Sunday, August 12, 2007

No End in Sight (the film)

I spent the weekend in Portland with fellow members of Gold Star Families Speak Out, Annette, Michelle, Mark & Steve. It's good to get together with other Gold Star friends; we, who have lost a loved one in war. There are lots of hugs, stories and tears, not necessarily in that order.

No one gets nervous when we talk about our loved ones and Ken, William and David were topic one this weekend. It feels good to be with people who share the same politics and who understand and share each other's loss.

All of us continue to speak out in our communities, so we're pretty much on the same wavelength. On Thursday night, Mark picked me up at the airport and we dashed over to a theater in downtown Portland and met up for a screening of the documentary "No End in Sight" sponsored by KPOJ. 2 hosts from the morning show, Heidi Tauber & Carl Wolfson, hosted the evening. While the attendance was small and somewhat disappointing, the audience members who attended saw an excellent film by first time filmmaker Charles Ferguson. I highly recommend you put this film at the top of your "must see" list of films this summer. It is in limited distribution, but well worth the viewing. The San Jose Mercury News says:

No End In Sight" is not an ideological rant like Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11," and it has none of that film's cheap-shot provocations. The movie doesn't draw conclusions for you, but the one that seems almost inescapable — that this wasn't merely bungling, but arrogance and incompetence on a grand scale — feels even more scalding because of Ferguson's presentational style.

From the Sundance Film Festival, Caroline Libresco says:

Ferguson's surgical analysis of the way the U.S. government sparked disaster in Iraq is riveting, information packed, and airtight. In his capable hands, the situation has never been so transparently clear, which makes it even more shocking and tragic.
There were 4 Gold Star Families in attendance, so it affected us more than most. When we view a film like this, you can't help but remember where your loved one was on that day, or when that incident happened. I was reminded that my son, Ken left for Iraq on May 12, 2003, the same day that L. Paul Bremer arrived in Baghdad; 2 different men beginning 2 different journeys. Travis Bradach's uncle John was in the audience and had to watch Bush say "Bring 'em on" again and remember that was the very day that Travis was killed. I couldn't help but think that non-military members would e viewing this film with a much different perspective.

While the film was difficult to watch for it's revelations of the incredible incompetence and arrogance of members of the Bush administration. The balance were the true heroes who were interviewed. Gen Jay Garner, Ambassador Barbara Bodine, Major General Paul Eaton, Lt Seth Moulden and Col Paul Hughes still seem dumbfounded that their expertise was not only not valued, but pushed aside to make way for the administrations rush to war and victory in this insane invasion.

Paul Hughes admitted that "there are nights that I don't sleep very well". Sir, welcome to my world.

Insiders tale of wholesale incompetence, recklessness and venality. Based on over 200 hours of footage, the film provides a candid retelling of the events following the fall of Baghdad in 2003 by high ranking officials such as former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, Ambassador Barbara Bodine (in charge of Baghdad during the Spring of 2003), Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell, and General Jay Garner (in charge of the occupation of Iraq through May 2003) as well as Iraqi civilians, American soldiers, and prominent analysts. NO END IN SIGHT examines the manner in which the principal errors of U.S. policy – the use of insufficient troop levels, allowing the looting of Baghdad, the purging of professionals from the Iraqi government, and the disbanding of the Iraqi military – largely created the insurgency and chaos that engulf Iraq today. How did a group of men with little or no military experience, knowledge of the Arab world or personal experience in Iraq come to make such flagrantly debilitating decisions? NO END IN SIGHT dissects the people, issues and facts behind the Bush Administration’s decisions and their consequences on the ground to provide a powerful look into how arrogance and ignorance turned a military victory into a seemingly endless and deepening nightmare of a war.


Chancelucky said...

there was a very nice interview of the guy behind No End in Sight on a couple weeks ago.

My friend Mr. Pogblog told me that she was taking Bart followed by multiple busses to see the thing in San Francisco as well last Friday.

I recently read the GAO report that discusses the way they lost 190,000 assault weapons that were being shipped to Iraqi troops and police a couple years ago. The Americans involved had no way to track the movement of the weapons. They never even had serial numbers.

So, yeah, the incompetence is the truly scary thing about this war.

pogblog said...

It was the charred, kicked look in their eyes when they recall their utter helplessness in staunching the incredible delusional incompetences. Like in Katrina, nothing gets better. Lives are fractured and Mr. Bush "sleeps fine."