George Bush is the latest to borrow the iconic name of Nelson Mandela for the Administration's rationalization as to what went wrong in Iraq. The first was Ryan Crocker's testimony in Congress about the surge, September 10, "This is the legacy that Iraqis had as their history when Saddam's statue came down on April 9, 2003. No Nelson Mandela existed to emerge on the national political scene. Anyone with his leadership talents would not have survived."
Then it was Condi Rice a couple of days later, in an interview echoing Crocker:
I think the Iraqis are trying to pull it together. Look, what they're doing is very hard. Saddam Hussein destroyed the fabric of that society. Someone asked me, "Why is there no Nelson Mandela that, you know, a general, a huge figure who's appeared to unify Iraq?" Well, the truth of the matter is that Saddam Hussein killed people, a lot of the leadership of Iraq."(implying that the leaders that remain today and are backed by America, aren't quite as good)
Now it is George Bush's turn who "when (another) someone asked him" as well "Where is Mandela? Bush replied that "Mandela is dead because Saddam killed all the Mandelas'" See Youtube Video
Crocker, Rice and Bush betray their ignorance of Iraqi politics, by trying to compare the ANC which represented a peaceful majority that renounced all civil violence after the Shrapeville massacre of 1960, against what amounts to a civil war that has being going on for centuries, in Iraq, between two or three (with the Kurds) very powerful and very bitter sectarian /religious groups. And secondly,
"This administration wouldn't recognize an Iraqi Mandela if he came up and spit at them. When he was in Congress, Dick Cheney repeatedly called Mandela a terrorist and a Communist, and supported the apartheid regime. Conservatives never accepted the ANC as a legitimate force, insisting against overwhelming evidence that it was a catspaw for Moscow."
In 1990 when Mandela was released, small minded mean politicians like Cheney (unlike Clinton or even Reagan) were blind to the power of the democratic spirit-- to unifiers or peacemakers. such as Mandela. Cheney for example, voted against a non-binding Congressional resolution in 1986, calling for the South African apartheid regime to release Nelson Mandela from prison and negotiate with the African National Congress, on the ground that Mandela and his organization were terrorists who would establish a Communist dictatorship.
If Crocker, Rice and Bush were really interested in unifying Iraq, they could begin, by urging Cheney to resign, and they might try listening to Mandela instead, (or when they had a chance) Mandela slams Bush on Iraq "What I am condemning is that one power, with a president who has no foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust."...January, 2003.
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