Vote for Blair

Vote for Blair
: Here’s what I want to hear our leaders saying. It’s what Tony Blair said today:

Tony Blair defended the doctrine of pre-emptive military action this morning, promising to “wage war relentlessly on those who would exploit racial and religious division to bring catastrophe to the world”.

In a speech in his Sedgefield constituency, the prime minister warned of the “mortal danger” posed by Islamist terrorists and rogue states acquiring weapons of mass destruction, and insisted that “this is not the time to err on the side of caution”.

“We surely have a duty and a right to prevent the threat materialising; and we surely have a responsibility to act when a nation’s people are subjected to a regime such as Saddam’s,” he said.

Mr Blair called for the reform of international law and the UN to allow the elimination of rogue, repressive regimes which might supply terrorists with WMD….

He claimed the attacks of September 11 had “altered crucially the balance of risk”, showing as they did that Islamist terrorists were prepared to wage “war without limit”.

“From September 11 on, I could see the threat plainly,” he said. “Here were terrorists prepared to bring about Armageddon.

  • http://myblahg.blogspot.com Robert McClelland

    >repressive regimes which might supply terrorists with WMD….
    The gutless right has been waving this scare quote around for far too long now. Let me clue you in to reality.
    Fact: repressive rogue regimes have been around for millenia.
    Fact: Islamic terrorists have been around for at least several decades.
    Fact: WMDs have been around for over half a century.
    Fact: No terrorist organization has ever been given WMDs by any regime. (how do I know? because they would have used them if they had them)
    Wild, unsubstantiated, scaremongering speculation: But it could happen because, like you know, Kim Jong could go completely batty and actually want the US to nuke his country in retaliation for giving terrorists a nuke.
    Wild speculation is acceptable to use as the basis for implementing a policy that works to curb WMD proliferation, but it’s far from acceptable to use it as the basis for invading a sovereign nation(killing thousands of innocents in the process) in order to force a regime change.

  • Joe Peden

    Bob, I warned you about fat mouths. Now you must supply your credit card information in order to pay your debt to society. Who must you supply it to? To me, of course. Then I will take your assets, that is your fat mouth, and redistribute it to the needy, although they might not favor tongue. Well, as Bob advocates, “Let them eat cake”, if they can find it instead. Yet you can send me your tongue, and I will be happy, unlike the parasites you favor, who prefer eating shit over eating tongue.

  • billg

    An important speech, I think, because Blair highlights the structural failure of the UN and “international law” in responding appropriately to obvious threats against democracy and human beings:
    “…under international law as presently constituted, a regime can systematically brutalise and oppress its people and there is nothing anyone can do, when dialogue, diplomacy and even sanctions fail, unless it comes within the definition of a humanitarian catastrophe…”
    Those who argue that the U.S. and the UK were wrong to move on Iraq without UN permission have an obligation to demonstrate an alternative method of eliminating Saddam’s regime and bringing democracy to Iraq, or risk, with justification, being seen to value their own sense of ethical rectitude more than the peace and freedom of the Iraqis.
    Blair closed his speech by calling for reform of the UN to give it the “capability to act”. He is absolutely correct. In those circumstances, the UN will continue to fail. If that happens, the U.S., and the UK and other nations should consider creating a new “league of democracies” makes Blair’s demands a reality.

  • Franky

    Wow, this thread has started off with a nice civil tone.
    I think Tony’s timing is the most interesting thing here. He’s obviously feeling the heat for the war, as I think he probably should (I’m in the tricky position of supporting the war on humanitarian grounds, but knowing full-well that Bush and Blair had very little interest in that motive for war). The governments were given such an easy time in the run-up to war as we now know from things like the Hutton enquiry (or is it inquiry?) and the massive divisions within the US government over what class of evidendce they were presenting us. Speculation and the worst-possible case was presented to us as concrete fact. I think that’s unacceptable and I hope Blair and Bush get burned for it.
    “Mr Blair called for the reform of international law and the UN to allow the elimination of rogue, repressive regimes which might supply terrorists with WMD”
    This strikes me as sort of worrying. Who will decide which regimes MIGHT supply terrorists with WMD? The same ones who did such a great job with intellgience who just invaded Iraq?

