No End in Sight (2007)

(director/writer: Charles Ferguson; cinematographer: Antonio Rossi; editors: Chad Beck/Cindy Lee; music: Peter Nashel; cast: Campbell Scott (Narrator); Runtime: 102; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Charles Ferguson/Jennie Amias/Jessie Vogelson; Magnolia Pictures; 2007)
“It’s a film that only begins to take baby steps in telling what went wrong and how insane it is to stick with such a bad war policy.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A comedy of errors documentary about “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight” who by their sociopathic lying, having no vision, showing an arrogance and unwillingness to listen to other points of view, have gotten America sucked into an unwinnable and unmanageable war with no end in sight. The Iraqi war has gone on longer than WW2, cost the lives of over 3,000 American soldiers and over 20,000 wounded, caused the deaths to some million Iraqi civilians and its failed policies led to the ethnic cleansing of the country through a civil war between rival Moslem groups, caused the exile of over three million Iraqis to foreign soil, the ruin and destruction of that country’s infra-structure and culture through allowing the looting of its national museum and its arsenal supplies, and it comes at a cost to the American people of over a trillion dollars. This finger pointing damning documentary by Charles Ferguson, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, in his filmmaking debut, offers a belated history lesson of the Iraq war’s mismanagement by an incompetent and possibly “evil” President George W. Bush, a war criminal if ever there was one, and the bad people who ran the war and its aftermath: Vice President Cheney, Defense Secretary Rumseld, Rumseld’s hardline neo-con assistant Paul Wolfowitz, national security adviser Rice and a cowardly secretary of state Colin Powell-supposedly arguing in private against the war but in public appearing loyal to the war effort.

It’s basically a refresher course on the ill-advised war and how it went wrong from the very beginning by an ill-prepared President and his close insiders, and how every move made by the President was a bad one. It would be a riot if it weren’t so tragic and these characters running things weren’t so hard to stomach. If you don’t know by now that the situation in Iraq, Surge or whatever, is hopeless and beyond repair, you must be in denial, have a defect in your character, be a staunch Republican supporter of Bush’s stupidity, or a timid Democrat afraid of being called out by Bush’s hate monger followers for being a “cut and runner.”

It’s not great filmmaking or does it cover all angles of what went amiss, but at least it puts something out there in clear, calm and unbiased terms for the people to see for themselves what a mess the country is in because of such poor leadership. It does a nice job in pointing out the disaster that followed when the arrogant, inept and inexperienced L. Paul Bremer was appointed by the President to run the post-war Iraq and initiated three deadly policies: firstly providing no interim Iraqi government, secondly the de–Ba’athification of the country and thirdly the disbandment of the regular Iraqi army. The last act led to wide looting, insurrection, IED attacks against Americans and finally into the country’s complete disarray and chaos. Throughout there’s the pompous Rumsfeld thinking he’s so smart, as in newsreel clips he wise cracks with sound bites at press conferences making light of all the tragedies befalling the country America is occupying and seemingly enjoying himself being in the spotlight. It’s a film that only begins to take baby steps in telling what went wrong and how insane it is to stick with such a bad war policy, and doesn’t even begin to touch on all the false reasons America went to war.