Desmond Tutu says Blair, Bush should be 'made to answer' for Iraq
Archbishop Desmond Tutu says the former leaders of the U.S. and U.K. should face war-crimes charges.
September 3rd, 2012
08:14 AM ET

Desmond Tutu says Blair, Bush should be 'made to answer' for Iraq

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - 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 destabilised and polarised 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."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Leaders • Politics

soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. tuvia



    September 6, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  2. tuvia


    Gantz cautions Iran: IDF can hit any place, anytime By YAAKOV LAPPIN09/02/2012 20:18IDF chief of staff responds to threats to "wipe Israel off the map," says IDF ready for any scenario; Barak: Map of Middle East changing before our eyes, Israel must be prepared. PHOTO: REUTERS
    The IDF is ready to reach any enemy target at any time, Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said Sunday, during an awards ceremony for reserve army units.

    "Recently, we've heard threats from near and far enemies to 'wipe out' the State of Israel from the map of the Middle East. In all these, I can say that the IDF is ready for any scenario. We will reach any place, anytime, and defend this nation," Gantz said, speaking at the residence of President Shimon Peres.

    IAF strikes targets in Gaza in response to rockets
    'Decreased US presence in drill not sign of change'
    In recent weeks, Iranian leaders, from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameni to military officials, have stepped up threats to annihilate Israel. Khameni described Israel as a "cancerous tumor" and "the biggest problem confronting Muslim countries today." The threats coincided with a message from Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, who threatened to kill tens of thousands of Israeli civilians in a future confrontation by striking strategic sites with rockets.

    The threats came as tensions rose over Iran's ongoing nuclear program.

    Defense Minister Ehud Barak also spoke at Sunday's award, saying, "In the past two years, the map of the region is changing before eyes. Nations went out into the streets and toppled totalitarian states. Reality has given birth to unexpected results, more than once."

    Barak added that Israel resides in an unstable Middle East, and is surrounded by a "stormy sea, big parts of which refuse to accept it as a member of the nations with equal rights." He said that the "reality in which we live has presented us with heavy challenges, the need to fully use utilize resources, [and] to prepare for all developments that may come from near or from afar."









    September 5, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  3. Jack 3

    Ole Desmond needs to concentrate on Africa where the human rights are non-existant

    September 5, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  4. Jack 3

    Who cares what desmond tutu thinks however Bush should be held responsible for his actions.

    September 5, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
  5. fernace

    There have been a slow but steady increase in the people worldwide who are calling for Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld & Blair to stand trial for their respective war crimes! The biggest "wag the dog" scheme was perpetrated by these men, which then turned into a real war w/real people dying! To invent reasons for war, when none excist has to be the worst war crime of all! Think about it, none of the attrocities, suffering, dying or recovery effort would've been necessary if not for these mens lies! Not to mention our own devastated economy due to the pillaging & plundering of the national coffers! They just used our $$ like it was the Personal Bank of Bush! They're crooks everyway you slice it!!

    September 5, 2012 at 7:37 am |
  6. ScottCA

    time to step up the battle for logic and reason.

    September 5, 2012 at 4:11 am |
  7. Agnostic Atheism is Healthy for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!

    Let your kids be all that they can be. Just teach them that there are:

    1. Things we know that are unfounded and most likely political sales literature from the beginning of mankind (all religions); and
    2. Things that we don't know a damn thing about (god/deities).

    An agnostic approach regarding deities keeps us honest about what we don't know anything about, but also prevents unfounded junk from #2 above (religion) from dirtying up our rational thinking on the matter.

    So instead of praying to make-believe characters and trying to get others to follow the political garbage from long ago, just sit down, put on some good jazz, and collect you damn thoughts. My goodness.

    I am mama kindless and I approve this message.

    September 4, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  8. Common Sense

    Go fvck yourself Tutu. America is a beacon of hope and justice to oppressed nations and peoples in this world. Without the threat of the U.S. military, every dictator and tyrant in this world wouldn't even think twice to massacre whomever they wished.

    September 4, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Strange, dictator and tyrant in this world are massacring whomever they wished. North Korea, most unstable African Governments, China, Iran, Iraq, a few South American Governments.

