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No End in Sight

4.6 out of 5 stars 161 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The first film of its kind to chronicle the reasons behind Iraq's descent into guerilla war, warlord rule, criminality and anarchy, NO END IN SIGHT is a jaw-dropping, insider's 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), Colonel 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. The film systematically dissects the Bush administration's Iraq policy decisions and their consequences, which now include 3,000 American deaths and 20,000 American wounded, Iraq on the brink of civil war, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilian deaths, the strengthening of Iran, the weakening of the U.S. military and economic costs of over $2 trillion. It marks the first time Americans will be allowed inside the White House, Pentagon and Baghdad's Green Zone to understand for themselves the disintegration of Iraq.

Amazon.com

A staggering portrait of arrogance and incompetence, the documentary No End in Sight avoids the question of why the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, choosing instead to focus on the war's aftermath--and meticulously examine the chain of decisions that led Iraq into a grotesque state of lawlessness and civil war. Drawing from interviews with top generals, administration officials, journalists, and soldiers who were in the thick of the war itself, No End in Sight lays out a gripping story, as suspenseful as any Hollywood movie, accompanied by terrifying footage of firefights and explosions more vivid than any special effects. Unfortunately, there is no happy ending. If the documentary has a weakness, it's the shortage of voices trying to defend the administration policies (perhaps unsurprisingly, policymakers like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz declined to be interviewed). But the testimony (presented by administration insiders and officials in Iraq, both military and civilian) argues that, despite contrary analysis and experienced advice against its actions, the top brass of the Bush administration made decisions (that aggravated already existing problems and created devastating new ones. No End in Sight builds its case one voice at a time and avoids the grandstanding that undercuts Michael Moore's work; instead, the gradual accumulation of simple facts--presented with weary resignation, earnest outrage, and restrained anger--results in a compelling condemnation of one of the worst blunders the U.S. has ever made. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Campbell Scott, Gerald Burke, Ali Fadhil, Omar Fekeiki, Robert Hutchings
  • Directors: Charles Ferguson
  • Writers: Charles Ferguson
  • Producers: Charles Ferguson, Alex Gibney, Audrey Marrs, Jennie Amias, Jessie Vogelson Childs
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Arabic, English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Magnolia
  • DVD Release Date: October 30, 2007
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (161 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000U6YJMO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,044 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "No End in Sight" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I just saw this gem at an indy theatre. Films of the subject of Iraq keep getting more powerful.

To be honest, I was thinking of giving it only 4 stars for the reason I've considered that for some other documentaries: they tend to lose track of the fallacies by which we entered Iraq by getting embedded in the discussion of how it should have been better planned. But I'm thinking now that those initial issues have been addressed before, now it's time to move onto something else and this work of art does so.

This is an important documentary because those doing the speaking are mid-level bureaucrats with the federal government. So you're getting the story "straight from the horse's mouth" (or mouths).

The film begins with the history of the Iraq situation. That's covered succintly, leaving nothing out. Then there's one boondoggle after the other; Rumsfeld talking with the press, saying that they keep covering the negative, while the camera and narrative switch to what's really going on, troops dead, Paul Bremer doing some more ridiculous things, more insurgents doing all the more damage.

The troops haven't been protected with adequate armor, there aren't enough of them to cover the arsenals of weapons from which the insurgents--many of whom are fired Bathist intelligentsia and Iraqi military--are getting their weapons. The list goes on and on and on.

The film is very well crafted, in that things keep getting worse. And the reason they keep getting worse is that adminstrations' blunders--which themselves keep getting worse!

There is much discussion of Bushy insiders--almost none of whom have ANY experience in the middle east, and who have NO military experience--who made decisions as if the military didn't exist.
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Format: DVD
You probably won't learn anything new about the Iraq war from this understated documentary, nor should you expect any sort of neutrality. But the catastrophic consequences of the war for our country and the whole world make its chronological review of the basic facts worthwhile, while the cinematic power of pictures as compared to reading books about Iraq puts a very human face on the war. Director Charles Ferguson's film is a searing indictment of the recklessness, gross incompetence, and political cynicism of the Bush administration. He interviews soldiers, diplomats, Bush appointees, state department officials, and Iraqis, all of whom tell their personal stories about working hard at a noble cause only to discover that the emperor and his minions had no clothes and no conscience. Their sense of betrayal is heartbreaking. The film makes it clear that the administration's incompetence and hubris doomed their naive plan from the start, and that five years later there is still "no end in sight." Director Charles Ferguson is not your run-of-the mill film maker; he earned a PhD from MIT, founded and then sold his company Vermeer Technologies to Microsoft in 1996, was for three years a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, and has been a visiting professor at both MIT and Berkeley.
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Format: DVD
The most striking aspect of this documentary is that the people giving interviews are not your typical anti-war activists. To the contrary, they are people like Colonel Paul Hughes, a strategic planner for the Coalition Provisional Authority, and Barbara Bodine, ambassador in charge of Baghdad. They were the ones "on the ground" attempting to create a successful democracy in Iraq. But their efforts were stymied by arrogant and clueless higher ranking Bush officials such as Donald Rumsfield, Paul Wolfowitz and Paul Bremer.

The stories they tell of the Bush adminstration's extreme incompetence are mind boggling. For instance, how Bush officials chose to completely disband the Iraqi military. This left huge numbers of Iraqi men, with military experience and access to weapons, out on the street and with a strong desire to seek revenge against those who had taken away their jobs and livelihood. This problem was further compounded by the huge stashes of Iraqi military weapons that Bush officials foolishy left unguarded. Thus the Iraqi insurgents were able to achieve a level of weaponry and man power that to this day fuels the ongoing civil war. Part of the problem is that the military experts, like Colin Powell, were being ignored. While "chickenhawks" with no substantial military experience, such as Rumsfield, Wolfowitz and Cheney, were making all the decisions.

A strong argument can be made that the Iraq War was always doomed to turn into a Sunni versus Sh'ia civil war quagmire. But this movie isn't really aimed at those who opposed the war from the beginning.
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Format: DVD
While, as another reviewer has suggested, this latest documentary on Iraq does nothing to push forward the medium of documentary in its aesthetics or its style, it doesn't need to in order to achieve its aims: to present a clear picture of how the situation in Iraq went from difficult to nearly impossible in the few years following President Bush's declaration of victory. What makes the film refreshing is that it makes its case in a non-partisan way, since what we really need as a country is to come together and face our mistakes rather than point fingers of blame at each other for our failure to begin the difficult process of recovery from these mistakes. The film, while very critical of decisions made by the current administration, is not making a case against Republicans per se or against the military, and does not even take a stand on whether we should have gone into Iraq in the first place except to mention what is now obvious to most Americans, that the repeated rationale given for going into Iraq that Saddam Hussein was in cahoots with al Qaeda was bogus.

What the film does present, in a clear and convincing manner, is a brief account of the devastating history of the war and occupation that emphasizes moments where administrative decisions were made in a top-down fashion that went directly against the advice of military and intelligence and other leadership on the ground in Iraq. The film shows that these decisions progressively turned an initially complex situation with at least a number of Iraqis who were supportive of the U.S.
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