William F. Buckley
The Daily Mirror, which is a newspaper in Britain with one of the largest circulations, said today that Nelson Mandela "demolished the stand taken by George W. Bush and Tony Blair, and savaged the warmongering president" in his speech the day before. The paper gives the credentials of Mandela: He is "the most admired statesman in the world." He is "for countless millions a symbol of honor, principle and commitment to justice." The editorial concludes, "Whose side should (Britain) be on? George W. Bush or Nelson Mandela?"

What is it exactly that Mr. Mandela said at the international women's conference in Johannesburg, in search of honor, principle and commitment to justice?

He said that George Bush is leading the world into "a holocaust." He said that Tony Blair has become "the foreign minister of the United States. He is no longer the prime minister of Britain." He said that there was a single thing the United States wants from Iraq: oil. He said that there is a single entity that can be permitted to deal with Iraq. It is the United Nations. And those Security Council members who have vetoes should now use them against the United States.

Why is the U.S. "undermining the authority of the United Nations"? "Because Kofi Annan, the secretary-general, is black."

What are you saying?

"They never did that when secretary-generals were white."

Are we dealing here with a man suddenly wrenched from reality? Yet one of the largest newspapers in Great Britain hails his advice. He speaks at a women's conference that cheered him, without any apparent concern for women's rights in Iraq, where prostitutes are beheaded. As the unrivaled hero in the long South African struggle for human rights, Mandela declines to criticize the despotism of Mugabe. His country voted for Libya to take the chair of the United Nations Human Rights Commission.

The whole scene is sobering, and shoves again in our face the arrant dominance of the racial card in almost every political situation.

William F. Buckley

William F. Buckley, Jr. is editor-at-large of National Review, the prolific author of Miles Gone By: A Literary Autobiography.

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