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Why we must never abandon this historic struggle in Iraq (Tony Blair - Please read)
The Observer ^ | Sunday April 11, 2004 | Tony Blair

Posted on 04/10/2004 7:15:37 PM PDT by Eurotwit

We are locked in a historic struggle in Iraq. On its outcome hangs more than the fate of the Iraqi people. Were we to fail, which we will not, it is more than 'the power of America' that would be defeated. The hope of freedom and religious tolerance in Iraq would be snuffed out. Dictators would rejoice; fanatics and terrorists would be triumphant. Every nascent strand of moderate Arab opinion, knowing full well that the future should not belong to fundamentalist religion, would be set back in bitter disappointment. If we succeed - if Iraq becomes a sovereign state, governed democratically by the Iraqi people; the wealth of that potentially rich country, their wealth; the oil, their oil; the police state replaced by the rule of law and respect for human rights - imagine the blow dealt to the poisonous propaganda of the extremists. Imagine the propulsion toward change it would inaugurate all over the Middle East.

In every country, including our own, the fanatics are preaching their gospel of hate, basing their doctrine on a wilful perversion of the true religion of Islam. At their fringe are groups of young men prepared to conduct terrorist attacks however and whenever they can. Thousands of victims the world over have now died, but the impact is worse than the death of innocent people.

The terrorists prey on ethnic or religious discord. From Kashmir to Chechnya, to Palestine and Israel, they foment hatred, they deter reconciliation. In Europe, they conducted the massacre in Madrid. They threaten France. They forced the cancellation of the President of Germany's visit to Djibouti. They have been foiled in Britain, but only for now.

Of course they use Iraq. It is vital to them. As each attack brings about American attempts to restore order, so they then characterise it as American brutality. As each piece of chaos menaces the very path toward peace and democracy along which most Iraqis want to travel, they use it to try to make the coalition lose heart, and bring about the retreat that is the fanatics' victory.

They know it is a historic struggle. They know their victory would do far more than defeat America or Britain. It would defeat civilisation and democracy everywhere. They know it, but do we? The truth is, faced with this struggle, on which our own fate hangs, a significant part of Western opinion is sitting back, if not half-hoping we fail, certainly replete with schadenfreude at the difficulty we find.

So what exactly is the nature of the battle inside Iraq itself? This is not a 'civil war', though the purpose of the terrorism is undoubtedly to try to provoke one. The current upsurge in violence has not spread throughout Iraq. Much of Iraq is unaffected and most Iraqis reject it. The insurgents are former Saddam sympathisers, angry that their status as 'boss' has been removed, terrorist groups linked to al-Qaeda and, most recently, followers of the Shia cleric, Muqtada-al-Sadr.

The latter is not in any shape or form representative of majority Shia opinion. He is a fundamentalist, an extremist, an advocate of violence. He is wanted in connection with the murder of the moderate and much more senior cleric, Ayatollah al Khoei last year. The prosecutor, an Iraqi judge, who issued a warrant for his arrest, is the personification of how appallingly one-sided some of the Western reporting has become. Dismissed as an American stooge, he has braved assassination attempts and extraordinary intimidation in order to follow proper judicial process and has insisted on issuing the warrant despite direct threats to his life in doing so.

There you have it. On the one side, outside terrorists, an extremist who has created his own militia, and remnants of a brutal dictatorship which murdered hundreds of thousands of its own people and enslaved the rest. On the other side, people of immense courage and humanity who dare to believe that basic human rights and liberty are not alien to Arab and Middle Eastern culture, but are their salvation.

Over the past few weeks, I have met several people from the Iraqi government, the first genuine cross-community government Iraq had seen. People like Mrs Barwari, the Minister of Public Works, who has just survived a second assassination attempt that killed her bodyguard; people like Mr Zebari, the Foreign Minister. They are intelligent, forward-looking, tolerant, dedicated to their country. They know that 'the occupation' can be used to stir up anti-coalition feeling; they, too, want their country governed by its people and no one else. But they also know that if we cut and run, their country would be at the mercy of warring groups which are united only in their distaste for democracy.

