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Blair: Never forget September 11

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Rescue workers hold a moment's silence as they dig out a victim of the September 11 attack  

CARDIFF, Wales -- UK Prime Minister Tony Blair is to urge people to remember the reason military action was launched before condemning the war on terror.

In a speech aimed at maintaining support for the strikes Blair will conjure up the shocking images of planes hitting the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and the pain and hurt of thousands of families whose relatives died.

He will address the Welsh Assembly on Tuesday, calling for support for the U.S.-led the airstrikes on Afghanistan and the imminent deployment of 200 British commandos in the region.

The move is the latest in a fierce propaganda war between the West and Osama bin Laden, the Saudi-born dissident who has been blamed for masterminding the suicide hijack plane attacks.

Britain's war of words 
British leaders attempt to beat scepticism. CNN's Margaret Lowrie reports (October 29)

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Blair's emotional appeal, heavily trailed by aides, appeared aimed at tackling growing criticism of the West's three-week bombing campaign against bin Laden and Afghanistan's ruling Taliban regime after a series of target blunders.

A spokesman said the prime minister is due to say: "It is important we never forget why we are doing this, never forget how we felt watching the planes flying into the Trade Towers.

"Never forget those answerphone messages, never forget how we felt imagining how mothers felt telling children they were about to die, never forget the guts of the firefighters and the police who died trying to save others.

"Never forget the gloating menace of Osama bin Laden in his propaganda videos, never forget that long list of countries who lost sons and daughters, never forget they were of all faiths and none, many Muslims."

Blair's speech was to set the tone for a week of concerted diplomatic activity, which will see senior ministers criss-crossing the globe in an effort to buttress the anti-terror consensus.

A Guardian/ICM poll found support for military action in Britain down by 12 points in the past two weeks, from 74% to 62%.

The number of those supporting Britain sending in ground troops is smaller, with 57% approving their use.

Blair will defend the decision to take military action and insist it will overcome recent difficulties.

"Whatever faults we may have, Britain is a moral nation with a strong sense of right and wrong," he will add.

"That moral fibre will defeat fanaticism, terrorists and their supporters."

British ministers say successes including the destruction of nine al Qaeda training camps have been overlooked. But they have also warned against expecting instant results.

Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon said the Taliban could hold on into next year while foreign secretary Jack Straw said the campaign may go on "indefinitely."


• UK Marines get war on terror role
October 26, 2001
• Blair: bin Laden trial 'unlikely'
October 25, 2001
• EU unites region against terror
October 20, 2001
• Europe's leaders discuss security
October 20, 2001
• Blair's battle in propaganda war
October 15, 2001

• British Government
• German government

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