NO END IN SIGHT is a documentary film that focuses on the two year period following the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. The film asserts that serious mistakes made by the Bush administration during that time were the cause of ensuing problems in Iraq, such as the rise of the insurgency, a lack of security and basic utilities for many Iraqis, sectarian violence and, at one point, the risk of complete civil war.
The documentary does initially touch upon other aspects prior to the reconstruction. One mis-assumption that Bush made was that the Shi'ites (forming a 60% majority of the population) would welcome the invaders. This premise seems to arise from the fact that in 1991, after the end of the Persian Gulf War and encouraged by President George H. W. Bush, the Shi'ites rebelled against Saddam Hussein. However, despite heavy losses from the Gulf War, Hussein's remaining forces crushed the rebellion. The US did not offer any support to the rebels at the time, nor did the US stop the Iraqi government troops. Another issue in the 2003 invasion was the number of troops that were to be sent. Donald Rumsfeld estimated that the job would take half of the number of troops that Colin Powell and other US Army Generals had requested, but Rumsfeld essentially had his way as he enjoyed more support within the George W. Bush administration than Powell.
NO END IN SIGHT is a 2007 documentary film about the American occupation of Iraq. The film marks the directorial debut of political scientist and former software entrepreneur Charles H. Ferguson. The film premiered January 22, 2007 at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. The film opened in limited release in the United States on July 27, 2007, playing in 2 theaters. As of December 2007, the film had grossed $1.4 million, and had been released on DVD.[
To a large extent the film consists of interviews with the people who were involved in the initial Iraqi occupation authority and the ORHA (the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, later replaced by the CPA, the Coalition Provisional Authority). Thirty-five people are interviewed, many of them former Bush loyalists who have since become disillusioned by what they experienced at the time. In particular, many of those interviewed claim that the inexperience of the core members of the Bush administration — and their refusal to seek, acknowledge or accept input from more experienced outsiders — was at the root of the disastrous occupation effort.
AMONG THOSE INTERVIEWEDARE:
* General Jay Garner, who briefly ran the reconstruction before being replaced by L. Paul Bremer
* Ambassador Barbara Bodine, who was placed in charge of the Baghdad embassy
* Richard Armitage, former deputy secretary of the State Department
* Robert Hutchings, former chairman of the National Intelligence Council
* Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell's former chief of staff
* Col. Paul Hughes, who worked in the ORHA and then the CPA
* Marc Garlasco
THERE WERE THREE ESPECIALLY GRAVE MISTAKES MADE BY PAUL BREMER, THE HEAD OF THE CPA:
* A move toward "De-Ba'athification" in the early stages of the occupation, as Bremer considered members disloyal. Saddam Hussein's ruling Ba'ath Party counted as its members a huge majority of Iraq's governmental employees, including educational officials and some teachers, as it was not possible to attain such positions unless one had membership. By order of the CPA, these skilled and often apolitical individuals were banned from holding any positions in Iraq's new government.
* Not providing enough troops to maintain order, so martial law was not established after the country was conquered. The ORHA had identified at least 20 crucial government buildings and cultural sites in Bagdad, but ending up only the oil ministry was guarded. With no police force or national army to maintain order, ministries and buildings were looted for their desks, tables, chairs, phones, and computers. Among these pillaged were Iraqi museums, containing priceless artifacts from some of the earliest human civilizations, which No End in Sight suggested had sent chilling signals to the average Iraqi that the American forces did not intend to maintain law and order. The destruction of libraries and records
, in combination with the "De-Ba'athification" had ruined the bureaucracy that existed prior to the US invasion. ORHA staff reported that they had to start from scratch to rebuilt the government infrastructure. Rumsfeld initially dismissed the widespread looting as no worse than rioting in a major American city.
* The disbanding of the Iraqi Army, against the advice of the US military, which made 500,000 young men unemployed. The US army had wanted the Iraqi troops retained as they knew the locals and could maintain order, but Bremer refused as he felt that they could be disloyal. However, many former Iraqi soldiers then decided that their best chance for a future, many with extended families to support, was to join a militia force. The huge arms depots were available for pillaging by anyone who wanted weapons and explosives, so the former Iraqi soldiers converged on the military stockpiles. The US did known about the location of weapon caches but said that they lacked the troops to secure them; ironically these arms would later be used against the Americans and new Iraqi government forces.
The film cites these three mistakes as the primary causes of the rapid deterioration of occupied Iraq into chaos, as the collapse of the government bureaucracy and army resulted in a lack of authority and order. It was the Islamic fundamentalists that moved to fill this void, so their ranks swelled with many disillusioned Iraqi people. The documentary also notes that during reconstruction, the US shunned Ba'ath officials and relied upon Ahmed Chalabi instead, someone who they later realized could not be trusted. Chalabi was said to have taken advantage of US resources to eliminate political opponents. One of these interviewed suggested that the main beneficiary of the Iraq invasion was neighbouring Iran. Prior to the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, Iraq and Iran were enemies and so kept each other in check. Indeed, some suggested that Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction were mainly to intimedate Iran, which explained why Saddam was not forthcoming with UN inspectors. Saddam's fall left Iran more powerful in the region. It also did not help that they elected a hardliner who was anti-Western, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who went on to allegedly produce their own weapons of mass destruction.
TOP TEN LISTS
This film appeared on many critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2007.
* 1st - Stephen Hunter, The Washington Post
* 3rd - Ty Burr, The Boston Globe
* 5th - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
* 5th - Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly
* 6th - Dana Stevens, Slate
* 6th - Marc Mohan, The Oregonian
* 6th - Michael Sragow, The Baltimore Sun
* 6th - Rene Rodriguez, The Miami Herald
* 7th - Marc Savlov, The Austin Chronicle
* 7th - Richard Corliss, TIME magazine
* 8th - Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post
* 8th - Peter Rainer, The Christian Science Monitor
* 9th - Carrie Rickey, The Philadelphia Inquirer
* 9th - Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
* 10th - Scott Foundas, LA Weekly (tied with Redacted and The Wind That Shakes the Barley)
* 10th - Stephanie Zacharek, Salon (tied with Redacted)
Apr 10, 2009, 19:02:41
Number of files