Remember Blair and the 'joy on the faces of people in Basra'
Press conference: Prime Minister Tony Blair and President George Bush
8 April 2003
George W Bush
....the Royal Marines in Basra worked so hard that the people of Basra are beginning to understand a couple of things: one, when we said we would come and stay to achieve their liberty we meant it; that in Basra for example the presence of the Royal Marines is providing enough comfort for people to begin to express their own opinions, they are beginning to realise freedom is real. These are people in the south of Iraq that had been betrayed, tortured, had been told they were going to be free, took a risk in the past and then were actually hammered by the Iraqi regime, they were sceptical, they were cynical, they were doubtful, now they begin to understand we are real and true.
I agree with all that, as you would expect........these people, given a chance, already now they are in discussion with our people inside Basra, people coming forward, people talking about those who have got support within the local community. It is not just right that that Iraq is run by Iraqi people, they want the chance to run their own country. They haven't wanted to be under the yoke of tyranny for all these decades. The reason you have this incredibly tyrannical repressive security apparatus was in order to suppress the proper feelings of the people there. Now of course we are going to work with everyone, we will work with the UN, we will work with everyone in order to bring this about.
I think anyone who has seen the joy on the faces of people in Basra, as they realise that the regime that they detest is finally collapsing, knows very well that this was indeed a war of liberation and not of conquest.
Fast Forward>> September 25th 2005
Mr Blair said he would "absolutely not" accept an arrest warrant from a Basra judge for two British soldiers after an Iraqi civilian was reportedly killed and a police officer injured.
"There is no doubt in my mind at all that what is happening in Iraq now is crucial for the future of our own security, never mind the security of Iraq or the greater Middle East," he said.
The prime minister said everything necessary would be done to protect British troops.
"The Iraqi government are not asking us to apologise. We will do anything that is necessary to protect our troops in any situation. "