Marc at “American Future” reprints key passages of Bush’s and Blair’s U.N. speeches today one after the other, for comparison. Blair is stellar as always, in his choice of words and the cadences of his sentences, but also in the way he seems to clearly “get it.”

This terrorism that today again has claimed the lives of innocent people, this time queuing for jobs in Iraq, that has now disfigured countries in every continent, at every stage of development, with ever conceivable mix of races and religions, this terrorism is a movement, it has an ideology and it has a strategy, and the strategy is not just to kill, it is by terror to cause chaos and instability and to divide and confuse us – the enemy of this terrorism.

It will not be defeated until our determination is as complete as theirs, our defence of freedom as absolute as their fanaticism, until our passion for the democratic way is as great as their passion for tyranny. It won’t be defeated until we unite not just in condemning the acts of terrorism, which we all do, but in fighting the poisonous propaganda that the root cause of this terrorism somehow lies with us around this table, and not with them. They want us to believe that somehow it is our fault, that their extremism is somehow our responsibility. They play on our divisions. They exploit our hesitations. This is our weakness, and they know it, and we must unite against this ghastly game with our conscience.

Reality is one thing, rhetoric is another, of course, and the British government has been awfully cozy lately with home-grown Islamist extremists.

Now here’s Bush, talking about the Incident-Formerly-Known-as-the-War-on-Terror, and sounding more like Gandhi than Churchill:

In this young century, the far corners of the world are linked more closely than ever before � and no nation can remain isolated and indifferent to the struggles of others. When a country, or a region is filled with despair, and resentment and vulnerable to violent and aggressive ideologies, the threat passes easily across oceans and borders, and could threaten the security of any peaceful country.

… Confronting our enemies is essential, and so civilized nations will continue to take the fight to the terrorists. Yet we know that this war will not be won by force of arms alone. We must defeat the terrorists on the battlefield, and we must also defeat them in the battle of ideas. We must change the conditions that allow terrorists to flourish and recruit, by spreading the hope of freedom to millions who’ve never known it. We must help raise up the failing states and stagnant societies that provide fertile ground for the terrorists. We must defend and extend a vision of human dignity, and opportunity, and prosperity â€â€? a vision far stronger than the dark appeal of resentment and murder.

He’s right, of course. And his proposal to sweep tariffs off the table — something he’s been talking about for months, at least — is absolutely necessary for the sake of the world’s struggling nations. When Bob Geldof gets all fan-boy on Dubya, you know something’s happening.

[Hat tip Roger L. Simon for the “Grauniad” article]

Politics Bush and Blair