Jewish World Review Feb. 5, 2003 / 3 Adar I, 5763

Edward I. Koch

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Consumer Reports

As the world turns | President Bush's announcement to the nation, "The Columbia is lost. There are no survivors," turned most people to their faith in G-d and the afterlife for strength.

We are frail in body and subject to so many forces beyond our control. Believing that we shall have a place in heaven and meet once again our family and friends who have passed over makes life bearable in the greatest of tragedies.

All that has transpired on earth since the beginning of time cannot be the result of inexplicable accident. It had to be and continues to be part of the Creator's grand design. Those who die while engaged in heroic acts -- and flying into infinite space is heroic -- will surely have a place at the Creator's side.

Last weekend, the senior senator from New Jersey, Jon Corzine, stated in a television interview that even if the Iraqis use poison gas against our soldiers, the U.S. should never respond with nuclear weapons. Many observers believe Saddam Hussein did not use weapons of mass destruction in the 1991 Persian Gulf War because he was warned that in retaliation we would devastate Iraq with a nuclear response. Corzine's statement gives Iraq encouragement to use those weapons. The media should poll Senators and members of Congress on where they stand on this issue. What Corzine has done is to reinforce the public's conclusion reflected in polls that Democrats are not to be trusted on matters relating to national defense and security.

Nelson Mandela performed superbly as President of the Republic of South Africa. Last week, he disgraced himself with an outrageous and racially explosive attack on President George W. Bush and the U.S. Mandela ranted, "Is this [expected military action against Iraq] because the Secretary General of the United Nations is now a black man? They never did that when Secretary Generals were white." According to The New York Times, "…he also criticized the United States for complaining about Iraq's human rights record. Asserting that the American conscience was far from clean, Mr. Mandela pointed to the atomic bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. 'Because they decided to kill innocent people in Japan, who are still suffering from that, who are they now to pretend that they are the policeman of the world?' he asked."

Mandela's claim that racism toward Secretary General Kofi Annan has played a role in defining U.S. policy toward Iraq is absurd. Kurt Waldheim, white and European, was ultimately precluded from serving another term as U.N. Secretary General as a result of U.S. opposition. Because of his Nazi past, he was placed on a State Department exclusion list after leaving the U.N. so he could not reenter the U.S. He was denounced by the U.S. and many European countries.

Mandela's attack on President Truman's decision to use the nuclear bomb on Japan to end WWII is inexcusable. Some estimate the lives of 500,000 American soldiers scheduled to invade the Japanese homeland in November, 1945, may have been saved by Japan's unconditional surrender following the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. The lives of millions of Japanese were probably also saved by the surrender. Many are afraid to criticize Mandela's outrageous comments for fear of incurring the displeasure of this international icon and his many supporters. Because someone has made important contributions to human affairs doesn't provide immunity from foolish statements. Mandela should apologize immediately, and newspaper editorials here and abroad should take him to task for his behavior.

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JWR contributor Edward I. Koch, the former mayor of New York, can be heard on Bloomberg Radio (WBBR 1130 AM) every Saturday from 9-10 am. Comment by clicking here.

01/30/03: Why are sports exempt from racial diversity and universities encouraged to engage in racial preferences over individual academic achievement?
01/23/03: We absolutely can't back down
11/13/02: President blunted the Ted Kennedys of Democrat party --- good for him!
10/23/02: New Jersey's bigot laureate is no private citizen and his 'defenses' are idiotic
10/01/02: Congress is not doing its job
09/26/02: Confronting pathetic Americans in a post 9-11 world
09/19/02: Don't be fooled by Saddam
09/05/02: Necessary or not, getting congressional approval for war is common-sense
08/28/02: In defense of terrorism
08/22/02: Saddam Hussein is extremely popular in "Arab street," so why attack him?
08/15/02: My potpourri
08/09/02: Traitors: Journalistic and 'patriotic'
07/31/02: Euros should spend their time analyzing their own country's wartime actions
07/25/02: I may know next to nothing about the stock market, but I'm not getting out
07/18/02: Dems should stop trying to 'Whitewater' the President
07/11/02: Real Americans and the Islamic threat

© 2002, Edward I. Koch