Magnolia Home Entertainment
Available Oct. 30, List Price $26.98
In their plans for occupation no less than their assertion that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, the Bush Administration poobahs were misled by cockeyed optimism. Or is hubris the word? The shock-and-awe attack plan knocked out electricity plants that took months to restore. Disbanding the Iraqi army (free weapons, anyone?) and barring any Ba'athist party member from a job in the new government guaranteed looting, chaos and the anti-U.S. insurgency. Sages from the military and the State Dept. peppered the White House with helpful ideas and got slapped down for their troubles. When State submitted a bulky analysis of the Iraq occupation, one rueful officer notes, the President didn't even read the one-page summary.
Ferguson, a scholar and think-tanker, lays out the evidence in interviews with a couple dozen soldiers and statesmen. He replaces Michael Moore's rhetorical flourishes and comic timing with a timeline of the misjudgments. Clearly, soberly, he shows how we got there; the title suggests we'll be there for a while, whatever the locals want. Rephrasing Colin Powell's Pottery Barn rule, an Iraqi man says, "When someone creates this problem, they have to fix it or they have to leave. They shouldn't leave it like this. Clean it up or get out." Good luck trying to do either.
The architects of the Iraq catastrophe declined to speak to Ferguson. Why should they spill their beans for free? They'll get multimillion dollar book deals instead of Nuremberg trials. But if they can't be forced to watch this impartial indictment, other Americans should be urged to. Think of No End in sight as the year-end's best gift a most instructive, enlightening stocking-stuffer.