Tutu still believes Iraq war is 'immoral'

April 10, 2003

Speaking to reporters during a convocation at Elon University in North Carolina, retired archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu, said that he agrees with other international church leaders--including Pope John Paul II and Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams--that the war in Iraq 'is a war that should not have happened.'

Tutu, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, said that he found the timing of the war strange, wondering why after waiting 12 years for Saddam Hussein's government to comply with UN resolutions 'it seems odd not to have waited another six months. Why should it have become so urgent now?' He said that it is 'almost bizarre' for the Americans to argue that Iraq posed a threat. He also doubted that the war would make the United States more secure from terrorist threats. It would be much more effective to use the funds on programs to feed and educate the world's poor, he said.

'People like Americans--I do,' said Tutu. 'And this country has a special place in the hearts of many because of the compassion it has shown. You wonder why that is not what you want to spread,' he said. He also expressed deep concern for rebuilding Iraq after the war, especially over apparent US attempts to limit the role of the United Nations.

While other nations have been able to agree on cooperation--such as creating a world criminal court and signing the Kyoto Agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions--the United States has not joined those efforts. 'It's a sad pattern,' Tutu said. 'This is not what makes your country great. What makes your country great is the alliance of power with morality.'

Tutu repeated his comments at the World Affairs Council in Portland, Oregon, on the day that Baghdad apparently fell. 'You can bet your bottom dollar there won't be peace,' he said. 'You will never get true security from the barrel of a gun. Anything war can do, peace can do better. God is weeping because it could be so different.'