Why Desmond Tutu is Right About Bush & Blair
by VIJAY PRASHAD
Last week, Bishop Desmond Tutu was to sit beside former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair at the cringingly named Discovery Invest Leadership Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa. Tutu, one of the main moral voices in the anti-Apartheid struggle, decided to withdraw. He could not stand to sit next to Blair, or to Tony’s mate, George W. Bush because they had “fabricated the grounds [for war on Iraq] to behave like playground bullies.” Stingingly, in The Observer (September 1), Tutu recounted how he had called the White House a few days before the 2003 invasion, spoke to National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and asked her to give the UN weapons inspectors more time to do their work. But “Ms. Rice demurred, saying there was too much risk and the president would not postpone any longer.” The US and UK went to war, and according to Tutu, “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.”
Amnesia over Iraq has already set in. President Obama refused to countenance any prosecution for Bush era officials (and Bush himself) for the fabrications that Tutu alleges. In the UK, the Chilcot Inquiry on the Iraq War has finished its deliberations, but Sir John Chilcot has delayed the release of the final report for a full year because of wrangling to prevent Blair’s private letters to Bush from being revealed (he perhaps does not want to allow validation that in a July 2002 note he wrote, “You know, George, whatever you decide to do, I’m with you). At his appearances at the Inquiry, Blair admitted that the Iraqis were continuing to allow weapons inspectors, and that, as Sir Lawrence Freedman suggested, they had “started to reap dividends.” However, Blair worried that Saddam was “back to his old games” and was not capable of a “change of heart.” In his paper-thin memoirs, A Journey, Blair notes the question of regret for the war should not be a public question, but it can only be asked and answered “in the quiet reflection of the soul.”
For more on this story, visit: Inside the CIA Dossier on Iraq » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names.