Friday, September 14, 2007

No End in Sight

Night before last, we saw the new movie No End in Sight . There were 2 other people in the theatre. In fairness, it was the 10 o' clock show though. It was superb.

I'm speaking of the film's production values and of its remarkable fairness in presenting this story.

Most of those inteviewed were members of the Bush team in Iraq. Collectively, they show their dismay and their disbelief at the way the post invasion was handled. They talk about how their team was underfunded and undersupported while still in Washington. They talk about how the Iraqi army was disbanded even though decisions were made to the contrary at the highest levels of the state department. Apparently, Bush and Bremer made the decision over coffee.

Here is the home site for the movie.

No End in Sight was made by Charles Ferguson who made his fortune as a software developer. In 1994, Ferguson founded Vermeer Technologies, one of the earliest Internet software companies, with Randy Forgaard. Vermeer created the first visual Web site development tool, FrontPage™. In early 1996, Ferguson sold Vermeer to Microsoft, which integrated FrontPage into Microsoft Office. The web site for the movie shows it too.

The documentary tracks the process in Washington that led to the current situation in Iraq, and it breaks some new ground: Key decision-makers talk for the first time about the war and its aftermath.

Ferguson overcame some major obstacles to tell the story. He hired his own 20-man security team with four pickups mounted with machine guns and drove down to Baghdad from Kurdistan, filming in high definition.

And it shows. The images are profound. And the interviews are remarkably candid.

Here is part of an NPR review:

"If you're not already angry about the war in Iraq, this meticulously assembled documentary will almost certainly raise your hackles — either at the folks who've been prosecuting the war, or at director Charles Ferguson, whose clear aim is to hold their feet to the fire.

He does so with a quick summary of 2006 news reports about chaos and death on the ground in Iraq, then goes back to the origins of America's Iraq policy in the 1980s. Interviewing figures from inside a number of different administrations, most of whom talk about escalating miscalculations, he paints a portrait of unprofessionalism, incompetence, and devastating errors in judgment.

His most damning witnesses served on the Bush team, including former Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage. There's nothing new about the case Ferguson makes, but it's rarely been made with such devastating force."

And here is part of a NYT review:

“No End in Sight,” Charles Ferguson’s exacting, enraging new film, may signal a shift in emphasis, a move away from the immediacy of cinéma vérité toward overt political argument and historical analysis. Not that these have been scarce over the past few years, as an ever- growing shelf of books can testify.

Among Mr. Ferguson’s interview subjects are the authors of some of those books — notably Nir Rosen (“In the Belly of the Green Bird”), James Fallows (“Blind Into Baghdad”) and George Packer (“The Assassins’ Gate”) — and his film in effect offers a summary of some of their conclusions.

Mr. Ferguson, a former Brookings Institution scholar with a doctorate in political science, presents familiar material with impressive concision and impact, offering a clear, temperate and devastating account of high-level arrogance and incompetence. (clip)

It is important to note that Mr. Ferguson’s principal interlocutors were not, at the time, critics of the Bush administration’s policies in Iraq but rather people who had, often at considerable professional cost and personal risk, committed themselves to fulfilling those policies.

They include Barbara Bodine, a diplomat with long experience in the Middle East; Paul Eaton, an Army major general; Seth Moulton, a lieutenant in the Marine Corps; and Jay Garner, the retired lieutenant general who served as head of the Organization of Recovery and Humanitarian Assistance in Iraq. (clip)

They, Ms. Bodine, and others — including Richard L. Armitage and Lawrence Wilkerson of the State Department — describe from the inside what has become, to the rest of us, a recognizable pattern. The knowledge and expertise of military, diplomatic and technical professionals was overridden by the ideological certainty of political loyalists.

Republican Party operatives, including recent college graduates with little or no relevant experience, were put in charge of delicate and complicated administrative areas. Those who did not demonstrate lock-step fidelity to the White House line were ignored or pushed aside. more

This movie is not about the moral depravity of illegally invading another country for their resources. No, it is a brilliant example of what happens in a Karl Rove, everthing-is-politics administration.

If the intent of the US was to smash Iraq, its infrastructure, its economy, its people, and its central government, then the US is a smashing success.

If the intent was to bring peace and stability to a vital region,

They failed on a galactic scale.

In any event, the movie is a precious jewel,

in a sea of MSM costume jewelry.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today's blog, like the documentary
No End In Sight, is very helpful
for people with no time or inclination to do their own investgation of the facts about Iraq. And if you have done your own investigation you can appreciate this piece all the more.


7:54 AM  

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