Monday, November 05, 2007

The most inept that ever stepped

When you watch No End in Sight, a movie about decision-making in the lead-up and early days of the Iraq invasion, have some thing of small value at hand, because you will feel the need to smash something. While the movie will not tell anything new to the readers of such books as the Assassin's Gate or Fiasco, there is great value in hearing these people speak and seeing the disbelief in their eyes. The documentary format allows for powerful contrasts between the flippant press comments of Sec. Rumsfeld and the reality on the ground.

The central point the movie makes is that the main decision makers ignored the intelligence community (although it fails to mention that Douglas Feith's people in OSD went out and got their own intelligence when they didn't like what the CIA, DIA and others had to say) and the subject matter experts in the State Department and made decisions based on a fantasy-land, best-case scenario. The DC based decision-makers also operated in such an isolated manner that they failed to listen to their own teams on location that, for example, were telling DC to maintain the Iraqi Army right up until it was disbanded.

The movie is an excellent introduction to the human, policy and military catastrophe that is the Iraq war. If you haven't read them be sure to read the books mentioned above, along with Imperial Life in Emerald City. I've not Night Draws Near, but it has gotten good reviews for its description of life of everyday Iraqis.

On the topic of books, I wonder if Bremer, Rumsfeld, Feith or Wolfowitz will one day write their own In Retrospect-like mea culpa.

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