08/09/2011 Question Time


08/09/2011

David Dimbleby is joined Liam Fox, David Miliband, Richard Perle, Tariq Ali, Bonnie Greer and Christina Schmidt, whose husband was killed in Afghanistan.


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Transcript


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Ten years ago nearly 3,000 people were killed in one morning in a

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terrorist attack in the United States and we're still living with

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the consequences. Tonight with our audience in this special programme

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we debate the aftermath of 9/11. With me here at the headquarters of

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the London Scottish Regiment in London, the Defence Secretary, Liam

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Fox. Labour's former Foreign Secretary, David Miliband. Richard

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Perle at the heart of defence planning under President Bush, a

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staunch advocate of ousting Saddam Hussein. Bonnie Greer, playwright,

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born in Chicago and lives in the United Kingdom and the author and

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Thank you very much. Well, let's have our first question. It is from

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Kieran Falconer, please. What should America have done after

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9/11? What should America have done after 9/11?

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Liam Fox. It should have really he responded I think in much the same

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way as the Al-Qaeda threat coming from Afghanistan. It is quite

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difficult even ten years on to remember the shock that 9/11 caused.

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I was actually in New York just a few days later and I can remember

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very vividly how that felt and the shock that Americans felt that an

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attack happened on their own soil and then of course, there was the

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issue that the Taliban Government in Kabul would not hand over those

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that were responsible for the planning and the execution of the

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9/11 attack and then I think what happened after that was inevitable

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that the international community as they did would decide to overthrow

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the Government in Kabul and to ensure that it did not become again

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a breeding ground for that sort of terrorist attack.

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And Iraq was inevitable too? think Iraq was different. I think

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that the arguments about Afghanistan were much more clear

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cut. I think the reason that you ended up with 49 countries taking

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part in ISAF which we have in Afghanistan.

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Bonnie Greer. What should America have done? I made a film for the

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BBC about two months after 9/11. We went back to my hometown of Chicago

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and we went to New York City. I live not far from Ground Zero. At

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that time the people I spoke to were, of course, understandably

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upset, angry. A lot of people wanted revenge, but the majority of

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people really wanted to understand what the United States was in the

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world. They didn't understand what the United States could represent

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or be to people in the world. That this kind of thing could have

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happened. So this group of people that I spoke to were people who

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wanted to ask questions. They weren't thinking about attacks.

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They weren't thinking about going after anybody. They just wanted to

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understand. But that is a reaction you got in

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Chicago. But what do you think the American Government should have

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done? What it did or something different? The American Government,

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absolutely the American Government should have actually dealt with

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this in a way, as a homicide as far as I'm concerned first of all. The

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problem of New York for instance, New York I don't think even got an

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investigation about this for a long, long time. There should have been

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more deliberation than there was and it didn't happen.

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OK, Richard Perle, was it inevitable American acted as it

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did? Yes, I think we did pretty much what needed to be done in the

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aftermath. We asked the Taliban Government to turn Osama Bin Laden

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over, they refused. We waited a full 30 days before taking any

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military action. Then we worked with the Northern Alliance, which

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was the anti-Taliban group and the Taliban were quickly dispatched.

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The Taliban regime had become a haven for Osama Bin Laden and other

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terrorists. They had sanctuary, they had shelter, they had

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facilities with which to organise and to recruit and one result of

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that was 3,000 people killed in New York, including more Britons than

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died on 7/7 in the terror attack here so I think what we did was

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what needed to be done. OK. Tariq Ali. In my opinion and I

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argued this at the time, what took place was a crime carried out by a

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group of terrorists and that what the United States should have done

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was to have searched and found these terrorists and tried them in

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an open court of law as happens when other terrorists carry out

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attacks on other country, not forgetting the IRA attacks on

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Britain. The British Government, not being a large impearl country -

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- imperial country did not go and bomb places in the the public. I

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think that way of handling it would have been better. Instead what we

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have got is a ten year long war and the group of people people you were

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searching left that country two weeks before American troops

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arrived in Afghanistan and fled as was expected.

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APPLAUSE If this was a crime, if this was a

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homicide, what does going into Iraq have to do with catching the

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killer? Well, Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. I think 9/11 was a

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day of shock, but also of incredible international unity. I

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would like to have seen the American Government lead a drive in

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three areas, first of all, I think there was a possibility to rally a

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new kind of coalition between the West and the Muslim world. Secondly,

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I think there needed to be a regional solution in South Asia.

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Anyone who knows anything about Afghanistan knows its problems can

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been separated from those of Pakistan. Thirdly, it needed to

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dedicate itself to use that opportunity to build the kind of

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rules based international order. One other thing David which is

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really important. The words, "War on terror" should never have been

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uttered. That was a terrible statement.

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APPLAUSE Why? Because they unified a series

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of desperate grievances and under Osama Bin Laden's banner. It

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glorified the people who did 9/11 as warriors and it allowed people

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to argue that it was the West versus the Muslim world and that's

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why it was very dangerous. APPLAUSE

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I don't understand how it can be said that the best way to deal with

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violence is to enforce greater violence. I mean that is not a

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constructive way to deal with terrorism.

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Could I go back to my homicide point? I am talking about homicide

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in the early days. My brother, who was in the services at the time, on

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the day of 9/11, thought that a homicide had been committed

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actually in revenge for the execution of Tim McVeigh three

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months before this had happened. People had all kinds of theories

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and they thought homicide at first. Not war. And that was changed.

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Richard Perle, David Miliband said Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.

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Is that your view too? Yes. Iraq would have happened without

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9/11? No, Iraq would not have happened under a variety of

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circumstances. 9/11 made American officials responsible for the

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safety of our citizens. Acutely conscious of the danger that

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another attack with weapons of mass destruction could dwarf 9/11 in

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terms of the casualties and so emead immediately following 9/11

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they did what, I think, was a logical thing to do. They made a

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list of all the places of where weapons of mass destruction might

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be obtained and Iraq, of course, was on that list. It turns out that

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the intelligence was wrong. We know that now, but at the time, if you

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were the President and you asked yourself, "what can I do to prevent

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an attack with weapons of mass destruction?" You would have gone

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after the places where weapons of mass destruction could be found and

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as it happens Saddam Hussein was in violation of so many United Nations

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resolutions. Someone is talking, well in fact David, you were

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talking about a rule-based system. How many resolutions did the UN

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pass condemning Saddam Hussein? So that's your rule-based system. It

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just didn't work. Well, I think that the...

