Number nine of the thirteen John Pilger docs I’m (slowly) watching. I cannot recommend this pre-911 documentary about US’s involvement in Iraq strongly enough. The film deals primarily with the US and UK enforced, UN imposed, sanctions against Iraq. The reason behind these sanctions were to prevent Saddam from creating WMDs, and to leave him powerless. The film argues, however, that the only victim is the people of Iraq, the civilians. This ‘isolation’ has been enforced for 10 years (1990 – 2000 when the film was made; 13 years in real life (ended 2003)), leaving children very malnourished and without medicine.
I watched this movie over the span of about a week, and I don’t remember too much from the first half. I’m pretty sure it was about the suffering of the people and children, and kind of the facts and reasons for the embargo (oh, I just remembered, it also talks about how many of the UN people in charge resigned because they viewed the embargos as being a humanitarian infraction). During the second half, John interviews the 1991-1998 UN Weapons Inspector, Scott Ritter, who goes on to say how in 1991 all of Saddam’s WMDs and WMD making capabilities were qualitatively eradicated (i.e. there is no need for the sanctions).
Later on the film talks about how during the Gulf war, the Shiites and the Kurds, who were asked to help in the fight against Saddam, attempted to completely take him down, only to face the US defending Saddam (as in, were shot at by the US), since the US did not want someone to come to power who they did not give express permission to.
At one point the film talks about how cancer is such a huge issue, due to high radiation exposure from irradiated dust. Why would dust be irradiated you ask? Simple: the sanction prevents the Iraqis from cleaning up their war-zones where US and UK fired shells, covered in depleted uranium, are located.
Uh, finally the movie also discusses how there are still US/UK bombings going on (when the film was made), which are secret and illegal (no permission from UN), 50% of the victims being civilians (and sheep).
Again, this was made pre-911. Definitely recommended to everyone.
Full movie can be streamed on google video.