The story of Bush and Blair’s great lie

A film that reminds us exactly why Bush, Blair, and others in their administrations should stand trial.

Amirani and others attend a special screening of We Are Many at The Curzon Mayfair in London [Getty]

Amirani and others attend a special screening of We Are Many at The Curzon Mayfair in London [Getty]

by Lana Asfour @LanaAsfour

Tony Blair’s not entirely unexpected resignation from his job as Middle East peace envoy last month – and the ensuing Twitter jokes about it – coincide with the UK release of a documentary film that firmly puts him and George W Bush at the centre of this century’s Middle East disasters.

Amir Amirani’s We Are Many, released in the UK and screened at the Hay Festivallast week, tells us the story of how we went to war in Iraq, and simultaneously celebrates the biggest international anti-war demonstrations ever seen.

On February 15, 2003, millions of people in around 60 countries and over 800 cities marched in a coordinated effort to stop the impending war on Iraq. It was the biggest demonstration ever seen in London, with 1.5 million, in Madrid with 1.5 million, and in Rome with 3 million.

Despite this, the US, UK and their allies invaded Iraq in March 2003, three weeks before Hans Blix, head of the weapons inspections mission in Iraq, had been allowed to finish his job and fully confirm that Saddam Hussein was not hiding weapons of mass destruction.

Bush and Blair did not want Blix to finish his job, and they certainly did not care about the massive, democratic peace protests. What they wanted was to wage a war on Iraq in order to control its oil reserves, at any cost.


And the cost was huge. 4,491 American service members were killed in Iraq between 2003 and 2014. Surveys vary about the number of Iraqis killed, and they range from 150,000 to over a million.

For Iraqis, the war not only destroyed the state and its political, military, social and economic institutions; it also decimated a society with a long-standing mix of ethnic and religious groups, some of which are now locked in sectarian struggle or even threatened with extinction. To this day, the film reveals, 25 percent of Iraqi children live with chronic malnutrition.

I first got to know Amirani, the film-maker, a decade ago, when he was already talking about this project. Nine years in the making, the film is a labour of love. Indeed, in a panel discussion after the UK opening, Amirani said that he had started out “wanting to tell the story” but quickly moved onto “needing to tell it”.

And although it is a well-known story, due partly to the Chilcot Inquiry, it is right that a film should come along now to remind us. Clearly and concisely, through interviews with an impressive array of politicians, international lawyers, anti-war activists, journalists, former allied service members and a host of high-profile figures and celebrities, Amirani tells the story of Bush and Blair’s great lie.

Errol Morris’ 2014 film, The Unknown Known, consisting of an interview with Donald Rumsfeld, also touched on the subject of responsibility for the Iraq war. While it revealed the prodigious extent to which Rumsfeld was still willing to spin words, obfuscate and complicate matters in order to wriggle out of responsibility for taking the US and its allies into Iraq, it was not able to pierce his confidence, and he showed no trace of self-doubt.

Multiplicity of voices

Amir’s film offers a different perspective with its multiplicity of voices and its focus on the anti-war movement that gathered pace and exploded into the world’s biggest international demonstration.

We also hear many testimonies from those directly involved in policy, including Hans Blix, various politicians and Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s chief of staff at the time, who makes the moving admission that he would gladly sacrifice his own freedom if the administration for which he worked could be punished for what it did.

We are offered a wealth of insight – and amusing anecdotes – from dedicated activists, who risked jail sentences and job losses. There is also an interesting perspective on the 2011 Egyptian revolution, which Egyptian activists in the film traced to the 2003 Iraq war protests, rather than to social media and the Tunisian revolution less than a month earlier.

Amirani and comedian Omid Djalili at a screening of We Are Many in London [Getty]

Some of the anecdotes by pop stars, actors and business moguls sit uneasily with the dreadful facts of the story, and are perhaps over-emphasised at the expense of an overarching vision. For instance, Richard Branson’s attempt to fly Nelson Mandela to a meeting with Saddam to convince him to step down is interesting, but seemed like an unrealistic last-ditch attempt.

A more serious problem in the film is the insistence that the 2003 anti-war movement eventually led to real success because parliament voted against UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s proposal to enter war in Syria, which in turn influenced Obama to stay out of Syria.

It is certainly true that international legal procedures were followed in the case of proposed intervention in Syria. However, staying out of Syria in itself can hardly be considered a victory for the anti-war movement and the spirit of 2003.

