Archbishop Tutu Shuns Tony Blair

Mark Tooley is President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy (www.theird.org) and author of Methodism and Politics in the Twentieth Century. Follow him on Twitter: @markdtooley.


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Retired South African Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu has cancelled his plans to speak at a Discovery Invest Leadership Summit in Johannesburg because former British Premier Tony Blair will be there.  Blair’s “morally indefensible” alliance with the U.S. in overthrowing Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein made him unacceptable to Tutu.

“Morality and leadership are indivisible,” Tutu’s spokesman explained.  “In this context, it would be inappropriate and untenable for the archbishop to share a platform with Mr Blair.” Meanwhile, a South African Isalmist party plans to demonstrate against Blair, advocating his arrest for “war crimes.”

Tutu, now age 81, is best known for commendably resisting Apartheid in old white-controlled South Africa. But his human rights antennae are not always finely tuned.  He was mostly silent about the horrendous crimes of Saddam Hussein’s brutal rule and offered no reasonable alternatives to his forcible overthrow.

“We should be careful who we condemn. Saddam Hussein is God’s child—as Bush is God’s child,” Tutu explained in 2005, after Saddam was imprisoned and awaiting trial.  The archbishop had urged Saddam be tried before the International Criminal Court at the Hague rather than in Iraq, where he was ultimately executed.  “An immoral war was thus waged and the world is a great deal less safe place than before,” Tutu pronounced about Iraq in 2004, demanding an apology from Blair and President George W. Bush.  “There are many more who resent the powerful who can throw their weight about so callously and with so much impunity.” He linked U.S. aggression under Bush to capital punishment in Texas during his governorship, saying “it may not be fanciful” to tie Texas executions and America’s “belligerent militarist policies.”

Tutu has also harshly condemned the U.S. War on Terror overall.   In 2005 he came to New York to perform in a play denouncing the detention policies at Guantanamo.  “People used to be contained without trials during the apartheid years, and when you asked why, the standard reply was ‘the security of the state,’ ” he said, likening U.S. policies to the old Apartheid regime.  In a 2005 interview, he denounced the U.S. presence in Iraq, faulting the U.S., but not sectarian insurgents, for 100,000 dead.   “But you see, you experienced a little bit on September 11, the kind of thing that is meted out on a regular basis,” he suggested, comparing “collateral damage” in Iraq to al Qaeda’s attacks.

On 9/11’s ten-year anniversary, Tutu suggested the “U.S. owes the world an apology — at the very least — for lying about the existence of so-called weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.”  He had hoped after 9/11 that the U.S. would have chosen “self-examination” and asked of itself:  What have we done wrong in terms of our relationships, and what should we do to bridge the divides that exist between us?”  The Nobel laureate also complained that post-9/11, thanks to Western security procedures, “adherents of the Muslim faith were harassed and humiliated across the world” in a “computer-age equivalent of the Nazis daubing yellow Stars of David on the doors of Jewish homes.”

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  • DogWithoutSlippers

    He is a Racist! Sadly, what's new? Same old refrain – everything white is bad.

  • C.R.

    Tony Blair is a Marxist globalist–an evil man!

    Who cares what Tutu thinks–Tutu himself is a Marxist globalist–an evil man!

    • Lillith

      Yes it's very much a case of Pot Kettle Black.

  • Diann

    and… there WERE weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Hussain had already used them to kill millions of Kurds – the envoys just didn't find the remaining stash – which would have been used to kill millions more. That's not to say I agree with having thousands of our soldiers killed on behalf of a country that will never have peace or safety because the sectarian violence is part of the requirements of Islam. No Islamic country will ever be safe, peaceful or democratic (our definition..). That would violate the requirement of the caliphate.

    • Stern

      The "remaining stash" couldn't be found in Iraq because it was moved to Syria.

  • Jerry

    I am so tired of people saying that God loves everyone, he doesn't! One example is Esau, him he hated. Tutu is just a foolish man with dangerous ideals.

    • Chiggles

      Same reasonig the Phelpses use to proclaim "God hates f@gs". Are you with them?

      • SCREW SOCIALISM

        God hates Moh@mmed.

  • Schlomotion

    What's this? Mark Tooley, aka the CIA, is defending Third Way Soc.ialist, Tony Blair? What's going on here? Likely in the 1980's Mr. Tooley supported the Afrikaner Nazi Party. But this is of note: his organization embraces Tony Blair who is a soci.alist because in some settings soci.alists go along with the oil lobby and its ambitions to knock over governments. Mr. Tooley's religion is really BP. How else can you explain the massive flip-flop where in one moment this man rails and rails in favor the Bible's purported endorsement of gun-running, of killing, and of coups and in the next moment defend New Labour and business soci.alism? Strange.

