Excerpt: Speech by the prime minister, Tony Blair, to the 2003 Labour party conference in Bournemouth

From: joedees@bellsouth.net
Date: Wed 01 Oct 2003 - 03:42:56 GMT

  • Next message: joedees@bellsouth.net: "Said and Orientalism"

    Iraq has divided the international community. It has divided the party, the country, families, friends. I know many people are disappointed, hurt, angry. I know many profoundly believe the action we took was wrong . I do not at all disrespect anyone who disagrees with me. I ask just one thing: attack my decision but at least understand why I took it and why I would take the same decision again. Imagine you are PM. And you receive this intelligence. And not just about Iraq. But about the whole murky trade in WMD. And one thing we know. Not from intelligence. But from historical fact. That Saddam's regime has not just developed but used such weapons gassing thousands of his own people. And has lied about it consistently, concealing it for years even under the noses of the UN Inspectors. And I see the terrorism and the trade in WMD growing. And I look at Saddam's country and I see its people in torment ground underfoot by his and his sons' brutality and wickedness. So what do I do? Say "I've got the intelligence but I've a hunch its wrong?" Leave Saddam in place but now with the world's democracies humiliated and him emboldened? You see, I believe the security threat of the 21st century is not countries waging conventional war. I believe that in today's interdependent world the threat is chaos. It is fanaticism defeating reason. Suppose the terrorists repeated September 11th or worse. Suppose they got hold of a chemical or biological or nuclear dirty bomb; and if they could, they would. What then? And if it is the threat of the 21st century, Britain should be in there helping confront it, not because we are America's poodle, but because dealing with it will make Britain safer. There was no easy choice. So whatever we each of us thought, let us agree on this. We who started the war must finish the peace. Those British soldiers who died are heroes. We didn't regret the fall of Milosovic, the removal of the Taliban or the liberation of Sierra Leone and whatever the disagreement Iraq is a better country without Saddam. And why do I stay fighting to keep in there with America on the one hand and Europe on the other? Because I know terrorism can't be defeated unless America and Europe work together. And it's not so much American unilateralism I fear. It's isolation. It's walking away when we need America there engaged. Fighting to get world trade opened up. Fighting to give hope to Africa. Changing its position for the future of the world, on climate change. And staying with it in the Middle East, telling Israel and the Palestinians: don't let the extremists decide the fate of the peace process, when the only hope is two states living side by side in peace. And it's not Britain being swallowed up in some European federal nightmare as if Britain wasn't strong enough to hold its own, that I fear. It's Britain leaving the centre of Europe retreating to its margin at the very moment when the fate of Europe is being decided, 10 new nations and Britain's leadership has never been more essential. That's why apart from all the good economic reasons it is madness for Britain to give up the option of joining the Euro. And I know both on terrorism and on Europe my views cause offence. But I can no more concede to parts of the left on the one than I can genuflect to the right over the other. Because I believe both positions are vital in delivering justice in a modern world.

    =============================================================== This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing) see: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed 01 Oct 2003 - 03:51:48 GMT