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APPLAUSE It is quite staggering that in this

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day and age someone can still bring up weapons of mass destruction.

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APPLAUSE He was saying at the the time, not

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now. But even at the time there were many people within the

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American intelligence agencies arguing that there were no weapons

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of mass destruction. In the British intelligence like wise. People were

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arguing there were no weapons of mass destruction and they were told

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to find the evidence so that this war could be fought and it was a

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criminal war, a breach of sovereignty, up to a million people

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have died. The Iraqi, this Iraqi Government says they have five

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million orphans and no one cares. We talk about casualties, but we

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don't care about the number of Iraqis.

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APPLAUSE A criminal war is what Tariq Ali

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says. To go back to the point about violence. It would be nice if we

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could resolve any conflicts in the world by conversation, but I am

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afraid there are elements of violent fanaticism in the world

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that we would rather were not there, but they are and they have to be

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dealt with. That's unfortunate, but it is true. When you opened, David,

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you mentioned the point, that was the beginning of a ten year process.

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I think we get to the end of this ten years and at the beginning it

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was being portrayed in parts of the Muslim world that the legitimate

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aspirations of many of the world's Muslims would be achieved through

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violence and Jihad and we've got to the end of the decade and we see

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the legitimate as per rations are achieved in tie here square.

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In Afghanistan it was a clear and legal response as to what happened

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on 9/11 article 5 of NATO was in vote because the United States had

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been attacked. I think that in Iraq we have to remember that at the

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time as Tony Blair had said in the House of Commons and I remember

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watching with great interest in the House that night that it wasn't

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just that there were accusations of weapons of mass destruction, but

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Saddam Hussein had refused to allow international inspectors in and had

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refused to allow that to happen. It turned out not to be correct and a

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lot of people will feel angry and disappointed about it, but that's

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how it seemed at the time. Man in the second row.

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Irregardless of the fact of weapons of mass destruction, Saddam

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violated 19 different resolutions of the Security Council. How will

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the United Nations remain relevant if it doesn't stand up to the

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resolutions? Bonnie Greer. The reason the United

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Nations exists is because it is a community of people who have

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decided to come together to hold the peace and to promote that in

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the world. The United States of America's job was to make sure that

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coalition of that organisation were able to do that together. The

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United States didn't do that. It moved and it shouldn't have.

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APPLAUSE Bonnie, I really think that is

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unfair. You know the United Nations came together in theory to act

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against threats to the peace. The Soviet Union was a member of the

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Security Council and had a veto. The Soviet Union was not interested

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in stopping some threats to the peace so you could never get

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unanimity with the one exception on the occasion with which... I didn't

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say unanimity. The UN system you have tofu namity.

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Richard Perle, you said that the war was illegal, that it was

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outside international law, but the action had to be taken, it didn't

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I know the quotation you're referring to. It's not accurate.

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What's accurate? The lawyers argued about whether an additional United

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Nations' resolution was necessary or not. Some believed it was not. I

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share those - the view that it was not necessary to have yet another

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resolution, and Tony Blair, who I think led this country

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magnificently in that period - you should be grateful for his

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leadership... We're not. BOOING

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I think Tony Blair wanted another UN resolution. I think that was a

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terrible tactical mistake because we really didn't need it. You, sir.

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We talk about weapons of mass destruction, but who armed Saddam

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with the weapons of mass destruction? It was the United

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States. No, no. OK. And the gentleman up there at the back. I

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come to you in the middle, yes. think Richard Perle is

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contradicting himself. On one hand he's talking about a measured

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approach, the fact that we made this list of countries that had

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WMDs. Wasn't this about one thing and one thing only - regime change?

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First of all, it would not be the first time I contradicted myself,

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but in this case it was not about regime change. I was in favour of

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changing the regime because Saddam Hussein was a brutal masochistic

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tyrant who murdered tens of thousands - actually hundreds of

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thousands of people - who had every intention of handing the regime

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over to his sons who, arguably, were even worse, but we would not

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have gone into Iraq if Saddam had presented convincing evidence that

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he did not possess weapons of mass destruction, and he failed to do

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that. You would have liked to have had him overthrown regardless - you

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have been arguing since the late 'niemts. Yes, but what I'd always

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argued is that we should do it by political means by working with his

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internal opponents. We can't do that, so we had no option. But Paul

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Wolfowitz said, who you know well, said when asked about weapons of

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mass destruction said this was the only thing we could all agree on,

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so it was convenient as an excuse. The woman in the centre. We go on

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to another question. Would the panel agree with 9/11 that America

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used what happened to hype the capabilities and the intelligence

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of Al-Qaeda, as Tariq mentioned earlier, with the IRA, in

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comparison, there wasn't this - as much hype and everything with the

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IRA - sorry. I can't even speak. You mean Al-Qaeda wasn't the kind

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of threat that it was made out to be? Exactly. Do you agree with

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that? I think the lady is making an important point. You agree with

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her? I don't think it was hype, but I think it's important to recognise

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now that 9/11 looks like the high point of Al-Qaeda. It didn't look

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like that at the time, though, and remember, 11 airliners could have

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been blown up over the Atlantic in 2006. They were foiled by very

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careful intelligence, so even to the present day there are people

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trying to commit murder and mayhem on our streets and on the streets

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throughout the Middle East, however - and in parts of Africa as well,

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so I don't think it was hype. However, in retrospect, I think you

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can now see - and hindsight is not something you're blessed with in

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politics - but you can see as a matter of analysis that certainly

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after the bombing of the Jordan wedding in 2005 when 55 Muslims

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were killed by Al-Qaeda, but actually even further back than

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that - the high point was probably 2001. One other point, though, it's

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not the IRA. This is a bigger and more different threat than the IRA.

