No End in Sight Documentarian Charles Ferguson

“No End in Sight,” the highly acclaimed documentary about the Iraq War, which premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, is Charles Ferguson's first film.

Charles Ferguson received his Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has since been a visiting scholar there and at University of California, Berkeley. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a director of the French-American Foundation and CEO of Representational Pictures. A senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, Ferguson is the author of three books on information technology. He is also cofounder of Vermeer Technologies, the developers of FrontPage.

What was your inspiration for becoming a filmmaker

I have always loved film and have long wanted to make films. But I also felt that it was imperative to make a rigorously accurate, comprehensive film about Iraq. As a political scientist with many friends in the foreign policy community, I have been quite disturbed at the quality of media coverage of the Iraq war and occupation. I felt that it should be possible to make a film that explained how and why Iraq has disintegrated in a way that was accurate yet accessible to a broad audience. I hope that I have succeeded.

What is the greatest influence on your filmmaking

For this film, I very much felt the hand of my Ph.D. advisor, Carl Kaysen, who was Deputy National Security Advisor in the Kennedy administration, a remarkable man who taught me to think clearly and to take on large, important issues.

What are interesting elements or stories about your film

While there is already wide recognition that American policy in Iraq involved many errors and has largely failed, this film is, I believe unique in two respects. First, it is a comprehensive portrait of occupation policies, their errors, and their consequences. Second, the film is the first detailed dissection of the extraordinary way in which some of these decisions were made in secret, by a small number of men who had virtually no relevant experience and who either failed to consult with, or overruled, the people on the ground and the military.

Interviewees

Faisal Al-Istrabadi – Iraqi Ambassador to the United Nations

Chris Allbritton – Journalist, Time Magazine

Richard Armitage – Deputy Secretary of State, 2001-2005

James Bamford – Author, The Puzzle Palace and A Pretext for War

Amazia Baram – Professor of Middle East History, Former Advisor to Bush admin

Jamal Benomar – Special Advisor, U.N. Development Program

Linda Bilmes – Budgeting Specialist, Professor, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Amb. Barbara Bodine – In Charge of Baghdad for the U.S. Occupation

Gerald Burke – Advisor to Iraq Ministry of Interior for the U.S. Occupation (CPA)

Ashton Carter – Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy, Clinton admin

Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton – In charge of training new Iraqi Army, 2003-2004

Ali Fadhil – Iraqi Journalist, Emigrated to U.S. 2006

James Fallows – National Editor, The Atlantic Monthly, Author, Blind into Baghdad

Omar Fekeiki Office manager for the Baghdad bureau of The Washington Post

Marc Garlasco – Senior Iraq Analyst, 1997-2003, Defense Intelligence Agency

Gen. Jay Garner – Administrator, ORHA, Feb-May 2003

Ann Gildroy – 1st Lieutenant, U.S. Marines

Hugo Gonzalez – Field Artillery Gunner, U.S. Army

Joost Hiltermann – Mideast Director, International Crisis Group

Col. Paul Hughes – Director of Strategic Policy for the U.S. Occupation, 2003

Robert Hutchings – Chairman (2003-2005), National Intelligence Council

Ray Jennings – NGO Manager and Lecturer, Georgetown University

Seth Moulton – Lieutenant, U.S. Marines

Mahmoud Othman – Member of Iraqi Parliament

George Packer – Journalist and Author, The Assassins Gate

Robert Perito – Director, Office of International Criminal Justice, 1995-2002, Department of Justice

Paul Pillar – National Intelligence Officer for the Mideast (2000-2005), National Intelligence Council

Barry Posen – Professor and Director, National Security Program, MIT

Samantha Power – Author, A Problem From Hell,” Professor, Harvard Universitys John F. Kennedy School of Government

Nir Rosen – Journalist, Author: In the Belly of the Green Bird

Matt Sherman – CPA Deputy Security Advisor to Iraqi Ministry of Interior

Walter Slocombe – Senior Advisor for National Security and Defense, CPA

Yaroslav Trofimov – Journalist, The Wall Street Journal, Author, Faith at War

Aida Ussayran – Deputy Minister, Iraq Human Rights Ministry

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson – Chief of Staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, 2002-05

David Yancey – Specialist, Military, U.S. Army