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Archbishop Tutu Says Bush and Blair Should Face War-crimes Charges


September 5, 2012
CNN Wire & PressTV & The Observer & Desmond Tutu / The Observer

South African anti-apartheid hero Desmond Tutu has attacked former British prime minister Ton Blair over 'double standards on war crimes.* The Nobel laureate has published a scathing editorial in The Observer newspaper accusing Tony Blair and George W. Bush of fabricating a motive to invade Iraq. Tutu recently pulled out of a conference in Johannesburg to protest Blair's attendance. Read Tutu's editorial in The Observer.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/02/world/europe/desmond-tutu-oped/index.html?hpt=hp_t3

Desmond Tutu Says Blair, Bush Should Be 'Made to Answer' for Iraq
By the CNN Wire Staff

(September 2, 2012) -- South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu said Sunday that Tony Blair and George W. Bush should be "made to answer" at the International Criminal Court for their actions around the Iraq war.

Writing in an op-ed published by The Observer newspaper, the Nobel laureate accused the former leaders of the United Kingdom and the United States of fabricating a motive to invade Iraq, namely that it possessed weapons of mass destruction, and said that they had acted like "playground bullies."

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

Tutu detailed some of the costs of the war. More than 110,000 Iraqis have died in the conflict, while millions have been displaced, he said. Close to 4,500 U.S. soldiers have been killed and more than 32,000 wounded, Tutu added.

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

Last week, Tutu pulled out of a conference in Johannesburg to protest Blair's attendance.

The former prime minister responded to the editorial in a statement on his website.

"I have a great respect for Archbishop Tutu's fight against apartheid -- where we were on the same side of the argument -- but to repeat the old canard that we lied about the intelligence is completely wrong as every single independent analysis of the evidence has shown," said Blair.

He said Iraq has a stronger economy now and a lower child mortality rate, but added: "Surely in a healthy democracy people can agree to disagree."

Groups have called for a citizen's arrest of Blair since he left office, with one website going as far as offering a reward to people who attempt to detain him. In 2010, protesters called for Blair to face war crimes charges as he gave evidence to the Iraq inquiry in London.

Blair has said concern over Iraq's ambitions to develop weapons of mass destruction had been the main factor behind Britain's decision to back the war. No significant caches of chemical or biological weapons have been found in Iraq since the invasion.

Tutu, a champion for human rights, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, and later chaired South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission to examine apartheid-era crimes.



Bush, Blair must stand trial for war crimes: Tutu
PressTV

South African Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu has called for the trial of former US President George W. Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair for their role in the Iraq war.

“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 destabilized and polarized the world to a greater extent than any other conflict in history,” Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote in an article in The Observer on Sunday.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner called for the trial of the pair at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

Tutu added that, instead of recognizing the sophistications and issues of the world, “the then-leaders of the US and UK fabricated the grounds to behave like playground bullies and drive us further apart.” He further argued that, the suffering and loss of the victims of the war were beyond the killing fields, “in the hardened hearts and minds of members of the human family across the world.”

Tony Blair, however, responded to Tutu in a statement saying that “this is the same argument we have had many times with nothing new to say.”

This comes after Tutu boycotted the one-day Discovery Invest Leadership Summit in Johannesburg on Tuesday, saying it would be “inappropriate” for him to share a platform with Blair, because of his “morally indefensible” support for the US-led war in Iraq. Tutu has been a prominent peace icon in South Africa, and he won the Noble Peace Prize in 1984 following his campaign against apartheid.


Tony Blair should face trial over Iraq war, says Desmond Tutu
Toby Helm, political editor / The Observer

LONDON (September 1, 2012) -- Archbishop Desmond Tutu has called for Tony Blair and George Bush to be hauled before the international criminal court in The Hague and delivered a damning critique of the physical and moral devastation caused by the Iraq war.

Tutu, a Nobel peace prize winner and hero of the anti-apartheid movement, accuses the former British and US leaders of lying about weapons of mass destruction and says the invasion left the world more destabilised and divided "than any other conflict in history".

Writing in the Observer, Tutu also suggests the controversial US and UK-led action to oust Saddam Hussein in 2003 created the backdrop for the civil war in Syria and a possible wider Middle East conflict involving Iran.

"The then leaders of the United States and Great Britain," Tutu argues, "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."

But it is Tutu's call for Blair and Bush to face justice in The Hague that is most startling. Claiming that different standards appear to be set for prosecuting African leaders and western ones, he 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.

"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," he says.

The court hears cases on genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. To date, 16 cases have been brought before the court but only one, that of Thomas Lubanga, a rebel leader from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), has been completed. He was sentenced earlier this year to 14 years' imprisonment for his part in war crimes in his home country.

Tutu's broadside is evidence of the shadow still cast by Iraq over Blair's post-prime ministerial career, as he attempts to rehabilitate himself in British public life. A longtime critic of the Iraq war, the archbishop pulled out of a South African conference on leadership last week because Blair, who was paid 2m rand (£150,000) for his time, was attending. It is understood that Tutu had agreed to speak without a fee.

In his article, the archbishop argues that as well as the death toll, there has been a heavy moral cost to civilisation, 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?"

In a statement, Blair strongly contested Tutu's views and said Iraq was now a more prosperous country than it had been under Saddam Hussein. "I have a great respect for Archbishop Tutu's fight against apartheid – where we were on the same side of the argument – but to repeat the old canard that we lied about the intelligence is completely wrong as every single independent analysis of the evidence has shown.

"And to say that the fact that Saddam massacred hundreds of thousands of his citizens is irrelevant to the morality of removing him is bizarre. We have just had the memorials both 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.

"In addition, his slaughter of his political opponents, the treatment of the Marsh Arabs and the systematic torture of his people make the case for removing him morally strong. But the basis of action was as stated at the time.

"In short, this is the same argument we have had many times with nothing new to say. But surely in a healthy democracy people can agree to disagree.

"I would also point out that despite the problems, Iraq today has an economy three times or more in size, with the child mortality rate cut by a third of what it was. And with investment hugely increased in places like Basra."


Why I Had No Choice but To Spurn Tony Blair
Desmond Tutu / The Observer

LONDON (September 1, 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.

(c) 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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