March 05, 2004
VIA HARRY'S PLACE, a terrific speech by Tony Blair on the war and the various critics thereof:
But the key point is that it is the threat that is the issue.
The characterisation of the threat is where the difference lies. Here is where I feel so passionately that we are in mortal danger of mistaking the nature of the new world in which we live.
Everything about our world is changing: its economy, its technology, its culture, its way of living.
If the 20th century scripted our conventional way of thinking, the 21st century is unconventional in almost every respect.
This is true also of our security.
The threat we face is not conventional. It is a challenge of a different nature from anything the world has faced before. It is to the world's security, what globalisation is to the world's economy.
It was defined not by Iraq but by September 11th. September 11th did not create the threat Saddam posed.
But it altered crucially the balance of risk as to whether to deal with it or simply carry on, however imperfectly, trying to contain it. . . .
The point about September 11th was not its detailed planning; not its devilish execution; not even, simply, that it happened in America, on the streets of New York. All of this made it an astonishing, terrible and wicked tragedy, a barbaric murder of innocent people.
But what galvanised me was that it was a declaration of war by religious fanatics who were prepared to wage that war without limit. They killed 3000.
But if they could have killed 30,000 or 300,000 they would have rejoiced in it.
The purpose was to cause such hatred between Moslems and the West that a religious jihad became reality; and the world engulfed by it. . . .
This is not a time to err on the side of caution; not a time to weigh the risks to an infinite balance; not a time for the cynicism of the worldly wise who favour playing it long.
Their worldly wise cynicism is actually at best naivete and at worst dereliction.
This is what Blair gets, and the war critics don't.