If you’ve been paying any attention at all, you already know that there was no reasonable justification for invading Iraq in the spring of 2003, that the invasion force was large enough to topple the regime but too small to maintain a stable occupation, that there was no coherent plan for how to manage and rebuild post-invasion Iraq, and that disastrous, hubristic mistakes (de-Baathification, the disbanding of the Iraqi army, the failure to declare martial law, mass random detentions) made very early in the occupation led quickly, inevitably, and inexorably to the bottomless pit which is today’s Iraq.
This is still very much worth watching, though, because it provides a quick but comprehensive overview of the truly crucial period, from October 2002 to August 2003. The filmmakers speak to a tremendous number of people, from lowly infantry all the way up to Richard Armitage, plus journalists, Iraqi intellectuals, analysts, academics, bureaucrats, U.N. officials, military officers, and so on. (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bremer, Rice, Powell, and Wolfowitz — the architects of the disaster — of course refused to be interviewed.) On a few occasions, the interviewers display an unfortunate lack of objectivity — sarcastic when talking with people they don’t like; chummily with people they do. Aside from that, this is one of the finest documentaries on the war I’ve seen. Highly recommended.