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I have been fascinated by political documentaries over the past few years. Of course, President Bush's way of dealing with things has created intense reactions all over the world, but i have found most documentaries to be very unfair, completely partisan, and plain stupid. Now, during the Clinton years, right-wing documentaries were as silly and nonconstructive and partisan. I just hate politics and the inability for most people to think about a problem clearly and analyze the situation without getting stupid and blinded by their partisanship. Michael Moore may represent the worst case scenario, and i found that his documentaries damage his causes more than they help them. To set the record straight, i believe that the Iraq war had to happen at a strategic level, but subsequently, i have been horrified at the complete mismanagement of it and complacency from the US government. The Iraq war is a case of doing the right thing, albeit with a media circus highlighting all the wrong reasons at the time, and then completely messing things up by piling mistakes one after another. Certainly, this lack of caring and complete execution failure puts the spotlight on the original motivations, but we'll probably never know.
I won't pretend to have seen all the documentaries about the war, but at last, i have seen one that has been fantastically brain stimulating to me. It takes a very hard look at the Iraq war, and a very damaging one at that. Basically, this documentary is not about the politics, emotions or finger pointing in the traditional BS partisan way, but about a careful analysis of multiple management failures. One after another, a number of decisions are analyzed and their impact on why Iraq is a crazy mess today is explained, from multiple perspectives. Watching this documentary, i felt i was reading business book on why such and such company fell apart. For example, i was particularly interested in the decision mechanisms that led to de-Bathication and closing down the Iraqi army. You can see how management-type people, completely removed from the ground, could have constructed a well-thought-out argument on why those needed to be done. And then you see clearly in hindsight how much a blunder it actually was because of a complete lack of understanding of the structure of the old Iraq.
Even if you agree like me that the Iraq war was necessary, it's hard these days to agree that it was anything but a management nightmare and that we have a messy affair on our hands. But i thought this documentary contained some of the strongest arguments and details about the series of decision blunders that brought us where we are. This is a fantastic documentary that is extremely damaging to the Bush administration, how the war was handled, and may convince those who still think we are doing a swell job there. No matter where you sit with respect to this issue, you should watch this documentary.
- Laurent Hasson