Silence heard

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Last updated on August 9th, 2017 at 07:47 am

The Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland—senior operative behind Operation Clark County—on Tony Blair’s farewell speech:

Yesterday Blair also offered a reminder of why he had to leave – and why they will be relieved when he has.

It came in the passage about international affairs. Suddenly the applause died as the prime minister announced that terrorism is unconnected to foreign policy, and only enemy propaganda would say otherwise. Blair is one of the very few people left on the planet who still believes this: even the CIA now concedes that the invasion of Iraq has fuelled terrorism rather than curbed it. So when Blair said that a withdrawal from Iraq or Afghanistan would be “a craven act of surrender”, he said it to silence.

Really? Reader BB sends this video link to Blair’s speech, and suggests we check out “the specific example Freedman gives of a ‘silence’ after the phrase ‘craven surrender’.”


The short video is edited, so it’s not necessarily accurate. However, there is a link to the full speech on that same page.

The relevant parts occur at about 36 and 39 minutes into the speech. There’s definitely applause there.

Freedland is a liar.

Posted by Tim B. on 09/27/2006 at 11:42 PM
    1. “…even the CIA now concedes that the invasion of Iraq has fuelled terrorism rather than curbed it.”

      Because, you know, no one ever expected the invasion of Iraq to result in fighting.  But hey, at least the US isn’t being accused of the whole sale slaughter of Iraqi children as we were when we *hadn’t* invaded Iraq.

      I’ll let someone else explain why Freedland’s interpretation of the report where the CIA conceeds his point is wrong.

      Posted by Synova on 2006 09 28 at 12:14 AM • permalink


    1. terrorism is unconnected to foreign policy, and only enemy propaganda would say otherwise. Blair is one of the very few people left on the planet who still believes this

      Well, that’s two of us.

      Posted by kae on 2006 09 28 at 12:27 AM • permalink


    1. Uh, make that three, kae. I reckon Tony’ll go down in history as the last British PM with a spine.

      Posted by MentalFloss on 2006 09 28 at 12:38 AM • permalink


    1. I would have thought that in this day and age, terrorism is linked to a particular school of fundamentalist thought.

      One which practices what it preaches to the detriment of all who find themselves in its vicinity.

      I don’t see how foreign policy helped the Buddhas of Bamiyan, or the nun in Somalia.

      Just some thinskinned primitives waaay out of their depth in the new century.

      Posted by Nilknarf Arbed on 2006 09 28 at 12:46 AM • permalink


    1. I have a little bit of research for Mr. Freedland to perform.  Go check the stats from World War II in Europe and see how many allied troops died in the six months before the D-Day invasion compared to the six months after.  By his reasoning…well, let’s just use his reasoning with a few key edits:

      “…even the OSS now concedes that the invasion of France has fuelled German Army attacks rather than curbed them.”

      That’s what happens when you’re in the middle of a war.  When you engage the enemy, the violence goes up before it goes down.  Does that mean you should stop?  Once we invaded France and sustained those casualties would it have been the right thing to do to turn around and go home and just leave it at that, with Hitler still in control and France still occupied?  I can hear it now, “Mr. President, we have to pull out.  The Germans are actually attacking us.  When we were over in England things were so much safer.  We should just go back there.”

      So when Blair said that a withdrawal from Iraq or Afghanistan would be “a craven act of surrender”, he said it to silence.

      I don’t know if he said it to silence or not, but he was exactly right in saying it would be a craven act of surrender.  When you turn around and run away from a battle and a war, it’s a craven act of surrender.  You give up any right to have any say in the outcome at that point.  That’s what surrender means.  How a sane person could advocate turning the battlefield over to the insane group of people we are fighting (a group that’s declared war on us, in case they’ve forgotten) I have no idea.  Well, I have some idea.  It’s because they think it doesn’t put them at any personal risk.  The people who will pay the price will be conveniently out of sight and out of mind.  For now…

      (Read about the people who will pay the price here at normblog.)

      Posted by kcom on 2006 09 28 at 01:15 AM • permalink


    1. The short video is edited, so it’s not necessarily accurate. However, there is a link to the full speech on that same page. Here’s another link to it.

      The relevant parts occur at about 36 and 39 minutes into the speech. There’s definitely applause there.

      Freedland is a liar.

      Posted by JimC on 2006 09 28 at 01:18 AM • permalink


    1. His speech was amazing!

      Posted by Dan Lewis on 2006 09 28 at 01:24 AM • permalink


    1. Freedland and those like him are traitors offering encouragment to our enemy and working to errode our will to fight. His crime is public and undeniable. That he isnt arrested and awaiting trail for his life speaks plainly to our incomprehension of what is at stake and the damage that such filth cause during wars of endurance.

      That’s what I would have said, if I hadn’t promised myself that I’d back off and let folk rest a bit. But, since I did make that promise to myself, and since I have the habit of occasionally keeping promises, I wont say that.

