Desmond Tutu quits summit with Tony Blair over invasion of Iraq

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ARTICLE: Desmond Tutu quits summit with Tony Blair over invasion of Iraq

Posted by Watt Tyler on 30/08/2012

Nobel peace winner says he won?t share platform with ?morally indefensible? former PM

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has pulled out of an international summit because he doesn?t want to share a platform with the ?morally indefensible? Tony Blair, it emerged yesterday.

The retired archbishop, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his campaigning against apartheid, said that he had withdrawn from the event because he believed the former Prime Minister had supported the invasion of Iraq ?on the basis of unproven allegations of the existence of weapons of mass destruction.?
In a statement, Archbishop Tutu?s office added: ?The Discovery Invest Summit has leadership as its theme. Morality and leadership are indivisible. In this context, it would be inappropriate for the Archbishop to share a platform with Mr Blair.?
A spokesman added that it was not a snap decision, saying that the Archbishop ?thinks and prays and then acts?. He added: ?That?s how he?s always done things, including during the struggles.?
Mr Blair and Archbishop Tutu, alongside the chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov, were due to appear at the leadership summit in Johannesburg later this week. The Muslim political party Al Jama-ah has already said that it will attempt to arrest Mr Blair when he arrives in Johannesburg for ?crimes against humanity?.
Mr Blair?s office said he regretted the decision. In a statement, it said: ?Tony Blair is sorry that the Archbishop has decided to pull out now from an event that has been fixed for months and where he and the Archbishop were never actually sharing a platform.
?As far as Iraq is concerned they have always disagreed about removing Saddam by force ? such disagreement is part of a healthy democracy.
?As for the morality of that decision, we have recently had both the memorial of the Halabja massacre where thousands of people were murdered in one day by Saddam?s use of chemical weapons, and that of the Iran-Iraq war where casualties numbered up to a million, including many killed by chemical weapons. So these decisions are never easy morally or politically?.
Archbishop Tutu has long been a critic of Mr Blair?s stance on Iraq ? even before the invasion.
In 2003 the archbishop said Mr Blair?s support for the Bush administration was ?mind-boggling?. ?I have a great deal of time for your Prime Minister, but I?m shocked to see a powerful country use its power frequently, unilaterally,? he said.
After the invasion he called on Mr Blair to apologise for an error of judgement on Iraq. ?How wonderful if politicians could bring themselves to admit they are only fallible human creatures and not God and thus by definition can make mistakes,? he said. ?Unfortunately, they seem to think that such an admission is a sign of weakness. Weak and insecure people hardly ever say sorry.
?President Bush and Prime Minister Blair would recover considerable credibility and respect if they were able to say: ?Yes, we made a mistake?.?
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ARTICLE AND VIDEO: ?British? Zionists Plot Attack on Iran

Posted by Watt Tyler on 27/08/2012


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Re: Desmond Tutu quits summit with Tony Blair over invasion of Iraq
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2012, 12:02:38 AM »
Why I Spurned Tony Blair: If Leaders May Lie, Who Then Should Tell the Truth
By Desmond Tutu

The Guardian, September 2, 2012: 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.

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