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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good but needed more questions
This is a very good documentary as the previous reviewer said, it shows the incompetence of the Bush administration. One wonders how the hell these guys can stay in power. However the one criticism is that i think it would have been useful to ask the questions why were the admin so incompetent, why did they make mistakes? was it just plain arrogance or was it on purpose...
Published on 25 Jan 2008 by frannieflute

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars misses the real point entirely
This film, although kind of worth seeing for its depiction of the mess that is post invasion Iraq, puts a lot of emphasis on the 'incompetence' of the Bush camp, and all of their 'mistakes' in post invasion Iraq. It doesn't call into question the crime of going to war in the first place but seems to in some way excuse this by ignoring it and pursuing a 'What went wrong'...
Published on 18 July 2008 by Tom Jam


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good but needed more questions, 25 Jan 2008
This is a very good documentary as the previous reviewer said, it shows the incompetence of the Bush administration. One wonders how the hell these guys can stay in power. However the one criticism is that i think it would have been useful to ask the questions why were the admin so incompetent, why did they make mistakes? was it just plain arrogance or was it on purpose ie if you read about 'the project of the new american century' and 'the grand chessboard'neither of which were mentioned in the film. It seems very plausible that such incompetence was deliberate. Hence an Iraq that would descend into chaos was intended to ensure that the US could maintain their strategic dominance, could plunder Iraq's oil reserves re: see 'Iraq For Sale'. So more anaylsis would have been useful to include.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Documentary - Must see, 23 Jun 2009
This review is from: No End In Sight [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
If you were to be asked to explain what know about what has happened in Iraq since the invasion from US & Coalition forces, what would your answer be? Probably chaos, civil war, violence or disorder would be some of the words you choose. But the real question is: How did it end up being this way? Who made what decisions that caused the situation to escalate to an unexplainable disaster and a humanitarian crisis? This question is being investigated in the 2007 documentary 'No End in Sight'.

The film focuses on the 2 year period following the invasion of Iraq in. It 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 (and continues to be), the risk of complete civil war.

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). 35 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 interviewed are:

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 and Col. Paul Hughes, who worked in the ORHA and then the CPA

This documentary is so fascinating and mind-boggling, you must have seen it to believe what happened in Iraq and what was never reported on mainstream media. The film won many awards incl. Special Jury Price at Sundance Fim Festival, National Society of Film Critics awards and many others - It even was nominated for an Oscar in 2007 as Best Documentary.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars misses the real point entirely, 18 July 2008
This film, although kind of worth seeing for its depiction of the mess that is post invasion Iraq, puts a lot of emphasis on the 'incompetence' of the Bush camp, and all of their 'mistakes' in post invasion Iraq. It doesn't call into question the crime of going to war in the first place but seems to in some way excuse this by ignoring it and pursuing a 'What went wrong' line in analysing the post invasion. This film talks a lot of the lack of military experience of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush et al. The idea that many have that America would be there for the long run as long as the outcome is American domination of the oil in Iraq seems to me to be missing in this film and is crucial to any analysis of invasion and post invasion plans. (and I don't think that any quick outcome from expert military tactics but which resulted in a peaceful government which was in charge of their own oil without American domination is their objective).
Leaving unquestioned the motivations of the invasion (many would argue oil and big business, and which are of course necessary to investigate in an analysis of post invasion strategy) means that the casual uninformed American and western observer fed on westerm media would think that the supposed aims of 'freedom' and 'democracy for Iraq' have been destroyed or set back by 'incompetence'. This seems like a very small bitter pill for the administration to swallow as so many are against the war, and I'm sure they would rather be seen as 'incompetent' rather than criminal. As the US are building their bases there and securing domination of the oil I wonder if pursuing the (supposed) 'what went wrong' line is really just another smokescreen.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best doc you'll see on the war in Iraq, 11 April 2008
By 
add286 (Merseyside) - See all my reviews
This is brilliant. Watching this, there are times where your jaw is pretty much on the floor in shock at the level of incompetence of this American administration. I think the genius of it is that it body swerves the debate about whether it was right to go into Iraq, instead concentrating on how the war could have been won. The sheer amount of mistakes is mind boggling, as is the overall lack of planning and communication.

Some of the footage is also extremely powerful. One of the scenes that disturbed me was an Iraqi father wailing that his four children had been kidnapped. Another showed civilians (private military contractors brought in because there wasn't enough soldiers in the first place) shooting at cars for no reason at all listening to Elvis. Sounds mad, doesn't it? I won't go into details, this is one of those films you should watch for yourself.

The documentary is also nicely non-partisan especially in comparison with Michael Moore's stuff. There isn't a direct narrative voice running through it, judging the proceedings. The narrative instead is told by the interviewees themselves, giving it more weight. The interviews include administration officials directly under Rumsfeld, Powell and co both in the U.S.A and Iraq, as well as marines, Colonols and Generals, Iraqi people and politicians, U.N officials etc...There's a good scale of honest and frank opinion, thats often quite damning. You just think if some those opinions were taken on board by Bremner and Rumsfeld, Iraq might not be the mess it is now. However, hindsight is a wonderful thing I suppose....

