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Uploaded: 25 June 2003

Response to Mr Blair's speech on the invasion of Iraq.

"On Tuesday night I gave the order for British forces to take part in military action in Iraq . 

"Tonight, British servicemen and women are engaged from air, land and sea. Their mission: to remove Saddam Hussein from power, and disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction. 

"I know this course of action has produced deep divisions of opinion in our country. But I know also the British people will now be united in sending our armed forces our thoughts and prayers. They are the finest in the world and their families and all of Britain can have great pride in them. 

This is a nonsense statement; of course the country would wish our troops well, but it leaves unaddressed the issue of whether they should ever have been sent to Iraq. The implication here, however, is that in our concern for our troops we would back the invasion, for how could we not; that to oppose the invasion of Iraq meant that we did not mean our troops well?

"The threat to Britain today is not that of my father's generation. War between the big powers is unlikely. Europe is at peace. The cold war already a memory. 

The cold war cannot be so easily dismissed as a memory. Many of us remember all too well what it meant to live with the ‘Red Threat’, a threat that had little chance of becoming a reality given that Russia could not produce enough food as a nation to support itself and was reliant on food imports from the west. The bombing of Japan was as much about impressing the Russians, and perhaps more so, than ending the war with Japan. Japan was on the verge of capitulation at the time the bombs were dropped. The cold war was mostly about political posturing and an arms race that was politically motivated, and the rationale for it was actually very similar to the situation we now find ourselves in. Very little has changed. We would do well to remember, and not dismiss those memories. Just as we ought to remember WWII and Vietnam lest we ever justify war as some kind of solution except in extremis. As WWII clearly was and Vietnam was not.    

"But this new world faces a new threat: of disorder and chaos born either of brutal states like Iraq , armed with weapons of mass destruction; or of extreme terrorist groups. Both hate our way of life, our freedom, our democracy. 

This world does not face a new threat that can even begin to compare with the Holocaust and Hitler’s megalomania. What, if we defeated the might of Germany, and Germany was mighty, does Mr. Blair think that Iraq or extreme terrorist groups are going to do? That he dares compare the relative destruction of terrorism, including 9/11 with two world wars is an insult to every person who fought and those who died to give us the freedom today that Mr Blair is striving to erode. Shame on you Mr. Blair, to use Michael Moore’s expression, shame on you. Is Mr. Blair seriously suggesting that Iraq or terrorism is a threat to our entire way of life and liberty? How dare he!  

 "Some say if we act, we become a target. The truth is, all nations are targets. Bali was never in the frontline of action against terrorism. America didn't attack al Qaida. They attacked America . 

Let us get some perspective on what Mr. Blair is saying here. Is he suggesting that these terrorist to whom he refers are numerous enough and have enough silos and missiles to threaten the west, with its mind boggling armed capability? Does Mr. Blair know how many nations there are in the world? I did a brief web search and came up with 271 independent nations, I have no idea if that is accurate. Of course we must assume that some of these are harbouring the (so called) terrorist aggressors, but I do think that Mr. Blair needs to get a grip in his scare mongering.      

"Britain has never been a nation to hide at the back. But even if we were, it wouldn't avail us. 

"Should terrorists obtain these weapons now being manufactured and traded round the world, the carnage they could inflict to our economies, our security, to world peace, would be beyond our most vivid imagination. 

It is difficult to imagine any terrorist group or even a nation outside the western alliance being any kind of realistic threat to the UK, not least that were such a threat to arise they would also be taking on the might of Europe and probably America too. Certainly the possibility of a terrorist attack is a real one, we have had the bombings of the IRA and America has The World Trade Centres, but aside from the very real tragedy of the loss of life, such attacks are no threat to our national stability. The present posturing about Iran takes no thought of the past that held the might of Russia in check. Only a complete madman would press the button that would send nuclear missiles to attack Britain, Europe or America. Meanwhile we still await the proof of the existence of these weapons that strike such fear into Mr. Blair’s heart. Mr. Blair’s vivid imagination took us into Iraq against the better judgment of Hans Blix and the weapons inspectors and many nations around the world, and they have yet to be proved wrong.   

"My judgment, as prime minister, is that this threat is real, growing and of an entirely different nature to any conventional threat to our security that Britain has faced before.

True, perhaps, if global terrorism existed on any kind of scale to produce that threat. 

"For 12 years, the world tried to disarm Saddam; after his wars in which hundreds of thousands died. UN weapons inspectors say vast amounts of chemical and biological poisons, such as anthrax, VX nerve agent, and mustard gas remain unaccounted for in Iraq . 

Against whom were these wars fought Mr. Blair? Reading this it sounds as though Saddam Hussein has been waging war left right and centre when his greatest threat was to his own people.

"So our choice is clear: back down and leave Saddam hugely strengthened; or proceed to disarm him by force. Retreat might give us a moment of respite but years of repentance at our weakness would, I believe, follow. 

"It is true Saddam is not the only threat. But it is true also - as we British know - that the best way to deal with future threats peacefully, is to deal with present threats with results. 

"Removing Saddam will be a blessing to the Iraqi people. Four million Iraqis are in exile. Sixty per cent of the population are dependent on food aid. Thousands of children die every year through malnutrition and disease. Hundreds of thousands have been driven from their homes or murdered. 

Was war, to help the people of Iraq, really the best solution in aiding them against a brutal dictator? He is far from being the only such brutal dictator in the world, and nor will he be the last, so are we about to witness a western culture of militarily removing every dictator who kills his own people?

"I hope the Iraqi people hear this message. We are with you. Our enemy is not you, but your barbarous rulers. 

"Our commitment to the post-Saddam humanitarian effort will be total. We shall help Iraq move towards democracy. And put the money from Iraqi oil in a UN trust fund so that it benefits Iraq and no one else. 

This is clearly not true, unless Mr. Blair means that only companies in Iraq will be involved in rebuilding Iraq. For whoever rebuilds Iraq will profit from Iraq’s oil. Right now it looks as though a disproportionate number of the companies who will benefit from rebuilding Iraq will be American. Frankly it is looking as though Iraqi oil will become the new western slush fund.

"Neither should Iraq be our only concern. President Bush and I have committed ourselves to peace in the Middle East based on a secure state of Israel and a viable Palestinian state. We will strive to see it done.

We will see, so far the western track record for bringing peace to Middle East is not very encouraging.  

"But these challenges and others that confront us - poverty, the environment, the ravages of disease - require a world of order and stability. Dictators like Saddam, terrorist groups like al-Qaida, threaten the very existence of such a world. 

"That is why I have asked our troops to go into action tonight. As so often before, on the courage and determination of British men and women, serving our country, the fate of many nations rests. 

Rubbish, Mr. Blair, just plain rubbish.

"Thank you." 

 

Robin Cook, former foreign secretary, doubts Saddam threat.

http://politics.guardian.co.uk/iraq/story/0,12956,979260,00.html

BBC under pressure regarding its coverage of Iraq.

http://politics.guardian.co.uk/iraq/story/0,12956,986017,00.html

 

 © Keith Lindsay-Cameron 2003

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