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We had experience of the IRA, but they did not propagate a global

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vision. They did not have the kind of global reach and the theological

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basis that Al-Qaeda tried to engage with, and that's one further reason

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why - be wary of the words like "hype". This was different. It was

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dangerous. It had shown its potential in the '90s in a series

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of incidents, so those who were on red alert in those days were

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absolutely right to be on red alert. APPLAUSE

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I thought we'd come to it later, perhaps, but it's clearly relevant

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from what you have said. You talk about the 11 planes whose bombing

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was prevented by information, which it's generally accepted was

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obtained by torture. No. Well, by water boarding techniques. No, I'm

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sorry. That - that is just not right, David. Look, there are a

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million people watching this programme. Dick Cheney says that in

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his book which was published today. Look, the British - unusually, the

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British Government - not when I was in office, but when President Bush

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said this at a book launch of his in I think Texas - the British

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Government put out a statement saying that this was not the case,

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and it is an absolutely fundamental principle... How do you know it

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wasn't the case? You say the British Government was not involved

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in torture. Correct. Fair enough, but information reaches you. You

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don't know how... What I would say to you is this case has been made

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by the hard right of American politics and the hard right of the

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administration, and what they have said is you, in Europe, in Britain,

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you'll never countence in water boarding in Britain. I think it's

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right that it's abhorrent to legally torture people. They will

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say, well, we got the information from Sheik Mohammed with regard to

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the 2006 bombings. Right all sorts of information has come out from

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all sort of sources, it's not the case that that came out as a result

:20:16.:20:22.

of torture. Where there is reliable evidence bearing on threats, it

:20:22.:20:27.

would not be right to reject it out of hand, however it had been

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obtained? The classic ticking time bomb issue is, if you find out

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there is a bomb on the tube, do you act on it or not? It's different as

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far as I am concerned in national and international law never mind

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morally reprehensible. One other point because I thought about this

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at all - John McCain is not on my point of the political spectrum but

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he said, when you start talking about torturing people, you're

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actually harming us more than them, and you're putting our values and

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what we stand for in grave danger, and I agree with him.

:20:58.:21:04.

APPLAUSE We're talking tonight about the

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consequences of 9/11, and clearly this issue is one of them. I'll go

:21:07.:21:14.

to the man up there, then Dr Liam Fox and Tariq Ali. Yes, you, sir.

:21:14.:21:18.

Yes, we have heard a lot about what Al-Qaeda have done and what the

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threat is. But what we haven't heard about is why have they done

:21:22.:21:26.

it? What are their grievances? Can we address those grievances?

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Wouldn't that be the better way forward? Tariq Ali. The grievances

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- look, all terrorist groups, whatever their origins, whether

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they're 19th centuryar anarchists, whether they're 20th century glups

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Germany and Italy in the '60s have their grievances. That is not a

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problem, and this group did. Its grievances, if you read Bin Laden's

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texts are very clear - that my world is occupied by your countries

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and their troops. The question is many Arab people have these

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grievances, but this is not the way they go and fight them. There are

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other ways of doing it. It is a fact the grievences are there. It

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is not even the case these grievances are recognised because

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people talk about the United Nations passing resolutions against

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Saddam Hussein. The United Nations has passed resolutions against

:22:17.:22:24.

other countries as well, including Israel, including the right of the

:22:24.:22:28.

Palestinians to self-determination. They have passed resolutions on

:22:28.:22:31.

India and Kashmir. Which resolutions are taken up is

:22:31.:22:38.

actually determined by the United States, which is why I say that

:22:38.:22:42.

this form of selective vigilantism doesn't work. It ends up badly, as

:22:42.:22:45.

we saw in Iraq, and as we're now watching in Afghanistan and

:22:46.:22:50.

probably Libya too. Can I bring you back to the torture issue, Dr Liam

:22:50.:22:54.

Fox? First of all, I very much agree with David on this question -

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what we do says who we are, and we have to apply our own ethics and

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values, but on this question of grievances, let's be very careful

:23:05.:23:09.

about moral equivalents here. What sort of grievance and what sort of

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response to any grievance is it to fly aeroplanes into heavily

:23:13.:23:20.

populated buildings? Ing I agree. APPLAUSE

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And as for this idea that the response to what was mass murder

:23:25.:23:29.

was some sort of American hype, this was one area where the United

:23:29.:23:33.

Nations did act together, where the United Nations came together and

:23:33.:23:36.

sanctioned the creation of ISAF, where we have 49 countries still

:23:36.:23:42.

there today, so let's not be misled by the rewriting of that particular

:23:42.:23:46.

history. This was a savage, vicious murder by people who had absolutely

:23:46.:23:54.

no reason to do so. Right. Hold on. What do we do now? It's ten years

:23:54.:23:58.

of the war in Afghanistan as well. This is what we'll move on, to but

:23:58.:24:02.

before I do take another question, just to say, if you're on Twitter

:24:02.:24:12.
:24:12.:24:16.

I would like to take a question from Rizwana Ahmed, please. I would

:24:16.:24:22.

like to ask, what evidence is there that engaging in costly wars in

:24:23.:24:28.

Iraq and Afghanistan has actually ensured the safety of the average

:24:28.:24:33.

British person? Have the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ensured the

:24:33.:24:38.

safety of the ordinary British citizen? Bonnie Greer? Well, that

:24:38.:24:43.

was what we were sold when the Prime Minister of the day, Tony

:24:43.:24:48.

Blair, stood up and said that we were in eminent danger from weapons

:24:48.:24:53.

of mass destruction. I remember that vividly, and one million

:24:53.:24:58.

people came out on the streets of this country and said, "Not in my

:24:58.:25:02.

name", and they were completely ignored by the Government of the

:25:02.:25:04.

day. APPLAUSE

:25:05.:25:08.

So that is a valid question, and the question on the floor tonight

:25:08.:25:12.

is, what is the - what is the aftermath of what happened? And we

:25:12.:25:16.

mustn't get away from that, because what you're asking is a very

:25:16.:25:20.

important question. What does it have to do with me? Does it make my

:25:20.:25:26.

life safer on the street? And I believe that the former head of MI5

:25:26.:25:31.

has said in her lectures that in fact - she said before we went in

:25:31.:25:35.

that we wouldn't actually endanger the homeland - the United Kingdom -

:25:35.:25:39.

if we took this action. She said that, and she's saying it and

:25:39.:25:44.

saying it and saying it. Did you - David Miliband did, you get that

:25:44.:25:54.
:25:54.:25:57.

information from MI5 which Baroness bullingham Manor has made public?

:25:57.:26:04.

