Tony Blair’s Speech To Britain

BBC NEWS | Politics | Blair’s blunt address
Tony Blair has been a better friend to America than we could have ever hoped for. His sincerity with regard to the threat of WMD and terrorism is beyond question. He’s a big believer in multilateral institutions, yet has sided with the U.S. in a fight the UN has refused. His status within the EU is called into question.

I have no affection for the UN but I have tremendous affection for Tony Blair. I hope he emerges from this recognized as the statesman he is.

When Tony Blair delivered his television message, he was only too well aware he was addressing a nation more divided about the need for war than it has been about any other conflict in living memory.

There was no “People’s Princess”-style artifice in his performance; instead, blunt in manner and in the words he used, the broadcast tackled that fact head on.

He opened with the acknowledgement that “this course of action has produced deep divisions of opinion in our country”.

Unlike the American public – who his brother-in-arms George W Bush spoke to upon Wednesday night’s first skirmish – the prime minister’s audience has, despite the best efforts of this great persuader, remained stuck in deep scepticism about the need for this war.

With that in mind his message was also a final attempt, even at this late stage with the attacks already under way, to convince us of his case for war.

This is the same case he has taken round the world and which spectacularly failed to gain the international backing he put so much ultimately fruitless effort into winning.

Drawn in appearance, he set out how the old, familiar dangers of the cold war have been replaced.

The new threat is “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.”

Intelligence he sees as prime minister is alarming enough to fully justify the use of pre-emptive force, he said.

Without that there was the very real possibility of “catastrophe to our country and our world”.

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