      Posted by Grimmy on 2006 09 28 at 01:52 AM • permalink


    1. Those more familiar with the UK stand in awe that Blair has been able to lead them into any conflict overseas.  That he achieved it while leading the Labour Party is simply astonishing.  The people of the UK were basically over it at the end of WWII, perhaps for good reason. I am not a fan of Tony Blair based on his social policies and attitudes to policing etc but I tip my hat to a man who is such a key part in make the world at large a safer place.

      Posted by allan on 2006 09 28 at 01:54 AM • permalink


    1. #9, allan:


      Posted by Grimmy on 2006 09 28 at 01:57 AM • permalink


    1. I wonder what will happen with Bush and Blair out of office.

      Posted by saltydog on 2006 09 28 at 03:06 AM • permalink


    1. Technically, applause is mostly silence punctuated occasionally by individual impulse clap sounds that drown it out to the uneducated ear.

      Posted by rhhardin on 2006 09 28 at 03:39 AM • permalink


    1. yes if Britain had not declared war on Germany, the Nazis would not have attacked Britain and the survivors would all be speaking german or possibly Russian today.
      Blair us totally outnumbered by the moonbats in his Party.
      i remember Tony’s look of envy when he shared the podium with John Howard, who ridiculised Mr Buonjiourno of the australian press,when posed the usual idiotarian question to the Aussie PM.
      It said ” I wish i could make a speech like that in my own country”.

      Posted by davo on 2006 09 28 at 03:59 AM • permalink


    1. Freeland freebasing.

      It wasn’t enthusiastic either but there had been 30 minutes of multiple applause breaks before then.

      Liked this:

      “We will not win until we shake ourselves free of the wretched capitulation to the propaganda of the enemy that we are the ones responsible.”

      Blair has been mealy-mouthed about Muslim intolerance in Britain and is still captive to denial-based multiculturalism. All was well when the UK merely exported Islamist terrorism but 7/7 ended that deal.

      Posted by Inurbanus on 2006 09 28 at 04:47 AM • permalink


    1. Britain is lost.

      Posted by murph on 2006 09 28 at 05:29 AM • permalink


    1. And now the Brits are eagerly building the biggest mosque in europe (there are only a paltry 1000 in london) ready for the olympics so the world can truly see GB has fallen under the UMMAH. See Melanie philips website on this.
      Hope Tony comes over here, and leaves his moonbat wife and sisters behind.
      Britain needs a winston now, and only has Jimmy Carter clones.

      Posted by davo on 2006 09 28 at 06:39 AM • permalink


    1. Am not all that literate in these things but the link I was working off is Blair speech video&recipe=all&scope=all&edition=i

      Scroll to 4th line and Click on “Tony Blair’s Speech in Full”.

      Click on this, then Beeb gives options to select sections of the speech – ie “Terrorisim and UK Foreign Policy”

      From this, a judgement can be made by the viewer as to the veracity or otherwise of Freedman’s assertions.

      As I viewed it, applause broke out at least EIGHT times, and most specifically at the times Freedland cited as being greeted as “silence”

      But perhaps I am in an advanced state of Blair Derangement Syndrome and Freedland is reporting a truth that I am too deluded/infatuated to perceive?

      Freed’s original article – oddly, a tad hard to find on the Graud’s website after only a few hours after it’s exposure here –
      can be found at :,,1881879,00.html

      At the moment, that is!

      Posted by bb on 2006 09 28 at 06:39 AM • permalink


    1. #5 Kcom… spot on… good man..err woman

      Posted by Isumbras on 2006 09 28 at 07:30 AM • permalink


    1. Britain is lost.

      I’ve just looked out my curtains, and it’s still there so panic over.

      Posted by Ross on 2006 09 28 at 07:33 AM • permalink


    1. This would be the same intelligence agency that called Iraqi WMDs a “slam dunk” and is now engaged in a running battle with the current adminstration.

      Talk about ‘cherry picking’ intelligence.

      Posted by cosmo on 2006 09 28 at 10:17 AM • permalink


    1. Freedland has a target audience, largely bounded by the BBC and the Guardian.  He knows he can lie to them freely and they will believe him.  It’s an attempt to spread the meme of defeat, and I hope when he dies, he’ll enjoy his special corner of hell.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 2006 09 28 at 10:25 AM • permalink


    1. Britain is lost

      I sincerely hope not.  I read a lot about the historical happenstances of the turn of the century thru the 50’s.  Britain has always been a different place than Americans imagined it to be.

      Britain always had a lefty tinge to the class system, but there was a hard stop to it.  Get the French or Germans into the game and the English get hard real quick.

      I see them as the part of the Anglosphere under the most risk, but there’s a reason for the saying that “the Devil is an Englishman”. There’ll be no Ummah without a fight.

      There will always be an England.

      Posted by trainer on 2006 09 28 at 10:29 AM • permalink


    1. There will always be an England.

      Granted, its offical name may be Anglistan and its state religion might involve bowing to Mecca, but there willalways be an England.

