Written by Fumo Verde
It is now the summer of 2007 and by most accounts the Iraq War isn’t turning out the way the Bush administration had planned, or at least that’s what Democrats, the mainstream media, returning vets, the late great Pat Tillman and, by most polls, 68% of the U.S. public say. The few dissenting voices before the invasion stated that winning the war would be easy; it’s winning the peace that really counts. So, what was the Bush Plan? Was it like the Marshal Plan?
In No End In Sight, Charles Ferguson brings us the people who were there to start the rebuilding of that war-torn country after their government had fell. General Paul Hughes was in charge of the total reconstruction. He still can’t believe how poorly and how deliberately the Bush administration took care of its promise to bring peace and democracy. Get ready for the real shock and awe.
Ferguson opens us up with a speech by Donald Rumsfeld where he thanks Pres. Bush for understanding what most Americans didn’t about this “not well known, not well understood, and very complex war.” To think he was talking about the American public. No End In Sight will open your eyes to see how badly the administration handled post-war Iraq and how that relates to the problems we have today.
When invading another country you would like the civilian population to be on your side. To this, humanitarian relief and aid are needed, referred to as “winning the hearts and minds.” During WWII, the allies had planned for the occupation of Germany two years prior to the invasion of Europe. The Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Aid (ORHA) was set up by the Bush administration and were given sixty days to come up with a plan to reconstruct Iraq. Sixty days, that’s what you give your landlord when you’re going to move out of an apartment.
We hear from over a dozen people, civilians and officials, who give first-hand accounts about how they were recruited by the White House to help with the occupation but were then removed when their voices spoke out about how the situation on the ground was truly being handled. Ret. Gen. Jay Garner, who in the first Gulf War was in command of the humanitarian aide and was put in charge of ORHA this time around. He tells of the complete ineptitude the administration had towards ORHA and those who were there to help the Iraqi people. Richard Armitage, then Deputy Secretary of State tells us of the struggle he and his boss, Secretary of State Colin Powell, had with Rumsfeld and others about the troop levels needed for an occupation. Amazingly, Armitage and Powell were the only ones in the Bush administration who had ever seen combat, yet the dogs of war held those battle vets at bay.
We come to understand that the real problems started when the U.S. let the looting begin. Rumsfeld joked that the news channels were showing the same vase being stolen over and over again, and things like this happen even during riots in America. Marines and others on the ground tell a different story, one not of people stealing diapers and food or televisions and golf clubs, but of people stealing heavy machinery parts from power plants and other industrial facilities. It was said people were chipping away at concrete walls to take out the rebar. This isn’t your every day looting, and it actually showed the world this administration didn’t care about the Iraqi people. A report just this month shows that more than half of Iraqis are without clean water, food, and medical aid—all which a devastated nation needs to get back on its feet.
No End In Sight shows what those first voices of dissent were saying, which was this administration had no plan for post-war Iraq. They were called naysayers and far-left Bush haters, but as this quagmire goes on we now see through the bullshit the White House, along with its mouthpiece the Fox Opinion Channel, throws at us, and we don’t believe it anymore. This documentary connects the dots from the end of Desert Strom right up to the Surge, which we know is like a kid putting his finger in a dike as other leaks spout all around him. Those who had the gut instinct to speak out against the “plan” this administration had for Iraq will see this and say, “I knew it all along.” Those on the side of the President will push this aside as leftist propaganda, but for the ones still on the fence, the people who don’t watch the news or don’t want to get involved, this might sway your opinion.
The tragedy of Hurricane Katrina was a mirror reflection of how the Bush administration and the Republican Congress dropped the ball when it came to being the world’s leader. If we are supposed to be bringing truth and justice to people, it would be beneficial to us along with those who we are helping, to protect them from chaos and instill some type of law and order, to have a plan to stabilize the infrastructure, and aid those in need. When invading a country, this looks good on a resume, you know. If this flick had come out back in 2004 things might be different, but as it stands right now, we are stuck between a rock and a hard place and with the lack of any leadership coming from the White House.