  • Doctor Slack

    Those who argue that the U.S. and the UK were wrong to move on Iraq without UN permission have an obligation to demonstrate an alternative method of eliminating Saddam’s regime and bringing democracy to Iraq
    Ah yes, the old “aren’t you really pro-Saddam” routine.
    Actually, those who argued that Bush’s timetable for war was over-hasty were correct. Those who argued that his justifications were mendacious and that he was woefully misusing and abusing his intelligence community were correct. Those who argued that it wouldn’t lead to democracy are, as things look now, likely to have been correct.
    Those who are still trying to pretend this was about “bringing democracy to Iraq” have a responsibility to explain why they ever thought Bush was the man to do this. Those who are still pretending that Saddam’s regime absolutely had to be eliminated on Bush’s timetable have to explain why they still believe this, especially given that the primary argument for that timetable turned out to be a lie. Those who are still pretending that people who opposed Bush’s war would have ipso facto opposed any war with Saddam need to explain why they’re misrepresenting the positions of a large percentage of the anti-war movement so. Those who are still making excuses for Bush’s massively incompetent diplomacy and public trashing of America’s reputation and that of its intelligence services need to explain why they don’t regard those developments as supremely dangerous when trying to effectively confront asymmetrical threats.

  • http://www.hfienberg.com/kesher/ Yehudit

    “(I’m in the tricky position of supporting the war on humanitarian grounds, but knowing full-well that Bush and Blair had very little interest in that motive for war).”
    Given that humanitarian reasons were always given from the beginning, along with all the other reasons, I must wonder how you are so sure that Bush nor Blair care about that. Are you a mindreader?

  • http://www.hfienberg.com/kesher/ Yehudit

    “”Mr Blair called for the reform of international law and the UN to allow the elimination of rogue, repressive regimes which might supply terrorists with WMD”
    This strikes me as sort of worrying. Who will decide which regimes MIGHT supply terrorists with WMD? The same ones who did such a great job with intellgience who just invaded Iraq?”
    Well, it certainly shouldn’t be the regimes which harbor terrorists and allow WMD materials to flow in and out of their countries. I think we all know which regimes should not sit on major policy-making councils of the UN, and the countries which deposed Saddam are not equivalent to those.
    Dr. Slack, I don’t buy any of the assumptions in your post. Democracy is still in the offing, the Iraqis are very glad to be rid of Saddam, the domino effects are continuing in the region, and nothing about WMDs has turned out to be a lie. Even Dr. Kay, whose report shows no stockpiles but plenty of WMD components, says that given the amount of WMD material floating around and the various terrorist groups passing through, that Iraq was even more dangerous than he thought. We should not even have waited as long as we did.

  • http://www.hfienberg.com/kesher/ Yehudit

    Back to the original topic: I would only consider voting for Kerry if he says something similar to what Blair said. Otherwise, it’s “anyone but Kerry.” And I’m a liberal who would usually be part of Kerry’s natural constituency.

  • Franky

    Well, it’s not a difficult proposition to prove that Bush and Blair don’t care about the welfare of Iraqis (and let’s be honest; as much as I would like to see the world of true internationalism, Blair and Bush are not paid to worry over the welfare of Iraqis): where are the troops in the Congo, the greatest humanitarian disaster in the world for the past half decade (please don’t cite Haiti in response – we know that’s about preventing a massive wave of refugees landing on the beaches of Florida).
    “Well, it certainly shouldn’t be the regimes which harbor terrorists and allow WMD materials to flow in and out of their countries.”
    How ironic that the definition you give would’ve ruled out Iraq.

  • Doctor Slack

    Democracy is still in the offing
    I guess we’ll have to see what Sistani has to say about that.
    the domino effects are continuing in the region
    You wouldn’t be trying to give Bush and Blair credit for the existence of Iranian reform movement, would you? Or for the existence of Libyan initiatives that started before he reached office? If you are, why? If not, what “domino effects” are you talking about?
    nothing about WMDs has turned out to be a lie
    You mean, except for the minor little detail of their not existing.
    Even Dr. Kay, whose report shows no stockpiles but plenty of WMD components
    Ah yes, the “WMD-related programme activities.” Except that even Kay himself doesn’t really buy that line — the real implication of his findings was that there was simply nothing to find, and he knows it. And he’s not the only one. Hence his recent urgings to Bush, which among other things indicate that Kay is wise to the dangers of undermining the reputation of your own intelligence agencies.

