NO END IN SIGHT ***1/2
“This is absolute Fantasyland. These people -- I don’t know what they were smoking, but it must have been very good.” So says author James Bamford about the members of the Bush Administration and their actions regarding the Iraq War in this absorbing documentary. At this point in time, all Americans except for the most brainwashed of FOX News fanatics have accepted that this war was a bad idea from the get-go, but No End In Sight offers an excellent analysis of the logistics behind this disaster-in-the-making, insuring that no viewer gets left behind as it carefully details the timeline between 9/11 and now. But only Republicans to the right of, say, Heinrich Himmler can find fault with what can’t be dismissed as simply a liberal tirade: Rather than relying on the usual leftist talking heads like Gore Vidal and Noam Chomsky, writer-director-producer Charles Ferguson gathers interviews with key personnel from within the Iraq campaign, including former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and General Jay Garner, and allows them to explain how myopic leaders -- among them Donald Rumsfeld (who in his press briefings would come across as a court jester were the consequences of his actions not so dire), Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and George W. Bush (the latter coming across, not surprisingly, as an imbecile who was kept out of the loop on most key directives by his own underlings) -- made countless decisions that guaranteed this war would be lost before it even started. Iraqi citizens have their say (it’s heartbreaking to see a few lament the destruction of Baghdad’s museum and library, both of which were historical landmarks containing artifacts from over 1,000 years ago), as do American soldiers and even one pro-war official (predictably, all the rest refused to be interviewed). It isn’t often that a movie comes along that should be mandatory viewing, but here’s one that should absolutely be integrated into every U.S. high school curriculum. Screens 7 p.m. Sunday Sept. 16 at Victory Square Stadium 9 on Victory Drive, $8, cash only.