  • BS77

    TUTU squeaks out leftist propaganda like a manic gerbil….what an embarrassment. A "religious leader"?

  • Bartimaeus

    The religious left and the political left are two sides of the same coin and often find common ground. It all comes down to a lack of real discernment between good and evil, what is the nature of sin, and what is the true nature of redemption.

    • Bortolam

      sure, yes.

  • Ron Karsh

    Round 3 of the series "All South Africans are anti-semitic Nazi scum", after the SA government dared to call a spade a spade (cf. labeling controversy). Is there anything South African left to demonize and destroy? Maybe the Soccer World Cup is next, because Israel failed to qualify…obviously because of FIFA being anti-semitic. If nothing else, round 5 may actually be informative.

  • Guest

    Tutu is a big a fraud as Obama.

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      tutu is a "mini-me" fraud.

  • Cynic

    ” that Yasser Arafat and Ariel Sharon are brothers, but God says, ‘All are my children.’” In 2008, Tutu proclaimed: “No one is an outsider in God’s family.” ”

    But that didn’t stop him in his anti-semitic comments about Jews and replacement theology from the 1960s as bishop of Johannesburg through to his touring the US as part of the Sabeel group along with his antisemitic partner Naim Ateek.
    It didn’t stop him blaming the Jews for the plight of Christian Arabs in the West Bank as Arafat’s thugs made their lives unbearable.

  • tagalog

    So, let me see if I've got this right:

    1. Saddam Hussein was "God's child;"

    2. Morality and leadership are indivisible.

    3. Tony Blair joined the coalition formed by George W. Bush to overthrow God's child in Iraq.

    4. When the coalition invaded Iraq and overthrew God's child, God's child should have been tried in The Hague for whatever Desmond Tutu thinks he could be accused of. Tutu surely thinks he could be accused of SOMETHING, since he says he should have been tried;

    5. It was morally indefensible for God's child to be tried by his own people;

    6. Therefore, Desmond Tutu finds it morally impossible to occupy the same stage as Tony Blair.

    I'm having a bit of trouble making the necessary connections in this chain of reasoning. A while back, when South Africa was in the process of bringing Nelson Mandela to the political forefront, Desmond Tutu also arose. That was a long time ago. Time, it appears, has not been kind to Desmond Tutu.

  • Michael

    Tutu looks as an idiot,talks as an idiot,walk as an idiot…so who is he,besides a racist?

  • Drakken

    Someone should have gotten rid of that troublesome commi priest years ago!

  • Ghostwriter

    It's a little sad when someone of Archbishop Tutu's standing demonstrates an immense moral blindness. He may have been right while attacking apartheid but he's not right in this instance. Saddam Hussein was a murderous monster. He deserved to be overthrown. It's a shame that someone like Archbishop Tutu can't see that. He had made himself look like a complete idiot. There are South Africans,both black and white,who live in America and elsewhere and are probably saying to themselves,"What's wrong with this guy?" He may have been right when he was fighting apartheid,but wrong here. He has proven himself to blind morally and extremely foolish. It's a shame. And sad. He should know better.

  • Charles Frith

    Tony Blair is a war criminal and we will not cease till he is tried. Period.

  • kevinh

    Some lepers are fashionable (Saddam) and some are not (Blair), it really depends upon who you see in the street as you walk along in your parade of self-significance. Unfortunately, everyone struggles with this at one time or another.

  • https://www.facebook.com/theo.prinse Theo Prinse

    The recently to Catholicism converted Tony Blair is used by Emeritus arch bishop of the Anglican Church Desmond Tutu regarding the recent developments intervention in Syria and Iran and Western pressure on the ANC government, China and Russia to end support for Iran and Syria …
    … used for his doctrine (Tutu) of Zionist Apartheid as moral superiority to just have continue his (Tutu) support for the murderous regimes in Syria and Iran.
    But while Tutu merely uses Blair as an instrument .. Tutu will lose this silly game because Barack Obama-Davis for the Muslim Brotherhood insurgents where Tutu is opposed to …
    Furthermore Tutu indeed recently spoke out against the ANC Zuma corruption but essentially concurs with the equally hypocritical calls from SACP hardened cadres against this ANC corruption …
    Tutu therefore merely collaborates with a further escalation in South Africa on ownership and economics as insinuated by the US State Department secretary Hillary Clinton in relation to the CIA provoked outburst of violence on the Lonmin Marikana mine site

  • Lady_Dr

    Years ago a friend from Ghana told me that she could tell me (because I'm a white American and she could not tell blacks including other Africans) that Ghana was better off under the British. I think if the British had stayed another 50-100 years South Africa would have been better off.

    Tutu is a dangerous idiot, with a limited grasp of Christianity.