Southern Daily Echo – 25 October 2002
When Parliament returned for its emergency debate on Iraq at the end of last month, the timing could not have been better from my point of view. My flight from the United States touched down at Gatwick less than four hours before the debate began, but it was the outward flight nearly two weeks earlier that l remembered.
As we landed in Atlanta, Georgia, on September 11 our pilot said this to the passengers:
"l know that some of you had to travel today, but to those of you who chose to travel today we thank you on behalf of Delta and all the world's airlines."
As the Bali outrage has shown, flying to America on September 11 was safer than attending a nightclub on October 12.
Every time a murderous terrorist cell strikes in a different country it triggers a reaction and response that could not have been taken against it without such provocation. What started as a spectacular destruction of landmark buildings and thousands of innocent people has now descended to the bombing of a gathering of scores of innocent tourists on vacation.
Along the way, the disgusting rule of the Taliban has been overthrown, Pakistan has been forced to take belated action against its extremists and Indonesia is now having to do the same.
We know from Northern Ireland that terrorist outrages can never be entirely prevented. Yet there is only one threat that would make them impossible to cope with – the supply of nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction which would enable a few murderers to kill vast numbers of people.
This is the prospect that America and Britain are determined to prevent. We are absolutely right to do so.