Reuters carries a summary of UK Prime Minister Tony Blair’s speech to the U.S. Congress from this afternoon.

In an impassioned defense of the war, Blair told a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress that toppling former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was justified irrespective of the suspected armament that has failed to materialize.

“Can we be sure that terrorism and WMD will join together? Let us say one thing: If we are wrong we will have destroyed a threat that at its least is responsible for inhuman carnage and suffering,” Blair said in what was billed as one of the most important foreign speeches of his six-year premiership.

“That is something I am confident history will forgive.”

One suspects he is right.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, Terrorism, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Paul says:

    I think Dowd might have pulled that quote. I’ve seen it chopped to bits all over the net. Here is the full thing. He makes a better point but most of the media choped it…

    “Can we be sure that terrorism and weapons of mass destruction will join together? Let us say one thing. If we are wrong, we will have destroyed a threat that is at its least responsible for human carnage and suffering. That is something I am confident history will forgive.

    But if our critics are wrong, if we are right – as I believe with every fibre of instinct and conviction I have that we are – and we do not act, then we will have hesitated in the face of this menace, when we should have given leadership. That is something history will not forgive.”

    It is mostly the same thing but a tad more “in your faceish” to the critics and really puts the whole “action vs inaction” debate into perspective.

  2. Paul says:

    DAMN, the italics should have been on 2 paragraphs, the software must automatically turn it off at the end of a paragraph.

    The quote was 2 graphs.


  3. James Dasher says:

    I blogged the speech, for what it’s worth. Of course, you have to scroll down to find the beginning, but I tried to keep them short enough that each entry fit on the screen.

    (Unless you’re using a handheld device.)

  4. Well, had his speechwriters realized he was going to be Dowdified, the phrase should/would have been “history would forgive,” thereby making it clear that Blair does not believe he/we are wrong.

    But they went with the word repition of using “wil” rather than “would.” Sounds better, but is more easily misinterpreted when taken out of context.

    The two phrases are clearly meant to bookend important text–to use one rather than the other seems a shade dishonest.

  5. I meant “one without the other.”