      Posted by Rob Crawford on 2006 09 28 at 11:04 AM • permalink


    1. Freedland lied, acoustics died!

      Posted by Phomesy on 2006 09 28 at 11:16 AM • permalink


    1. Hmmm.


      Get the French or Germans into the game and the English get hard real quick.

      That’s an extremely disturbing visual image right before lunch.

      2. Considering the most likely replacement is Gordon Brown I think the Brits will be begging Blair to come back.

      *shrug* personally I’m just waiting for the PM, whoever he/she is, of the UK to come out and say the US/UK “special relationship” is dead and time to bury it.  There frankly seems to be far more idealism about this relationship on this side of the Atlantic than the UK side where it seems the vast majority of Brits would rather sever the relationship.

      Which IMHO I think would be a mistake on their part but I’m growing increasingly isolationist so I can’t say I really care anymore.  As long as it doesn’t end up requiring American troops making the voyage to Europe, I can’t say I really give a damn anymore.

      If I never read or hear of European whining again about American this or America that it’ll be too soon.

      Posted by memomachine on 2006 09 28 at 11:32 AM • permalink


    1. New York Times intelligence—the world’s newest oxymoron.

      Posted by andycanuck on 2006 09 28 at 01:03 PM • permalink


    1. #5, you forget that we attacked Germany, who had never attacked us.  Further, prior to that we invaded France, which also had not attacked us.  The whole “War Against Fascism” thing was a plot by FDR to get Germany’s oil.  Because of his daddy.  And the Je- uh, I mean neocons.  And you know what – nearly seven decades after the supposed “Mission Accomplished” moment we still have occupation troops in Europe.

      It’s far past time for us ot abandon this farcical fantasy that we can impose change by military action.

      Posted by Steve Skubinna on 2006 09 28 at 06:36 PM • permalink


    1. What irritates people in the UK is Blair’s repeated insistence that the invasion of Iraq has not fuelled terrorism.

      Of course it has.

      It doesn’t make the invasion wrong as confronting bullies has consequences. But it has provided a rallying cause for the deranged. That is indisputable.

      Blair lied about the causes for invasion and he is lying again about their consequences.

      Posted by pommygranate on 2006 09 28 at 07:18 PM • permalink


    1. Come on “pommygranate” you’re just trying to bait us.

      Posted by allan on 2006 09 29 at 12:03 AM • permalink


    1. Allan

      I’m not.  I simply cannot believe that most of the commenters on this site think he is such a tower of strength in the fight against terror.

      Don’t be seduced by his (admittedly awesome) rhetoric.  Follow what he does not what he says.

      After the 7/7 tube bombings, he came up with a Ten Point Plan to combat terror.  Not one of these points has been implemented.

      On his watch the police now have to consult with Islamist groups before arresting any terror suspects.

      The UK has consistently failed to expel imams who preach murder. Why?  Because of the European Human Rights Law which Blair signed the UK up to during his first term.

      On his watch London and some major cities in the North (Bradford, Leeds etc) have become breeding grounds for jihadists.

      Blair is a master at saying what people want to hear. I even think he genuinely feels strongly about the war on terror.  However he is atrocious at actually getting anything done.

      Read Melanie Philipps’ Londonistan to learn more.

      Posted by pommygranate on 2006 09 29 at 12:35 AM • permalink


    1. The perfidity of the likes of Freedland is deeper then we care to imagine. Let us concede for a moment one of the conclusions reached by the recent NIE report, that the war in Iraq has provided one among many rallying points for jihadists. It also concludes that to leave Iraq now would further embolden jihadists worldwide.

      Let me quote directly:

      The Iraq conflict has become the “‘cause celebre’” for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement.  Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves,and be perceived, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight.

      How on earth could he have missed that? If we assume he is not as stupid as he appears, we can only conclude that he deliberately fails to follow the argument wherever it may lead.

      Posted by dover_beach on 2006 09 29 at 02:36 AM • permalink


    1. PommyGranate

      I agree with you to an extent.  The war in Iraq has stirred up the bee hive.  Howard and Blair should not be denying this.

      However, I disagree with your assessment of British attitude toward this.  In my experience, the average pom is in a state of denial.  They think that if the Jews fold their tents and vacate Israel, and if the Americans retreat into isolationism, all their problems magically will go away.  The British public is infected by a lethal mix of cowardice and intellectual dishonesty.

      Posted by murph on 2006 09 29 at 08:19 AM • permalink


    1. “The British public is infected by a lethal mix of cowardice and intellectual dishonesty.”

      An assessment which I find extraordinarily and disturbingly sad, murph, really very sad.

      Dean Acheson once said “Great Britain has lost an empire and has not yet found a role.” I fear they have in fact found a role: that of an object lesson to us all in in a tragedy —a study in moribundity.

      Posted by MentalFloss on 2006 09 30 at 07:40 AM • permalink


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