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

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Wed 01 Oct 2003 - 04:41:45 GMT

  • Next message: "Re: Excerpt: Speech by the prime minister, Tony Blair, to the 2003 Labour party conference in Bournemouth"

    >Subject: Excerpt: Speech by the prime minister, Tony Blair, to the 2003
    >Labour party conference in Bournemouth
    >Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2003 22:42:56 -0500
    >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
    >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.
    OK Joe. I'm violating my self-imposed moratorium on replying to you about Iraq to say enough is enough already. I think I'm a fairer judge than others here about your unidimensionality and obsession with these topics of Iraq, Islamicism, and the Middle East and I say you need to give it a rest. Please.

    I now feel guilty about drawing recent comparisons between our wars in Iraq and Vietnam in a post, mainly because the constant monotony of your dwelling has made even an occasional reference to these current events a listmember faux pas.

    I make no appeals to the moderator, just to you to try and be less unidimensional and stop to smell the roses a little. Go relax and watch a Tampa Bay Bucs game or something (if one can still actually buy tickets to such an event without being a member of a Forbes or Fortune featured corporation).

    You live so close to the Montu I'm sure. If I lived over there I'd have a year round pass to Busch Gardens and a neck vertebrae fusion I'd be riding those rollercoasters so often. Free complementary beer is a plus!

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