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Tony Blair's speech to Congress

Posted by Dorothy on 7/17/03 at 19:27 (124676)

If anyone heard British Prime Minister Tony Blair's speech to Congress today, you heard a fine speech. I thought it was supremely ironic that the PM of the country we fought to free ourselves from was telling our Congress what our country stands for and what we signify and how we should not be ashamed of our values - and so on. I was quite moved by his speech. I also thought it was an excellent reminder to those in Congress who sometimes seem to have forgotten what we stand for.
I heard some British journalists speaking about Blair, saying that he has no speechwriters; he writes all of his own speeches. Remarkable these days and makes him doubly impressive.

Re: Tony Blair's speech to Congress

marie on 7/17/03 at 20:07 (124679)

Perhaps some of our politicians could learn from that.

Re: Tony Blair's speech to Congress

Pete on 7/18/03 at 06:22 (124695)

I live in England and Mr Blair currently has a very low rating, mine included. Don't fall for all the spin, he talks a good story.

There is a massive furore that he misled us with false intelligence which led us to go to war. Also, other problems in the UK like crime, drugs, health, immigration and education should be his priority rather than trying to put the world to rights.

Re: Tony Blair's speech to Congress

marie on 7/18/03 at 08:18 (124700)

Understood. Thanks. We just heard Dr. Kelly is missing and they may have found his body. Do you have any comments about this? What is the public saying about this in England? Not everyone in the US has their head spinning. Like England we are very concerned about unemployment, education, the deficit, health issues, and national security.

I do appreciate the fact that Mr. Blair writes his own speeches. The buck stops with him and what he saids....no blaming everyone else. Taking responsibility for mistakes is fundamental for the ethics of our civilized society.


Re: Tony Blair's speech to Congress

john h on 7/18/03 at 09:20 (124701)

Anti gun lobbyist in the U.S always point to England and their no gun laws. I was supprised to hear you mention crime as a problem in England. Tony Blair, Margaret Thather, and Churchill have always been some of my favorite people. Strange how our perceptions differ. Churchill was thrown out of office shortly after the war and will probably always be remembered as one of the driving forces who helped win the war and get America involved. Our war hero Ike became President and Churchill thrown out. How ironic. I do not pretend to understand British politics but I do admire Mr.Blair's backbone. All the uproar in this country about WMD is very much a politcal issue. It is an issue the Democrats have seized on. I think most Americans are glad Saddam waa taken out regardless of what we find. This guy ranks up their with Pol Pot, Stalin and Hitler. As to crime, I posted recently that in the U.S. between 1987 and 1997 we had 247,000 murders in the U.S. Currently we are averaging 59 murders per day 365 days a year. This does not make any headlines in this country but the fact we have lost approximatey 300 americans in the Iraq war creates a daily drum beat. It is very sad in my opinion that policticans of either side use such issues for political purposes. Both sides are guilty of this. I think tony Blair is so popular in this country he could run for the Senate and win if he were qualified to run. I have forgot but what was the general opinion of the British people on the was in the Faulklands?

Re: Tony Blair's speech to Congress

marie on 7/18/03 at 10:59 (124720)

You make some very good points John. Politicians of all parties do use certain issues to promote their parties politics. Some are notably unethical. I try my best to stay away from editorials and certain radio personalities. One must really pay close attention to what is actually said by the speaker himself. We as Americans, must be able to believe and trust what our politicians and leaders say. When trust is lost or damaged what can we believe.

This not a slam to Republicans at all. I respect many of them as being honest. This is just a personal experience with one individual. I live in a Republican state. I was approached by a Republican to run for a local office. I explained to this individual I was a moderate Democrat. His response was 'that's ok you can do what every other Democrat in this state does become a moderate Republican and run for office (a sure win) and once you get elected you can still do what you want to accomplish.' My response was 'that is why I am no longer a Republican.' He didn't get it.

