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Archbishop Desmond Tutu: Bush, Blair Should FaceTrial At The Hague

By Countercurrents.org

03 September, 2012
Countercurrents.org

George Bush and Tony Blair, the US-UK leaders, are still being criticized and condemned for the aggression they made in Iraq in 2003. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Desmond Tutu called on September 2, 2012 for Blair and Bush to face prosecution at the International Criminal Court at The Hague for their role in the US-led invasion of Iraq .

AP in a news datelined London reports:

Desmond Tutu, the retired Anglican Church's archbishop of South Africa , wrote in an op-ed piece for The Observer that the ex-leaders of Britain and the United States should be made to "answer for their actions."

The Iraq war "has destabilized and polarized the world to a greater extent than any other conflict in history," wrote Tutu.

"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 ," he added.

Playwright Harold Pinter has previously called for Bush and Blair to face prosecution at the Hague .

"The then-leaders of the U.S. and U.K. 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 specter of Syria and Iran before us," said Tutu.

The U.S. is one of the countries that do not recognize the ICC.

In response to Tutu, Blair accused him of repeating inaccurate criticisms of the Iraq war.

"To repeat the old canard that we lied about the intelligence is completely wrong as every single independent analysis of the evidence has shown," Blair said.

In Britain , a two-year long inquiry examining the buildup to the Iraq war and its conduct is yet to publish its final report. The panel took evidence from political leaders including Blair, military chiefs and intelligence officers.

The Guardian in a report on the article by Desmond Tutu said:

Desmond Tutu has called for Tony Blair and George Bush to be hauled before the ICC and delivered a damning critique of the physical and moral devastation caused by the Iraq war.

Tutu accuses the former British and US leaders of lying about weapons of mass destruction. Writing in the Observer , Tutu also suggests the controversial US and UK-led action to oust Saddam Hussein created the backdrop for the civil war in Syria and a possible wider Middle East conflict involving Iran .

Claiming that different standards appear to be set for prosecuting African leaders and western ones, Tutu says the death toll during and after the Iraq conflict is sufficient on its own for Blair and Bush to be tried at the ICC.

In his article, the archbishop argues that as well as the death toll, there has been a heavy moral cost to civilization, with no gain. "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?" Blair and Bush, he says, set an appalling example. "If leaders may lie, then who should tell the truth?" he asks.

"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?"

Desmond Tutu in the article Why I had no choice but to spurn Tony Blair in The Observer , September 2, 2012 writes:

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.

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.

[...]

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.

[]

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.

[ Sections of the article have been taken out as those have been quoted in news reports .]




 

 


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