March 23, 2010

No End in Sight (Charles Ferguson, 2007)

WHAT IT IS: A documentary exploring the decision-making process which led to the present situation in Irak, with an all-out insurgence and no end in sight to the fighting.

HOW IT IS: Engrossing, No End In Sight Is a very powerful film. The storytelling is top-notch, its elements unfolding progressively and with ease during its screening. It also does a splendid job of establishing that the situation in Irak was never due to a bad will or lack of motivation from the majority of the people involved (and we often and unjustly try to vilify the Americans in the international community for being as powerful as they are) but rather linked to the oblivious nepotism and criminal-like bad management of the Bush administration.

And to me, that’s exactly what the crisis boils down to: a lack of management. Although they were Americans in Irak willing to help and give their all to bring Irak out of its temporary chaos, their orders were often counter-productive to this end result and were dictated by men who, firstly, had never experienced the situation and had willingly ignored the mountains of intelligence supplied to them by their own intelligence services, but, secondly, had an ulterior motive for invading Irak. When 1500 years of knowledge and artifacts are lost to looters because no one had the personnel to defend them, but Irak’s Ministry of Oil is almost immediately put under guard, that says a lot about the reasons behind the Irak occupation. It is deplorable but not surprising that politicians would govern this way; what is more deplorable is that these decisions cost human lives and destroyed livelihoods.

NO END IN SIGHT is important, infuriating and moving. It shows that documentaries hold an essential place in our society where there exists almost no investigative journalism, and we are all immersed in a Reuters/AP world.

IF YOU LIKED: The Fog of War, Standard Operating Procedure.

NOTABLE QUOTE: 'We will bring to the Iraki people food and medecines and supplies... and freedom!'