You're right that Americans are happy to have seen Saddam's regime toppled, myself included. However most of the argument has been based around the process. We need to resolve the issue of the process so that our country can heal and move on. When Rumsfeld was asked recently why we haven't dealt with North Korea in the same manner as Iraq his response was '...because North Korea isn't in violation with resolution 1441 as mandated by the UN.' I don't have the exact quote but that was the jist of it. So apparentlly it's ok to starve and kill your own people and develop a WMD if you're not in violation with a UN resolution. I found this comment to be a bit alarming and contradictory to what our Republicans are now saying. That we don't care about WMD because we got rid of a tyrant. As Rumsfeld said we attacked Iraq because we had intelligance that said they were in violation of 1441. It doesn't really matter to me if you come to the same conclusions as I have.....I'm not in any way trying to change your own opinions I just would like for you to understand why some folks in this country and in many others are raising questions. if it's not a big deal then the questions should be easy to answer.

I believe that Tony Blaire is elected. Correct? What will happen when he is not re=elected? Will we be on our own in Iraq? His popularity in his country does effect us, therefore I am very interested in the English polls.

Re: Tony Blair's speech to Congress

john h on 7/18/03 at 12:13 (124725)

Marie: Getting down to the knitty gritty about why we do not attack N. Korea it is simple. They are a nuclear threat to take out S. Korea and probably bring in the Chinese. We say a lot of things but that is the bottom line. Some of these rogue nations need to be stopped before they get the nuke. Given time Saddam would have got the bomb and this guy I think was crazy enough to use it on someone like the Israelis or give some terriorist a weapon. Isreal was smart enough to take out his first nuclear reactor which the French built for him. The Middle East is a very special problem in that the fundamentalist believe they are acting in the name of Allah or God. I do not think WWIII would bother them at all as they send out suicide bomber each day. Most of the nations of the Western Civilization act in a more rational manner and in their own self interest which means they prefer life to death. We are safe in your and my life time from a head on attack in this country as we are light years ahead of other nations in weaponry but we will have to deal with terriorism for the forseeable future no matter who is in control of our government. There is no doubt in my mind that we must remain very very strong defensively or we will condem future generations to the risk of total war. Most of our enemys respect only one thing and that is power and we had better not forget that. The only power the U.N. has to enforce anything is the U.S. and its allies (England).

Re: Tony Blair's speech to Congress

marie on 7/18/03 at 12:58 (124732)

I have no argument with what you have written. Your points are well taken. I understand that it is through China that we will hopefully resolve the nuclear issues with North Korea and South Korea. My response was about what was said by Rumsfeld. I did not say it or think it.

I would however like to make one comment about the murder rate in our country and the daily reports of our soldiers being killed in Iraq. I agree that violent crime should be a major concern in our country. We have unfortunately experienced the grief of having a friend murdered. Actually 2...that's another story I may share later. The difference as I see it is that our soldiers don't make choices they follow orders. Our troops aren't being murdered they are engaged in what has now been declared as a guerilla war. Murder is a choice by an individual to kill someone for personal gain. Their victims aren't soldiers...they are civilians...men, women and children. Their victims are for the most part defensless. As with Veitnam we will hear the numbers daily. By the way, according to the news you can add 1 more to the count.

Re: Tony Blair's speech to Congress

john h on 7/18/03 at 13:51 (124737)

As of this morning according to USA Today we had lost 237 men and women in Iraq. I think it was 127 to enemy fire and the others to accidents. In the same period we have lost thousands to murder. The news makes no mention of this and my complaint is this is all out of proportion. An old men runs over and kills 9 people and it is major news all around the nation because it sells papers. How about the 60 people that were murdered on the same day. As an all volunteer military force you expect to be sent to lousy places and be shot at. I expected no less in Vietnam. At that time I did not like being used by the media. In our fight against terriorism we will continue to lose military people both here and abroad. That is the nature of the war on terriorism or any war. I just get disgusted with politicians using the death of any military man or woman to help him/her get re-elected. The war has been fought and we have no option but to follow through on it and stop all the second guessing for political purposes.

Re: Tony Blair's speech to Congress

Ed Davis, DPM on 7/18/03 at 15:04 (124744)


Your experience may not be that uncommon since the two parties, on the local level, often are not that different and act like competing clubs.
When Bob Dole decided to enter politics he asked what party to join and was told that he needed to beocme a Republican if he was going to make it in Kansas. He never really seemed to take much of an ideologically based stand in his career and, I feel, his lukewarm appearing convictions cost him a lot of votes in 1996. Idoelogic conservatives could find little enthusiasm in supporting him.


