Certainly, not unrelated to the above-post of The Commander Guy swooping into Anbar Province, in Iraq, for a victory lap, we want to point you to a good post today, over on Edward Copeland on Film (and he also writes the blog Copeland Institute for Lower Learning).
Copeland reviews the new documentary, "No End In Sight", a tale of those early, heady days of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
"No End in Sight is remarkable for its "Just the facts, ma'am" approach. There's no need for ratcheting up the rhetoric: The film's recitation of the facts, many of which are well known, are assembled in such a way that viewer provides his or her own sense of outrage or disbelief without any prompting from the filmmaker. Interviewing a wide assortment of officials involved in the initial invasion as well as journalists, troops and others, what's so astounding about this Iraq documentary, and there certainly have been no shortage of documentaries on the subject, is that those involved believed in the mission. They wanted to succeed and they wanted to leave an Iraq that was better than the one they invaded. Unfortunately, the people making the decisions either because of arrogance, incompetence, indifference or some combination of all three, let the opportunity for a success story to slip through their fingers and everyone is paying the price to this very day."
Of interest, Copeland opens his review with a great quote from former Ambassador Barbara Bodine, who appears in the film.
Bodine was also just on 'Real Time with Bill Maher last Friday, who offered some of flavor of what's in "No End In Sight";
BODINE: I don’t – I honestly don’t think that they were trying to egg on the insurgency. But I do think that they were so blinded by their ideology, so convinced of their – their right, their ability and their right to transform a society. They basically approached Iraq as if it was a blank slate. And there were – there were some in the reconstruction – the political side of the reconstruction – who actually said that they thought that the looting of the entire infrastructure was good, because it was a way of downsizing the government.And there was this gem, as well;
GRAVEL: I heard that.
BODINE: And – well, it did.
MAHER: Right. It seemed like they were trying to—[laughter]
BODINE: It did. It did. I mean, it zeroed everything out, brought it down to, you know, that sort of basic Stone Age level of no electricity, no water, no sanitation, no law and order. Sort of, you know, a “Lord of the Flies” almost kind of a thing. And – but the problem was – it wasn’t that they wanted the chaos. I think even the worst of them did not want the chaos. They didn’t understand the kind of forces that they were unleashing. And they had this—
MAHER: But, they—
BODINE: [overlapping]—arrogant idea that the Iraqis would be passive to all of this; that we could go in with our ideas and our plans and our way of doing things, and that the Iraqis would just simply sit there and wait for us to come forward with our plans. And it was going to be this Petri dish of every single one of their political philosophy ideas – you know, flat taxes, complete privatization—
MAHER: And they had free health care over there.
BODINE: They did.
MAHER: Right. And when the guy—
BODINE: [overlapping] But it was – but – but—
MAHER: [overlapping]—the Bush people put in there, he was aghast at that because, you know, we don’t have that here and our system works so good. [laughter]
BODINE: Well, it – the health – the health system in Iraq was a disaster, but there were ways of fixing it. The guy who came in wasn’t a doctor, had never done public health. And the very first thing that he decides that has to be done on public health in Iraq is a “no smoking” campaign. [laughter] This is the major threat to the Iraqis, is cigarettes! Not guns, not bombs, not anything, but cigarettes.
Take a spin over and read Edward Copeland's "A confederacy of dunces"
Visit the website for "No End In Site"
Barbara Bodine - IF WE LEAVE: Iraqis Will Learn to Deal
Ambassador Barbara Bodine