Posts Tagged ‘Archbishop Desmond Tutu’

Archbishop Tutu is wrong, Tony Blair showed true moral leadership over Iraq

13/09/2012, 07:00:37 AM

by Peter Watt

There has been an awful lot of noise again recently about Iraq.  This followed on from an article that Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote in the Observer about his decision to publicly “spurn” Tony Blair by not appearing at an event that they were both due at in South Africa.  Archbishop Tutu said:

“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?”

This then spawned a wave of articles from clever and eminent people who explained exactly why international law made it clear that Tony Blair was guilty of war crimes and should be dragged to the Hague.

Others wrote articles saying why this was nonsense and that international law said no such thing.

I read many of these articles with interest and increasing disquiet; but I couldn’t quite put my finger on why.

And then I realised what was bothering me.  In all of this very clever argument and counter-argument there was one thing missing.

Those who wrote saying “Bliar” was a war criminal did so because they passionately felt that the war was wrong.  They felt a sense of moral outrage that shone through their demands that international law is invoked.

Conversely, those arguing that international laws were not an issue tended to argue in purely legal terms.  Their arguments somehow lacked the passion or moral outrage of Archbishop Tutu for instance in his Observer article.

The overall sense was that in deciding to commit British forces in the second Iraq war Tony Blair had unquestionably committed a grossly immoral act that might or might not be illegal.

And that was it, the thing that bothered me: the absence of the moral case for freeing Iraq.

I passionately believe that the decision made by Tony Blair was the right and moral response to the circumstances we faced.  It must have been an incredibly difficult decision and one that took huge amounts of leadership – and I respect him hugely for it.


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