Tutu You

So, the grinning, unelected, believer in invisible friends, Archbishop Desmond Tutu is calling for the trial of Blair and Bush for war crimes. The man who encourages dialogue between adversaries pulls out of merely sharing a platform with someone with whom he disagrees. A tad hypocritical, perhaps?

I’m sorry that the many enquiries, sorry, ‘white-washes’ have failed to support your point of view, Tutu.

OK, let’s bring it on, Mr Pacifist. Let’s put them on trial for illegal humanitarian intervention in Somalia, Rwanda, and of course Bosnia too, where, in the latter case, the UN showed its emasculation through non-intervention in the worst European mass-murder since World War 2. In fact, when we’re done with Bush and Blair, let’s put the UN on trial. What’s that? The UN is immune from prosecution? Oh.

Forget the dodgy dossier – intervention in Iraq was absolutely valid and legal on the basis that Saddam had consistently broken terms of the Desert Storm cease fire. As soon as he broke those terms, we were absolutely justified in intervening. No other justification required.

In hindsight, Bush and Blair’s biggest mistake was trying to build an international consensus in the face of veto threats from the three countries with highest oil and arms contracts in Iraq – China, Russia, and France. Everyone seems to forget that the ‘diplomatic’ route was exhausted when these countries absolutely ruled out any further diplomatic route by pre-emptively declaring their veto.

Happily embracing Godwin’s Law, I can easily make historic parallels where pacifism or appeasement has had catastrophic outcomes. Those who espouse such ahistorical views are the ones who need to be in the dock: not those who have learnt from history. I don’t align myself politically with Blair or Bush, but I don’t believe in political dogma anyway, so I have no problem in declaring that they absolutely did the right thing in intervening in Iraq – the one criticism I could level is that intervention didn’t happen after the first contravention of the original cease-fire. Let the opponents of intervention justify the hundreds of thousands of deaths for which they bear the moral burden. You see, we can all take the moral high-ground.

Once we’re done with the trial, how about we leave the UN to its own devices and pacification of the many Islamic states which are categorically in contravention of its membership requirements. I’m sure it will get along just fine without the combined 28% funding from the USA and UK. There will probably be a significant number of other countries which would happily set up a new alternative to the UN in terms of membership requiring genuine respect of human rights, including the right to freedom of and from religion, free speech (that’s real free speech, including the right to offend on any basis), and universal suffrage.

Before we can get there though, any trial of Blush would of course require evidence, because, Archbish, courts in the real world work on the basis of evidence. Tell me, on what evidence are your beliefs based? What’s that? A two thousand year old book of contradictions which recycle old creation and messianic myths? Quality.

I liked Tutu better when he was that Russian fake lesbian act.

Obama takes office

Barack Obama has taken office as the 44th president of the United States. He has brought to an end the Bush era and many people around the world will be celebrating not only the election of the first ‘African American’ President, but also the demise of George Bush. Recently, I even saw a flyer advertising a party in Birmingham (UK), which is being held to celebrate the end of George Bush’s presidency.

I too am excited by the prospect of an Obama presidency and the affect this will have on not only the United States, but the world at large. He comes across as a personable, affable, eloquent, and sincere man and I very much hope he can help to heal the world.

At the same time, I am a realist. As a work colleague put it, today at 17:00 GMT was when the ‘rainbows came out and the pixies danced’. Many are placing a lot of faith in Obama’s ability to change the nature of pretty much everything. It reminds me of the hot summer of 1997 when Tony Blair and the Labour Party took power in the UK and there was a feeling of complete elation everywhere. Then reality bit.

Obama, by his own admission, is not some kind of panacea. He will meet a great deal of obstacles throughout his term(s) in office. If the hardcore anti-Bush brigade expect big changes in foreign policy, I’m afraid that they’re being just a little naive. Obama’s big impact will, I suspect, be in US domestic policy.

I must admit, I did have a little wry smile on my face as the first words Obama spoke as he swore in were fluffed (having read the oath, it was Rick Warren’s mistake and not Obama’s) and he seemed to hesitate. Not the best start, but Obama dealt with it well. Let’s see if the satirists make anything out of that little episode – they would have lapped it up if it had been Bush.

In any case, it is great to see the investiture of the first black American president. It looks like the most powerful nation on Earth has indeed moved on a great deal from the dark days of segregation. I sincerely hope that Obama can live up to the expectations. By his investiture, he has already exceeded the hopes and dreams of a generation of people brought up under segregation. Martin Luther King’s dream has finally been realised.