Top 5 Quotes from Corbyn’s Powerful 2003 Anti-War Speech
In the wake of the Chilcot report’s release, which details the the U.K.’s role in the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, current U.K. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-war speech from 2003 has been making the internet rounds.
Speaking at a rally in Hyde Park in London on February 15, 2003, on a day where over 600 similar demonstrations against the invasion of Iraq were occurring worldwide, the then-British MP delivered a bold speech to a crowd of nearly 2 million people.
While Corbyn is currently embroiled in turmoil, with “Blairites” in his party turning on him since last week’s EU referendum results, where senior members of his Cabinet have resigned and 172 Labour MPs have signed a vote of no confidence in his leadership, he still maintains his anti-war convictions.
But sources say he won’t resign until former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair is “crucified” for his imperial aggression against Iraq, details of which can be found in the Chilcot report.
Here are five of the most powerful quotes from Corbyn’s Hyde Park anti-imperial speech.
1. “I find it deeply distasteful that the British prime minister can use the medieval powers of the royal prerogative to send young men and women to die, to kill civilians and for Iraqis to die.”
Corbyn expressed his disgust that Blair could make the decision to go to war on his own and declared that he wanted a vote in British Parliament.
2. “8,000 deaths in Afghanistan brought back none of those who died in the World Trade Center.”
Addressing those who justified the war as it would bring more peace and security to the world, Corbyn listed the number of civilian deaths in Afghanistan, a country that was being pummeled with U.S. imperial might soon after 9/11 in the so-called war on terror.
3. “This will set off a spiral of conflict, of hate, of misery, of desperation, that will fuel the wars, the conflict, the terrorism, the depression and the misery of future generations.”
Predicting early the cyclical nature of such offensives, Corbyn warned that going to war in Iraq will not only cause unnecessary destruction and grief, but would produce more of it in years to come.
4. “Those … George Bush, Tony Blair … who want war, they are the ones who are isolated and alone and desperately searching for friends.”
Looking among the nearly 2 million people that had gathered in London that day to voice their opposition against war, Corbyn cited it is they, the demonstrators, that are united and that the political leadership of those looking to incite more war are the ones left scrambling for supporters.
5. “British government stop now, or pay the political price.”
Signing off with this terse statement, the crowd roared with applause as Corbyn exited the stage.
Watch his full speech below:
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