USA - Irak
Mandela attacks Blair and Bush
When one keeps in mind that one of the conservatives of the Bush administration's hard wing, vice
president Dick Cheney, voted against Mandela's release from jail and the end of Apartheid, one
may further understand Mandela?s stance.
AP in Johannesburg and agencies
Friday January 31, 2003
Nelson Mandela yesterday launched a withering attack on George Bush and Tony Blair, implying they
were racists intent on war with Iraq and accusing Mr Blair of abdicating his responsibility as prime minister
Mr Mandela urged the American people to join protests against their president and called on world
leaders, especially those with vetoes in the UN security council, to unite to oppose him.
"One power with a president who has no foresight and cannot think properly is now wanting to plunge the
world into a holocaust," Mr Mandela said in a speech to the International Women's Forum.
"Why is the US behaving so arrogantly?" he asked. "All that [Bush] wants is Iraqi oil."
Condemning Mr Blair, he said: "He is the foreign minister of the United States. He is no longer prime
minister of Britain."
The former president of South Africa also accused Mr Bush and Mr Blair of undermining the UN and its
secretary-general, Kofi Annan.
"Is it because the secretary-general of the United Nations is now a black man? They never did that when
secretary-generals were white," he said.
Mr Mandela said the UN was the main reason there had been no third world war. The US, which
callously dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, had no moral authority to police the world.
"If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of
America. They don't care for human beings," he said.
Mr Mandela also criticised Iraq for not cooperating fully with the weapons inspectors and said South
Africa would support any action against Iraq that was supported by the UN.
His comments drew a strong response from the White House spokesman, Ari Fleischer, who said Mr
Bush "understands there are going to be people who are more comfortable doing nothing about a growing
menace that could turn into a holocaust".
Mandela Made Similar Critics in 2000
The White House has brushed aside Nelson Mandela's ferocious personal attack on President George
Bush, pointing to the statement of support by eight European leaders, and warning that standing by was
more dangerous than taking action now.
Bush was grateful to the many leaders of Europe "who obviously feel differently" from Mandela, Ari
Fleischer, Bush's spokesman, said.
Fleischer chided "people more comfortable with doing nothing about a growing menace that could turn into
On Thursday, Mandela described Bush as a leader "who has no foresight and cannot think properly and
who now wants to plunge the world into a holocaust".
'Why does the United States behave so arrogantly?'
In a speech in Johannesburg at the World Women's Forum, he said Bush was arrogant, implying he was a
racist in his readiness to ignore the United Nations.
Fleischer later accused Bush's critics of looking the other way while a "holocaust" brewed.
"The president will understand there are going to be people who are more comfortable doing nothing about
a growing menace that can turn into a holocaust," he said.
Mandela said: "Why does the United States behave so arrogantly?"
The answer might be, he suggested, "because the secretary-general of the UN (Ghanaian Kofi Annan) is
now a black man".
Urging Americans to take to the streets in protest, Mandela accused Tony Blair of acting like "the foreign
minister" of the US.
Joe Biden, the senior Democrat on the US Senate foreign affairs committee, said on Thursday: "Such
sentiments are not voiced here. But concern at the damage to the reputation of the US, and the risk it will
be alone in rebuilding Iraq, is widespread.
"The US has to be wary of actions that make us look like a bunch of cowboys."
This article was originally published on page 1 of The Cape Argus on 31 January 2002