British Labour MPs set to deliver Prime Minister Tony Blair his most serious challenge yet: an interview with Dilip Hiro; Blood on their hands : acclaimed journalist John Pilger explores the fate of Iraqi children, and the world leaders who are responsible
9:00-9:01 Billboard 9:01-9:06 Headlines 9:06-9:07 One Minute Music Break 9:07-9:26 : British Prime Minister Tony Blair tonight faces what the London Guardian calls the most dangerous challenge yet to his six-year reign. Parliament is set to vote on Blair s aggressive policy against Iraq. Members of Parliament from Blair s own Labour Party are under orders to support the government, and the government is expected to win. But backbench organizers say over 150 MPs are prepared to vote against Blair. That would be by far the largest revolt of the Blair era. Anti-war sentiment is very strong in Britain. On Feb. 15th, over a million people marched in London a city of only 7 million people. And several major British newspapers and tabloids are outspoken against the war. Well today we re joined in our firehouse studios by Dilip Hiro, a Middle East analyst based in London. Dilip Hiro is the author of more than a dozen books on the Middle East and writes regularly for the London Observer , and Guardian and is a frequent commentator on the BBC. But Hiro s influence is extending to the other side of the Atlantic: He regularly contributes to the Washington Post , CNN and the Nation. This week in an opinion piece called Not so Fast, Washington Post columnist William Raspberry wrote: This is hard. So soon after very nearly swooning over Colin Powell's report to the United Nations Security Council, I find myself thinking the once unthinkable: I don't believe him. It's not that I think the secretary of state -- the one member of the president's inner circle I thought we could count on to be straight with us on Iraq -- is lying. But I'm starting to think that his interpretation of facts and circumstances assumes so many things and ignores so many others that it comes to the same thing. Whence my change of heart? For one thing, I've had time to digest that tour de force performance of earlier this month. For another, I've been listening and reading (particularly Dilip Hiro's book Iraq: In the Eye of the Storm ). And finally, I've found it impossible to see how Powell's allegations and speculation -- even if they are all true -- lead so ineluctably to war. Guest: Dilip Hiro, author, Iraq: In the Eye of the Storm and War Without End: the Rise of Islamist Terrorism and Global Response . (Three decades ago, he also wrote the book Black British, White British: A History of Race Relations in Britain ) 9:26-9:27 One Minute Music Break 9:27 -9:58 : A recent edition of the London Mirror showed a picture of British Prime Minister Tony Blair with blood on his hands. The cover read: Blood on his hands/John Pilger: His Most Damning Verdict of Tony Blair. Pilger is an acclaimed Australian journalist and filmmaker. He begins the article in the Mirror : William Russell, the great correspondent who reported the carnage of imperial wars, may have first used the expression on his hands to describe impeccable politicians who, at a safe distance, order the mass killing of ordinary people. In my experience, on his hands applies especially to those modern political leaders who have had no personal experience of war, like George W. Bush, who managed not to serve in Vietnam, and the effete Tony Blair. There is about them the essential cowardice of the man who causes death and suffering not by his own hand but through a chain of command that affirms his "authority". In 1946, the judges at Nuremberg who tried the Nazi leaders for war crimes left no doubt about what they regarded as the gravest crimes against humanity. The most serious was unprovoked invasion of a sovereign state that offered no threat to one's homeland. Then there was the murder of civilians, for which responsibility rested with the "highest authority". Blair is about to commit both these crimes That, again from a recent column of John Pilger, in the London Mirror . Today we are going to hear an excerpt from Pilger s documentary Paying The Price: Killing the Children of Iraq. In this hard-hitting special report, Pilger investigates the effects of sanctions on the people of Iraq and finds that ten years of extraordinary isolation, imposed by the UN and enforced by the US and Britain, have killed more people than the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan. In the film, Pilger travels with Denis Halliday, the former assistant secretary-general of the United Nations who resigned over what he called the "immoral policy" of economic sanctions. Tape: Paying The Price: Killing the Children of Iraq, produced, written and presented by John Pilger, distributed by Bullfrog Films, 2000. Contact: http://pilger.carlton.com/9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits Democracy Now! is produced by Kris Abrams, Mike Burke, Angie Karran, Ana Nogiera and Alex Wolfe. Mike Di Filippo is our music maestro and engineer.