The Courage of Convictions

Even those who disagree with British Prime Minister Tony Blair's stance on the Iraq crisis rarely fail to praise his courage. US President George W. Bush never faces hostile crowds in the way that Blair must. When Blair enters Parliament for the weekly ritual of Prime Minister's Questions, members of his own Labor Party heckle him and ask hostile questions. Outside Parliament, even on television, Blair confronts groups that emphatically demand peace.

Throughout it all, Blair has shown the courage of his convictions. These are, quite simply, that Saddam Hussein is an evil ruler who potentially threatens his neighbors and the wider world, and that he has to go.

Mr. Blair's posture is all the more remarkable at a time when political leaders depend on opinion polls and the views expressed by so-called "focus groups" to tell them what to think. Many politicians try to stay as close to prevailing majority views as possible. They regard this as "democratic" and hope that such fidelity to the popular will guarantees them re-election.

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