MY WAR ON THE WORLD
Blair: We'll fight all who pose a threat
By James Hardy, Political Editor
January 30, 2003
WILD-EYED Tony Blair warned yesterday that he was ready to wage war on
The Prime Minister told jeering Labour MPs his next target after Iraq was
North Korea and the fight would go on until the world was a safer place.
Anti-war MPs heckled Mr Blair during Commons question time as he
desperately tried to justify military action on Saddam Hussein.
They shouted "who's next?" and "when do we stop?" in one of the most open
shows of defiance since the crisis erupted.
A finger-jabbing Mr Blair turned on them: "After we deal with Iraq we do,
yes, through the United Nations have to confront North Korea about its
"We have to confront those companies and individuals trading in weapons
of mass destruction.
"We stop when the threat to our security is properly and fully dealt
Labour MPs are growing increasingly restless about the full-scale rush to
Left-winger Lynne Jones accused the PM of only identifying Iraq as a
threat after George Bush grouped it with Iran and Kim Jong Il's regime in
North Korea as an "axis of evil".
The Premier snapped: "Precisely because he was a threat there have been
thousands of British forces down in the Gulf the whole time flying over
the no-fly zones.
"Precisely because he was a threat, we have had to impose a sanctions
regime on Iraq.
"Way before the axis of evil speech, at the very first meeting I had with
President Bush back in February 2001 I said that weapons of mass
destruction is an issue and we have to confront them."
Cabinet minister Clare Short renewed her warning that military action
must have full UN backing.
"We should all be clear that we unite behind the UN, and it's invincibly
strong this time, and that Saddam Hussein knows that we're not going away
and he can't push the inspectors back and stop them operating like he did
before," she said on BBC radio. "And then we can minimise the risks of
war, but we have to be willing, if necessary, to take some military
action to back up the authority of the UN.
"We should deal with it in a way that minimises any risk of further
suffering to the people of Iraq."
The Commons bust-up followed a day of Government confusion over alleged
links between Iraq and al-Qaeda.
President Bush said in his State of the Union speech that intelligence
reports had shown extensive co-operation between the two.
Downing Street yesterday initially claimed Iraq was "sheltering" al-Qaeda
operatives. But at Question Time, the PM appeared to row back. He said:
"We do know of links between al-Qaeda and Iraq. We cannot be sure of the
exact extent of those links."
The Foreign Office added: "It would be hard to imagine that this was
happening without the knowledge and acquiescence of the regime."