Deadly Decisions; A Devastating New Documentary Traces the Course of the Bush Administration's Massive Missteps in Iraq

By Ansen, David | Newsweek International, August 6, 2007 | Go to article overview

Deadly Decisions; A Devastating New Documentary Traces the Course of the Bush Administration's Massive Missteps in Iraq


Ansen, David, Newsweek International


Byline: David Ansen

Lucidly, dramatically and without resorting to partisan rhetoric, Charles Ferguson's not-to-be-missed documentary "No End in Sight" lays out in convincing, appalling detail the disastrous missteps of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. The magnitude of the errors perpetrated by the Bush administration--a lethal combination of ignorance, incompetence, arrogance, bad or nonexistent planning, cronyism and naivete--can make you weep with anger. We hear about the many jobs in Iraq handed to the sons of Bush campaign donors, and of the young woman, fresh out of college, who is put in charge of managing all traffic in chaotic Baghdad--despite having no experience studying traffic control or speaking Arabic.

These examples would almost be funny were they not a microcosm of all the bad edicts that emanated from Washington. Those decisions were made by a small cadre--Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Condoleeza Rice and the president, all of whom declined to be interviewed for the film--that had no military experience, ignored all the advance planning by the State Department, failed to listen to those on the ground in Iraq and valued loyalty to their ideology above all else.

Thirty-five people are interviewed in the film, including retired Gen. Jay Garner, who briefly ran the reconstruction before being replaced by L. Paul Bremer, and Ambassador Barbara Bodine, who was placed in charge of the city of Baghdad, where she had to start from scratch in an office that didn't even have phones. Former deputy secretary of State Richard Armitage also makes an appearance, as does New Yorker writer George Packer and a clearly bitter Robert Hutchings, chairman of the National Intelligence Council, who is convinced that Bush did not even read the one-page summation of an intelligence report on the worsening situation that his committee submitted to the White House. …

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