Blair: "Just Ponder This"


Prime Minister Tony Blair and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar met recently to discuss the UN inspections in Iraq. Spanish authorities have implemented an aggressive terror prevention program to protect the nation’s people. In January, after a 16 month investigation, Spanish police arrested several al Qaeda suspects during early morning raids near Barcelona.

Sergio Perez / Reuters

"As you watch your TV pictures of the march, just ponder this: If there are 500,000 on that march, that is still less than the number of people whose deaths Saddam has been responsible for," said Prime Minister Tony Blair in a speech Saturday to Britain’s Labor Party in the midst of worldwide protests.

"If there are one million, that is still less than the number of people who died in the wars he started.

"Let me read from an e-mail that was sent by a member of the family of one of those four million Iraqi exiles. It is interesting because she is fiercely and I think wrongly critical of America. But in a sense for that reason, it is worth reading.

"She addresses it to the anti-war movement.

"In one part, she says:

"’You may feel that America is trying to blind you from seeing the truth about their real reasons for an invasion. I must argue that in fact, you are still blind to the bigger truths in Iraq.

"’Saddam has murdered more than a million Iraqis over the past 30 years, are you willing to allow him to kill another million Iraqis?

Spanish Police photo

The BBC reported on Spanish police anti-terror busts in January 2003:

"Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar says police have thwarted a ‘major terrorist attack’, following the arrest of 16 suspected al-Qaeda militants in the north-eastern Catalonia region.

"The dismantled network has connections with terrorists arrested recently in France and Britain who were preparing to carry out attacks, using explosives and chemical materials"

Read Jan. NYJT Article on Terrorist Cell Busts in Spain, Italy and the UK

"’Saddam rules Iraq using fear – he regularly imprisons, executes and tortures the mass population for no reason whatsoever – this may be hard to believe and you may not even appreciate the extent of such barbaric acts, but believe me you will be hard pressed to find a family in Iraq who have not had a son, father, brother killed, imprisoned, tortured and/or "disappeared" due to Saddam’s regime.

"’Why it is now that you deem it appropriate to voice your disillusions with America’s policy in Iraq, when it is right now that the Iraqi people are being given real hope, however slight and however precarious, that they can live in an Iraq that is free of its horrors?’"

As a million Britons joined the worldwide protests, writer, Jacques More, engaged in counter protest. From Croydon, south London, More held up a placard outside the Iraqi section of the Jordanian embassy in central London in support of war efforts. Mr. More acknowledged the protesters saying that they "have lots of good intentions, they don’t want the horrors of war but neither do I. The military don’t want to hurt the innocent but it’s sometimes necessary to go in and stop a murderer." Jacques said that war should not be pushed aside, but is rather "a last resort and it’s a necessary resort when evil dictators rule and murder their own people."

On Tuesday, Blair gave a press conference, taking questions from reporters after reiterating key points made to the Labor party. During the question and answer phase, Blair scolded some for trying to drive a wedge between the United States and Europe, calling it "dangerous".

"…people who want to pull Europe and America apart are playing the most dangerous game of international politics I know." "If Europe and America stand together we can sort the problems of the world. If you set up these rival polls of power where people are being pulled one way or another way between the two, between Europe and America, I sincerely believe that is so dangerous for the security of our world. What we have got to do is have the right dialogue, that is why I said a few weeks ago, we who are the allies of America also want America, as I said, to listen back. Well they have listened back, they went through the UN, we aren’t actually at war today."

Blair also continued to clarify questions about UN inspections and Saddam.

"Saddam is a threat. That is why for 12 years the United Nations has been trying to get him to disarm Iraq peacefully of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. He is not the only dictator in the world, he is not the only tyrant. Iraq is not the only power with chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, but he is the only leader who has used them, he is the only one with 23 outstanding United Nations resolutions in respect of them, he is the only leader still in power that has twice declared war on his neighbours and fired missiles at no fewer than 5 different countries."

"What is more," said Blair, "we live today in a world beset by international terrorism, whose groups are desperate to acquire ever more dangerous weapons, and who are already using chemical and biological poisons. Thanks to the hard work of intelligence services, we have seen arrests of suspected terrorists around the world and across Europe – in France, in  Spain, in Italy, in Germany, as well as here in the UK.


To read the full transcript of Prime Minister Blair’s speech to the Labor Party,
Click Here

–"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."

To read the full transcript of Prime Minister Blair’s February 18th press conference,
Click Here

–"I feel that it is my duty as Prime Minister to also ask people to listen to the other side of the argument, and that is all I ask people to do.."