Tutu Right Again

Not for the first time, Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaks truth to power, and touches my heart to the point that I realize he's right and I'm wrong.

Tutu says that George Bush and Tony Blair should apologize for pursuing a counterproductive and immoral war against Iraq. I don't think there's even an argument to be made against that proposition. What stunned me was the followup:

"An immoral war was thus waged and the world is a great deal less safe place than before," the [Independent] quoted him as saying.

"It is large-hearted and courageous people who are not diminished by saying 'I made a mistake'. President Bush and Prime Minister Blair would recover considerable credibility and respect if they were able to say, 'Yes we made a mistake'", said the Nobel prize winner.

Okay, if I look into my heart, I have to admit that Blair would recover some credibility if he admitted a mistake. And I even have to admit that I'd be impressed if Bush said he was wrong. Not that there's any way I'd ever trust any member of that family; thieves, traitors, invaders, assassinators all. But I would think a lot better of Shrub if he admitted that, in Reagan's classic phrase, “mistakes were made” (notice how the passive voice, bane of technical writers, allowed Reagan to avoid assigning responsibility). If he stopped smirking long enough to say it believably (which I admit I don't think is possible), he would actually go up a couple of rungs on my chart, reaching something like the level of “international war criminals too stupid to realize what they're doing” as opposed to “international war criminals willing to kill tens of thousands for a variety of geostrategic reasons”.

I'm surprised, but I can't avoid the conclusion that doing the right thing would improve my opinion even of someone I despise as much as the current President of these United States. I guess that should give me faith in my concept of virtue, but it also leaves me feeling vulnerable to any con man (person) that comes along. I mean, I never fell for the neo-con line, but there were moments (decades ago, I swear) when B.F. Skinner sounded reasonable…

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