4 December, 2020

Blog

I Couldn’t Sit With Someone Who Justified The Invasion Of Iraq With A Lie

By Desmond Tutu –

Why I had no choice but to spurn Tony Blair

I couldn’t sit with someone who justified the invasion of Iraq with a lie

Desmond Tutu

The immorality of the United States and Great Britain’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003, premised on the lie that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, has destabilised and polarised the world to a greater extent than any other conflict in history.

Instead of recognising that the world we lived in, with increasingly sophisticated communications, transportations and weapons systems necessitated sophisticated leadership that would bring the global family together, the then-leaders of the US and UK fabricated the grounds to behave like playground bullies and drive us further apart. They have driven us to the edge of a precipice where we now stand – with the spectre of Syria and Iran before us.

If leaders may lie, then who should tell the truth? Days before George W Bush and Tony Blair ordered the invasion of Iraq, I called the White House and spoke to Condoleezza Rice, who was then national security adviser, to urge that United Nations weapons inspectors be given more time to confirm or deny the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Should they be able to confirm finding such weapons, I argued, dismantling the threat would have the support of virtually the entire world. Ms Rice demurred, saying there was too much risk and the president would not postpone any longer.

On what grounds do we decide that Robert Mugabe should go the International Criminal Court, Tony Blair should join the international speakers’ circuit, bin Laden should be assassinated, but Iraq should be invaded, not because it possesses weapons of mass destruction, as Mr Bush’s chief supporter, Mr Blair, confessed last week, but in order to get rid of Saddam Hussein?

The cost of the decision to rid Iraq of its by-all-accounts despotic and murderous leader has been staggering, beginning in Iraq itself. Last year, an average of 6.5 people died there each day in suicide attacks and vehicle bombs, according to the Iraqi Body Count project. More than 110,000 Iraqis have died in the conflict since 2003 and millions have been displaced. By the end of last year, nearly 4,500 American soldiers had been killed and more than 32,000 wounded.

On these grounds alone, in a consistent world, those responsible for this suffering and loss of life should be treading the same path as some of their African and Asian peers who have been made to answer for their actions in the Hague.

But even greater costs have been exacted beyond the killing fields, in the hardened hearts and minds of members of the human family across the world.

Has the potential for terrorist attacks decreased? To what extent have we succeeded in bringing the so-called Muslim and Judeo-Christian worlds closer together, in sowing the seeds of understanding and hope?

Leadership and morality are indivisible. Good leaders are the custodians of morality. The question is not whether Saddam Hussein was good or bad or how many of his people he massacred. The point is that Mr Bush and Mr Blair should not have allowed themselves to stoop to his immoral level.

If it is acceptable for leaders to take drastic action on the basis of a lie, without an acknowledgement or an apology when they are found out, what should we teach our children?

My appeal to Mr Blair is not to talk about leadership, but to demonstrate it. You are a member of our family, God’s family. You are made for goodness, for honesty, for morality, for love; so are our brothers and sisters in Iraq, in the US, in Syria, in Israel and Iran.

I did not deem it appropriate to have this discussion at the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit in Johannesburg last week. As the date drew nearer, I felt an increasingly profound sense of discomfort about attending a summit on “leadership” with Mr Blair. I extend my humblest and sincerest apologies to Discovery, the summit organisers, the speakers and delegates for the lateness of my decision not to attend.

Courtesy the Observer UK

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    What a man! Like I told some of my South African friends in a chat about politics & statesmanship less than a month ago, South Africa has being blessed by two truly great people to lead the reconciliation efforts – Desomond Tutu and Nelson Mandela. We in Sri Lanka have none! A tragedy for us!!!

    • 0
      0

      Ruki they do not believe in Hypocrisy and are not afraid to say so, unlike the slimey kind found here who wallow in it.

      • 0
        0

        Hi Gamini, so do you think that Prabakaran, Wijeweera, JR, Premadasa, MR, SF are all guilt of war crimes? I do. What do you think?

        • 0
          0

          ABSOLUTELY, with tacit support from these very Leaders and the UN Body itself.

    • 0
      0

      He is a truly a great man and who could have said this about the recent killings of South African workers by their police.

      “When we consigned apartheid to history, we said never again would it happen that our police and our soldiers would massacre our people…..These were our police, and never again would we suffer the pain of a Sharpeville, Boipatong, or Ciskei Massacre…..While we rightfully condemn the police for massacring 34 mine workers last week, and demand the use of non-lethal methods of crowd control, we also sympathise with the vast majority of good policemen and women who have battled to do their very difficult jobs while making sense of corruption scandals in the highest ranks – not to mention being exhorted by their leader to “shoot to kill”.”

  • 0
    0

    Go Desmond! The anti-apartheid hero!. We salute you reverend..Thank you for not being a hypocrite.

    Tony Blair is one of the most wanted war criminals. Saddam Hussein’s WMD (weapons of mass destruction ) killed no one but the BIG LIE of Bush and his poodle Tony Blair killed over million people in Iraq and Afghanistan and there is no end to their misery..Don’t we all want to know if Dr David Kelly did really kill himself?..Poor soul!.

    9/11?!.. This act of self-injury has now been used as justification to start a whole bunch of wars around the world since that time. million more than the 3000 people who died that day have been killed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and now Syria.

    Col.Gaddafi was caught alive and was killed and buried in a hurry. Why? Why?? Secrets of “powerful men” who embraced Gaddafi also buried along with him.. Where is foreign minister, a war criminal himself, Moussa Koussa who flew to the UK? Why was he sent to Qatar overnight to live in luxury with impunity?

    But those trying to reveal the truth will be discredited as conspiracy theorists. Why is this? because these culprits cannot face the consequences of true information. And the vast majority of humanity don’t care because they have been hypnotised by the “entertainment” and by the global media which is loyal to the “powerful hands” and not to reveal the truth to the people. Here we go!..

    • 0
      0

      Once Syria gets “democracy” Iran is sourrounded by “democratic” all frinedly to the west, and then the last to democratize will be Iran. After that, Oil for automobiles will have a free flow from the oil rich – middle east. Yet, fertilizer made with the same by products of petroleum will be VERY EXPENSIVE for developing countries which adopted developed varieties.

  • 0
    0

    I WISH THERE WERE A FEW MORE PEOPLE LIKE NELSON MANDELA AND BISHOP TUTU
    THE WORLD WOULD BE A BETTER PLACE!!!!

  • 0
    0

    I salute Desmond Tutu for refusing to sit in the same forum with Tony Blair.

    No doubt Blair is a war criminal. Must be put in dock along with Charles Taylor, Pinochet or Ratko Mladic. No double standards.

    UK should think twice before advising Sri Lanka on such matters.

  • 0
    0

    Well said Rev. Tutu. And why haven’t the good people in Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and International Crisis Group demanded demanded legal action against Blair and Bush?

    Because they are thundering hypocrites who believe that international law in relation to war only applies to eastern Europeans, Asians and Africans. What shameless people!

  • 0
    0

    Desmond Tutu has woken up from a long deep slumber or has he realised suddenly that the day for his meeting the creator and answer some difficult question has come nearer.
    Even today Bush and Blair are mister for him while Saddam is just Saddam hussian. But if one compares Bush,Blair crimes,Saddams crimes pale in to insignificance.
    At the same time why he is silent on crimes commited by the present pair Obama and Hillary? He is talking about killing Osama but Osama is just one among millions.
    If Bush and Blair are his family,Gods family, Oh My God! what has become of the Gods family.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 7 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.