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6 Degrees Entertainment

'FRONTLINE: Losing Iraq'
(DVD / NR / 2014 / PBS)

Overview: FRONTLINE examines the unfolding chaos in Iraq and how the U.S. is being pulled back into the conflict. Drawing on interviews with policymakers and military leaders, the film traces the U.S. role from the 2003 invasion to the current violence.

DVD Verdict: 'FRONTLINE: Losing Iraq' spends a lot of time interviewing a who’s who of investing bystanders and journalists, therefore spending a considerable amount of time on the early miscalculations and missteps once the statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled.

It goes a great distance to blame the Bush hierarchy and claim it lacked any plan for managing the country, and remained in what military analyst Anthony Cordesman describes as “in a state of denial” about the insurgency.

It goes on to claim that key decisions under L. Paul Bremer’s leadership included dissolving the Iraqi military and de-Baathification of the government – moves that virtually ensured chaos, given the role those forces played in maintaining order during Hussein’s rule.

Indeed, it seems that from what everything is being unearthed here, that a total lack of seasoned military leadership exacted a toll, as did choosing Nouri al-Maliki as the country’s leader. There's even time to talk, pull apart Bush’s last-ditch gamble, the surge under Gen. David Petraeus (also among those interviewed), which restored a semblance of order.

Yet that, too, unraveled, as Maliki lost access to the Commander-in-Chief once Obama took charge, experts note, as the administration essentially back-burner-ed Iraq, while Maliki took ill-advised sectarian actions that hastened the rise of the Islamic extremists; known as ISIS, who have quickly and alarmingly expanded their power within the country (as we all well know today, sadly). This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.