Did George Washington really not “stoop” to Nelson Mandela’s tactics?

It’s really remarkable sometimes how overtaken by extremism the Republican party has become.  Case in point: The GOP reaction to Nelson Mandela’s death.

While a few Republicans offered kind words about the former South African president, and freedom fighter, they were excoriated by GOP constituents irate that anyone would offer condolences for a “communist.”  Here’s what happened to US House Majority Leader Eric Cantor when he said a few nice things about Mandela:

Courtesy of TPM.

Courtesy of TPM.

And today the hits just keep on coming.  Here’s a quick look at the latest Republican hate inspired by the death of Nelson Mandela.

Former GOP presidential candidate Pat Buchanan says that Ronald Reagan was right and “courageous” to oppose anti-apartheid sanctions.

American Family Association radio host, and former head of the religious right group Concerned Women for America, Sandy Rios, said Mandela deserved his jail time, and questioned whether he really did a good thing by liberating South Africa from apartheid:

Nelson Mandela was placed in prison because of the violence that he did in the country of South Africa. Now you can argue, I guess, you can say it was worth it because we overthrew apartheid, I don’t know, is that really the way a victory should be won? Is this really a righteous cause? Is he really a saint for doing this? They talk about him being in solitary confinement, well, criminals are placed in solitary confinement, if you murder other people you lose your rights. I don’t view it as sainthood, I’m sorry… I think the truth has to be told.

WorldNetDaily columnist and regular Fox News guest Erik Rush discusses whether South Africa was better under apartheid.

“You know I hate to rain on the parade here, but there really isn’t a whole lot to celebrate aside from this synthetic symbolism that is being made out of someone who, you know, didn’t do much,” Rush said. “Apartheid went away, great. There are South African blacks who have told friends of mine they wish it was back because the country was safer, if you can believe that.”

WorldNetDaily’s magazine, WND Weekly, called Nelson Mandela a conman.


Anti-abortion activist Jill Stanek thinks Mandela is guilty of “mass genocide” for being prochoice, so she just can’t mourn his death.

Even the Pope and Cardinal Dolan have been lauding South African leader Nelson Mandela following his death earlier this week of natural causes at age 95. But I can’t. Nelson Mandela has the blood of preborn children on his hands… lots of them…. I cannot get past this and cannot view Mandela as any other than a leader who engaged in mass genocide of his own innocent people.

Of course, not to be outdone in crazyland, Glenn Beck told his audience of conspiracy-believers that “you are the next Nelson Mandela.”

Nelson Mandela vs. George Washington

I think the most interesting response was from Newt Gingrich, who praised Mandela, and then from Gingrich’s followers on Facebook who excoriated Newt for praising Mandela.

So Newt went ahead and praised Mandela again, and his followers got even more ticked.

Here are a few of the ticked:

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I have to say that I’m intrigued by this notion that George Washington never let the ends justify the means.

I seem to recall, from my reading of American history, that Washington and the patriots were all too happy to throw gentlemanly convention out the window and partake in tactics that, at the time, were considered quite uncouth by civilized men.

Yes, George Washington practiced guerrilla warfare.

From author Max Boot on NPR:

MAX BOOT: Today, we’re used to having Americans soldiers be the forces of the government. And, of course, in our revolution, we were the insurgents and the British were the role of the counterinsurgency. And, in fact, many of the strategies which the American rebels used against the British are similar in many ways to the strategies now being used against us around the world.

NPR’S INSKEEP: Now, the American revolutionaries eventually did form a regular army. But guerrilla tactics played a huge role in securing their independence. Max Boot sees modern lessons in that story, as told in “Invisible Armies,” his new history of guerrilla warfare.

What were the strategies that the American rebels used when they were rebels?

BOOT: Well, it first of all, comes down to not coming out into the open where you could be annihilated by the superior firepower of the enemy. The British got a taste of how the Americans would fight on the very first day of the Revolution, with the shot heard around the world, the Battle of Lexington and Concorde, where the British regulars marched through the Massachusetts countryside.

And the Americans did not mass in front of them but instead chose to slither on their bellies – these Yankees scoundrels, as the British called them – and fired from behind trees and stone walls. And not come out until the kind of open gentleman’s fight that the British expected, and instead, took a devastating toll on the British regiment.

And as for the notion that “in our struggle for freedom never once did George Washington condone rubber necklaces and burning innocent people alive,” vulcanized rubber was invented in 1844. And rubber tires were invented in 1888.

(I’m told that in order to actually see my Facebook posts in your Facebook feed, you need to “follow” me – so say the experts.)

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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49 Responses to “Did George Washington really not “stoop” to Nelson Mandela’s tactics?”

  1. Xiao Zhoumin says:

    Perhaps not. There is a proof that it will never stop except there will be another Nelson Mandela

    . http://www.e-vietnamvisa.com

  2. Searchin4Truth says:

    THE difference between North American blacks & whites…is their vitamin D levels.
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    If everyone took those supplements our health care disaster would go away in a few years.
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  3. Searchin4Truth says:

    Your post was better written than the damn story!
    Thanks for that historic encapsulation.