The tragedy is that outside of the violence which dominated the coverage of Iraq, there are incredible possibilities of progress. There is a huge amount of reconstruction going on; the legacy of decades of neglect is slowly being repaired.

By 1 June, electricity will be 6,000MW, 50 per cent more than prewar, but short of the 7,500MW they now need because of the massive opening up of the economy, set to grow by 60 per cent this year and 25 per cent the next.

The first private banks are being opened. A new currency is in circulation. Those in work have seen their salaries trebled or quadrupled and unemployment is falling. One million cars have been imported. Thirty per cent now have satellite TV, once banned, where they can watch al-Jazeera, the radical Arab TV station, telling them how awful the Americans are.

The internet is no longer forbidden. Shrines are no longer shut. Groups of women and lawyers meet to discuss how they can make sure the new constitution genuinely promotes equality. The universities eagerly visit Western counterparts to see how a modern, higher-education system, free to study as it pleases, would help the new Iraq.

People in the West ask: why don't they speak up, these standard-bearers of the new Iraq? Why don't the Shia clerics denounce al-Sadr more strongly? I understand why the question is asked. But the answer is simple: they are worried. They remember 1991, when the West left them to their fate. They know their own street, unused to democratic debate, rife with every rumour, and know its volatility. They read the Western papers and hear its media. And they ask, as the terrorists do: have we the stomach to see it through?

I believe we do. And the rest of the world must hope that we do. None of this is to say we do not have to learn and listen. There is an agenda that could unite the majority of the world. It would be about pursuing terrorism and rogue states on the one hand and actively remedying the causes around which they flourish on the other: the Palestinian issue; poverty and development; democracy in the Middle East; dialogue between main religions.

I have come firmly to believe the only ultimate security lies in our values. The more people are free, the more tolerant they are of others; the more prosperous, the less inclined they are to squander that prosperity on pointless feuding and war.

But our greatest threat, apart from the immediate one of terrorism, is our complacency. When some ascribe, as they do, the upsurge in Islamic extremism to Iraq, do they really forget who killed whom on 11 September 2001? When they call on us to bring the troops home, do they seriously think that this would slake the thirst of these extremists, to say nothing of what it would do to the Iraqis?

Or if we scorned our American allies and told them to go and fight on their own, that somehow we would be spared? If we withdraw from Iraq, they will tell us to withdraw from Afghanistan and, after that, to withdraw from the Middle East completely and, after that, who knows? But one thing is for sure: they have faith in our weakness just as they have faith in their own religious fanaticism. And the weaker we are, the more they will come after us.

It is not easy to persuade people of all this; to say that terrorism and unstable states with WMD are just two sides of the same coin; to tell people what they don't want to hear; that, in a world in which we in the West enjoy all the pleasures, profound and trivial, of modern existence, we are in grave danger.

There is a battle we have to fight, a struggle we have to win and it is happening now in Iraq.


TOPICS: Editorial; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; United Kingdom; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: allies; bushdoctrine; clashofcivilizations; tonyblair; whywefight
I am going to say one thing. If Bush looses in November. All is not lost.

God bless Tony Blair.

1 posted on 04/10/2004 7:15:37 PM PDT by Eurotwit
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To: Eurotwit
Bump for PM Blair.
2 posted on 04/10/2004 7:17:55 PM PDT by Rocko ('s Modern Life)
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To: Eurotwit
Blair has one of the most eloquent and reasoned voices of the present day.
3 posted on 04/10/2004 7:23:07 PM PDT by nkycincinnatikid
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To: Eurotwit
Blair truly gets it. If we were to pull out of this war he knows that the next battlefield will be on our home soil. Victory in Iraq is a must for the freedom of future generations. To lose is to accept a fate of Islamic law taking hold around the world.
4 posted on 04/10/2004 7:29:16 PM PDT by volchef (Don't take a butcher's advice on how to cook meat. If he knew, he'd be a chef. - Andy Rooney)
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To: Eurotwit
History will be kind to this man. God Bless Tony Blair.
5 posted on 04/10/2004 7:41:05 PM PDT by microgood
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To: Eurotwit
I am going to say one thing. If Bush looses in November. All is not lost.

