Wednesday, May 14, 2008

No End In Sight

No End In Sight (Charles Ferguson, 2007) [7]
Because it has no political axe to grind, No End In Sight is being seen as the more levelheaded of all the Iraq documentaries. It may also have to do as much with style as substance. Ferguson crafts a film straight-forward in its goals and executions without a any loud, partisan tactics. It's this textbook like approach to the film, laying out all its information very succinctly, that will get it called non-partisan. But it also makes it a bit lackluster. For a film that documents all the catastrophic blunders and arrogance of those in the Bush Administration that concocted the Iraq War, it should make me feel a bit more outraged. Instead, it comes out as a depressed resignation that it's a situation that we're (I'm referring to the American public in the collective we) stuck in for quite a long time. Ferguson doesn't handle any of the ideological ideas behind going into the war but instead sticks to what happens after the move for war was made. Without going into a laundry list, it's a series of mistakes and reckless action by those in the Bush administration (Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz) that ended up causing a cavalcade of problems in Iraq that should have been avoided. What's most interesting is that the top of the Defense department, more than likely with Cheney's assistance, overrode every red flag raised by others like the State department and their own generals. Ferguson interviews key figures in the planning of the occupation who tell of blunders like de-Baathifiqation and dissolving the Iraqi army, which subsequently led to the collapse of any infrastructure and helped embolden the insurgency. It paints a picture of key figures in the administration as either so blindly arrogant or so incredibly incompetent that it should be appalling to every American. The sad conclusion of the film is that this is really everything that most everyone should already know. Instead of attempting to ask or give some answers, Ferguson cops out and gives a recap montage that is the film's only weak spot in terms of construction. It is weak enough that it causes the film not to be as strong of a statement that it could have been. But then again, if you needed this film to change your position on the war, things may be just as bad as I think they are.

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