Once again, this is a great speech. Read it. Read the whole thing.
Text of Prime Minister Blair's Speech to Congress (Reuters at the Washington Post)
As Britain knows, all predominant power seems for a time invincible, but, in fact, it is transient.
The question is: What do you leave behind?
And what you can bequeath to this anxious world is the light of liberty.
That is what this struggle against terrorist groups or states is about. We're not fighting for domination. We're not fighting for an American world, though we want a world in which America is at ease. We're not fighting for Christianity, but against religious fanaticism of all kinds.
And this is not a war of civilizations, because each civilization has a unique capacity to enrich the stock of human heritage.
We are fighting for the inalienable right of humankind -- black or white, Christian or not, left, right or a million different -- to be free, free to raise a family in love and hope, free to earn a living and be rewarded by your efforts, free not to bend your knee to any man in fear, free to be you so long as being you does not impair the freedom of others.
That's what we're fighting for. And it's a battle worth fighting.
Mr. Speaker, sir, my thrill on receiving this award was only a little diminished on being told that the first Congressional Gold Medal was awarded to George Washington for what Congress called his "wise and spirited conduct" in getting rid of the British out of Boston.
On our way down here, Senator Frist was kind enough to show me the fireplace where, in 1814, the British had burnt the Congress Library. I know this is, kind of, late, but sorry.
Actually, you know, my middle son was studying 18th century history and the American War of Independence, and he said to me the other day, "You know, Lord North, Dad, he was the British prime minister who lost us America. So just think, however many mistakes you'll make, you'll never make one that bad."