and only the most die-hard Bush supporters – and a few do appear on screen – are still in denial. The film is subtly narrated by Campbell Scott who presents many statistics and threads of reasoning amid talking heads, still photographs and archival footage.
"Two obvious errors were made during the initial strikes and the days that followed. The decision to protect only the oil industry, ignoring the national treasures such as the libraries and museums, and foregoing protection of schools, hospitals and municipal buildings where records are kept destroyed the infrastructure more than the bombing by US forces. The US occupiers stood by ignoring the looting and destruction. An equally serious blunder was not protecting the munitions stockpiles which were soon looted by insurgents.
"One of the most foolish errors in judgement that politicians often make is to place full trust in those who have abandoned or been expelled from their country. The powers in Washington totally championed Amhed Chalabi a convicted felon and expat who was thoroughly disliked by many Iraqis and now is believed to be an Iranian spy. Chalabi constantly misled Washington. Another gigantic error was the Bush Administration’s placing Paul Bremer - a man who speaks no Arabic, has no prior military experience, no prior experience in the Middle East, no prior experience with post war reconstruction issues and had never before been to Iraq - in charge of the occupation. Bremer’s mistakes are legendary, three being among the worst anyone could have made: he stopped the formation of an Interim Iraqi government; championed debaathification; and disbanded the Iraqi army. He virtually undid the work of the American military forces and ORHA, the organization assembled to address post-war issues.
"Films clips of Rumsfeld and Cheney look absolutely surreal. Their cockiness, condescension and arrogance seem more odious now, yet at the same time, strangely amusing. It is difficult to believe that even one person could have taken these men at face value. The talking heads represent many sectors – the military, the State Department, the National Security Council, ORHA, and the CIA. Those are the groups whose advice was routinely ignored by Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz, and Bremer.
"The war in Iraq is one that has never had any justification and was doomed from the start. Going forward there is no possible solution that could be considered a winning one. NO END IN SIGHT predicts that Muqtada al-Sadr, a popular Shiite extremist, will ultimately be victorious. That would place Iraq in no better hands than Saddam Hussein.
"The one weakness of this film is the lack of an overview of the oil situation. Oil has become the elephant in the room. Oil is the reason we went to war. It is also at the heart of many religious and ethnic battles which may never end, even if the Iraqi pie is sliced into pieces. 4.5 cats"
|Michael says: "Director Charles Ferguson had access to some pretty high-level people in this expose on the Iraq War. NO END IN SIGHT is the type of film where you can’t help but watch and be baffled that someone was actually making these decisions. It’s frustrating that many of us don’t really notice what’s going on as it’s happening, but months or years later we can look back and think, how in God’s name did that happen? Ferguson outlines a series of so insane it’s almost comical decisions that were made by the highest level people in politics by obtaining candid interviews with some of their colleagues. It’s an eye-opening and shocking piece of work, and well worth anyone’s time to see it. 4 cats."|