The Lost Year in Iraq [home page]
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What do you think of this report on the first crucial year in Iraq following the fall of Saddam's regime? Could Jay Garner or Paul Bremer have done anything?


Dear FRONTLINE,

No matter what your initial position on the Iraq invasion, this program was a difficult exercise in looking and not blinking, at the mirror. What ever we initially wanted, that goal has slipped through our fingers.

"If I was king," I would notify the Arab League that we would be pulling our troops out of Iraq in 6 months, and that if those countries really all wanted peace, they would create and place a peace keeping force to move in when we leave.

As much as we might want to believe otherwise, we are only making things worse by staying in Iraq. If we want to find a war worth winning, we should re-focus on Afganistan, and clamp down on that country now, overwhelmingly, before it gets out of control there, too. If we had done that originally, and not gone to Iraq, history would likely view the present administration as heroes. Now, I doubt that will happen.

Mike Hoover
Reno, Nevada

Dear FRONTLINE,

This program is a devastating indictment of our leaders. "What were they thinking?" only begins to express the folly and arrogance of these people. Apparently they never read the story of Pericles and the tyrants who followed him. They had Syracuse, we had Vietnam and Iraq. And apparently the neocons were too busy planning for power to take a moment and learn from the Balkans War what happens when the stong man departs. Time for a chnge.

jim kalember
oak park, CA

Dear FRONTLINE,

A truly great program. It is the "Best and Brightest" come back to life--only now played out as a farce, though the consequences for far too many are tragic. A mistaken war of epic proportions, the consequences of which we shall be paying for years to come.

Patrick Burke
Oak Creek, WI

Dear FRONTLINE,

What an incredible documentary. I served with the Marine Corps during the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003. It is amazing to me to see how poorly my government failed while putting me in harms way.

This administrations mishandling of the war from the start has led us to the situation we are currently in. I cannot believe I have fallen comrads from the lack of accountability shown by individuals on all levels of government. I only pray we do not stay "the course." It has obviously failed miserably.

Matthew Stiner
Tulsa, Ok

Dear FRONTLINE,

Great reporting! Thanks for the facts. Washington fails to consider the culture of the Iraqis in their rebuilding efforts. Our democracy was built by many sacrifices over a number of years. How can our leaders expect to dump American democracy in the laps of a people whose culture has denied them for so long. They should integrate the rebuilding with the religous, family and idealogical culture.

I doubt any in Washington have ever read the Koran, eaten Persian food, know anything about Iraqi family life. Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and company are too far removed from the real world. Persians have contributed much in math, science and other areas throughout history. These people need a vision. We had a great opportunity to make a lasting change in that part of the world but we think everyone else in the world should be like us....and thus we are rejected.

May God grant us His grace to save our deserving troops and raise up some leadership there and here that can change this situation for the good of all!

Fred Timberlake
Dallas, TX

Dear FRONTLINE,

I have been reading some of the responses here and some of them say that Frontline tends to accentuate the negative. Don't people realize that war itself is a horribly negative thing?

The Tet offensive was the beginning of the end in Vietnam. The Bremmer fiasco was the early signal that the Iraq war could not be won. I think a large reason for the mess that we're in is that the American Populous, in general, is sacrificing nothing and wants a nice sanitized report so as not to spoil their sleep. At least Frontline has taken the important role of educator to the ignorant.

Gregory Banks
Tariffville, Connecticut

Dear FRONTLINE,

I am always pleased with the thorough nature of the Frontline programs, but there are times when I feel like the makers of Frontline push a certain point-of-view too hard. The first time I started getting that feeling is after watching the program about the resurgence of the Taliban. I felt like the program was jumping to doom and gloom conclusions far too early, reminding me of the press coverage of the Tet Offensive in '68.

The program about the tenure of Bremer in Iraq seemed to me to set a tone of making Bremer defend himself and administration policies, rather than telling the straight facts. I am perfectly willing to accept that Bremer or the current administration fouled up Iraq, but I don't like the biased nature in which those conclusions are reached. Certainly, Frontline makes a solid effort to simply tell the facts, but I think they could improve the fairness of their presentation style.

Robert Lohaus
St.Louis, Mo

Dear FRONTLINE,

This program is another in a series of brilliant looks at the appalling hubris, bumbling ineptitude and criminal thinking that have gone into this greatest of U.S. catastrophes, the Iraq War. It will take at least a century for us to recover, if we ever do, from this pure result of absolute and almost unfathomable egotism. God help us, we will need it.

Barry Stock
Hollywood, Florida

Dear FRONTLINE,

How do you do it? Another excellent reporting effort with all the key players included. The sweep of perspective is like reading a history book in one hour. My thanks. I support PBS just because of your show.

Edward Szynaka
Peoria, Illinois

Dear FRONTLINE,

The show was excellent. The information well presented. And I appreciate seeing an brutally honest pictures of what happened (including the tragic deaths of the contractors) so I can see for myself the events on the ground and compare the events to statements coming from politicians and their handlers. I advise everyone to read Rajiv Chandrasekaran's "Imperial Life in the Imerald City. This book is filled with on the record interviews of former CPA officials and confirms what of what's in this show.

Gina Coleman

Dear FRONTLINE,

Another brilliant FRONTLINE expose into the Iraq war and its enormously bungled aftermath. Thanks to FRONTLINE (and other recently released accounts), the American people are seeing firsthand how a perfect storm of high level incompetence, blind faith, and self-anointed certitude--all undergirded by a political ideology that values loyalty over competence, results in what will certainly go down as one of the greatest strategic political blunders of all time.

Julian Meade

Dear FRONTLINE,

I feel manipulated by your documentary on the lost year in Iraq. I found it extremely informative but only from one perspective. Along with the relentless negative comments in this piece, the dramatic film edits and dark music made me feel insecure. By showing the White House always at night and from a moving car you portray an inaccurate sinister view of the current administration. In truth it is reported that the president retires early on a regular basis. Therefore he would most likely be asleep when the car cam drives bye and not making foolish decisions about Iraq.

If I am to believe the commentators views that they all knew the correct course of action but were unable to implement there ideas for success then I am to believe that everyone was right and the administration was wrong. Because the complicated issue in Iraq is ongoing, it is impossible to decide at this point who was right and who was wrong.

Your network is obviously trying to affect the outcome of this election and what you are creating is propaganda and half truths. The solution in Iraq will only be possible if people can see all side and make the best decision. The thesis of you documentary, that America did not spend enough time securing the nation before handing it over and that the troop levels were too low, stands in contrast to the arguments made by your network during that time.

Nathan Hardy
Austin, Texas

Dear FRONTLINE,

That Bremmer can still genuinely believe that firing 200,000 Iraqi army personnel and then immediately releasing them with their weapons into Iraqi society was one of the few things we did unequivocally RIGHT pretty much says it all...

Jon DeMent
Jacksonville, Florida

Dear FRONTLINE,

How likely is it that a stongman will take over the Iraq government, via a military coup, to bring back stability to a war-torn country? It would seem that, in view of the dismal failure of the Bush adventure there, that this would be the best, perhaps the only, way to restore stability to Iraq.

Harry Ballantyne
Sykesville, Maryland

Dear FRONTLINE,

Who was the idiot that suggested Paul (Jerry) Bremer for an administrative post in Iraq? How could Bremer have been given been a Medal by the President. Bremer certainly contributed to the mess that Iraq has become, We would have been far better off if Garner was left in place.

Janet Buchanan
Pittsburgh, Pa

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posted oct. 17, 2006

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