Friday, November 24, 2006


Iraq in Fragments

Sorry, Michael Moore: The best political documentary of 2004 was Jehane Noujaime's Control Room. Viewing the nascent American invasion of Iraq from the hectic center of an Al-Jazeera newsroom, Noujaime created a focused critique of the rushed warmonger tactics plaguing the Bush Administration. As locals and foreigners alike scrambled to hide from some very unwanted bombs over Baghdad, the media's proverbial chattering class—noticeably more frantic in Iraq than in the Home of the Brave—provided a mouthpiece to the troubles at hand. "The Americans will defeat the Americans," says the worldly journalist Hassan Ibrahim in the film. "I have faith in the American Constitution."

If only John Kerry had aimed for a more nuanced attack on the events overseas than the ham-fisted bullet points that comprise Fahrenheit 9/11. Noujaime managed to capture the disaster at its heart, illustrating how the desire for worldwide Westernization neglects the ability for a war-torn country to find its own stability. It was clear, even in the early stages of the invasion, that imposing American democracy on a radically different cultural and political establishment will ultimately tear it apart. So now comes Iraq in Fragments, a documentary that fulfills that neglected prophesy, elucidating the inevitable conclusion that we've lost control and run out of room.

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