Not in that way. She said the war was likely to increase the domestic

:26:04.:26:09.

threat. No, I was the junior Education Minister at the time, so

:26:09.:26:18.

she certainly didn't say it to me. The golden rule for this is let's

:26:18.:26:22.

not put Iraq and Afghanistan in the same sentence. Tariq is raising a

:26:22.:26:26.

very important point, ten years in Afghanistan. My own view is it was

:26:26.:26:32.

essential to oppose the Taliban from Kabul. I think there was a

:26:32.:26:37.

tragic mistake in late 2002 when in the south-east of Afghanistan those

:26:37.:26:41.

who were many Taliban supporters had a choice - could they come into

:26:41.:26:45.

the political system, or would they be driven out? I am afraid the new

:26:45.:26:49.

constitution Afghanistan adopted led to them being driven out. The

:26:49.:26:52.

peace conference of 2002 was a conference only for the victors.

:26:52.:26:57.

That was a terrible error. They went into Pakistan. They regrouped.

:26:57.:27:03.

In 2005, they were back attacking our troops in Helmand province, so

:27:03.:27:07.

the Afghan story is a story in my view that should have been done by

:27:07.:27:12.

the politics, not the military. In a counter-insurgency it's 20%

:27:12.:27:15.

military, 80% politics. Iraq is a different story. We can come to

:27:15.:27:19.

that and debate it. But there is a pressing issue today which is, how

:27:20.:27:24.

is the Afghan conflict brought too a close? Hang on a second. We must

:27:24.:27:28.

chair this. The question you were actually asked is has what you have

:27:28.:27:32.

done in Iraq and Afghanistan in the past ten years, and I quote, "done

:27:32.:27:37.

anything to ensure the safety of the ordinary British citizen?"

:27:37.:27:40.

There is no question Al-Qaeda central, as it's called, is much

:27:40.:27:48.

weaker than ten years ago. That is a fact. Al-Qaeda's core ability to

:27:48.:27:53.

project violence around the world is less than it was ten years ago.

:27:53.:27:58.

It is partly because of military operations, but also partly because

:27:58.:28:07.

millions of Muslims around the world have embraced global reform

:28:07.:28:12.

not Jihad as a way to express their interests. As a people I think

:28:12.:28:15.

we're safe only at the cost of our soldiers that have been sent in to

:28:15.:28:20.

do the job. I think the fact they have done a magnificent job doesn't

:28:21.:28:25.

hide the fact they were sent in underequipped. We have to thank

:28:25.:28:29.

them for the job the politicians talk about. I thank the soldiers

:28:29.:28:34.

for doing it. We're safe because of them. Dr Liam Fox - the point that

:28:34.:28:40.

they were sent in underequipped, and then do you believe that...

:28:40.:28:41.

Body armours - PROBLEM WITH SOUND

:28:41.:28:46.

And was what has happened - what they have done - made this place

:28:46.:28:50.

safe? Has it made - not just us, but the world, safer? Yes, it has.

:28:50.:28:55.

I believe point was made at the outset 2001 was in fact the high

:28:56.:28:59.

point of Al-Qaeda. There is a reason why. That was the action we

:28:59.:29:04.

took as a consequence. It wasn't just what happened in Manhattan on

:29:04.:29:08.

9/11. Remember the Madrid train bombings. Remember what happened to

:29:08.:29:11.

the USS Cole and the bombings in Kenya? All of these were a pattern.

:29:11.:29:15.

Al-Qaeda was going to launch more attacks on the West. More innocent

:29:15.:29:19.

people were going to die. More 9/11s were going to happen. It was

:29:19.:29:22.

the duty of the Government at the time - it was the duty of the

:29:22.:29:25.

United Nations to act to protect the people from what was the wider

:29:25.:29:28.

threat. In terms of what happened in Afghanistan, you could have a

:29:28.:29:32.

very long debate about it, but I think that you've - roughly, it

:29:32.:29:38.

falls into three parts - 2001-2006, what happened between 2006 and 2009

:29:38.:29:43.

and what happened after that, and I think for a long period of that we

:29:43.:29:46.

were underequipped. There was an insufficient troop density on the

:29:46.:29:51.

ground, and we miscalculated as a Western community through ISAF I

:29:51.:29:55.

think exactly how creative and how resilient some of the elements of

:29:55.:29:59.

the Taliban could be, and I think that we paid a price in the later

:29:59.:30:05.

years for the military You, sir.

:30:05.:30:10.

Three things. One is about the UN resolutions. Is it on record to be

:30:10.:30:17.

the worst, the worst country to defy UN resolutions. If there is

:30:17.:30:24.

any record to disprove that, please let me know. Secondly, the issue

:30:24.:30:31.

was about Afghanistan, but the international community ended up

:30:31.:30:41.
:30:41.:30:42.

going down to Iraq first before going to Afghanistan. We remember

:30:42.:30:47.

the Tora Bora issue involving Osama Bin Laden, if they placed more

:30:47.:30:50.

boots on the ground in Afghanistan, by now we would not be talking

:30:50.:30:55.

about the the Taliban at all. We would have got rid of them and

:30:55.:31:00.

everything, but we forgot about them and went to Iraq. Why? Because

:31:00.:31:06.

there was something personal about Iraq and the Republicans.

:31:06.:31:10.

Can we come back to the question about safety? Do you think this

:31:10.:31:14.

country is safer? Absolutely, not. We are not safer because of what

:31:14.:31:19.

we've done and I would say that - Muslims are not safe because of

:31:19.:31:25.

what has happened. To be an ordinary person, to be an ordinary

:31:25.:31:30.

Muslim in this country and the United States is not a safe thing.

:31:30.:31:37.

The question is who are we and we are not all safe. No, we are not.

:31:37.:31:42.

In what way is it not a safe thing to be a Muslim in this country?

:31:42.:31:45.

is almost a dirty word in the United States right now. One of the

:31:45.:31:48.

problems that Barack Obama had at the beginning is that people

:31:48.:31:54.

thought that he was a Muslim. Nobody questioned the fact that you

:31:54.:32:03.

are using the word Muslim as a pejorative. Muslim equates violence.

:32:03.:32:08.

The holy religion of Islam is seen as something that has some kind of

:32:08.:32:12.

inhereant core of violence within it. That's the legacy of what has

:32:12.:32:16.

happened. You can't be a Muslim. It is very, very difficult to be them

:32:16.:32:24.

and that to me, when we talk about are we safer? I am asking who are

:32:24.:32:30.

we, Muslims are not safe for one thing.

:32:31.:32:33.

