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Mad about Mandela
[September 2, 2002]

By Nicholas Provenzo

According to a Reuters report filed by Brendan Boyle, South African statesman Nelson Mandela condemned President Bush's policy on Iraq on Monday, saying he was "appalled" by U.S. threats of military action. According to the report:

"What they are introducing is chaos in international affairs and we condemn that in the strongest terms," Mandela told reporters outside his Johannesburg home.

"We are really appalled by any country whether it is a superpower or a poor country that goes outside the United Nations and attacks independent countries," Mandela said.

So Mandela is appalled, not by the fact that Iraq lives under a brutal dictatorship, that it refuses to comply with the Gulf War cease fire agreement and allow inspection of its weapons production facilities, or that it may very well be aiding terrorists in their war against the US, but by the fact that the US will not likely seek the world's permission via the United Nations if it chooses to attack Iraq.

Yet again this speaks to the fundamental problem behind the United Nations concept: that a free nation needs the permission of the world to defend the rights of its citizens. Iraq has proven for many years to be a substantial threat to the interest of the US. The threat that this rouge nation may be building weapons of mass destruction is sufficient reason alone for the US to once and for all topple this dictatorship. The US does not need to ask the permission of any other state before it acts. If the US believes that rights of its citizens are threatened, that is sufficient reason alone for it to take action.

So what then if France, Germany, Libya, Zimbabwe, South Africa, or any other nation has a problem with the US demolishing the Iraqi dictatorship? No other nation has the right to veto US foreign or military policy. If anything, the free, peace-loving world should be glad that the US is finally showing resolve against Saddam Hussein after too many years of pussy-footing around the problem.

Having lived under an authoritarian regime himself, it would have been refreshing to see Mandela support US action toward Iraq. I've always found Mandela to be a troubling character to evaluate, often representing both the very best and very worst in a leader, but for to take the side of a dictatorship over the rightful interests of the US, Mandela has forfeited any of the moral credit I once gave him.


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