Good for Desmond Tutu. From the BBC:
Archbishop Desmond Tutu has pulled out of an event because he refuses to share a platform with Tony Blair.
The veteran peace campaigner said Mr Blair’s support for the Iraq war was “morally indefensible” and it would be “inappropriate” for him to appear alongside him.
The pair were due to take part in a one-day leadership summit in Johannesburg, South Africa on Thursday.
Mr Blair’s office said he was “sorry” the archbishop had decided to pull out.
Dr Tutu, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 in recognition of his campaign against apartheid, and Mr Blair were due to appear at the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit….
In a statement, Dr Tutu’s Office said: “Ultimately, the archbishop is of the view that Mr Blair’s decision to support the United States’ military invasion of Iraq, on the basis of unproven allegations of the existence in Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, was morally indefensible.
“The Discovery Invest Leadership Summit has leadership as its theme. Morality and leadership are indivisible.
“In this context, it would be inappropriate and untenable for the archbishop to share a platform with Mr Blair.”
I’ve long believed that Tony Blair bears more responsibility for the Iraq war than the Bush Administration because unlike the ideologically driven American government, he knew exactly what he was doing and understood the consequences of attacking the defenseless nation. Despite the obvious evidence that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction or that Iraq posed a threat to anyone, Blair lied and lied and lied in order to engage Britain in a war that the majority of the public did not want. Blair was instrumental in building the basis for an attack on Iraq and helped Bush create the fragile international consensus that gave the assault a veneer of legitimacy.
As the evidence became harder and harder to hide from, Blair refused to acknowledge the truth and made a fool of himself by continuing to parrot George Bush and deceive the public. It was excruciating to watch him, a highly intelligent man, making nonsensical arguments that deep down he knew were ridiculous. And everyone knew why. Blair was enamored with Bush and his power post 9/11, and he was too cowardly to stand up to him when it became clear America was determined to attack Iraq no matter what. Blair has consistently tried to portray his decision to join in the assault as a moral decision – a bold move against a tyrannical dictator that he was doing out of bravery and Christian duty. In response to Desmond Tutu’s refusal to stand on stage with Blair, the former British prime minister’s office released the following statement:
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.
Of course Blair’s office omitted the fact that the US and Britain stood by Saddam while he committed those atrocities, sold him weapons and bankrolled his war against Iran. But Blair was never one to let the truth get in the way of his ambitions.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.