January 23, 2008 -- This documentary does one thing and does it well. It provides first person interviews with people who were attacking U.S. military forces in Iraq in 2003. These people's faces are obscured or simply not shown. Their identities are hidden behind such aliases as “Teacher, Traveler, Warrior and Fugitive.” They explain why they took up arms against a foreign occupation army and often the explanation is as simple as “because there is a foreign occupation army in our country.” One man asks people in the U.S. how we would feel if our country was occupied by a foreign army. Millions of Americans actually thought the Iraqis would welcome the American invaders with open arms. Some did, but the honeymoon didn't last long, and nobody with a spark of intelligence thought that it would last.
This documentary would have been ground breaking had it been released in 2003 or early 2004, but it is old news now. Resistance fighters in Iraq who were interviewed in 2003 couldn't believe that Sunni or Al-Quaida Muslims would attack Shia holy sites in Iraq but they did. Resistance fighters also thought that Sunni and Shia Muslims would remain unified and would not attack each other, but they split apart and did attack each other. Resistance fighters blamed the US for attacking Shia holy sites, which is telling, but it is hard to believe even the mismanaged U.S. military forces would be that stupid. American forces want order, not chaos. American forces want a civilian population which can be controlled, not anarchy. The last thing American forces wanted was to be caught in the middle of a civil war. Al-Quaida, which thrives in chaos, is the most likely culprit.
This film doesn't bring us up to date with the fact that some Iraqi tribal leaders are now working with US forces against Al-Quaida forces. It doesn't deal at all with the warring Shia factions and the whole situation in the southern part of Iraq with the exit of British forces. It doesn't address the issue of the Kurds and the growing tensions between Turkey and Kurdish rebels in Iraq. At best, it is a snapshot of Iraqi resistance in a small part of that country, and an out-of-date, faded one at that. Still, it is a cautionary tale about why it was such a tragic mistake for the U.S. to attack Iraq in the first place. The small number of people in the Bush Administration who made the decision to attack Iraq had a very simplistic view of Iraqi politics. This movie gives us an idea of just how how complicated Iraqi politics really is. The failure of the Bush Administration to grasp the complexity of Iraqi politics is the main reason for U.S. failures in Iraq. This film rates a C+.
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