Monday, February 17, 2003

Tony Blair, ladies and gentlemen:

"What do they have in common these twins of chaos - terrorism and rogue states with Weapons of Mass Destruction? They are answerable to no democratic mandate, so are unrestrained by the will of ordinary people. They are extreme and inhumane. They detest and fear liberal, democratic and tolerant values. And their aim is to de-stabilise us.

September 11th didn't just kill thousands of innocent people. It was meant to bring down the Western economy. It did not do so. But we live with the effects of it even today in economic confidence. It was meant to divide Muslim and Christian, Arab and Western nations, and to provoke us to hate each other. It didn't succeed but that is what it was trying to do.

These states developing Weapons of Mass Destruction, proliferating them, importing or exporting the scientific expertise, the ballistic missile technology; the companies and individuals helping them: they don't operate within any international treaties. They don't conform to any rules. North Korea is a country whose people are starving and yet can spend billions of dollars trying to perfect a nuclear bomb. Iraq, under Saddam became the first country to use chemical weapons against its own people. Are we sure that if we let him keep and develop such weapons, he would not use them again against his neighbours, against Israel perhaps? Saddam the man who killed a million people in an eight year war with Iran, and then, having lost it, invaded Kuwait? Or the other nations scrabbling to get a foot on the nuclear ladder, are we happy that they do so?"

Via Metafilter.

This encapsulates why I am thinking that this war may be a necessary war, despite my mistrust of Bush and his cronies. Sometimes the wrong man has to do the right thing, for possibly the wrong reasons. There are some threats that are vaster than anything most people can imagine, and unfettered biological warfare is one such threat. America is uniquely vulnerable. You don't need papers to travel from New York to Kansas City. We are an open society, and we may pay for that. Do I think that Bush is trying to make political hay out of this? Sure. Does it matter, in the grand scheme of things? Not really. The threat remains.

Tony Blair, again:

"By going down the UN route we gave the UN an extraordinary opportunity and a heavy responsibility. The opportunity is to show that we can meet the menace to our world today together, collectively and as a united international community. What a mighty achievement that would be. The responsibility, however, is indeed to deal with it.

The League of Nations also had that opportunity and responsibility back in the 1930s. In the early days of the fascist menace, it had the duty to protect Abyssinia from invasion. But when it came to a decision to enforce that guarantee, the horror of war deterred it. We know the rest. The menace grew; the League of Nations collapsed; war came."

And again:

"At every stage, we should seek to avoid war. But if the threat cannot be removed peacefully, please let us not fall for the delusion that it can be safely ignored. If we do not confront these twin menaces of rogue states with Weapons of Mass Destruction and terrorism, they will not disappear. They will just feed and grow on our weakness."


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