The Monitor will return to the subject of Joe Lieberman (or Senator Twister, as we’ve renamed him) next week; after all – and here we’re paraphrasing the Sage of Saddle River, the late and lamented Dick Nixon – we will have Joe to kick around for the foreseeable future.
Nelson Mandela, on the other hand, deserves prompt attention. Mandela, who upon his release from a South African prison more than a decade ago was transformed by the media from a Marxist terrorist into a living saint, has loosed a verbal attack on President Bush and the United States so vicious in its tone and content that it stunned even many of his usually oblivious admirers.
A popular figure among American liberals (Jewish liberals in particular used to speak of him in tones approaching rapture, never more so than when in the company of African-Americans they were trying to impress), Mandela will never feel the wrath of the intelligentsia for anything he says or does; his pigmentation and his politics are all the protective armor he needs.
That Mandela is an unrepentant leftist with a soft spot for Third World dictators and Middle East despots is hardly news. In Mandela’s fossilized mind, the future of mankind is to be divined by sitting at the feet of the philosopher kings ensconced in Havana and Ramallah and Tripoli. Constitutional democracy? Liberty? Free market economics? Who needs them when you’ve got the Communist Manifesto and the collected works of Noam Chomsky?
But even given the old commie’s longtime delusions, it was still a jarring experience to read what came out of his mouth last week. Not surprising, but jarring. Following are some of the highlights from his speech to the International Women’s Forum.
On Bush: “One power with a president who has no fore sight and cannot think properly is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust. Why is the U.S. behaving so arrogantly? All that [Bush] wants is Iraqi oil.”
On Tony Blair: “He is the foreign minister of the United States. He is no longer prime minister of Britain.”
On the U.S.: “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.”
Mandela reiterated his views in an interview with Newsweek in which he accused President Bush of wanting a war with Iraq “to please the arms and oil industries in the United States of America.”
Mandela told Newsweek that no evidence had been produced to support the claim that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, but mentioned his concern about another country’s war-making capabilities.
“But what we know,” he said, “is that Israel has weapons of mass destruction. Nobody mentions that.”
One of the more perceptive takes on Mandela appeared this week on the American Prowler website (Americanprowler.org), written by George Neumayr. “The media” wrote Neumayr, “have conveniently forgotten that Mandela was a hard-core Communist. He drank deeply at the well of anti-American Communist theory, and it has never left his system.
“Those astonished at his apologetics for Saddam Hussein – “Israel has weapons of mass destruction” but Hussein doesn’t, according to Mandela – should remember that he has played defense for madmen and thugs before. His ramshackle South African government maintained ties with Fidel Castro and Muammar Qaddafi. And long before that, he was responsible for a pamphlet called “How To Be A Good Communist” in which he praised the genius of Marx, Lenin and Stalin.
“America was one of the capitalist countries Mandela wanted the Soviets to trample. “The cause of Communism is the greatest and most arduous cause in the history of mankind,” the pamphlet stated.”
No wonder that with the Soviet Union gone and the United States still standing as the world’s lone superpower, Mandela sounds like a bitter old man staring senility in the face.
“Thankfully,” wrote Neumayr, “Bush isn’t taking him seriously. It is too bad that the world still does.”
Jason Maoz can be reached at email@example.com