Monday, March 17, 2003
Tony Blair has opened up the horizons, as he did at Party Conference and beyond,
of Britain playing a new role, not over-exaggerating our part but accepting that
mutuality and interdependence is global, that we depend on each other, that what
happens in one part of the world has a profound impact on another – whether it is
drugs on the streets of our country, asylum seekers desperate for solace from
persecution or death, or whether, in terms of a world economy, it affects our ability to
invest. All of it affects us, day in and day out, and yet do our media give him praise
for what he is doing - in Ireland, for the leadership in Kosovo, or for the restraining
and supporting role in Afghanistan? No, they do not. He gets ridicule for not
always being here at this one moment when in fact he is making a difference, not
only to the standing of our country but to the ability of Britain to contribute and to
punch its weight.
London's anti-terrorist squad is 14 million strong - and together police and the public can strike a blow in the fight against terrorism. Today (17/3/03) the Met launched its 'Life Savers' advertising campaign to encourage people to call the confidential, free Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321 if they have any information about suspicious people or activities that could be linked to terrorism. Experience has shown that communities defeat terrorism. The five-week campaign will include ads on radio, in newspapers, trade press and on bus shelter and High Street advertising hoardings.
But the Sept. 11 attacks energized him, some aides said. Within days, he dispatched a top adviser, Viet D. Dinh, to develop a package of legislative proposals to give the F.B.I. broadened powers to wiretap suspects, use intelligence information in criminal cases and trace dirty money, among many other long-sought changes. After a brief but spirited tussle with some members of Congress who succeeded in putting in "sunset" provisions that capped the life of the changes, the package became the historic and controversial U.S.A. Patriot Act. In the months that followed, Mr. Ashcroft would become a fixture at the F.B.I.'s terrorism command center and briefed the president almost daily as the Justice Department sought to deter the possibility of future attacks. Terrorism has so dominated his schedule that he even suspended his morning prayer meetings at the Justice Department — a practice challenged by some critics as improper — because they conflicted with his White House terror briefings.
In his speech, Wolfowitz repeated the administration's standard caution that no decision has been made yet to go to war. But then he went on sometimes to speak as if war were inevitable. He said that the United States would show concern for the safety of Iraq's people on the day hostilities begin. He added that "when Saddam Hussein and his regime are nothing more than a horrible memory," the United States would help the Iraqi people establish a free government. Wolfowitz urged the meeting's participants to consider joining the U.S. military as reservists to help U.S. forces if there is an invasion of Iraq. This would enable the military to capitalize "on your understanding of local languages and culture, as well as American culture and language."
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