Dave's Rating:

4.5

… it coldly dissects …

Who's in It: Campbell Scott (narrator), lots of politicians and Bush administration officials

The Basics: There are plenty of documentaries out there about the war in Iraq, too many to watch even if you wanted to. But this one is different because it coldly dissects the major decisions — who made them and why and what the consequences were — that went into making the nightmare that country is today. So, you know, lots of laughs in this one.

What's the Deal? According to this movie, here's how things would usually go down: Some administration official with zero experience with war or the job he or she was assigned to do would go off and make a decision that flew in the face of all recommendations from people who did have experience or knowledge. These decisions were about ideology and not efficacy, and the result was usually major destruction and death for U.S. soldiers and Iraqis. And then it would happen over and over.

One Example: According to the film, the U.S. disbanded the Iraqi army, putting out of work a lot of armed men who weren't necessarily predisposed to suicide bombing themselves. If you guessed that this suddenly sprang into an armed insurgency that grew out of control, then you are right. But you win nothing.

If You're Already Watching The Daily Show, Here's Why You Need to See This: You get just the pure information, minus the softening agent of comedy. So instead of soothing you with Jon Stewart, it'll make you mad as hell.

One Beef: Director Charles Ferguson is a policy wonk whose career has been all about associating with lots of these decision makers in the first place. Former military and administration people he got interviews from are those who were fully on board with invading Iraq. So when they all act like, Wow, that didn't go like we wanted, you feel the urge to shout at the screen.

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