Mandela Sees Racism In US Plan To Attack Iraq

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Posted by andreas from ( on Friday, September 20, 2002 at 0:41AM :

Mandela Sees Racism In US Plan To Attack Iraq


WASHINGTON, D.C. (NNPA) - Former South African President Nelson Mandela charges that racism may be an element in the decision by the United States and Britain to launch a unified attack on Iraq if the United Nations decides against a war on Baghdad.

Nelson Mandela believes the United States is to blame for the conflict with Iraq.
In an interview with “Newsweek” magazine, Mandela says: “…Scott Ritter, a former United Nations arms inspector who is in Baghdad, has said that there is no evidence whatsoever of (development of weapons of ) mass destruction. Neither Bush nor (Prime Minister) Tony Blair has provided any evidence that such weapons exist.

“But what we know is that Israel has weapons of mass destruction. Nobody talks about that. Why should there be one standard for one country, especially because it is black, and another one for another country, Israel, because that is white.”

When asked, “So you see this as a racial question?” the Nobel Peace Prize winner replied, “Well, that element is there. In fact, many people say quietly, but they don’t have the courage to stand up and say publicly, that when there were white secretary generals you didn’t find this question of the United States and Britain going out of the United Nations. But now that you’ve had black secretary generals like Boutrous Boutrous Ghali, like Kofi Annan, they do not respect the United Nations. They have contempt for it. This is not my view, but that is what is being said by many people.”

Mandela said part of the tensions surrounding a possible attack on Iraq is because of United States arrogance.

“…There is no doubt that the United States now feels that they are the only superpower in the world and they can do what they like,” Mandela told “Newsweek.”

He said the United States is in part to blame for many conflicts around the world.

“The United States has made serious mistakes in the conduct of its foreign affairs, which have had unfortunate repercussions long after the decisions were taken,” Mandela observed. “Unqualified support of the Shah of Iran led directly to the Islamic revolution of 1979. Then the United States chose to arm and finance the [Islamic] mujahedin in Afghanistan instead of supporting and encouraging the moderate wing of the government of Afghanistan. That is what led to the Taliban in Afghanistan.

“But the most catastrophic action of the United States was to sabotage the decision that was painstakingly stitched together by the United Nations regarding the withdrawal of the Soviet Union from Afghanistan. If you look at those matters, you will come to the conclusion that the attitude of the United States of America is a threat to world peace. Because what (America) is saying is that if you are afraid of a veto in the Security Council, you can go outside and take action and violate the sovereignty of other countries. That is the message they are sending to the world.”

"…There is no doubt that the United States now feels that they are the only superpower in the world and they can do what they like."

In an interview on Black Entertainment Television’s “Lead Story” on Sunday, National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice strongly denied that George W. Bush is trying to circumvent the United Nations.

“What the president did was to lay out a challenge to the United Nations to live up to its principles,” she said. “We’re asked always to act in a multilateral way. The U.N. is the great multilateral institution, but it is being unilaterally violated by Saddam Hussein who has ignored more than a decade of resolutions that have held him in material breach, that have held him to be a threat to peace and security. It’s time for the UN to act, or someone will have to act.”

While being careful not to say for certain that the United States is planning to attack Iraq, Rice said, “There is no deadline here for a decision on the use of force.” She added, “There is a decision on the part of the president of the United States that he is not going to sit by and let storm clouds of danger gather over the American people, our friends and our allies.”

In his interview with “Newsweek,” Mandela mentioned reading reports that Vice President Dick Cheney is the real president of the United States. When asked if that causes him concern, Mandela said half-jokingly, “He opposed the decision to release me from prison. The majority of the US Congress was in favor of my release, and he opposed it.”

The former South African president, who is now 84, did not joke when assessing Bush’s motives for wanting to attack Iraq, the second-largest producing oil country in the world.

“…You will notice that France, Germany, Russia, China are against this decision,” he observed. “It is clearly a decision that is motivated by George W. Bush’s desire to please the arms and oil industries in the United States of America.”

George E. Curry is editor in chief of the NNPA news service and

-- andreas
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