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Richard Leiby | Washington Post

"As the White House launches its latest PR blitz to convince Americans that all is going well in Iraq -- no matter what the media say -- along comes 'Frontline' to spoil things. PBS's eminent investigative series kicks off its new season tonight with a devastating documentary on how the Bush administration sold the war and got rid of Saddam Hussein (well, almost) but seems to have overlooked the need for a plan after declaring victory. …

Whatever your politics and opinions about the war, this documentary is must viewing for those who seek to understand why the early scenes of liberation have given way to nearly daily reports of attacks against occupying troops. …

No doubt the administration would see this documentary as more media filtering to accentuate the negative. But the facts on the ground, as reported by Smith and his crew, are stubborn indeed."

Jonathan Storm | Philadelphia Inquirer

"…along comes Frontline- measured and detailed and covering every base, mixing widely reported material from places such as Meet the Pressand C-Span with exclusive reporting - to put the big picture in perspective. So few TV organizations even attempt journalism anymore, it's a pleasure to see it so well-done. …

'Truth, War and Consequences' is the kind of must-see TV that the folks at Frontline churn out year after year. When they set their sights on a story (coming up: terrorist sleeper cells, the Food and Drug Administration, alternative medicine), they report rings around other organizations. They deserve a wider audience."

Alessandra Stanley | The New York Times

"There is no critique more stinging than one wrapped in sympathy. Tonight, PBS's 'Frontline' examines the Bush administration's rationale for the Iraq war in a tone of puzzled sorrow that somehow enhances, rather than mutes, the righteous indignation of the reporting. …

The 'Frontline' documentary, which weaves solemn interviews with Iraqi exiles and disgruntled government officials around scenes of the everyday chaos and violence of Baghdad, does not provide new information so much as it richly illustrates the case against the Bush administration -- a prosecution brief enhanced with charts, photographs and a thick leather binder."

Linda Stasi | New York Post

"More incendiary than post-war Iraq…. [a] very explosive report."

Vince Horiuchi | Salt Lake Tribune

"… a chilling, in-depth look at the war in Iraq. … The film is a methodical and a fair overview of the crisis so far, and brings perspective to an issue that has been clouded by rhetoric from the Bush administration.

It is why the 'Frontline' series is one of the finest news documentary programs on TV. 'Frontline' always makes a persuasive and enthralling argument with fair reporting and without flash and hype. There is plenty of truth to be told in this war, and this film takes a mighty step in the right direction."

Ellen Gray | Philadelphia Daily News

"I wish I could say that the story written and reported by Martin Smith is as clear and compelling as the Bush administration sound bites it includes, sound bites that have contributed to widespread ignorance about U.S. involvement in Iraq. But I can't.

In attempting to show how prewar disagreements within our government led to postwar problems in Iraq, Frontline's put together a truly valuable package, but it may have bitten off more than many of its most information-starved viewers are willing or able to chew."

David Bianculli | Daily News

"'Truth, War and Consequences' features writer-reporter Martin Smith asking lots of tough questions to all the right people. … Without showboating, he interviews key players, planners, and observers. He doesn't overreach, but carefully connects phone calls to presidential speeches, State Department recommendations to political roadblocks by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. And with no apology, he returns to Iraq to ask its people such simple questions as 'You don't like Saddam; what about the Americans?'"

Mike Duffy | Detroit Free Press

"Smith, who reported the excellent 'In Search of Al Qaeda' installment of 'Frontline' last season, scores again. 'Truth, War and Consequences' is another substantive, first-rate edition of PBS's standout news journal. No network newsmagazine fluff allowed."

Hal Boedeker | Orlando Sentinel

"Frontline remains indispensable for its seriousness and ambition. The PBS series again offers in-depth reporting on Iraq that most of television won't, or can't, tackle. … The program doesn't say a lot that's new, but it pulls together the information for a rare, comprehensive view. …

The style of 'Truth, War and Consequences' is hard-hitting but low-key. It's quite different from the furious partisan squabbling that dominates Iraq discussions on cable news channels. …

'Truth, War and Consequences' represents another first-rate contribution from Frontline, which has examined Iraq this year in Blair's War and The War Behind Closed Doors. Like the previous programs, the one tonight is sweeping and demanding; it's not news served up in bite-sized nuggets. … If you want to be reminded what in-depth really means, Frontline will show you."

 

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posted october 9, 2003

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