Yes! And what an well written rally to the free and democratic west to stand up for its principles.

6 posted on 04/10/2004 7:41:38 PM PDT by risk
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To: All
I just wrote an e-mail to Tony Blair. I told him that I read his article on FreeRepublic.com, and that many of those that posted after reading it had said God Bless Tony Blair. I told him that I was so happy he "gets it," and that it IS about ALL our futures, and having a future. Then, I ended with history will remember you fondly.

It's easy to do. Just do a Google search under 10 Downing Street, and once on his website, choose International Affairs as your category.

I think we should thank him. Think of how tough it has to be for him, AND...hey, think about Japan's leader and his stance against negotiating with terrorists.... these are true MEN.

Also, did any of you hear that press conference with our military leader and these new Arab journalists asking inflamed questions? He handled them SO well!!! It was a true testiment to our wonderful Country's ways.

7 posted on 04/10/2004 7:58:46 PM PDT by NordP (While our nation is at war w/ worldwide terrorism, the democrat party is at war w/ the President.)
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To: All
I read his article on FreeRepublic.com - his Observer article that is...
8 posted on 04/10/2004 7:59:26 PM PDT by NordP (While our nation is at war w/ worldwide terrorism, the democrat party is at war w/ the President.)
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To: Eurotwit
I can't help but see LOTR parallels in our modern world. I my few years of existence, I can remember nothing more important than Bush winning in November and continuing his policies. Ours truly is a quest that hangs in the balance.
9 posted on 04/10/2004 8:04:02 PM PDT by bethelgrad (for God, country, and the Corps OOH RAH!)
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To: microgood
I have come firmly to believe the only ultimate security lies in our values

I remember during the Florida election debacle that I surrendered all my anxiety with a prayer for our country...I woke up the next day and Florida was ours...

I also remember the WTC attack when I kept waiting for days for another hit and I eventually let go and surrendered myself to prayer...

Sometimes I worry about Iraq and the 2004 election...With good men like Tony Blair on our side how can we lose? God bless him.

10 posted on 04/10/2004 8:04:29 PM PDT by foreshadowed at waco
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To: risk
I pray every day that Bush will win...

But, this fight is just starting. It is probaly not going to be finished before most of us are dead. We better be ready for the long haul.

I hope I am wrong, but I see some grim times ahead.

May god, if he so desires, give us the courage to fight through whatever obstacles are put in our path.
11 posted on 04/10/2004 8:09:08 PM PDT by Eurotwit
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To: Eurotwit
They know it is a historic struggle. They know their victory would do far more than defeat America or Britain. It would defeat civilisation and democracy everywhere. They know it, but do we?

Straight as an arrow, and right on bulls-eye.

Thank you, Mr. Blair, for placing the focus on the mission again.

God Bless Tony Blair bump!!

Becki

12 posted on 04/10/2004 8:15:28 PM PDT by Becki (I'm a monthly donor. I'm worth it. So are you.)
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To: Eurotwit
I am going to say one thing. If Bush looses in November. All is not lost. God bless Tony Blair.

While I love PM Blair and his courage, if Bush loses so will Blair. He has staked everything on his relationship with Bush.

13 posted on 04/10/2004 8:22:06 PM PDT by Tennessean4Bush (Democrats use facts like a drunk uses a lamppost -- for support rather than illumination.)
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To: Becki
I wish Bush would deliver a similar speech in primetime.
14 posted on 04/10/2004 8:24:25 PM PDT by Tennessean4Bush (Democrats use facts like a drunk uses a lamppost -- for support rather than illumination.)
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To: Eurotwit
Thank you Tony Blair & UK.
15 posted on 04/10/2004 8:29:39 PM PDT by Tribune7 (Arlen Specter supports the International Crime Court having jurisdiction over US soldiers)
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To: Eurotwit
Bump!
16 posted on 04/10/2004 8:31:25 PM PDT by The Mayor (Death separates us for a time; Christ will reunite us forever.)
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To: NordP
Thx - I did as well.
17 posted on 04/10/2004 8:33:26 PM PDT by Bobibutu
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To: Tennessean4Bush
I agree.