All in all a brilliant and thought provoking film. The only criticism I can make is that perhaps it could have gone further in its examination on the real reasons why some decisions were made. Was it really just imcompetence or was it deliberate? If it was deliberate, the case for war crimes against humanity appears even stronger...
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ..., 5 Feb 2008
By 
Mr. J. Fraser (Kelso, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This was was of the most disturbing things i've ever watched. I definately recommend it to everybody. I apologise for the brief nature of this review but i'm still a little lost for words as i've just finished watching it on TV.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthy of your attention, 23 Jan 2008
The script to Charles Ferguson's "No End in Sight" will certainly be in the hands of the prosecutors in the event of impeachment hearings. It's a furious, justified, if quietly stated, indictment of the president and all his men in the shameful debacle that is Iraq. Ferguson builds a compelling case of bad judgment, error, stubbornness and arrogance.

It's also, most impressively, an evocation of that horror. It assembles archival films into an evocative cascade of imagery from the war: The tanks pulling through the dusty, ancient towns, the young Americans scooting through the ruins in their Terminator shades, optics-festooned plastic rifles, the detonation of roadside bombs and, of course, the talking heads, that is, if they'll talk at all. (Paul Wolfowitz, L. Paul Bremer and Donald Rumsfeld and some of the other complicit lunatic fringe wouldn't; all however, are represented in archival footage.)

Ferguson, a Brookings Institution scholar and software entrepreneur, has rounded up mostly mid-level bureaucrats who served in the occupation and watched in horror as the chaos doubled and redoubled. They form an effective set of witnesses because they don't seem instinctively anti-Bush. To be sure, some of the complaints are common to all bureaucracies: My supervisors didn't pay any attention to me; they made policy based on unrealistic wishful thinking; they wouldn't admit mistakes; they blundered ahead, going from bad to worse. A little scholarly learning of American History (such as can be found in Howard Zinn's 'A People's History of the United States') would have helped these people to better understand the motives of their masters.

The case everybody makes seems pretty tight, and Ferguson keeps it simple. He zeroes in on three decisions Bremer made, seemingly on the spot, the most disastrous of which was to disband the Iraqi Army. Suddenly there are 500,000 men armed with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades with nothing to do, no way to make a living. The chaos in Iraq seems almost preordained from that single decision. Most of the witnesses say that they warned Bremer against the short-sightedness of the decision but that he wouldn't listen. However, there is no informed thought or commentary on why he wouldn't listen.

In all this, Bush is portrayed not as a master manipulator, nor as Karl Rove's sock puppet, but as a man truly disengaged. It's distressing to learn that the president didn't even bother to read a one-page summary of arguments regarding a certain policy decision, but simply allowed Defense Secretary Rumsfeld to decide.

Overall, the American Politicians and sabre-rattlers are portrayed as irresponsible and/or unaware of the consequences of their appalling decisions. These decisions are presented as 'mistakes'. There is however, plenty of historical evidence to suggest that they were and indeed, still are applying tried & tested methods of hegemony such as were used in other theaters like South Vietnam and Korea.

It's a good documentary, a little naive and forgiving perhaps but informative enough to be worthy of your attention.
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4.0 out of 5 stars In-depth, Oscar-nominated documentary from Charles Ferguson, 2 Mar 2012
This review is from: No End In Sight [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
This in-depth, Oscar-nominated documentary from filmmaker (and former Brookings Institution fellow) Charles Ferguson examines the decisions that led to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and the handling of the subsequent occupation by President George W. Bush and his administration. Featuring exclusive interviews with central players and detailed analysis, the film pulls no punches as it chronicles the twists and turns America took on the path to war. It describes some of the major mistakes that the Bush administration did before and during the war in Iraq, both in the planning and the execution of the operations. This is a penetrating j'accuse of the key players who had no idea where they were going, to where they were going, and what was involved in occupying a large and hostile Arab state.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply brilliant, 18 July 2011
By 
Declan Edge (Dublin 24, Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: No End In Sight [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
Having read much material on the Middle East and in particular Iraq (The Great War for Civilisation by R Fisk, Fiasco and The Gamble by T Ricks) I found this DVD fantastic. An absolute must for those interested in the disaster that was and is Iraq. From administrators who had no chairs or pencils, to museums being looted, this truly covers every angle of the conflict and the disasterous decisions/incompetence which has led to this bloody mess we see today.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing documentary, 2 Feb 2010
By 
Jeremy Ray - See all my reviews
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This review is from: No End In Sight [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
I have watched this many times over by now and still find it moving, powerful and convincing. This documentary is what I would imagine Imperial Life in the Emerald City be like as a film - an eye opening contribution to the reporting on this tragic conflict.
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