      According to your logic, this would be impossible.

      I love America, have fought and bleed for her, both my Boys are now serving (Navy and Marine Corps). We both know the US has not always been right or just.

      September 4, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  9. Reality

    Tutu and his Episcopalian followers should not sit in judgement considering the founder of Episcopalian church was the Henry VIII, killer and scoundrel.

    September 4, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  10. KeninTexas

    Saddam Hussein himself admitted to misleading the world about having WMD's primarily to scare Iran. He deliberately falsified evidence to lead to the conclusion that he had these weapons. In today's climate, it's real easy to Monday morning quarterback having found out the truth only after the US went into Iraq. Desmond Tutu is wrong in his claims and I would suggest is only trying to get the world spotlight in his declining years on more time.

    September 4, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Your points are valid except: the US (and UK) kicked the UM inspectors out, after it was clear that they could go anywhere at anytime and was not finding anything. It was clear that the "informer" was not as reliable as we were lead to believe. The fact that when it was clear that nothing was there to be found No One, No One was held accountable for the mistake, if the US were mislead someone should have paid, no one did. I would submit that if anyone were to lead a company (or Government) into such a huge error, they would be fired at least and prosecuted at most.

      September 4, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Reality

      The much larger picture:

      An update (or how we are spending or how we have spent the USA taxpayers’ money to eliminate global terror and aggression which basically the terror of Islam)

      The terror and aggression via a Partial and Recent and Not So Recent Body Count

      As the koranic/mosque driven acts of terror and horror continue:

      The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

      ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

      and more recently

      1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

      1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

      2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

      3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles. 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

      5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

      6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

      7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

      8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

      9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

      10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

      11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

      12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

      13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

      14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

      15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.

      16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

      17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

      18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

      19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

      20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

      21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

      22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) - Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.

      23) "October 4, 2011, 100 die as a truck loaded with drums of fuel exploded Tuesday at the gate of compound housing several government ministries on a busy Mogadishu street. It was the deadliest single bombing carried out by the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia since their insurgency began. "

      September 4, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Reality, good points, are you saying Christian are better?

      Atlantic Slave Trade (13 – 20 Million arriving in new world, countless millions died before reaching new world)
      WWI and WWII (both started and fought be Christians 30 – 40 million and 60 – 80 million respectively).
      80% of all terrorist acts in the US are by Christians (klan, left wing, Latinos, etc...)
      Vietnam War 2 – 4 Million

      Seems to me, if we are keeping count, Christians are by Far more dangerous to people than Muslims, do you not agree?

      September 4, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • Reality

      The Twenty (or so) Worst Things People Have Done to Each Other:
      M. White, http://necrometrics.com/warstatz.htm#u (required reading)

      The Muslim Conquest of India

      "The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      Rank …..Death Toll ..Cause …..Centuries……..(Religions/Groups involved)*

      1. 63 million Second World War 20C (Christians et al and Communists/atheists vs. Christians et al, Nazi-Pagan and "Shintoists")

      2. 40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C (Communism)

      3. 40 million Genghis Khan 13C (Shamanism or Tengriism)

      4. 27 million British India (mostly famine) 19C (Anglican)

      5. 25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion)

      6. 20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C ( Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion vs. a form of Christianity)

      7. 20 million Joseph Stalin 20C (Communism)

      8. 19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C (Islam)

      9. 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C

      10. 16 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C (Christianity)

      11. 15 million First World War 20C (Christians vs. Christians)

      12. 15 million Conquest of the Americas 15C-19C (Christians vs. Pagans)

      13. 13 million Muslim Conquest of India 11C-18C

      14. 10 million An Lushan Revolt 8C

      15. 10 million Xin Dynasty 1C

      16. 9 million Russian Civil War 20C (Christians vs Communists)

      17. 8 million Fall of Rome 5C (Pagans vs. Christians)

      18. 8 million Congo Free State 19C-20C (Christians)

      19. 7½ million Thirty Years War 17C (Christians vs Christians)

      20. 7½ million Fall of the Yuan Dynasty 14C

      *:" Is religion responsible for more violent deaths than any other cause?