  4. Searchin4Truth says:

    I have been a staunch Republican for 35 years and I am beginning to be ashamed to say that I even WAS a Republican! I am voting “Independant” from now on because if you’re not RiCH, you’d be crazy to be a Republican these days.
    I lived through the years of Apartheid and ANC conflicts and Mandela. (I am 66)
    Mandela was NEVER implicated as ordering, suggesting etc. “necklacing” ANYONE, EVER !
    That was the ANC, NOT Mandela.
    How can anyone condemn someone that preached “one man, one vote” and a “government by the people, for the people” or, someone that wanted no retribution against the bastards that ENSLAVED his people in their OWN country?
    What would Christ do?
    More importantly. what would YOU do, if you were in that kind of hell in your OWN country?
    Think with your brains, not your wallets.

  5. mirror says:

    You believe it is up to the colonial master race to decide. That ideology often makes colonial relinquishment quite bloody. The master race doesn’t want to let go, leaving the native peoples no choice but to seek outside allies.

  6. Andrew Ryan says:

    Pretty much: “Communism is a far greater evil than apartheid was. Although both were evil, communism was a thousand times more so. Although both had their victims, communism lapped apartheid more than a million times. As for political point scoring, I would have been happy to leave it alone if all people were doing was mourning a personal loss. But no, Mandela’s passing was being used to whitewash the greatest evil of the last century for political gain.” – Douglas Wilson.


  7. Hi, welcome to America. You’re permitted to disagree with opinions, you’re not permitted to disagree with facts. It’s well established what kind of tactics were used during the Revolutionary War. And while I realize that on Fox News and Rush Limbaugh they teach you that schoolyard bullying taunts are the equivalent of a rational argument in response to a well-reasoned point, that only works in Jesusland.

  8. David says:

    What is this Liberal la la land bullshit?

  9. pappyvet says:

    To the rightwingers ,

    You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?Joseph N. Welch

  10. TheOriginalLiz says:

    Right…because our patriot rebel ancestors weren’t terrorists … they were white, after all.

  11. Strepsi says:


  12. Anonymous says:

    These are the same Americans who say they “need” their guns to form a “militia” if the time comes.

  13. Monoceros Forth says:

    Oh, I know it is.


  14. Strepsi says:

    @ JOHN ARAVISIS, as well as your single NPR quote: as a Canadian we are well aware the U.S. used “terrorist” tactics, and not only in your own Revolution: in the War of 1812, which U.S. history books like to pretend was simply a naval war, the U.S. invaded Canada unprovoked. There was an expansionist zeal matched by the evangelical idea of “Manifest Destiny” – that God wanted America to have all land to the 54th parallel.

    Your troops burned villages, and set boats alight to terrorize the population. We – with the help of the first nations – kicked your asses and burned the White House down.

    Most Americans are not taught this, but it is fairly common knowledge in the Great White North.

  15. Badgerite says:

    The ANC only took up armed resistance after political activity, that is arguing and organizing for a one man, one vote system of elections otherwise known as universal suffrage, was outlawed. Now, what would these yahoos do if the federal government suddenly decided that they couldn’t vote in ANY elections. 90% of the people of South Africa were being ruled by 10% of the population.
    These people claim to be oppressed by the fact that a black man was elected president twice in free and fair elections in which they had every right to and presumably did vote.
    What would they say if the ‘Tea Party’ were outlawed and they were denied any right to cast a ballot at any election?
    The American colonies took up armed resistance as well. They also wanted representation. Input into their government’s decision that affected their lives. How is that different.
    If the British had won, George Washington and company would have been hung.

  16. chris10858 says:

    It would be comical if it weren’t so sad to see conservatives have an automatic knee-jerk reaction to honoring any person of color and then quickly go about demonizing anyone who might disagree with their views.. even the ultra-conservative Newt Gingrich or the new Pope.

  17. rrr says:

    and of course those same wingnuts have an absolutist view of the second amendment because they have this fantasy of being able to overthrow the “oppressive government” and you better not target right wing militias as criminal/terrorist threats.

    but when a black guy does it…

  18. …and gasoline and grenades did not exist in the eighteenth century. Of course, morons don’t know this technological fact. When I was in third grade (with my IQ, I was probably at the mental age of 12, a moron), I pointed out to my teacher that there were no antennas on the log houses of the pilgrims displayed for that Thanksgiving. Then again, my aunt took me to see Mary Poppins that same Thanksgiving, and I knew nothing of women’s rights nor of England in 1910.

  19. Bill_Perdue says:

    Mandela’s historic role as a revolutionary is often distorted. (1) The truth is that Mandela, like many who didn’t want to, was forced to take up arms against the apartheid state. The SA
    apartheid regime gave him and working people no choice.

    Mandela played a key part in the fight to end apartheid, but what followed in South Africa was not a revolution. It was a continuation of the old regime with a new political face, that of the ANC, the African National Congress in alliance with the SACP, the South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions, COSATU. Together they accepted capitalist and colonial relations and shifted right.

