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Excerpts from speech by Prime Minister Tony Blair to the
Labor Party Annual Conference
Tuesday October 2, 2001 in Brighton, England:

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Our way of life is a great deal stronger and will last a great deal longer than the actions of fanatics, small in number and now facing a unified world against them.

This is a battle with only one outcome: our victory not theirs.

Be in no doubt: Bin Laden and his people organized this atrocity. The Taliban aid and abet him. He will not desist from further acts of terror. They will not stop helping him.

Whatever the dangers of the action we take, the dangers of inaction are far, far greater.

Look for a moment at the Taliban regime. It is undemocratic. That goes without saying.

There is no sport allowed, or television or photography. No art or culture is permitted. All other faiths, all other interpretations of Islam are ruthlessly suppressed. Those who practice their faith are imprisoned.

Women are treated in a way almost too revolting to be credible. First driven out of university; girls not allowed to go to school; no legal rights; unable to go out of doors without a man. Those that disobey are stoned.

There is now no contact permitted with Western agencies, even those delivering food. The people live in abject poverty.

It is a regime founded on fear and funded on the drug trade. The biggest drugs hoard in the world is in Afghanistan, controlled by the Taliban. Ninety percent of the heroin on British streets originates in Afghanistan. The arms the Taliban are buying today are paid for with the lives of young British people buying their drugs on British streets. That is another part of their regime that we should seek to destroy.

So what do we do? Don't overreact some say. We aren't.

We haven't lashed out. No missiles on the first night just for effect.

Don't kill innocent people. We are not the ones who waged war on the innocent. We seek the guilty.

Look for a diplomatic solution. There is no diplomacy with bin Laden or the Taliban regime.

State an ultimatum and get their response. We stated the ultimatum; they haven't responded.

Let there be no moral ambiguity about this: nothing could ever justify the events of 11 September, and it is to turn justice on its head to pretend it could.

The action we take will be proportionate; targeted; we will do all we humanly can to avoid civilian casualties.

They have no moral inhibition on the slaughter of the innocent. If they could have murdered not 7,000 but 70,000 does anyone doubt they would have done so and rejoiced in it?

There is no compromise possible with such people, no meeting of minds, no point of understanding with such terror. Just a choice: defeat it or be defeated by it. And defeat it we must.

As for the Taliban, they can surrender the terrorists, or face the consequences. And again, in any action the aim will be to eliminate their military hardware, cut off their finances, disrupt their supplies, target their troops, not civilians.

I say to the Taliban: surrender the terrorists; or surrender power. It's your choice.






Copyright 2001 Associated Press Information Services, all rights reserved.









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