Re: Tony Blair's speech to Congress

marie on 7/18/03 at 16:30 (124751)

I understand completely. And agree very much with you. Thanks for clarifying the numbers I thought 300 was to high. The press will continue to report the numbers and folks will continue to make comments as they feel they have a duty to do so. We are all a little un-nerved by the daily loss of our fellow countrymen in a war with Iraq. And yes the war on terrorism will and should continue.

Re: Tony Blair's speech to Congress

marie on 7/18/03 at 21:13 (124764)

However the current and last president are considered to be moderate. As a country we seem to support moderates in either party. In my opinion there is a difference between a moderate Democrat and a moderate Republican. Is it a big difference? Probably not as much as the far left and right would want. Yet there is a difference. It is important to listen and research each candidate carefully before making a judgement. It is difficult to stay away from opinions and radio hosts hoping to rile folks up enough to keep their jobs. I enjoy going to the politicians site and reading copies of their speeches. I find there to be more truth in that. I do read the paper but have always tried to investigate and make decisions without them. Today I read in the NY Times that one has to go through nine sites to e-mail the president now. The article also claims a biased questionare must be filled out that does not include views on unemployment. So tonight I am going to try to email the president and see for myself. As you may already know it is not the first time I have emailed the president...I hope this isn't true as I will miss my conversations with Mr. Bush....LOL.


Re: Tony Blair's speech to Congress

Dorothy on 7/18/03 at 21:46 (124765)

I do not have the statistics to back this up, so consider it a speculation at this point - but I suspect that the reason that the obscene murder rate in the USA does not receive the kind of reporting that you, John H., think it should, and I agree with you, is because it happens in the 'inner cities'. The 'inner cities' have become no-man's land in the American consciousness, written off and dismissed. They are the place where daily, relentless terrorism, by any definition, exists for the residents or visitors. There should be no acceptance or tolerance for there being ANY place in America that citizens cannot live and visit in reasonable expectation of peace and safety. I recall a news report on NPR some years ago, when tourists were being attacked in Florida; the report said something like '...the tourists ventured into the wrong neighborhood....' and I felt very angry because in America, there should be NO 'wrong neighborhood.'

You are right, John, that the murder rate in the USA is appalling. What do you propose that we all do about it?? There is a powerful and vocal segment of American society that will not condone gun control - and I don't know if that is an answer or not. And increasingly, anti-social behavior is extolled and rewarded quite handsomely.

The rate of violent crime in both England and France is way up. It is both ironic and disturbing to see the influence of the negative aspects of American hip-hop 'culture', as it is always called, in those countries among poor, African immigrants. It is heartbreaking to realize how successful America is at disseminating violence and obscenity around the world, but not the magnificent principles on which we were founded.

I am a music lover and practicioner of many forms of music and am pretty well versed in many styles and forms, and among the music that I love is really good rock and roll. I am a fan of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. TP has been interviewed on the subject of the current state of music and expressed anger and outrage at the hatred for women and the violence and degradation of women that is promoted and extolled. So, not only does he make great R&R, but he has a good mind, too.

Something needs to be done about the current state of American society, but what is that something? Who is going to do it? How? The murder rate is a symptom, not a cause, of what is wrong.

Re: Tony Blair's speech to Congress

Sharon W on 7/19/03 at 01:17 (124773)


You are so right, about spreading violence around the world!

I think, though, that there is something in the human psyche that is strangely ATTRACTED to violence, especially senseless violence... as is evidenced by the attention that is attracted, not by ordinary murders, but by someone going on some sort of bizarre rampage we don't understand. This seems to be equally true for 'heroes' like Rambo or for anti-heroes like some of the hero-thugs unfortunately being depicted in the popular media. (For an earlier generation of Americans, the anti-heroes were often 'black hat' gunslinger outlaws like Billy the Kid.) Perhaps this is because, as 'civillized' societies, people in developed countries have a lot of repressed rage, especially those who find a lot of doors closed to them. I don't know... but it's disturbing.