APPLAUSE Is it true about America? First on

:32:33.:32:36.

the general question of whether we are safer, it has been said and I

:32:36.:32:40.

think correctly that Al-Qaeda and elements associated with it are

:32:40.:32:44.

weaker now, far weaker than they were ten years ago. We have not had

:32:44.:32:48.

the kind of massive attack that they had in mind for us and they

:32:48.:32:53.

were planning new attacks even as 9/11 took place and they were

:32:53.:32:58.

planning them if I can say it again, if they could obtain them with

:32:58.:33:02.

weapons of mass destruction so the threat was and I'm afraid remains

:33:02.:33:08.

significant. Now every Government I know, every western Government,

:33:08.:33:12.

every democracy has gone to enormous lengths to make it clear

:33:12.:33:18.

that our problem with radical Islamist terrorists does not extend

:33:18.:33:22.

to Muslims in general. Every president has said it again and

:33:22.:33:25.

again. Every Prime Minister has said it again and again and I

:33:25.:33:30.

really think it is unfair... Richard, you are a student of human

:33:30.:33:35.

nature. You understand how human beings work. You can say that with

:33:35.:33:40.

one side of your face and the other side you are sending out all kinds

:33:41.:33:45.

of signals about it that are the opposite. I promise you on the day,

:33:45.:33:48.

because I used to live around the area in which the World Trade

:33:48.:33:54.

Center went down, I know people women who used to wear veils were

:33:54.:34:00.

told to take your scarf off. Don't wear your cap. Are you surprised by

:34:00.:34:03.

this after 3,000 people died in New York as a result of those attacks?

:34:03.:34:09.

Yes, I am. I am. I am surprised that a whole group of people can be

:34:09.:34:13.

sort of picked off and said this person, this person and this person

:34:13.:34:22.

is an enemy. Yes, I am. APPLAUSE

:34:22.:34:28.

Two responses to that, David. One did it make life more difficult for

:34:28.:34:36.

ordinary people in say Britain or the United States? I think it did

:34:36.:34:40.

because there is absolutely no doubt that British foreign policy

:34:40.:34:46.

under Tony Blair in particular was such that it created a lot of anger

:34:46.:34:49.

amongst Muslim communities in the northern part of the country and

:34:49.:34:55.

all the reports, the Royal Institute of International Affairs

:34:55.:35:00.

Report, private intelligence reports which were later leaked,

:35:00.:35:05.

said it was British foreign policy that radicalised these kids, it was

:35:05.:35:08.

not religion. That was very concrete. The second thing that

:35:08.:35:11.

happened and this is also a consequence of 9/11 that despite

:35:11.:35:14.

all the politicians saying, "We are not going to let the terrorists

:35:14.:35:21.

change our way of life." They did. People were arrested without trial.

:35:21.:35:25.

There are people in Britain still locked up for 11 years without

:35:25.:35:30.

being tried. Guantanamo Bay, which Obama said he was going to close

:35:30.:35:35.

dournings he release -- down, he released fewer people than Bush did.

:35:35.:35:40.

We live in almost a post-legal State and the third thing is a big,

:35:40.:35:46.

big increase in what is called Islamophobia, just hostility to

:35:46.:35:49.

Muslims in general which has been stopped, not just by the wars, but

:35:50.:35:56.

which has to a certain extent been halted, not completely, by the huge

:35:56.:36:01.

uprisings in the Arab world for democratic rights, not just against

:36:01.:36:05.

people like Saddam Hussein or Gaddafi. Gaddafi was a close ally

:36:05.:36:10.

of the Blair Government, but in countries like Egypt where

:36:10.:36:12.

dictatorships had been kept going by the United States with their

:36:13.:36:17.

money and countries like Saudi Arabia which are still kept going

:36:17.:36:24.

and I never believed, I never believed, I never believed that a

:36:24.:36:30.

majority of the Muslim population ins all the Muslim world were in

:36:30.:36:35.

anyway sympathetic to terrorism, it is a tiny, tiny minority as

:36:35.:36:39.

terrorists always are and when given the chance they demonstrated.

:36:39.:36:44.

Tariq, if you keep on talking about the the Arab Spring as you have,

:36:44.:36:47.

you will be be be labelled a neoconservative.

:36:47.:36:52.

David Miliband. Let me tell you the word that is use add lot when I

:36:52.:37:01.

talk to Muslim constituents. The word they throw at mo is thip -- me

:37:01.:37:05.

is hip pobg ras ci -- hypocrisy. They say you talk about Human

:37:05.:37:09.

Rights, but what about Guantanamo Bay, they say that. They also say

:37:09.:37:14.

you talk about UN resolutions, but what about Israel/Palestine. People

:37:14.:37:18.

in my position have to accept that those things are said and that's

:37:18.:37:25.

why I think it is right to be as clear as we can about the

:37:25.:37:28.

centrality of the Human Rights challenge that we now face in the

:37:28.:37:34.

wake of 9/11, but secondly, Israel/Palestine did not cause 9/11.

:37:34.:37:42.

That is a really wrong thing to say, but if they are interested in

:37:42.:37:47.

puncturing this allegation, we have to accept that the greatest

:37:47.:37:54.

diplomatic failure in 40 years is the failure to resolve

:37:55.:37:59.

Israel/Palestine. If we want to show our seriousness we have to

:37:59.:38:04.

tackle the Israel/Palestine issue and make sure there is a State they

:38:04.:38:10.

can call home. APPLAUSE

:38:10.:38:13.

One of our audience has a question. It is Chad Davis.

:38:13.:38:20.

My question for the panel. Is the root cause of terrorism the

:38:20.:38:23.

Israeli/Palestine problem? If so, would Osama Bin Laden have

:38:23.:38:27.

cancelled his 9/11 plans if plinth had been -- President Clinton had

:38:27.:38:33.

been able to broker peace in the Middle East? No, I don't think so.

:38:33.:38:36.

We have to be careful about playing into the Osama Bin Laden argument

:38:37.:38:41.

that this was about religion. That this was anything to do with Islam

:38:41.:38:48.

or the liberation or the people of the Islamic world. Osama Bin Laden

:38:48.:38:52.

was about a violent anti-western political philosophy. It had

:38:52.:38:57.

nothing at all to do with religion. Religion is seldom the problem. It

:38:57.:39:03.

is when religion is used as the excuse for violence or the

:39:03.:39:07.

oppression of people is used for political motives in the name of

:39:07.:39:13.

religion. Henley jit mat expression is used using religion as the tool.