  • Ebb Tide

    Forget about Ah-nold running for Prez if they change the law so that people other than American born citizens can run, I AM VOTING FOR TONY BLAIR.

  • capt joe

    Ah Doctor Slack, read the quoted articles more carefully before you spin their meaning
    from the guardian article:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,1160609,00.html
    “For all his disillusion in the WMD intelligence, the former inspector still believes Bush led his country into war in good faith, determined to avoid a repeat of September 11, this time with WMD. “After 9/11 the risk level this president was prepared to run was different. I have sat as far from him as I am from you now [two metres] and I have seen in him the trauma of 9/11,” he said. “That had an impact on the level of intelligence you had before you acted. I think he has a deep and abiding regret that he had not acted against [Osama bin Laden] earlier.”
    tsk tsk.

  • Anonymous

    Doctor Slack:
    The premise of my statement has little to do with Bush and Blair, and everything to do with the UN. The UN was, and is, incapable and unwilling to do anything to eliminate regimes like Saddam ‘s. If someone who opposed the Bush/Blair action does not present a viable alternative to eliminating these regimes, I can only conclude that they value the status quo more than spreading democracy.
    More to the point, by allowing them to participate at all in UN activities, it gives these regimes the patina of respectability and authenticity they do not deserve. Because the UN is powerless to act unless its members provide troops and money, a vote of approval from the Security Council is little more than a fig leaf. Such a fig leaf is of value only if you believe the UN is in a postion to dispense moral authority. I do not.
    Franky:
    The reform needed in the international community would require nations to relinquish some degree fo sovereignty to the UN or its successor organization. I’m not optimistic about that.
    However, I think an “association of democracies” might be a step forward. I envision this as open to membership for any country with a demonstrably democratic government. I also envision it as taking a serious carrot and stick approach: Democracies and countries moving in that direction get serious economic goodies and security support; recalcitrant regimes get the opposite.

  • Doctor Slack

    tsk tsk.
    “tsk, tsk” what? I didn’t say anything about Kay’s assessment of Bush as a person. He does, however, lay the WMD bullshit to rest pretty conclusively and tell Bush that it’s time to do so as well.
    The UN was, and is, incapable and unwilling to do anything to eliminate regimes like Saddam ‘s.
    The UN is the sum of its member states. The key member states were unwilling to go to war on Bush’s timetable, and were apparently right to be unwilling. That says nothing about whether they would have signed on to different measures.
    (And it is, of course, an interesting irony that Bush was forced to go back to the limp-wristed ineffectual UN to salvage his venture in Iraq — after spending so much time denigrating the institution.)
    If you’re really not aware that there were organizations aplenty issuing policy alternatives during virtually the entire run-up to the war, I can only conclude that you’re being disingenuous or you weren’t paying attention. (If the latter, you can start by looking at the Carnegie endowment’s site.) Those now making excuses for the war need now to address themselves to the underlying philosophies of those numerous policy laternatives and asking serious questions about whether they couldn’t work better than what Bush has attempted. That would be a far more credible use of their time than just falsely implying that the anti-war side of the debate never presented any alternatives.

  • billg

    The problem with the UN is that it is the sum of its members. It is a failed organization because the non-democratic members of the UN use it as a crutch to help support their regimes.
    I’m unaware of any serious proposals to eliminate Saddam other than via a military offensive. Modern totalitarian regimes cannot be removed by internal revolt; any outside efforts to foster such a revolt are doomed to fail.
    It seems, Doctor Slack, that you continue to look at the UN as a morally respectable organzation that has a right to lecture its members about “acceptable” behavior.

  • Doctor Slack

    Modern totalitarian regimes cannot be removed by internal revolt
    Yep. Good thing Reagan invaded the Soviet Union when he did, or it would have stood for all eternirt.
    Oh, wait…
    It is a failed organization because the non-democratic members of the UN use it as a crutch to help support their regimes.
    Yes, what a “failed organization.” Thank God Bush would never stoop to trying to cozy up to that crop of evil dictators to help save his bacon in Iraq. I, for one, rejoice that his moral clarity has kept the claws of the evil Kofi Annan off the whole democratization process.
    Oh, wait…
    More seriously, the UN is pretty much it as far as international organizations go. It’s been an effective policy tool for the US for so long precisely because of its inclusiveness. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect — and frankly, I don’t think it’s up to the task of saving Bush’s bacon. To those who’d advocate the UN should be reformed to be more effective and have more stringent membership criteria, I say have at it. To those who would like to pretend the UN can be simply fobbed off and denigrated as irrelevant, I say: Max Boot woke up from that dream, you can too. Being a hawk doesn’t have to mean being disconnected from reality.
    I’m unaware of any serious proposals to eliminate Saddam other than via a military offensive.
    So you’re being disingenuous, and you weren’t paying attention. Got it.

