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http://argument.independent.co.uk/letters/story.jsp?story=498979
 
Some excerpts:
 
I have read Tony Blair's speech carefully, but I cannot follow his logic.
 
Tony Blair's speech in Sedgefield seems to propose that if you don't agree with a law you should flout it.
 
So, our present Prime Minister operated outside international law, with profound sincerity and conviction. That just makes him a profoundly sincere international outlaw with convictions.
 

Blair's war rhetoric still fails to convince

Sir: In its dramatic style of delivery, its overwrought language and its unproven assertions - even its very phrasing - Tony Blair's oration last Friday to his Sedgefield constituents was a repeat of the war speech he made to the House of Commons one year ago. The main difference is that in March 2003 he sought to panic us with the imminent threat posed by Saddam's WMD, and he is now trying to panic us about "the mortal danger" we face from global terrorism.

So let us keep our cool, and ask him why the invasion and occupation of Saddam's Iraq was supposed to be a master-stroke in "the war on terror" when Saddam was a sworn enemy of Osama bin Laden's fanatical Islamism. We must ask him why it is that since the occupation of Iraq the rate of global terrorist threats has speeded up rather than slowed down. We must point out to him that the occupation has opened a new and vulnerable flank for terrorists to kill and wound Americans. And we must ask him whether when launching the war he imagined that a year later the political and security situation in Iraq would be in the present appalling mess.

And finally, we must ask him who he thinks would be the judge, jury and executioner in the case of future pre-emptive wars against "rogue states" or "failed states". Does he think that the answer lies in self-appointed vigilantes like himself and George W Bush in the case of Iraq?

CORRELLI BARNETT
Norwich

Sir: Tony Blair now seeks to justify this country's invasion of Iraq, even though that country posed no threat to us, by describing the Saddam regime as "despotic" and "undemocratic".

This is wonderful news. We can now proceed to rebuild the old Empire. The Union Flag will once again adorn the world's legislatures, and every map of the world will once more be coloured one quarter pink . Oh for the day when our tanks roll into other "despotic" and "undemocratic" states like Burma, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Zimbabwe. Oh bliss! We can rename it Southern Rhodesia. We can march our troops into China's Forbidden City, as in 1860.

Hold on though. What about our unelected head of state and upper house of Parliament? Perhaps a real democracy like the US, France or Germany will invade us to effect a regime change. On second thoughts, perhaps our Prime Minister should stick to what he does best, being George W Bush's poodle.

TOM DERBYSHIRE
Wigan, Lancashire

Sir: The Prime Minister wishes that international law would allow us (he seems to assume it will always be us, the good guys) to get rid of malignant regimes. Well, so do I.

But international law is made by treaties, freely agreed to by the sovereign nations of the world. And I find it hard to imagine any nation signing a treaty that says, in effect, "If we turn evil, it's all right if the rest of you invade." And when I try to imagine the US Senate ratifying such a treaty, my disbelief suspenders finally snap.

MICHAEL CULE
High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire

Sir: Tony Blair's speech in Sedgefield seems to propose that if you don't agree with a law you should flout it. Has he cleared this with David Blunkett?

SIMON MOLLOY
Manchester

Sir: So, our present Prime Minister operated outside international law, with profound sincerity and conviction. That just makes him a profoundly sincere international outlaw with convictions.

RICHARD W SYMONDS
Crawley, West Sussex

Sir: When you are saving the world do people really worry whether your actions are strictly legal? Tony Blair can be confident he is on a winner here.

But the real issue is whether invading Iraq had any real prospect of making the world a safer place. On that measure those of us who felt it was more likely to have the opposite effect have seen nothing to change our minds. This is what we all (and Labour MPs in particular) should really be concerned about. Further concentration on "legality" plays into the PM's hands.

MALCOLM CHAMBERLAIN
Orpington, Kent

Sir: I have read Tony Blair's speech carefully, but I cannot follow his logic.

He tells us that the global war on terrorism is a new and different sort of war. New and different indeed! To fight terrorism we joined the US in invading a country that had no links whatsoever to any recent terrorist acts. To fight terrorism we attacked Iraq when our own intelligence warned that to do so would increase terrorism in the area (as it has). We occupied Iraq in such a chaotic way as to give the maximum opportunity for weaponry to fall into the hands of terrorists.

And he asks us to trust his judgement. No thank you.

ROSEMARY SMITH
Manningtree, Essex

Sir: Tony Blair still doesn't get it. We know he thinks he was right. The problem is the method he used to drag Parliament and the rest of us into a war most of us didn't want on a timetable he had already agreed. The legal opinion was necessary once he realised he was not going to get a UN resolution.

It is the way we were all manipulated that outrages me and means I would never vote Labour again until it has a leader who respects our institutions.

P J PARKINS
Lancaster

Sir: If Tony Blair seriously believed that there were WMD in Iraq, then to go to war without knowing where they were and without a plan to secure them was an act of monstrous stupidity.

We are fortunate that there were none, for had they existed they would have fallen into the hands of terrorists as surely as have the mortars now being used against the people of Iraq and those seeking to protect them. And if the terrorist threat were as pervasive as Mr Blair believes, then they would have been used against the Iraqi people, our forces and possibly the UK. The consequences would have been horrendous.

Mr Blair would prefer us to criticise his judgement rather than his integrity: my difficulty with this is that I cannot believe he can be as stupid as he now wishes us to believe he is.

R I SYKES
Worcester

Sir: It seems that Tony Blair believes his destiny is to lead a struggle against a world-wide secret conspiracy designed to destroy Western civilisation. In the course of that struggle he believes he has the right to tear up international treaties, abrogate human rights and invade nations which he perceives to be a threat.

Chillingly familiar. No wonder he worries the French and the Germans.

D G C JONES
Llanwrtyd Wells, Powys