- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 6, 2002

From the beginning, the war against terrorism has repeatedly confirmed the seemingly unshakable bonds between America and Great Britain. And from the beginning, Prime Minister Tony Blair has played an indispensable role.
It was Mr. Blair who visited the White House on Sept. 20 before President Bush delivered the defining speech of his presidency in front of a joint session of Congress that night. It was Mr. Blair, who, following his meeting with the president in the White House that day, declared, "We stand side by side with you now, without hesitation." It was Mr. Blair who had attended a memorial in New York City earlier that same day. It was Mr. Blair who, in a speech in early October, issued the damning indictment against Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist organization, meticulously outlining the irrefutable evidence of al Qaeda's role in the September 11 attacks.
It was Mr. Blair who affirmatively and unhesitatingly responded to America's request for assistance in conducting the initial counterattack on Oct. 7 against bin Laden, al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. As American strategic bombers, some flying from the British island of Diego Garcia, and U.S. carrier-based fighter jets were launching their bombs against terrorist positions in Afghanistan from the skies on the night of Oct. 7, it was Mr. Blair who ordered British submarines to launch 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles in the coordinated assault.
It was Mr. Blair who dispatched 1,800 peacekeeping troops to Afghanistan and assigned them to the 5,000-member International Security and Assistance Force in Kabul, of which Britain assumed command. It was Mr. Blair, yet again responding to an urgent request from the Pentagon, who recently ordered 1,700 Royal Marines to assist American forces in flushing out al Qaeda and Taliban fighters in eastern Afghanistan.
At a time when virtually all of the leaders of America's European allies have been bemoaning any potential U.S. military operation to oust Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, Mr. Blair offered the lone voice of support across the Atlantic. Mr. Blair, it's worth noting, has been offering his welcome support in the face of domestic opposition, including 52 members of Parliament, most of them his fellow Laborites, who have signed a letter expressing "deep unease" over any British involvement in a war against Iraq.
Shortly after September 11, Mr. Blair told Americans, "We were with you at the first. We will stay with you to the last." He has kept his word. Americans owe him a great debt of gratitude.

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