Nelson Mandela Calls Bush Shortsighted and Arrogant on Iraq; Implies Racism
By Japan Mathebula
January 30, 2003
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) - Former President Nelson Mandela called
President Bush arrogant and shortsighted and implied that he was racist
for ignoring the United Nations in his zeal to attack Iraq.
In a speech Thursday, Mandela urged the people of the United States to
join massive protests against Bush. Mandela called on world leaders,
especially those with vetoes in the U.N. Security Council, 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," Mandela
told the International Women's Forum.
Mandela also criticized Iraq for not cooperating fully with the weapons
inspectors and said South Africa would support any action against Iraq
that was supported by the United Nations.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer responded to Mandela's criticism by
pointing to a letter by eight European leaders reiterating their support
"The president expresses his gratitude to the many leaders of Europe who
obviously feel differently" than Mandela, Fleischer said. "He understands
there are going to be people who are more comfortable doing nothing about
a growing menace that could turn into a holocaust."
A Nobel Peace Prize winner, Mandela has repeatedly condemned U.S.
behavior toward Iraq in recent months and demanded Bush respect the
authority of the United Nations. His comments Thursday, though, were far
more critical and his attack on Bush far more personal than in the past.
"Why is the United States behaving so arrogantly?" he asked. "All that
(Bush) wants is Iraqi oil," he said.
He accused Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair of undermining the
United Nations and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who is from Ghana.
"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.
Mandela said the United Nations was the main reason there has been no
World War III and it should make the decisions on how to deal with Iraq.
He said that the United States, which callously dropped atomic bombs on
Hiroshima and Nagasaki, has 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.
"Who are they now to pretend that they are the policemen of the world,
the ones that should decide for the people of Iraq what should be done
with their government and their leadership?" he said.
He said Bush was "trying to bring about carnage" and appealed to the
American people to vote him out of office and demonstrate against his
He also condemned Blair for his strong support of the United States.
"He is the foreign minister of the United States. He is no longer prime
minister of Britain," he said.