Wednesday, December 19, 2007

No End in Sight

Last night, we watched the award winning documentary No End in Sight directed by Charles Ferguson. Released in 2007 it is a detailed look at the immediate aftermath of the invasion of Irak, the moment famously invoked by Bush in 2003 as marking the end to military operations in Irak. The film examines how the days and weeks which followed the "mission accomplished" speech were crucial and perhaps decisive in contributing to the situation that now prevails in Irak.
This is a movie that hawks and doves alike can benefit from watching and one in which they may even find common ground in the process. I say this because the film does not take up the question of the whether or not the war was a good idea; rather, it focuses on how policy for the occupation was planned, implemented and managed. In this regard, it is the opposite of a Michael Moore style film which is typically more polemical and theatrical than factual. Ferguson's brings a wonkish attention to detail and chronology and chain of command.
In lieu of editorializing on these topics himself, Ferguson lets us hear the direct testimony of many people who were involved in the reconstruction effort. His interview subjects include military and civilian members of the Bush administration's team. While most of these people were highly placed people reporting directly to the likes of Bremer, Slocumb, Rumsfeld and Kinseki, some of them are also grunts who served on the ground. The story they tell is alternately unbelievable and infuriating, and it will give you pause no matter what your overall position on the war may be.
Interspersed with these American interviews are also Irakis whose individual perspectives are revealed to be as complex and nuanced as their collective plight is so poignant as to defy our ability to adequately gauge the depths of their disappointment over what has transpired.
If you haven't already seen this film; I urge you to rent it, watch it and let it work on you.
K

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