Saturday, September 15, 2007

"No End in Sight" See it.

Middle East Conflict Intensifies As Blah Blah Blah, Etc. Etc.’ This headline ran last April in the satirical weekly, The Onion. The story described President Bush’s efforts to boost public support of “whatever the fuck it is he thinks he's doing, [by trotting ] out the same old whoop-de-do you've heard over and over . . . .”

We have heard it over and over. We’ve watched scenes of bloodshed and suffering in Iraq to the point of misery fatigue. So you might suppose that the latest Iraq documentary “No End in Sight,” will meet with viewer resistance – despite having won the Documentary Prize at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.

I’m betting otherwise. I’ve already told all my friends that they must go see it. No excuses. Just do it. Strong word-of-mouth, that’s called, and it will propel “No End in Sight” out of any “oh no, not another Iraq documentary” doldrums

“No End in Sight” is a clear-headed and devastating indictment of the foreign policy disaster that is America’s ongoing occupation of Iraq. Like the political science professor he once was, filmmaker Charles Ferguson makes a succinct and tightly reasoned argument that emphasizes analysis over polemic.

But for all its dispassionate, policy wonk rigor, “No End in Sight” will break your heart. It did mine. Never mind what I thought I knew about the Iraq disaster, I left the theater stunned by the devastation we have inflicted on this ancient, traditional civilization.

“No End in Sight” contends that Iraq’s insurgency chaos is a consequence of deliberate policy choices made by a small inner circle: George Bush, Dick Cheney, Condelezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld..

Step by persuasive step, Ferguson outlines precisely what happened, how it happened, and who, specifically, is responsible. Then – this is the tragic part -- he makes a compelling case that it could have been different. Would have been different, if not for the criminal arrogance and willful ignorance of the President’s war cabal.

From their secure perch in Washington, these would-be paladins felt free to override the urgent communiques of several Iraq-based generals, the Ambassador, the Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, and anyone else who counseled the need for nation-building.

Ferguson deftly enlists Administration spokesmen to testify against themselves, showing news clip after news clip in which they utter stupefying remarks. Remember Rumsfeld’s “Stuff happens”? In one chilling frame, the chief architects of the war are lined up abreast like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death.

Watching the film, I imagined what I would do with these perpetrators if they were my hostages for two hours. I could think of no more fitting punishment than to tie them in chairs and make them watch “No End in Sight.”

No comments: