One of the year's best documentaries is No End in Sight, a calm and methodical recounting of the mistakes the U.S. made in Iraq during those crucial first few months after the fall of Saddam in April 2003. One of the main points director Charles Ferguson makes is that when the U.S. disbanded the Iraqi army, it left hundreds of thousands of soldiers unemployed, disgruntled, and armed. Frustrated, many of them joined the insurgency that now plagues the country.

The man who made the decision to disband the Iraqi army was L. Paul Bremer III. On Sept. 6, Bremer wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times called "How I Didn't Dismantle Iraq's Army" in which he defended himself and rebutted some of Ferguson's assertions. His points were basically these: that by the time he got there the Iraqi army had pretty much dissolved on its own; that post-invasion looting had destroyed nearly all the military bases anyway; and that he did consult with advisers before making his decision. (No End in Sight claims Bremer made the call more or less on his own.)

Now Ferguson has responded -- not with an editorial, but with a video. It's a 10-minute short film, posted on the Times' website as a "letter to the editor," that dissects Bremer's article point by point and refutes nearly everything he said. For support, he uses clips from No End in Sight, interview footage that wasn't used in the film, and a telephone interview with one of his primary sources recorded after Bremer's article appeared.
The video is noteworthy for a couple of reasons. For one thing, it retains the same tone Ferguson used in No End in Sight: careful, rational, and without the gimmicks and theatrics that so often make Michael Moore his own worst enemy.

More importantly, it demonstrates how powerful movies can be. Ferguson could have simply written a guest editorial responding to Bremer's piece. Instead, he chose to combine the power of words and pictures. He knew that it's one thing to read a quotation from an interview source; it's something else to actually see the person as he says it, to hear the inflection and the emotion in his voice.

And now the ball is back in Bremer's court.

Read Kim Voynar's review of No End in Sight here and James Rocchi's interview with Ferguson here; watch video of Ferguson's appearance at a Sundance panel here.