From his official statement:
We extend our condolences to those who have lost their lives today and our heartfelt sympathy to all those who have been injured by the bombs in London.
No one can condone acts of violence aimed at working people going about their daily lives. They have not been a party to, nor are they responsible for, the decisions of their government. They are entirely innocent and we condemn those who have killed or injured them.
The loss of innocent lives, whether in this country or Iraq, is precisely the result of a world that has become a less safe and peaceful place in recent years.
We have worked without rest to remove the causes of such violence from our world. We argued, as did the Security Services in this country, that the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq would increase the threat of terrorist attack in Britain. Tragically Londoners have now paid the price of the government ignoring such warnings.
We urge the government to remove people in this country from harms way, as the Spanish government acted to remove its people from harm, by ending the occupation of Iraq and by turning its full attention to the development of a real solution to the wider conflicts in the Middle East.
Only then will the innocents here and abroad be able to enjoy a life free of the threat of needless violence.
I have to say, this is the right note to strike in my opinion. Everyone condemns violence, but the solution to terrorist acts of violence is not to pursue a war against the innocent people of Iraq, who had nothing to do with any terrorist attack against the US. The solution to terrorist violence is never to expend further violence against those who had no connection to the terrorists.
Indeed, our war in Iraq merely played into the strategies of Osama Bin Ladin and his allies, who desired nothing more than to expand this conflict and make it one of religious extremism on both sides. Now Al Qaida is able to recruit more and more followers, and use Iraq as a training ground for future terror attacks on the West.
We need politicians brave enough to speak the truth: that a war on terror can't be won by invading and occupying countries in the Middle East, nor by imprisoning thousands without trial or legal protection, nor through the use of torture. Because when we change our societies to become as cruel and inhuman as the terrorists, when we use our armed forces to kill innocent civillians just like the terrorists, when we abandon our principles and limit our freedoms, we will not defeat terrorists. We will only defeat ourselves and perpetuate a growing cycle of violence that will spiral further and further out of our control.
Much as our commanders in the field have realized that the insurgency in Iraq will never be ended through a purely military solution, but only through political means, so should we realize (and our Democratic leaders proselytize) that terrorism cannot be ended solely through the application of brute military force. It will require diplomacy, negotiation with our allies, intelligence gathering and yes, law enforcement and criminal prosecution of individual terrorists in all countries plagued by this pandemic of nihilistic violence.
War has failed as a solution. It is time for our leaders to say so.
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