  • Doctor Slack

    eternirt = eternity, just in case you’re wondering.

  • Franky

    Another irony is that Blair’s call for this strengthened UN, with nations giving up some sovereignty (is sovereignty dividable? isn’t it like freedom, you either have it or you don’t?) is exactly what the US won’t agree to (perhaps with good reason, but once again I’m skeptical of the motives – it seems to me the US plays ball with international institutions until a ruling goes against it then it withdraws, exhibit a: criminal ruling against it for its war against Nicaragua). I doin’t think the US is alone in this, its just that it has a history of putting a moral spin on every action it ever takes as if it’s somehow superior in foreign policy to others more self-interested nations, and history simply proves the opposite – it is exactly the same.

  • Anonymous

    unrelated but good:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/guantanamo/story/0,13743,1163435,00.html
    funny article, both for the boys reactions to Guatanamo and Rumsfeld’s quotes about it being the prison for the most hardcore terrorists when these kids don’t even know how old they are.
    How often does this entire “war on terror” degenerate into farce on both sides?

  • billg

    Doctor Slack:
    The Soviet Union did not fall to internal revolt. It collapsed due to internal decay and incompetence.
    Thanks for reiterating my point about the UN: it’s a failed organization that only acts when manipulated to serve the individual interests of its members.
    And you still haven’t answered the basic question: If the UN is so good at spreading democracy, why was Saddam still there? Do the people on your side of the fence even think that eliminating tyrants is more important than preserving the peace?

  • Reid

    Slacker – You have a particularly mendacious and pedomorphic view of reality. Experience has shown it is not worth getting in a tit for tat argument with you because you do not possess the mental faculties truly to grasp the arguments and counterarguments, nor the wit to even make the debate interesting.
    So, let me cut past all your worthless, meretricious reasoning and dishonest spin and state what really matters:
    We, the majority of the American people, did not like Saddam and, we are glad that he is gone and there is nothing… zip, nada, nothing… you can prevaricate that is going to change that.

  • Doctor Slack

    mendacious . . . pedomorphic . . . let me cut past all your worthless, meretricious reasoning
    Translation: as usual, you haven’t a thing to contribute but adolescent bluster, to the point where you have to deliberately avoid addressing my points directly.
    S-factor indeed.
    (Good to see you exploring your dictionary, though. Know what “reactionary” means yet?)
    Moving on to worthier debate:
    The Soviet Union did not fall to internal revolt. It collapsed due to internal decay and incompetence.
    Hairsplitting IMHO — I think the process that dismembered the USSR could be very plausibly described as a “revolt,” albeit a suprisingly bloodless one — but even if we grant you the distinction this doesn’t help your original case. The USSR was a modern totalitarianism, and your argument was that such entities are virtually invincible unless taken down by nothing less than military measures. Which I think is arrant nonsense.
    Thanks for reiterating my point about the UN: it’s a failed organization that only acts when manipulated to serve the individual interests of its members.
    I’m not sure what “point” it is you think you’re making. I have no interest in abstractly categorizing the UN as either a “failed organization” or a paragon of legitimacy. I’m interested in how it actually works — and one thing it’s been good for is legitimizing the exercise of Western power, and that its usefulness in that regard stems precisely from its inclusiveness, and from the fact that it encourages Western power to use international law as a means of operating. Which of those points do you dispute, and why?
    If the UN is so good at spreading democracy, why was Saddam still there?
    I don’t recall arguing that the UN is “good at spreading democracy.” Here I get the sneaking suspicion that you’re carrying on a debate with a stereotypical Leftist Liberal in your head.
    I would argue that the influence of the West’s culture, economy and example has been many, many times more effective at spreading democracy than either military force or the UN.