With the risk of being flamed, I wish Bush wasn't in Crawford at the moment. He should be our leader at the baricades.

That said, Blair wrote this letter from Bermuda didn't he?

The vultures are out. Now is the time for good men and women to stand up and be counted.

18 posted on 04/10/2004 8:43:33 PM PDT by Eurotwit
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To: Tennessean4Bush
I wish Bush would deliver a similar speech in primetime.

I do, too. People always react well to him when he speaks. Well, sane people, anyway.

But things are changing over there so fast, and I do think that what we are hearing is not what is really going on.

What I really wish is that we could get Fox News back. They have really slipped, and have resorted to using the national feed, AP and Reuters, instead of doing their own reporting. I have lost a lot of confidence in them.

Remember, President Bush told us at the start it would be long and difficult. We will not tire, we will not falter, we will not fail.

Becki

19 posted on 04/10/2004 8:56:07 PM PDT by Becki (I'm a monthly donor. I'm worth it. So are you.)
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To: Eurotwit
Blair...good for you.
And please stop being a Socialist!
20 posted on 04/10/2004 8:59:50 PM PDT by VOA
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To: Eurotwit; volchef; nkycincinnatikid; NordP; risk; Tennessean4Bush
But our greatest threat, apart from the immediate one of terrorism, is our complacency. When some ascribe, as they do, the upsurge in Islamic extremism to Iraq, do they really forget who killed whom on 11 September 2001? When they call on us to bring the troops home, do they seriously think that this would slake the thirst of these extremists, to say nothing of what it would do to the Iraqis?

This is the essence of our problem - the enemy within, not the islamists. Were we united, the islamists would have already been banished.

But I would not characterize it as Blair does - the compacent ones - wish we were so lucky. Far from being complacent the enemy within is active and shrill. It is the left who would rejoice to see America defeated; it is the democrats who want to get back to power so badly that they would sacrifice America to unseat bush, it is their collaborators, the mass media, demoralizing our population with the nightly pounding of doom and gloom, it is the intelligenzia demagoguing our children at every school grade.

But as I think about it, perhaps the complacent ones that Blair is referring to are not the ones that want America to fail. Rather it is you and me, freepers and others who want us to win but are letting the other side make all the noise and setting the agenda. Where are our street demonstrations and rallies supporting what we believe in, where are our Soros's funding new media outlets flooding the printing press and the airways. Where is the strength of our convictions?

We often complain of the moderate Iraqis and Muslims not speaking up and standing up to their extremists - are we not guilty ourselves (freedom lovers) of that same charge? Both Bush and Blair have taken tough stands and stuck their necks way out - isn't it time that we take to the streets to provide them and the values we hold dear the support they need?

21 posted on 04/10/2004 9:18:47 PM PDT by aquila48
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To: aquila48
aquila48, Great post...

I agree with all the points you make. I just want to make one comment: I think Blair is aware of the fifth coloumn in our midst:

"The truth is, faced with this struggle, on which our own fate hangs, a significant part of Western opinion is sitting back, if not half-hoping we fail, certainly replete with schadenfreude at the difficulty we find. "

But, I think your observations are profound. Particularly, where I live. Norway is practically enemy territory. If you break from the party line you risk social riddecule. Many people are cowed into silence.

No more. This is a struggle we have to win, and everyone has a part to play.

Have a good night and a great easter.

Cheers.

22 posted on 04/10/2004 9:49:18 PM PDT by Eurotwit
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To: Eurotwit
"With the risk of being flamed, I wish Bush wasn't in Crawford at the moment. He should be our leader at the baricades. "

This really gets me. If people in any other religion take off for weeks during their holy days it's OK but they bash Bush for going home for Easter the second most holy christian day to honor ?

