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7/22/03 - BLAIR ADDRESSES CONGRESS - 2003-07-22


Britain, America, and other free countries “are bound together as never before,” British Prime Minister Tony Blair said in a speech to the U.S. Congress. This coming together, he said, “provides us with an unprecedented opportunity but also makes us uniquely vulnerable”:

“And the threat comes because in another part of our globe there is shadow and darkness, where not all the world is free, where many millions suffer under brutal dictatorship, where a third of our planet lives in a poverty beyond anything even the poorest in our societies can imagine, and where a fanatical strain of religious extremism has arisen, that is a mutation of the true and peaceful faith of Islam.”

Out of the combination of these afflictions, terrorism has emerged. Military power alone will not defeat the terrorists. “Our ultimate weapon,” said Prime Minister Blair, “is not our guns, but our beliefs”:

“There is a myth that though we love freedom, others don’t; that our attachment to freedom is a product of our culture; that freedom, democracy, human rights, the rule of law are American values, or Western values; that Afghan women were content under the lash of the Taleban; that Saddam was somehow beloved by his people; that [Slobodan] Milosevic was Serbia’s savior.”

“Anywhere, anytime ordinary people are given the chance to choose,” said Mr. Blair, “the choice is the same: freedom, not tyranny; democracy, not dictatorship; the rule of law, not the rule of the secret police. The spread of freedom,” he said, “is the best security for the free”:

“And just as the terrorist seeks to divide humanity in hate, so we have to unify it around an idea. And that idea is liberty. We must find the strength to fight for this idea and the compassion to make it universal.”

When the security of free countries is directly threatened, they must be prepared to use military force. In other cases, said Prime Minister Blair, “it will be by force of reason. But in all cases, to the same end: that the liberty we seek is not for some but for all, for that is the only true path to victory.”

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