No defence for Blair

Wednesday November 12, 2003
The Guardian

Blair, in his speech at the lord mayor's banquet, asks those planning to protest against the Bush visit to have the integrity to realise that, without the war against Iraq, Iraqis now tasting freedom would still be under the lash of Saddam and his henchmen (Row over Bush security as Blair defends visit, November 11). The protesters have reservations about Blair's integrity: when has he ever been straight about his reasons for war? It is obvious that his military predations against a weak Iraq had nothing to do with any imminent threat from the quarters he claimed. It is equally clear that "freedom" for Iraqis, the somewhat dubious benefit of the occupation he is now so keen to promote, was not the agenda for war. We are protesting exactly because the Bush/Blair axis threatens the very concept of freedom, not just in Iraq but across the globe.
David E Clarke

If we remove an "evil" dictator we should be able to improve the situation of the people we are freeing. This we are not yet succeeding in doing. I can understand why Blair wishes these matters to be forgotten. They are hardly glowing references for his political or moral character. But he has opened dangerous possibilities in international relations and, if the world is ever to be made a more secure place, we need to understand how these were created before we can begin to control them. Finn Pollard

Blair's call for peace protesters to set aside their differences with him over the war and concentrate on the future would have been more persuasive if it had been accompanied by an assurance that this approach to "failing states" will not be used again.
Simon McKeown

"But accept that the task now is not to argue about what has been, but to make what is happening now work." Could the words of our prime minster enter law as "the Blair defence"? It seems that by using his logic I could take over a bank by force, kill members of staff and steal all the cash, then justify my actions by pointing out the benefits to the luxury car trade, diamond merchants, goldsmiths and five-star hotels of the spending power I had at my disposal.
David Mitchell Pettaugh

If Blair wants to get the country behind him, he needs to ensure that Iraq is a better place than it was before the war. At this time, this is patently not so. He also needs to ensure that Iraq is not turned into a shopping precinct for US carpetbaggers.
Alan Pearman

Since the Iraq war was waged to bring liberty to the Iraqi people, why are Bush and Blair meeting in London and not among the adoring and grateful people of Baghdad?
Nigel Bowker

Blair tells us the invasion and occupation of Iraq is important because it will "define relations between the Muslim world and the west". Sadly, he confirms our worst fears that the invasion and occupation are just a surrogate for a global Anglo-American war against Islam.
Douglas Brooker
School of law
Birkbeck College

I have never been on a protest march, but after reading Blair's patronising and arrogant comments on the planned anti-war/Bush demonstrations, I feel obliged to attend.
Jim Hatley