      A: No, of course not – unless you define religion so broadly as to be meaningless. Just take the four deadliest events of the 20th Century – Two World Wars, Red China and the Soviet Union – no religious motivation there, unless you consider every belief system to be a religion."

      Q: So, what you're saying is that religion has never killed anyone.

      A: Arrgh... You all-or-nothing people drive me crazy. There are many doc-umented examples where members of one religion try to exterminate the members of another religion. Causation is always complex, but if the only difference between two warring groups is religion, then that certainly sounds like a religious conflict to me. Is it the number one cause of mass homicide in human history? No. Of the 22 worst episodes of mass killing, maybe four were primarily religious. Is that a lot? Well, it's more than the number of wars fought over soccer, or s-ex (The Trojan and Sabine Wars don't even make the list.), but less than the number fought over land, money, glory or prestige.

      In my Index, I list 41 religious conflicts compared with 27 oppressions under "Communism", 24 under Colonialism, 2 under "Railroads" and 2 under "Scapegoats". Make of that what you will."

      September 5, 2012 at 12:07 am |
  11. JohnQuest

    David Parker, Question, Prior to 2003, what did Iraq do to the US or UK? If the Premise to invade was WMDs, (and it was), and they didn't have any, either we were lied to or we were very mistaken. Either way 10s perhaps 100s of thousands have been killed (for a lie or a mistake), should somebody pay for that? It sounds like either negligence or criminal on a grand scale, If any other counties had done this we all would be in an uproar I would think (and hope).

    September 4, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • Anthony Zarrella

      JohnQuest – This is actually in response to your above post, re: slave trade and various wars being caused by Christianity, but the site doesn't seem to give me the option to reply directly to that...

      There is a *huge* difference between atrocities committed by individuals who happen to claim membership in Christian faiths, and atrocities committed *in the name of* a given faith (in this case, radical Islam).

      First, let me stress that I *do not* believe that Islam as a whole is a wicked religion. I believe that the vast majority of Muslims are people of good will and moral character, trying to follow God in the way they believe is best. However, *radical* Islam, of the sort practiced by the Taliban and such, is no part of God's plan, and is indeed evil.

      Second, let me note that Christianity is not perfect – there are radical sects of Christianity as well, and even mainstream Christianity has the blood of Salem, the Crusades, the Inquisition, and other evil deeds on its hands. I can't speak for all Christian denominations, but my own Catholic Church freely acknowledges these past ills, and does its best to atone for them.

      However, 9/11 (for example – or any other atrocities of radical Islam) was done *for* the religious beliefs of the perpetrators, just as Salem, and the Inquisition. The slave trade and the World Wars may well have been carried out *by* Christians (in large part), but were not done *because of* Christian religious beliefs and teachings.

      Also, if you really want to talk about atrocities committed *in the name of* beliefs, you cannot in good candor ignore the slaughters and oppression of the USSR and China in the name of a philosophy that wished to eradicate religion. I don't assume that all atheists are like the Stalinists or Maoists, so please don't assume all Christians are like the Inquisitors or the Crusaders.

      September 4, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
  12. saggyroy

    What's up with Tutu? Oh yeah his name has not been in the news for awhile....

    September 4, 2012 at 8:30 am |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    September 4, 2012 at 4:32 am |
    • hal 9000

      I'm sorry "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but you assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 4, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  14. ScottCA


    September 4, 2012 at 3:24 am |
    • just wondering

      Does utube do all your thinking for you?

      September 4, 2012 at 4:33 am |
    • ScottCA

      Does that really warrant a reply? You are displaying your own lack of morality and decency quite well.
      Shall I rest my case upon your example that faith based religion truly is good for nothing.
      Perhaps if you payed some attention to those that are truly educated you may have noticed that science predicts things in the natural world. Religion has no effect on anything outside of your head and fails to predict even one single event in the natural world.

      Faith requires one to believe in something even in the absence of evidence and in the presence of evidence to the contrary. This suppression of the minds ability to logically reason leads to belief in untruths that send ripples of distortion into every area of examination and study. This in turn leads to political and social decisions based in misinformation. The end result is the suffering of people.

