["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. Who are they now to pretend that they are the policemen
of the world, the ones that should decided for the people of Iraq what
should be done with their government and their leadership?"
Mandela calls Bush shortsighted and arrogant for Iraq policy
By JAPAN MATHEBULA, Associated Press Writer JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -
30 January: Former President Nelson Mandela on Thursday called U.S. President George W. Bush (news - web sites) arrogant and shortsighted and implied he was racist for ignoring the United Nations (news - web sites) in his zeal to attack Iraq.
Mandela urged the people of the United States to join massive protests against Bush and called on world leaders, especially those with vetoes in the U.N. 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," Mandela said in a speech to the International Women's Forum. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer (news - web sites) responded to Mandela's criticism by pointing to a letter by eight European leaders reiterating their support of Bush. "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." U.N. weapons inspectors said Monday they needed more time to determine whether Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. Meanwhile, Bush weighed setting a deadline for the nation to prove it had disarmed. Many countries, including France and Germany, have signaled their unhappiness with Bush's Iraq policy. 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 (news - web sites) of undermining the United Nations and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan (news - web sites), 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. The United States, which callously dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, had no moral authority to unilaterally police the world, he said. "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 decided 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 policies. 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. 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.