Britain OK's Use of Force in Iraq

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Johnv, Mar 18, 2003.

  1. Johnv

    Johnv
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    House of Commons OK's use of force in Iraq
    Lawmakers reject an anti-war resolution and then endorse "all means necessary" to disarm Saddam

    By THOMAS WAGNER
    The Associated Press

    LONDON — Britain’s House of Commons backed Prime Minister Tony Blair’s policy on Iraq today, voting in favor of using "all means necessary" to disarm Saddam Hussein.

    In an earlier vote, lawmakers also supported Blair, rejecting a motion to oppose a U.S.-led war with Iraq. Yet many rebel legislators in Blair’s Labor Party voted against his hard-line stance on Baghdad – which prompted three ministers to resign this week – showing that opposition to his pro-war position remains strong.

    With a U.S.-led war appearing inevitable, legislators voted 396-217 to defeat a parliamentary amendment by Labor Party rebels that declared the case for war "has not yet been established."

    The 217 votes included about 135 Labor Party backbenchers, TV reports said. Last month, a similar parliamentary showdown regarding Iraq and its weapons saw 122 Labor lawmakers vote against the government, the biggest revolt since the party came to power in 1997.

    On today's second motion, legislators voted 412-149 to use "all means necessary" for disarmament.

    "Back away from this confrontation now and future conflicts will be infinitely worse and more devastating in their effects," Blair said during hours of Commons debate before the votes.

    In Britain, where public and legislative opposition to a war without U.N. approval is strong, an invasion could present Blair’s government with serious risks, especially if U.S. and British troops in the gulf aren’t successful.

    During the debate before the votes, Blair said the Iraq crisis would determine the shape of international politics for a generation.

    "It will determine the way Britain and the world confront the central security threat of the 21st century; the development of the United Nations; the relationship between Europe and the United States; the relations within the European Union; and the way that the United States engages with the rest of the world," he said.

    "So it could hardly be more important. It will determine the pattern of international politics for the next generation."

    Many disaffected Labor legislators have ignored party discipline and opposed Blair’s handling of the crisis. Already, senior Cabinet minister Robin Cook, junior Health Minister Lord Hunt and Home Office Minister John Denham have quit over Iraq.

    Yet Blair had been expected to win the votes tody because he has the support of the opposition Conservative Party as well as many Labor lawmakers. There also have been signs of growing nationalism in Britain in support of the British troops massed in the Persian Gulf.

    Labor lawmaker Peter Kilfoyle joined many other members of his party in arguing that military action against Saddam would be "illegal, immoral and illogical."

    But Blair said that backing away from conflict now "would put at hazard all that we hold dearest, turn the U.N. back into a talking shop, stifle the first steps of progress in the Middle East, leave the Iraqi people to the mercy of events on which we would have relinquished all power to influence for the better.

    "I would not be party to such a course," he said.
     
  2. neal4christ

    neal4christ
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    I applaud Blair's resolve to take a stand and not back down under political pressure. [​IMG]

    Neal
     
  3. LadyEagle

    LadyEagle
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    Me, too. What a guy! [​IMG]
     
  4. I Am Blessed 24

    I Am Blessed 24
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    They're straggling in one by one! [​IMG]
     

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