      Examples are 9/11 hijackings, The holding back of stem cell research that could save countless human lives, Aids being spread due to religious opposition to the use of condoms, Christians legally fighting this year to teach over 1 million young girls in America that they must always be obedient to men, the eroding of child protection laws in America by Christians, for so called faith based healing alternatives that place children's health and safety at risk, burning of witches, the crusades, Nazi's thinking the Aryans were gods chosen to rule the world, etc… But who cares about history or facts in the real world when we have our imaginations and delusions about gods with no evidence of them existing.

      argue against this all you like but when you side against reason and science, you paint yourself asinine, and doomed to be proven wrong in time, for a little thing called reality keeps getting in the way.

      September 5, 2012 at 4:06 am |
    • Yo

      so the videofool CAN speak! where'd you copy and paste those words from videofool? I bet you didnt write them didja

      September 5, 2012 at 4:10 am |
  15. ScottCA


    September 4, 2012 at 2:48 am |
    • just wondering

      isn't this the dead atheist type guy whose throat rotted out on him at a relatively young age? Devote a life to foul language, blasphemy and abuse and go like that. Coincidence?

      September 4, 2012 at 4:36 am |
    • ScottCA

      Christopher Hitchens was clearly a more moral man and had more class than you.
      And he managed to be better than you without any make believe excuses to behave well.

      September 5, 2012 at 3:57 am |
    • ScottCA

      He did not die nearly as young as those children killed by the church in Africa.
      You clearly have no sense of morality to defend the church.

      September 5, 2012 at 3:59 am |
  16. ScottCA


    September 4, 2012 at 2:31 am |
  17. ScottCA


    September 4, 2012 at 2:21 am |
  18. ScottCA

    And we care what this spreader of religious lies says? He is either a con artist or a self delusional imbecile. Nothing he has to say is important. He has clearly shown that he has no ability to rational deduce what is real from what is fantasy and imagination.
    Besides he is not even wearing a funny hat in that photo. you can't be taken seriously as a religious leader without a funny hat. Get a big fish hat and maybe someone will listen to you Tutu.

    September 4, 2012 at 2:20 am |
  19. David Parker

    Desmond Tutu can say whatever he wishes. And so can I. Mr. Tutu who cares what the hell you think. The muslim world is causing extreme damage to the world, and Obama and his anti-colonialism is causing the other. All we want is the be left alone to make our businesses work, worship our g_d, live our lives, and not be threatened by a bunch of lunatics of a religion that has left its people seeking what we have and blaming us for their ills. With all due respect Desmond, bugger off.

    September 4, 2012 at 1:24 am |
    • tallulah13

      Typical christian. It's all about you, and everyone else be damned. Perhaps Mr. Tutu wouldn't be saying anything if Bush hadn't lied to get us into an unprovoked war against a sovereign nation. I'm guessing you are a republican as well as a christian, since accountability makes you uncomfortable.

      September 4, 2012 at 1:35 am |
    • Jesus freaker

      "All we want is the be left alone to make our businesses work, worship our g_d, live our lives, and not be threatened by a bunch of lunatics."

      That's your answer to Tutu's claim that the U.S. and Britian had no business invading Iraq? It sounds more like what an innocent Iraqi might say after a soldier, doing his job mind you, busts in their door looking for bad guys. Tutu is right. Who should really be speaking out about this is the U.S. public. 4,488 U.S. service members lost their lives for that senseless war. 33,184 casualties. What was the cost, about 2 trillion? What a waste.

      September 4, 2012 at 1:48 am |
  20. Rufus T. Firefly

    I couldn't agree more, except that Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Cheney were the orchestrators. I think Bush was just a dimwitted accomplice.

    September 3, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • Jesus freaker

      You are correct and Cheney was probably the main one pushing for the invasion. Ultimately it was 'W'(worst) that signed off on it and is the one to blame. It's a shame that Blair followed the moron to the battlefield. The French were the wise ones, and it was the religious right that coined the term "freedom fries".

      September 4, 2012 at 1:29 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.

September 2012