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September 3, 2012 8:21 pm

Desmond Tutu’s Selective Moral Outrage

avatar by Lakkana Nanayakkara

rchbishop Emeritus, Desmond Tutu. Photo: WEF.

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu has called for Tony Blair and George Bush to be prosecuted at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for their role in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The Nobel Peace Prize Laureate wrote in Britain’s The Observer newspaper that the former leaders of UK and the United States should be made to “answer for their actions.” He added that “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.”

Mr Blair responded with the following statement:

To repeat the old canard that we lied about the intelligence [on weapons of mass destruction] 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.

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Tutu conveniently did not mention that most of the casualties in Iraq since 2003 have been inflicted by Islamic extremists killing other Muslims, and he has not requested that the leaders of the radical Islamic groups responsible for most of the carnage in Iraq be brought before the ICC. Furthermore, Tutu was silent when Saddam Hussein committed the crimes mentioned above in Mr Blair’s statement. Tutu and his ilk appear to have forgotten that the United States in particular spent billions of dollars on reconstruction, training the Iraqi army, and writing off Iraqi debt.

Tutu is also a long-term critic of Israel and is an active participant in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against the Jewish State. According to Tutu’s perverse world view, the US, UK and Israel are responsible for all the world’s problems while Middle Eastern and African dictators can do no wrong. A recent example would be his deafening silence over the ongoing bloodbath in Syria. Despite his latest diatribe, Tutu has not applied the same standard to Russian and Turkish leaders, even though they invaded and occupied parts of Georgia and Cyprus respectively. Neither has he returned the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor, which he received from President Barack Obama in 2009; even though Obama launched the war against Gaddafi’s Libya without authorization from the US Congress.

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