State of ruin

Syria is in a state of ruin, and both the West, with its loss of appetite for war after Iraq and Afghanistan, and the UN Security Council failed to prevent war through negotiation, diplomacy, and sanctions. And even if this was too much to ask, the international community has failed to alleviate the suffering of millions of refugees, most of whom are women and children, made homeless and hungry by the conflict.

Nor has it provided adequate support to those neighbouring countries – Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon – who are hosting the Syrian refugees and creaking under the political, economic and social strain of it. A generation of children is growing up in refugee camps, without proper shelter, adequate access to water, sanitation and health services, and without education.

And, of course, after destroying the Iraqi state, the West failed spectacularly to provide a viable structure with which to replace it, leading to further conflict, the impoverishment of thousands and a vacuum that became particularly conducive to the proliferation of militias and extreme groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIL.

The film doesn’t mention any of this.

Still, what it does is both powerful and important. It goes a long way, through its array of different perspectives, to remind us of the biggest anti-war movement in the world and how it opened up the possibility of democratisation and popular mobilisation.

It also addresses the key issue of responsibility, showing us what a blunt instrument international law remains. The International Criminal Court in The Hague has so far mainly looked at cases involving leaders of African countries. Blair, however, still roams the world freely, earning millions from public speaking and advising governments, and – until this week – posing as a peace envoy.

Lana Asfour is a journalist based in London and Beirut. 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

Source: Al Jazeera


12 Responses to “The story of Bush and Blair’s great lie”

  1. Lynn says:

    It is about time they realized we are on to them. Diplomacy died along with democracy. They have them all by the short and curly’s and under threat. This is a bully at work and if they are confronted they will be easily removed. They rely on the mercenaries they are paying for through the crimes they commit against us. This really has been a stitch up job. I hope the film gets a good amount of publicity we need more people speaking out with the proof of what has gone on. These criminals need taking down.

  2. Julie says:

    Will Henry Curteis, Jennifer or Gordon please explain the “rules” of moderation on this blog. I don’t swear, I don’t incite hatred and yet some of my comments are “awaiting moderation” for hours, even without ANY LINKS.

    • Adam Lightwarrior Exposing the Secret Space Program says:

      Yes sometimes that happens to me too, though not today
      Could it be an external force Henry has no control over?
      Im a bit shocked the comment to Henry someone said BRICS is a NWO solution for us to get herded into like sheep. This cannot be true. Does that mean putin and modi, and the other leaders, are all illuminati taking the piss?

      • Julie says:

        Hello Adam. I very much doubt it’s an external force. If you are genuinely interested, yes it’s possible that Putin et al are all part of the game. The Corporation of the City of London has it’s Jewish claws in virtually every country and JTRIG The Joint Regional Intelligence Centre is all over the alternative media. Who knows Adam, how many people on this site are part of it … maybe you, but not me.

        “Then there is the use of psychology and other social sciences to not only understand, but shape and control, how online activism and discourse unfolds. Today’s newly published document touts the work of GCHQ’s “Human Science Operations Cell,” devoted to “online human intelligence” and “strategic influence and disruption”:

        GCHQ describes the purpose of JTRIG in starkly clear terms: “using online techniques to make something happen in the real or cyber world,” including “information ops (influence or disruption).”Government plans to monitor and influence internet communications, and covertly infiltrate online communities in order to sow dissension and disseminate false information, have long been the source of speculation. Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein, a close Obama adviser and the White House’s former head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, wrote a controversial paper in 2008 proposing that the US government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-”independent” advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” online groups and websites, as well as other activist groups.” No links supplied .. look it up yourself!

    • Adam Lightwarrior Exposing the Secret Space Program says:

      Julie about RT. What do you thinks going on?
      On the one hand, we see Peter lavelle doing a great job, having Ken O Keefe on, and doing clear good work for us all. We can look at many other RT programmes, like going underground, that Asian guy whos great. Max Keiser. I noticed Stacy Herbert even wore a tshirt a few weeks ago, with an UPSIDEDOWN pyramid with all seeing eye at the bottom. Was she using the illuminati black magic tricks, throwing it back at them? All the viewers Consciousness energy?

      On the other hand, we have as you say, your comments about the Talmud aren’t allowed. We must conclude RTs being run by elite jews

      Could it be Julie, there really is battle between factions going on? The Tel aviv Zionist one, pitted against the Bush type faction? And maybe that will account for RTs apparent tremendous good work?

