(2007) dir. Charles Ferguson
“I don’t do quagmires” — Donald Rumsfeld
Iraq is not a quagmire. Iraq is a disaster of mammoth proportions. Charles Ferguson’s documentary No End in Sight details the missteps that the Bush administration made in their war against Iraq and the resulting occupation. It’s damning. These people have created a situation that is an utter atrocity, a complete destruction of a country under the guise of good, which is an utter lie.
Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, George W. Bush, Paul Bremer. The asinine leadership that sought out this war with Iraq, sought to bring down Saddam Hussein, ignored the intelligence available to them from the people in their organization who had experience in occupation, in the Middle East, in rebuilding, in arming and preparing the military, giving direction, and lived in insane denial of the worsening reality of the situation there. There are others in the organization, in the Bush White House, who were enmeshed in the rank idiocy of major decision-making about the post-war Iraq. The film doesn’t even go into questioning the raw greed and corruption that led to the decision-making, it simply shows how the people who knew the right things to do were ignored.
The people that speak in the film are largely people who were directly involved in the military or are reporters who were in Iraq during a great deal of these events. Paul Hughes, General Jay Garner, and others clearly deliniate the outrageous political decisions, as they roundly argued against the choices.
Rumsfeld looks the greatest buffoon, shown in press conferences, gabbing in denial about the worsening situation. Bremer is not shown speaking but his decision to disband the Iraqi military was perhaps the worst decision, or at least one of the most devastating decisions made, without so much as one iota of experience behind him. And the history of the relationship with Iraq, while not gone into in great detail, is also damning to the people in the administration. Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowits, Colin Powell,…were all there in the elder George Bush’s administration when the first Iraq invasion happened 10 years before. The same group of leaders, with more power, seeking…who knows?
And the relationship with Hussein in the 1980’s, there is a photo shown of Rumsfeld smilingly shaking Hussein’s hand. That the U.S. government, under the Reagan administration, supported Iraq in opposition to Iran, even though they knew that Hussein was using chemical weapons on his own people.
Hypocrisy, stupidity, outright criminality.
I have been thinking a lot lately about how completely destructive the Bush adminstration has been, not simply in Iraq, which it has brought to its knees in their inept handling of the “rebuilding” of Iraq, but across in so much of the rest of the world, not to mention the internal damage their management of the United States. The long term damage, the cultivation of Islamic extremists and well-founded hatred for the United States, the country that destroyed their nation. It’s brutal. What are we going to do? Why aren’t we rioting in the streets and calling for their heads on posts?
This film tries to stick to the facts about the failures and about the resulting situation. It is no quagmire. It’s a grandiose disaster, one still ongoing, one whose effects will be felt for decades to come.