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Beyond Iraq and a Hard Place (2003)

In the aftermath of the war, all the players are forced to take steps to reposition themselves. George Bush relives the way he made the decision to go to war by appearing on who Wants to be... See full summary »

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John Bird ...
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Rory Bremner ...
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Doña Croll ...
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In the aftermath of the war, all the players are forced to take steps to reposition themselves. George Bush relives the way he made the decision to go to war by appearing on who Wants to be A Trillionaire to raise money to help him give tax cuts, while a little help comes from the audience in the shape of Dick Cheney and the Project for the New American Century. Meanwhile both Saddam and Bin Laden share a drink and look back on their glory days when they were beneficiaries of the CIA and not enemies of the US. Written by bob the moo

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Comedy | War

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11 May 2003 (UK)  »

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Death by a thousand cuts - informative, funny and downright depressing
27 July 2003 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Now that Iraq has fallen to the US, I mean - been liberated by the US, all the players are forced to take steps to reposition themselves. George Bush relives the way he made the decision to go to war by appearing on `Who Wants to be A Trillionaire' to raise money to help him give tax cuts - while a little help comes from the audience in the shape of Dick Cheney and the Project for the New American Century. Meanwhile both Saddam and Bin Laden share a drink and look back on their glory days when they were beneficiaries of the CIA and not enemies of the US.

Following their special `Between Iraq and a hard place', the trio of satirists go back to history to help them cut their leaders to shreds. The programme looks back at the history of the Iraq situation. Focusing on the occupation of Iraq by British forces between the 1920's and 1950's they draw a correlation between this and the US currently. It also of course takes the easy target of showing us again the history of Saddam with the US, drawing attention to how he was set up to assassinate the (then) ruler of Iraq and then protected when he failed to do it. In one funny sketch, like the old Monty Python joke where old Yorkshire men try to out do each other with tales of suffering, Saddam and Bin Laden try to outdo each other with tales of CIA and US support!

The show does do a lot of easy swipes - having Tony Blair attending WMA (War Mongers Anonymous) to try and kick his habit of starting wars is one - but it is very sharp throughout. It does get quite depressing at times though. The show looks at the influence of the Project for the New American Century and how members of this non-profit organisation shaped the direction of American policy. All they needed, says Bremner quoting one of the members of this group, was something to get the public and the Government on board - step up September 11th. After this getting support was easy. This is told by Bremner but also backed up by a `who wants to be a millionaire' spoof where Bush is helped (Charles Ingram style) by members of the Project coughing to tell him what the answers are when asked question on Middle Eastern policy!

The show also points how the hypocrisy in Bush. Footage of a campaign speech he makes where he criticises his opponent for using the words `US Army' and `nation building' in the same sentence is a joke now! They also look at the rebuilding of Iraq. 68% of funding for the republican party comes from 5 major companies. Isn't it strange that these 5 companies are the very same ones who have been awarded contracts for rebuilding Iraq? It is totally depressing the way that Bremner, Bird and Fortune take us through the relationships between Government, these businesses and the Project - War seems to have been inevitable for many years before even 11/9 happened.

Don't be fooled into thinking this is basically a news programme - it is very funny at times although the reality of the world is a little bit of a dampner on it. Bremner is on form with his impressions and the interviews of Bird and Fortune are, as always, the high point of the show. This, is satire. In a world of television where comedians openly mock leaders with easy shots and shotgun style jokes, here the material is like a sharp blade that slices you open and you don't even notice you've been cut until you see the blood.

Overall this is yet another brilliant special from the talented group. The mix of humour and thought provoking truths is a sobering yet hilarious mix. This should be shown on TV again and every man jack of us forced to watch it.


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