      Ive lost my train of thought a bit. id just like clarity about RT. I left a few good points earlier today if you can find my comment, no idea what article it was left under. That’s why I like replies done on the personal reply button. Otherwise I might never find them

    • Gordon says:

      It’s nothing to worry about Julie. Unknown to you we’re all in the same boat, even me. Just be patient and you’ll eventually see your comment.

      • Julie says:

        Thanks Gordon. But you haven’t explained who is moderating who.

    • Aldous says:

      Hi Julie. I can only assume that ‘random moderation software’ by IP address is in play. Most comments get published when submitted but some are deliberately held back by the software for moderation by a human being. It’s entirely random and everyone gets treated equally unless they are a registered Admin for a particular site.

      Random moderation is not unusual and is a sensible compromise between ALL comments being moderated – and the resulting delay and adverse effect on the comment thread – and a no-moderation free-for-all where shills and trolls will quickly exploit such an open door policy and post spam and comments to discredit the blog and disrupt the flow of comments.

      I get treated exactly the same as yourself and further, often have to remove a link (or two) because the software treats it as spam and tells me to bugger off and spam somewhere else! No problem, just back page and remove a link (it’s always a link) and click submit and hey… rock ‘n’ roll and comment away. Regards 🙂

  3. It is disheartening that Julie is having trouble with her posts. Julie and Lynn are among people who write the most informative and important comments.

    • Aldous says:

      Hi Get The Facts, I don’t think Julie is having trouble with her posts, as I have attempted to explain in my previous comment (before seeing yours) which was immediately approved by the site software. Perhaps it’s a word in a comment that sometimes necessitates ‘human moderation’ and triggers the software to ‘hold’ rather than ‘approve’ that comment.

      I’m sure there will be a random element (depending on the parameters set by the blog author and senior admin) to anyone’s comment submission – even the Lord’s Prayer – where the software will block/hold a comment for admin approval. This could be something as simple as every third comment from that poster or IP address – or both.

      As for myself, I value all comments that I read on here and other blogs, though I freely admit to having a soft spot for the female of the species and empathize with your final sentence.

    • Adam Lightwarrior Exposing the Secret Space Program says:


      Seeing the Zeitgeist debunked as a NWO new age strategy has prompted this train of thought

      I think its important and needs to be said, things im sensing and being guided to read, like feeling when getting warmer, where things seem to effortlessly fit and flow better, rather than contradicting all the time

      What im talking about is firstly, its been pointed out, that taking jesus Christ into ones life, has nothing to do with organised religion. Its well known they are evil corrupted things by elites.

      But on a simple personal level, it can be possible to know and feel and accept the powerful force of jesus, and how this can defeat satan, Lucifer.

      I have always assumed these things, topics, are fairytales. But im sensing there is a real ongoing drive, as has been for years, to dechristianise, people and societies to remove any truth in peoples minds for god and jesus, and replace it with satanic influences and even false looking angels

      The point im driving at is, I have a feeling a lot of whats going on, the clues about 911, the prewarnings, were always intended to be there. They want to be found out. Think about it, its all a bit too easy isn’t it? Whether its to create passivity and learned helplessness in humanity, knowing that these illuminati exist. or some other reason im not sure of. I think this is all part of their plan. Maybe some Event that’s coming has caused them to play these games?

      The other point im driving at is, and I think ive been led down this blind alley, theres a big trend to say jesus and god are wrong, and I notice a lot of the pagan things are being pushed, Pagan gods and Isis and Ra etc, and tying those things in with truth disclosures. What im saying is this could all be Lucifer at work , taking people away from their spiritual protection of jesus

      of course, this doesn’t explain though the fact theres a lot of lies about history and past civilisations, and technologies. Surely there have been positive benevolent presences on this planet before Jesus? So its perhaps a mistake to say he was the only one

      And as well angelic spirits, and demons, seem to exist. I think this is a big things that’s been covered up. I think the freemason illuminati elites in their upper degrees , worship Satan and I think there really is a big strategy going on of destabilisation very slowly, as they try to make a kingdom on earth for Satan. And I think too, just like in freemasonry hierarchy, the same thing exists in Judaism, I think theyre Satanists at the top, that Bloodline.

      Doesn’t this explain it all better? it might come down to a very very simple truth, there is a battle going on between God and Satan right now, im talking literally, really. Not imaginatively.

      Suppressed tesla physics shows us reality and dimensions and other things don’t work like how weve been told they do. This doesn’t mean im about to become a church going bible reader though, im not

  4. Thanks Aldous for explaining. I enjoy your comments too and you are all great people!

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