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‘Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.’ This sentence, spoken by George W Bush, introduces this three-part series covering the build-up, hostilities and aftermath of the war in Iraq. And what telling words they are. No nuance, no possibility of compromise, no shades of grey; just an absolute, pig-headed determination to manipulate the facts to fit a particular agenda.
‘The Iraq War’ is a product of the Brook-Lapping stable, also responsible for ‘The Death of Yugoslavia’ and ‘Iran and the West’, among other landmark series. And, in the customary Brook-Lapping style, its strength is its thoroughness. All the heavy hitters are here, from Cheney to Blair; from Kurdish generals to Iraqi security ministers.
Tonight’s episode focuses on the dodgy dossiers, 45-minute warnings and ‘cheese-eating surrender-monkeys’ of the war’s birth pangs. The big test will come when the war’s aftermath (and the vested interests of so many of the Bush inner circle) are examined. But this is a promising start.