Re: Tony Blair's speech to Congress

Dorothy on 7/19/03 at 01:49 (124775)

Yes, I also read this about the change in the e-mail accessibility to the White House. I actually think that people should send a 'snail mail' letter to their elected representatives as e-mail is too quick and easy and subject to the kind of 'mass mailing' deluge that is probably not useful, and if one feels strongly enough to write, it should be worth 37 cents to do so. However, in spite of that opinion, I would say that this seems to represent yet one more way in which this administration is closed off to citizen opinion and will. If you read what I did, you also know that a person trying to send an e-mail to the White House has to state at the outset whether they favor or oppose the president's position on the topic that the sender has to pre-select from a set list of topics!

About communicating with elected representatives, I actually think that citizens should have the same franking privilege that elected officials have so that if we want to send a letter to our reps., we can do so at no charge. We need to put the 'representation' back in representative government!

Re: Tony Blair's speech to Congress

marie on 7/19/03 at 07:29 (124777)

My email went through without a hitch. I tried the address in the NY Times and it was not available. The only other time I sent an email was when I had some questions about 'The No Child Left Behind Act' . I did get a response directing me to where I could read the act. I am sure it was a patent response but was glad to get it. Another teacher I work with emails the president often and has had responses. I primarily email my state senators and congressmen. It is just as easy to compose a letter in word and then copy it and paste it in your email. I'm a teacher I'm on a budget. My communications are generally about education. I always want to know exactly who has helped and who has hindered.

I am currently keeping an eye on the judges who are sentencing juveniles to school. We teachers are a little put out by that. We're not jailers and our students are not fellow inmates. In my experience those kids never last......they usually end up in prison. In the meantime we have had to deal with them bragging about what they did and how they got off and in general disrupting education in our building. The teachers in a community have great voting power...in fact they have great voting power nationally.

Re: Tony Blair's speech to Congress

marie on 7/19/03 at 09:21 (124778)

This is an interesting discussion. Some time I will share the story of a previous co-worker's wife's murder. The verdict was a precident setting case in our country. Every lawyer in the country knows her name but I doubt if the average person does. I too am at a loss for the exact cause of the violence we see in our society today. Actually the murder rate and violent crime was at an all time low compared to the early 70's just a couple of years ago. So one would have to ask what has changed in the last few years. Unlike gangster rap which was very popular six years ago Hip Hop is tame. I was talking to our sheriff recently as he was here to get a photo done and he told me as unemployment goes up so does crime. Since we have alot of laid off workers and kids aren't able to even get a part time jobs his police force has been very, very busy. I would also say family dynamics have changed incredibly. Most of my students live in a one parent home or in a family comprised of a step parent and step ciblings. Not to say that all families who go through a divorce are shattered...I have seen some successful divorces and their children demonstrate many virtues. I feel that families are stressed too the limit. Many homes have two full time working parents and that can't always be helped. Parents are exhausted and so are the kids. We have become a materialistic society putting material needs before time with our kids. Kids are in 50 million activities....their parents may think they are giving them every chance at succeeding but instead they're burnt out by the time they get out of high school.

I am also a big fan of Tom Petty! I love Rock n Roll...it can't be avoided because I live with musicians. I did rent the film 'Eight Mile Road' and have to admit it was insightful. Em & Em's home life is similar to many of my students. I can understand how they would be attracted to his music and the poetry involved. Well I don't really consider it music but I do feel it is an art form. I seek out graffitti spots as I find their messages to be a pure form of communication as to the mindset of inner city youth. We as humans love to leave messages...see how successful message boards have become on the Internet.

that's it folks,

Re: Tony Blair's speech to Congress

Pete on 7/21/03 at 10:24 (124880)

Blair could well be out of a job here soon, so you're welcome to him ! Seriously, he's a decent guy but has got seriously side tracked this year with the Iraq War. Since Kelly's suicide on Friday the pressure is mounting big time. Someone will be the fall guy for this, for sure, could even be Blair.

Crime is now a huge problem here, much of it drug related and more recently a rise in gun crime. To be frank many Brit's would prefer Blair sorts out these things closer to home rather than putting the world to rights elsewhere.

Re: Tony Blair's speech to Congress

john h on 7/21/03 at 12:44 (124894)

I was watching the gentelman who committed sucicide being questioned in parliment on tv last week. The guy doing the questioning was unmerciful,rude,ill mannered and a jerk in my mind. I can see where this quiet guy may have blown himself away..