No End in Sight is a very important documentary that premiered last year at Sundance and is no available on DVD.
No End is Sight, while frequently critical of the way the Bush administration has handled the war in Iraq tells the story with much more honesty, details, integrity, and finesse that Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 .
The film is written, produced, and directed by Charles Ferguson (pictured right). Ferguson could potentially be the most intelligent director to have made a film in 2007. Ferguson received his Ph.D. in political science from M.I.T. in 1989. He then went on to do post-doctoral research as well as provided consultation to the white house, department of defense, and companies like Apple, Xerox, and Texas Instruments. All before founding Vermeer Technologies which created the program Front Page prior to selling the company to Microsoft. And now he's been nominated for an Oscar for No End In Sight.
Who is this guy?
The film is powerful and really help lay out some history and the events behind what is and has been going on in Iraq with some important interviews that especially help outline some of the failures of the United States government in it's initial and on-going occupation efforts.
The film's main criticisms are specific and mainly directed (but not limited to) decisions by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and L. Paul Bremer.
Rumsfeld is specifically criticized for his poor coordination of ORHA (the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance) and later the CPA (the Coalition Provisional Authority), as well as his shady dealings and representation of the war, specifically as it influenced American perception of the situation and the needs for troops in reconstruction.
L. Paul Bremer was the Director of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, for just over a year in 2003 and 2004. Yet watching this film, you almost feel like his poor decisions warrant him being charged for war crimes for his unilateral decision making regarding "De-Ba'athification, not providing enough troops and specifically disbanding the Iraqi army.
To say that this film is pro-war/anti-war is impossible, because when it comes down to it, the Iraqi-situation as shown in this film is something so unique, that while troops and military seem essential, their "war" role is portrayed as far less important than their reconstruction and peace keeping role.
How To Respond?
I don't really know how to respond to this film. As a documentary I enjoyed and recommended it.
As an American, it's hard to know how to respond. It's so heartbreaking to get what I have to believe is a true look at the real Baghdad/Iraq situation. There are scenes where you believe the journalist and Iraqi's that describe a regime under Saddam Hussein as life under "little Satan" but their current life is under control of "big Satan."
This film makes me disappointed in American leadership. I was already critical of many of the decisions made by the Bush administration along the way, especially by Bush and Rumsfeld, so the groundwork for my beliefs were already there, but this film only fueled the fire.
It certainly makes me even more curious as to how upcoming white house leaders (whether McCain, Obama or Clinton) will lead America, Iraq, and the world through this ongoing situation/conflict/war/tragedy.'
You watch this film and you feel informed, but powerless. "What can I do?" I find myself asking. I wish there was a tangible way to provide humanitarian aid to the people of Iraq who in despair find hope in religious fundamentalism, rebel groups, violence, and hate.
If I watch the film and find myself asking "where is the hope?" I imagine the Sunni and Shiite Muslims ask the same question, but for them it is not a question of theory, but a question that drives their every waking decision.
What about those formerly in the Ba'ath party or the military? What about people's who lives have been destroyed by rioting, violence, and destruction of life and property? What about women and children who's husbands have been imprisoned and are left with nothing?
I don't know how to respond. Director/Producer/Genius Charles Ferguson laid out this film with such care and yet there are no simple outlines lined out in the end credits. No simple solutions. There's no message of buy this product, or donate to this cause, or vote for this leader.
If you've seen this film, what was your conclusions on seeing it, how should we respond.
If you haven't seen this film, see it...I believe it's 100 minutes well spent. To begin to understand something so important that is shaping our world.