Drop everything and RUN, don’t walk, to the nearest theater showing Charles Ferguson’s No End in Sight. You probably think, like I did, that you have some idea of what’s going on in Iraq, mess and all, what brought it about and what’s being done about it. Trust me, you have no idea. I know I didn’t and kept shaking my head in disbelief as I sat transfixed through the harrowing 100 minutes of the documentary.
No End in Sight is no splashy, Michael Moore-style indictment of an inept administration. It is a sober, level-headed month-by-month, year-by-year look at the terrible loss of life and the destruction wrought by irresponsible top officials who had decided to make Saddam Hussein pay for Sept 11. That all national and international intelligence showed him to be innocent of that crime if guilty of many, many others didn’t count in view of the determination to take him down.
Charles Ferguson, a scholar with Brookings, uses long interviews with the military at the highest level, with State Department and CIA officials, with journalists, with Iraqis, who all go over the innumerable mistakes, the thoroughly incompetent handling of events, the lack of preparation for the invasion as well as its aftermath. He splices in images of the ongoing war and insurgency, of the delusional victory bulletins of Administration officials, amazing in view of the bloodshed, the chaos, and the present disintegration of Iraq as well as the terrible toll on so many American families.
Barbara Bodine who was ambassador to Baghdad in the spring of 2003 says at one point that if there were 500 ways of doing things wrong and two or three of doing things right, “we went through the 500.” The result is heartbreaking. Also disheartening is the thought that, once this Administration takes its leave, the smug individuals responsible for the carnage and for having created an abominable image of America through the world, with dire ongoing consequences for years to come, will slink off to private life, to fly-fishing—sorry, hunting, with demonstrated incompetence even in that. No one will hold them accountable. They will rake in royalties from writing their memoirs and will look back on what they will go on considering their proudest hour.