:39:13.:39:18.

That is where the problem lies. It does not lie with religion itself.

:39:18.:39:25.

Can you answer the question? don't think it would be. There is a

:39:25.:39:28.

terribly simplistic view if you solve that one problem, everything

:39:28.:39:32.

else will fall domino like into place. Yes, of course, it is a

:39:32.:39:37.

problem that is used by countries in the region, most notably I would

:39:37.:39:42.

say at the moment Iran to continue to whip up what it wants in terms

:39:42.:39:46.

of its own foreign policy support. There is no doubt if we got a

:39:46.:39:53.

solution to the Israeli/Palestine problem it would take away a great

:39:53.:39:56.

propaganda tool, as well as being a major improvement. I don't think we

:39:56.:40:00.

should be naive to believe if you take away that one problem people

:40:00.:40:04.

like Osama Bin Laden who hate us because of who we are would

:40:04.:40:08.

actually go away. APPLAUSE

:40:08.:40:12.

Richard Perle. The dispute between Israelis and Palestinians is only

:40:12.:40:19.

going to be solved when Israelis and Palestinians find a solution.

:40:19.:40:23.

We can't do it. The United Kingdom can't do it. It has got to be done

:40:23.:40:31.

by them and that's what the UN has mandated going back to the to the

:40:31.:40:37.

aftermath of the 1967 war. I heard a couple of references to Israel

:40:37.:40:47.
:40:47.:40:47.

Apology for the loss of subtitles for 141 seconds

:40:47.:43:09.

Jeev got a question from Iain Church, who happens to be a bomb

:43:09.:43:16.

disposal officer. The war on terror is unwinnable. Our negotiations

:43:16.:43:21.

with Al-Qaeda, inevitable to ensure a satisfactory end to the war on

:43:21.:43:25.

terrorism? Dr Liam Fox? Not Al- Qaeda, but I think it's reasonable

:43:25.:43:29.

to make the assumption that you'll not solve the problem in

:43:29.:43:34.

Afghanistan today by military means alone. I know very few people who

:43:34.:43:38.

believe that to be true. The question is who do you talk to and

:43:38.:43:43.

about what? I think you therefore have to look for the people who are

:43:43.:43:49.

reconcilable to the idea in the Afghan constitution in the way the

:43:49.:43:54.

country is moving and how it relates to the countries in the

:43:54.:43:58.

region and the wider world. Hopefully, events are moving in

:43:58.:44:02.

that direction. In Helmand, just to take a tiny example where our

:44:02.:44:05.

forces are, we have seen a big reduction in violence levels

:44:05.:44:11.

throughout this year. We have seen a 25% reduction. It does tend to

:44:11.:44:14.

suggest the counter-insurgency rather than a purely

:44:15.:44:19.

counterterrorist strategy is beginning to reap some rewards.

:44:19.:44:22.

if successive British Governments were willing to talk to the IRA are

:44:22.:44:26.

they not willing to talk to, if they can find Al-Qaeda, whatever it

:44:26.:44:30.

may be, to talk to Al-Qaeda? question is not whether we are. The

:44:30.:44:35.

question is whether the Afghan Government is. It has to be an

:44:35.:44:38.

Afghan-Government-led process. We're there. We have said we'll

:44:38.:44:43.

support them. If they're able to find elements of, let's call them,

:44:43.:44:46.

the former Taliban, who are willing to cooperate with the sort of

:44:46.:44:49.

direction the people of Afghanistan and the Government want to talk,

:44:49.:44:54.

then they should engage with them. There has always to be a political

:44:54.:44:57.

solution to any insurgency and any conflict, but finding the people

:44:57.:45:01.

who are willing to do that is a difficult job, and we have also to

:45:02.:45:07.

I think accept that there will be some people who will always be

:45:07.:45:11.

irreconcilable, and that that will continue to provide a threat to

:45:11.:45:14.

stability... Do you want to come back on that? I think the war on

:45:14.:45:19.

terror is broader than Afghanistan. Richard Perle made the point that

:45:19.:45:22.

Al-Qaeda still pose a significant threat across the world. If that's

:45:22.:45:26.

the case, then surely it's broader than Afghanistan, and therefore,

:45:26.:45:30.

what are we going to do to talk to Al-Qaeda operatives that perhaps

:45:30.:45:36.

aren't operating in the north-west of Pakistan or Afghanistan and

:45:36.:45:40.

maybe somewhere else? Tariq Ali. Look, don't confuse two things -

:45:40.:45:46.

the actual Al-Qaeda grouping itself according to virtually every report

:45:46.:45:53.

- public and official - one hears of is reduced, greatly reduced in

:45:53.:45:56.

size, so don't conflate that with the insurgency in Afghanistan. It's

:45:56.:46:01.

not the same thing. The insurgency in Afghanistan now includes not

:46:01.:46:04.

just some remnants of the old Taliban, but many, many new people,

:46:04.:46:09.

which is why people call it the new Taliban, and, you know, this isn't

:46:09.:46:14.

talked about much in polite society, but over the last six years, the

:46:14.:46:17.

NATO governments, some of them, have been negotiating and

:46:18.:46:21.

discussing with these people and asking them whether they're

:46:21.:46:24.

prepared to join national government, to which they reply,

:46:24.:46:29.

"We will, but only after all foreign troops have left," secondly,

:46:29.:46:34.

you cannot have a stable government in Afghanistan, in my opinion,

:46:34.:46:38.

unless some of the neighbouring countries are involved both

:46:38.:46:41.

financially, economically to try to guarantee the stability, and

:46:41.:46:45.

whether you like it or not, this includes Pakistan. This includes

:46:45.:46:49.

Iran. This includes Russia. In includes China. These are countries

:46:49.:46:54.

that have to be involved, and there should be a withdrawal of Western

:46:54.:46:57.

troops. Otherwise, it's a disaster story. You have a corrupt

:46:57.:47:02.