23 posted on 04/10/2004 9:52:51 PM PDT by america-rules (It's US or THEM so what part don't you understand ?)
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To: america-rules
To be fair, I am not bashing Bush. Never have, never will.

I must admit he sounded tired when he made his weekly radio adress earlier today.

I hope he has a great easter with his family, and come back rested and ready for the struggle at hand.

God bless the President!
24 posted on 04/10/2004 10:07:44 PM PDT by Eurotwit
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To: aquila48
A humble bump to what you say. 225 years ago, we were the crucible of liberty. My fondest dream is that 225 years from now, Iraqi's can say the same of their ancestors living today. Blair's words again embody the movement of liberty. He points to the true patriots of Iraq. Perhaps the next chapter for us is to give them voice, loud and clear. (Meanwhile, God bless the soldiers and marines of the coalition).
25 posted on 04/10/2004 10:10:28 PM PDT by GopherIt
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To: Eurotwit
Amen.
26 posted on 04/10/2004 10:44:14 PM PDT by Travis McGee (----- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com -----)
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To: bethelgrad
Like Lincoln in 1864 this election will determine the shape of the world to come.
27 posted on 04/10/2004 11:28:08 PM PDT by justshutupandtakeit (America's Enemies foreign and domestic RATmedia agree: Bush must be destroyed.)
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To: aquila48
Our principle task is a full strength frontal assault on the RATmedia. There is where the core of the Enemies' strenght lies. There is where the LIE campaigns start and are carried forth. Without the 24/7 Bush bashing and RAT support our enemies would have no chance whatsoever as you note. The artifically created disunion is the only change the Evil ones have.

This force of the Evil ones must be confronted constantly.
28 posted on 04/10/2004 11:31:46 PM PDT by justshutupandtakeit (America's Enemies foreign and domestic RATmedia agree: Bush must be destroyed.)
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To: justshutupandtakeit
this election will determine the shape of the world to come. - Agreed!
29 posted on 04/11/2004 11:37:57 AM PDT by Free_at_last_-2001 (is clinton in jail yet?)
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To: Free_at_last_-2001
Bump for a great post.
30 posted on 04/11/2004 12:16:40 PM PDT by LisaFab
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To: aquila48
You are so right.

Doesn't it seem as if the enemy within were of a demonic nature? Their actions are so venomous. It's so illogical to me. That's why the demonic theory is the only one that sticks IMHO.

31 posted on 04/11/2004 2:08:17 PM PDT by NordP (While our nation is at war w/ worldwide terrorism, the democrat party is at war w/ the President.)
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To: Eurotwit
Good stuff Tony. Good will prevail in this struggle but it won't be easy.
32 posted on 04/11/2004 8:06:05 PM PDT by truthandlife ("Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God." (Ps 20:7))
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To: Eurotwit
But, I think your observations are profound. Particularly, where I live. Norway is practically enemy territory. If you break from the party line you risk social riddecule. Many people are cowed into silence.

I don't know how you can stand it, eurotwit. But then I'm not in much better shape - I live in the san francisco bay area - the front line of the "enemy within". I've lost several "friends" in this culture war...

33 posted on 04/11/2004 10:35:35 PM PDT by aquila48
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To: aquila48
BUMP for Monday readers.
34 posted on 04/12/2004 11:42:55 AM PDT by CedarDave (Democrat campaign strategy: Tell a lie often enough today and it becomes truth tomorrow.)
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To: Eurotwit
was just going to post this, glad you already did!

Bump for Blair!
35 posted on 04/12/2004 11:56:12 AM PDT by votelife (Elect a Filibuster Proof Majority)
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To: Eurotwit
for those who don't know (I think you do) shaudenfruade means celebrating other's misery, ie rooting for terrorists because it hurts America or something along those traitorous lines.
36 posted on 04/12/2004 11:59:23 AM PDT by votelife (Elect a Filibuster Proof Majority)
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To: Eurotwit
Send a message to Tony and the Brits at www.thankyoutony.com
37 posted on 04/12/2004 1:27:07 PM PDT by Boston
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