'Blood On Their Hands': Acclaimed Journalist John Pilger Explores the Fate of Iraqi Children, and the World Leaders Who Are Responsible

StoryFebruary 26, 2003
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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.


  • “Paying The Price: Killing the Children of Iraq,” produced, written and presented by John Pilger, distributed by Bullfrog Films, 2000.

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