Government which represents nobody. Its people are targeted at will by

:47:02.:47:07.

the insurgents regularly all over the country, and everyone knows

:47:07.:47:11.

that militarily this war cannot be won, so a political solution is

:47:11.:47:15.

necessary, and the political solution which should happen should

:47:15.:47:20.

involve the neighbouring powers to create a national government. This

:47:20.:47:27.

country has been at war now since 1979 - ten years of the Russians,

:47:27.:47:30.

then civil war in Afghanistan between rival factions and now ten

:47:30.:47:36.

years of NATO. Take pity on them. The woman there in the fourth row

:47:36.:47:43.

from the back. What's just been said is basically that there needs

:47:43.:47:47.

to be negotiations. You know, shooting terrorists and looking for

:47:47.:47:51.

the Taliban to destroy them, you know, there's the problem of

:47:51.:47:56.

actually increasing the problem because of the hatred and the

:47:56.:47:59.

revengeful feelings that come from loved ones being killed. You know,

:47:59.:48:04.

we can dismiss what they're saying - I'm not saying I agree with the

:48:04.:48:08.

behaviour at all. I don't, but at the end of the day, this is the way

:48:08.:48:11.

they are, and if we don't try to get past that and actually try to

:48:11.:48:15.

get the people talking that can, like in the Middle East - what do

:48:15.:48:18.

the Middle East want in general? You know, do they want the bringing

:48:18.:48:22.

down of the Taliban? Do they want to come against bad Western

:48:23.:48:26.

feelings? We've got to establish hue the Middle East feel about it

:48:26.:48:33.

and what they feel can be done about it. Can I just first of all

:48:33.:48:37.

thank the gentleman who spoke before you did? I'm from a service

:48:37.:48:41.

family, and I want to thank you for the service you give to this

:48:41.:48:46.

country. APPLAUSE

:48:46.:48:55.

Because this is a voluntary - this is a voluntary military, and you do

:48:55.:48:58.

what our policymakers have created the situation, so I'm very grateful

:48:58.:49:04.

to you. I sit here and listen to all of us. The initial question was,

:49:04.:49:08.

what is the world like after 9/11? What kind of world do we have? This

:49:08.:49:14.

is an example of the kind of world that we have. We have a world in

:49:14.:49:18.

which things have been conflated, convoluted, confused, and agendas

:49:18.:49:24.

have happened, and it's a very simple thing, and I remember

:49:24.:49:29.

something vividly. This goes back to what this lady was saying. I

:49:29.:49:32.

remember President Bush in the early days after 9/11 using words

:49:32.:49:36.

like "crusade", and he was stopped from doing that. I remember people

:49:36.:49:40.

bringing God into this on the Christian side. We've created a

:49:40.:49:48.

world in which it is against or for world. There is no middle ground.

:49:48.:49:53.

We don't - we never, ever hear from the people in Israel who are

:49:53.:49:57.

working for peace. We never hear from the people in Palestine

:49:57.:50:01.

working for peace. It's the other sides who get the publicity, and

:50:01.:50:05.

your question goes back to that. There are people who want to talk,

:50:05.:50:15.
:50:15.:50:15.

and they don't get the air time. It's as simple as that. Are we

:50:15.:50:18.

realistically able to solve the problems in Afghanistan and the

:50:19.:50:25.

growing problems in Pakistan by 2015? By the date when the troops

:50:25.:50:30.

are withdrawn? Dr Liam Fox? You said originally there shouldn't be

:50:30.:50:34.

any deadline, didn't you Yes, but President Karzai said he wanted to

:50:34.:50:37.

have the security of his own country under his own forces by

:50:38.:50:41.

2015, and if you have a sovereign government in Afghanistan, you have

:50:41.:50:44.

to recognise and accept that they will have to ultimately have

:50:45.:50:49.

control over what they want, and... Does that mean you're very

:50:49.:50:54.

sceptical about the idea of a deadline? No, I think it's very

:50:54.:50:59.

achievable for a number of reasons, and Tariq said that we should give

:50:59.:51:02.

poor Afghanistan a chance. He's quite right. No-one under 30 in

:51:02.:51:05.

Afghanistan can remember anything other than conflict. We have taken

:51:05.:51:08.

a lot of things to Afghanistan, but one of the things - and if you go

:51:08.:51:13.

to talk to people in the markets of Helmand, they'll tell you that the

:51:13.:51:16.

one thing we have actually brought is some hope because they have a

:51:16.:51:20.

chance to choose their own governance for the first time -

:51:20.:51:25.

five times more children are in school than there were four years

:51:25.:51:29.

ago, more people have access to health care. What we're actually

:51:29.:51:33.

doing is very positive, and sometimes we should take a bit more

:51:33.:51:37.

pride in what our country is actually doing and look at the good

:51:37.:51:41.

things we're actually achieving for the people, and -

:51:41.:51:43.

APPLAUSE One of the other great things that

:51:43.:51:47.

our military has been doing is helping to train the Afghan

:51:47.:51:52.

National Police, the Afghan National Army so that they can take

:51:52.:51:55.

control of the security of their own country so that we can leave

:51:55.:52:00.

without leaving behind the sort of security vacuum into which groups

:52:00.:52:03.

like Al-Qaeda would be drawn, so just for once I think we should say

:52:03.:52:07.

thank you to what our aid workers are doing, thank you to what our

:52:07.:52:10.

military are doing because they're actually changing the face of that

:52:10.:52:15.

country and giving people chance that neither their parents nor

:52:15.:52:19.

grandparents ever had. The Russians used to say exactly that, exactly

:52:19.:52:23.

that. The woman in the front. totally agree with what you're

:52:23.:52:29.

saying, but the fact is thousands and millions of people have died.

:52:29.:52:33.

It's ridiculous. What is actually being done to prevent people dying?

:52:33.:52:36.

Innocent lives have died through the whole 9/11 procedure. What

:52:36.:52:39.

about the people in Afghanistan, all the countries that we're

:52:39.:52:43.

invading and totally destroying the whole families, lives, and

:52:43.:52:48.

everything has been ruined by that? What is being done to prevent that

:52:48.:52:53.

from happening again? I want to take a slightly different area from

:52:53.:52:56.

Duncan Ayres. We mentioned it briefly. Could the "Arab Spring"

:52:56.:52:59.

have happened... Fire away again. Could the "Arab Spring" have

:52:59.:53:03.

happened without the war in Iraq? Could the "Arab Spring" have

:53:03.:53:08.

happened without the war in Iraq, Richard Perle? I don't think so. I

:53:08.:53:12.

think what the war in Iraq did ultimately was demonstrate that

:53:13.:53:17.

even a figure like Saddam Hussein, who Iraqis thought was there

:53:17.:53:24.

forever, could be removed. Did world saw, including the Arab world

:53:24.:53:29.

