Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Karzai And Blair

For those who missed it live yesterday, here's the transcript of an extraordinary joint press conference by President Karzai and Prime Minister Blair.

This is a must read on terrorism, especially for the root-cause crowd. Choice excerpts follow.

President Karzai: Look, I come from a country where extremists were the government, I come from a country where terrorism was ruling us, we were slaves to them before the world came and freed us. When they were in power they were killing people that only said we need a bit more freedom, they were killing people that wanted their young daughter to go to school, they were beating a man on the street, in front of his wife, in front of the public in a bazaar place, because his wife happened to have white shoes. There was no press, there was no radio, there was no television, there was no speech, they were suffocating life, and the only thing that they were doing was using Afghan infrastructure, the airports, the air bases, to train pilots and to prepare for blowing up the twin towers, and if you had not stopped them by 2001 when that incident occurred, in the three years that followed on you would have had many more of your buildings and buildings elsewhere in the world blown up by planes like that. And you would have had, out of the suffering that they were causing to the Afghan people, a human misery not seen in the history of mankind. Therefore people like that, how can they claim to kill and yet ask to speak, through our systems. Come on! I would like them to come and confront me in public, I would like to talk to them in public. They are cowards, they are ashamed, they will not come to confront you.

These guys, if they are working for a cause and if they are trying to justify that now by arguments related to Iraq or whatever, why were they killing in 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000, innocent children in Afghanistan?

We were the poorest of the Muslim world, we were the ones that had defeated communism and we were the best Muslims in fighting communism. Why would they go and burn the vineyard of a poor Afghan widow whose husband had died in fighting communism, the Jihad, why would they kill her, burn her orchard or spear her baby? So, there is no link to any argument that they offer, they are simply merchants of death.

Prime Minister Blair: Well they will use any issue, and before Iraq it was Afghanistan, before Iraq and Afghanistan it was the Palestinian issue, or support for the existence of Israel, not incidentally Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace because that is what we support, but support for the existence of Israel. Before all of those things it was America, just America, what it does, what it is. They will always have a reason for that, and yes they will use any issue to recruit people, they will recruit people over Iraq, they were recruited over Afghanistan, they were recruited over Palestine. But where does that argument lead you? If you are not careful you get inside their twisted logic, and the fact is what they are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan is utterly wrong, and what we are doing, leave aside whether you think it was right or wrong, the conflict in Iraq, leave aside that, what is happening now, today, and has been for the last two years in Iraq is a UN backed process to support Iraqi people having their democracy. Do they want it? Yes. They showed it when they came out in their millions to vote. Who is trying to stop them? The same terrorist ideology. And that is why, you know people can debate about this issue between the links and what are the superficial causes or symptoms, the fundamental causes I am afraid I think are a lot deeper and we need to address those.

And you know there is a kind of insidious way of the way that this is looked at where people say yes we entirely abhor the methods of these terrorists, but nonetheless we sort of understand what they are saying about American foreign policy, or Iraq, or Afghanistan or Palestine. No, let us be absolutely clear about this, the legitimate voice of Afghanistan is the man beside me who was elected, not al Queda or the Taliban. The legitimate voice of Iraq is the Prime Minister who was appointed after a democratic election, it is not the Jihadists who are killing innocent people in Iraq. The legitimate voice of the Palestinians is Mahmoud Abbas, the President elected by the Palestinians, it is not terrorists.

And therefore I think when people talk about the links between whether it is Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Palestine in what has happened, of course these people will use these things as an excuse, but let's be absolutely clear, if it wasn't that it would be something else, and nothing, but nothing, justifies what they are doing.

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