- they saw people coming out of the voting booths in Iraq with purple

:53:29.:53:33.

thumbs and in fact in the immediate aftermath of that you had an

:53:33.:53:37.

uprising in Lebanon, which, unfortunately, ran out of steam. I

:53:38.:53:41.

think it was an inspiration. It was a demonstration that just because

:53:41.:53:47.

you live in an Arab country, just because you are ruled by an Arab

:53:47.:53:52.

dictator, you don't have to accept that as your inevitable future.

:53:52.:53:55.

And we now see the Arab world rising up against its dictators.

:53:55.:54:02.

APPLAUSE You sounded a little sceptical

:54:02.:54:06.

about the war in Iraq, David Miliband, in one or two things you

:54:06.:54:09.

have said. Are you sceptical about the effect of that war, and do you

:54:09.:54:12.

agree the "Arab Spring" could have happened without it? It's very

:54:12.:54:16.

tempting for people in my position to say that we'll add to the

:54:16.:54:19.

positive side of the balance sheet that the "Arab Spring" wouldn't

:54:19.:54:24.

have happened without the Iraq war. It's tempting, but in all honesty,

:54:24.:54:27.

I can't say that. APPLAUSE

:54:27.:54:32.

And it - it would make life - it would make life much easier. I

:54:32.:54:40.

voted for the war in Iraq. I read Hans Blix's report documenting the

:54:40.:54:45.

WMD that didn't come. But I have to recognise today that the list of

:54:45.:54:49.

positives, which include Saddam gone, which include the Kurds safe,

:54:49.:54:53.

which include Gaddafi giving up his 3,000 chemical bombs - those

:54:53.:54:57.

positives are outweighed by the longer list of negatives. Now,

:54:57.:55:03.

history is still being made in Iraq, and as I say, it would make life

:55:03.:55:07.

easy for me if I could say yes. But the truth about the "Arab Spring"

:55:07.:55:11.

is that its seeds are deep in Arab society. They're deep among

:55:11.:55:17.

Egyptians, above all, who have seen their nation run in a kleptocaptic

:55:17.:55:21.

and corrupt way and national pride sunk. What should be the leader of

:55:21.:55:24.

the Arab world has been sunk, and that is not aed Saddam Hussein

:55:24.:55:28.

issue. It's about people demanding universal rights. That's what we

:55:28.:55:35.

should be standing up for. Can I ask David a very straight question?

:55:35.:55:40.

David, do you think the 31 million Iraqis who today live in a chaotic

:55:40.:55:46.

democracy would like to go back to where they were? No-one wants to go

:55:46.:55:51.

back to living under Saddam Hussein, but... On a balance? If - someone

:55:51.:55:56.

is going to shout out, "What about those who are dead?" There has been

:55:56.:56:00.

massive loss of life, but even those Iraqis today, they want a

:56:00.:56:04.

different kind of liberation is the truth. I don't resile - I don't

:56:04.:56:08.

rewrite the history of what I voted for and what I said. I try to

:56:08.:56:12.

explain how I came to those judgments. Do you think you made

:56:12.:56:14.

the right decisions? On the evidence that was in front of me at

:56:14.:56:23.

the time, I had to make that decision. Even the Economist, not a

:56:23.:56:30.

very radical mag, suggests that Iraq today - and I use its words -

:56:30.:56:36.

is a vicious political police state. That's accurate. We have seen huge

:56:36.:56:40.

ethnic cleansings taking place. General Petraeus said a few weeks

:56:40.:56:45.

ago the war in Iraq isn't over. It's going to last a long, long

:56:45.:56:49.

time. We can't pretend all is well. For me what the "Arab Spring"

:56:49.:56:52.

revealed is ultimately when a people in a country have had enough

:56:52.:56:58.

of - whether it's a dictator or a semi-democratic leader, and they

:56:58.:57:01.

decide to rise and get rid of him - and that is the important thing,

:57:01.:57:06.

and they got rid of him despite the fact that Mubarak was backed by the

:57:06.:57:11.

West, as we know, and paid by the West, and who can say that the same

:57:11.:57:15.

thing wouldn't have happened in Iraq? Who can say that? The "Arab

:57:15.:57:19.

Spring" proves to me the opposite. If it could have happened in Egypt,

:57:19.:57:20.

it could have happened in Iraq. APPLAUSE

:57:20.:57:25.

All right. We're coming to the end. There are many people with their

:57:25.:57:29.

hands still up. The man in the checked shirt, then briefly, you,

:57:29.:57:36.

sir. I was just going do say that I think the regimes in Libya and -

:57:36.:57:42.

where is the other place - Iraq - I think the dictators were more

:57:42.:57:47.

ruthless than Mubarak personally. I know he was backed by the West. He

:57:47.:57:50.

didn't try and stop the demonstrations in Egypt, but...

:57:50.:57:56.

brief one from you, sir. I think it's mad to talk about safer Iraq

:57:56.:57:59.

and Afghanistan and say for every British person when we have just

:57:59.:58:03.

screwed up a whole country called Pakistan. This is not Pakistan's

:58:03.:58:08.

war. It's not a failed state. Labelling a country as a failed

:58:08.:58:11.

state is a self-fulfilling prophesy. That's what we have seen. The

:58:11.:58:14.

lesson from the air "Arab Spring" is the people learn no matter how

:58:14.:58:17.

much you protest, your government isn't going to listen to you. If

:58:17.:58:24.

the Arabs listened to that there would be no "Arab Spring". We have

:58:25.:58:29.

to stop there, I am afraid, because our hour is up. Thank you. Apologys

:58:29.:58:35.

to those of you who had your hands up. Next week we're going to be in

:58:35.:58:39.

Northern Ireland from a city whose name is the subject of controversy.

:58:39.:58:44.

You can either call it Londonderry or Derry. The week after that we're

:58:44.:58:47.

going to be in Birmingham. It's the Liberal Democrat conference. If you

:58:47.:58:57.
:58:57.:59:02.

Question Time returns for a new series with a special programme - ten years on from the September 11 attacks. On the panel: Defence Secretary Liam Fox, former Foreign Secretary David Miliband, the leading advocate of regime change in Iraq Richard Perle, anti-war campaigner Tariq Ali, American-born playwright Bonnie Greer and Christina Schmidt, whose husband Olaf, a British Army bomb disposal expert, was killed in Afghanistan. Chaired by David Dimbleby from London.


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