    Since Mandela stepped down the ANC/SCAP/COSATU alliance, largely dominated by Stalinists from the SCAP, has engaged in increasingly violent police attacks on union mine workers battling against English bosses. While the ANC’s Zuma regime is moving right in response to the unrest engendered by the continued looting of SA neo-colonialist English and North American multi-nationals it’s also in the process of splitting, with substantial, but still unorganized forces moving sharply left.

    Neo-colonial relations continue to warp South Africa’s economy and they’re creating a disaster. “The unemployment rate in South Africa was last reported at 24.9 percent in the second quarter of 2012. Historically, from 2000 until 2012, South Africa Unemployment Rate averaged
    25.5 Percent reaching an all time high of 31.2 Percent in March of 2003 and a record low of 21.9 Percent in December of 2008 .”
    It’s likely much higher because this rate, like the US ‘official’ rate only counts those looking for a job. (2)

    “Eighteen years after the end of apartheid, South Africa is now judged to be one of the most
    unequal societies in the world and its 19 million children bear the brunt of the disconnect. The UNICEF report found that 1.4 million children live in homes that rely on often dirty streams for drinking water, 1.5 million have no flushing lavatories and 1.7 million live in shacks, with no proper bedding, cooking or washing facilities. Four in 10 live in homes where no one is employed and, in cases of dire poverty, the figure rises to seven in 10.”

    The alliance of the ANC, SACP and COSATU, like the alliance of the Democrats and Republicans in the US, has spearheaded the attack on militant unions and on the standard of living of workers. In SA there have been large strikes by government workers, miners and
    others which COSATU couldn’t prevent, although it had limited success in betraying some of them. “Strikes across South Africa have resulted in 2,806 656 working days being lost in the labour market in 2011, says a labour department official.” (4)

    The murderous attacks on the mineworkers mark a turning point in politics in the RSA. The ANC/COSATU/SACP alliance is becoming increasingly discredited, is unraveling and opposition is sure to crystallize in new working class groups who’ll be able to defeat them.

    (1) Mandela and the ANC were added to the terrorist watch list by the US, England and the SA apartheid regime during the Reagan regime. They were finally excised from the U.S. Terrorist Watch list in 2008.
    (2) http://www.tradingeconomics.com/south-africa/unemployment-rate
    (3) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9280481/More-than-half-of-South-Africas-children-live-in-poverty.html
    (4) http://mg.co.za/article/2012-08-08-labour-strikes-working-days-lost

  20. Naja pallida says:

    Extremism in the defense of liberty Republicanism is no vice.

  21. RepubAnon says:

    When did Republicans stop thinking that the ends justifies the means? Whenever someone they dislike is using those means. Consider that wonderful humanitarian, human rights activist, and champion of freedom General Augusto Pinochet of Chile. Unlike Nelson Mandela, General Pinochet never had anyone assassinated, or tortured…oh, wait:

    Pinochet served until 1990, leaving a legacy of abuse that took successive governments years to catalogue. According to a government report that included testimony from more than 30,000 people, his government killed at least 3,197 people and tortured about 29,000. Two-thirds of the cases listed in the report happened in 1973.

    Among the crimes attributed to Pinochet during his reign were several high-profile murders that stretched beyond Chile’s borders, many carried out by the Directorate of National Intelligence, or DINA, a fear-inspiring secret police agency that Pinochet organized in 1974.

    Prosecutors in Washington in 1999 began investigating Pinochet’s possible role in the September 1976 car bombing on Embassy Row that killed Orlando Letelier, a former Chilean foreign minister, and his 25-year-old American assistant, Ronni Karpen Moffitt.
    A Chilean Dictator’s Dark Legacy, By Monte Reel and J.Y. Smith, Washington Post Foreign Service, Monday, December 11, 2006

  22. ComradeRutherford says:

    But Whitey on the moon…

  23. Houndentenor says:

    did everyone see Liz Cheney’s 1988 op-ed mocking the anti-apartheid protests?

  24. Houndentenor says:

    Here’s the part that American conveniently forget. People seeking freedom from oppressive dictatorships looked to the Soviet Union for help because America was backing the totalitarian regimes of any country that wasn’t communist. it was a risky move and we’re lucky it didn’t go even worse for us than it did. We had no business backing dictators anywhere. We’re still paying for backing the unpopular Shah in Iran. And backing bin Laden when he was fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. And all kinds of messes we helped create in Africa and Latin America.

  25. Houndentenor says:

    It’s satire. Washington did all those things and the author assumed we’d all know that. Assuming Americans actually know American history is always a huge mistake.

  26. dula says:

    When did Republicans stop thinking that the ends justifies the means? They voraciously dismantled the rule of law in order to create a plutocracy.

  27. Zorba says:

    Exactly. Not to mention the fact that the “Father of Our Country,” George Washington, was a f*cking General. How many Brits did his troops kill?
    Unfortunately, revolution is not usually pretty. You cannot wish upon a rainbow and strew flowers around, hoping that those in authority will get the hint. Those in power do not want to relinquish power, not without a struggle.
    Even Mohandis Gandhi, the Mahatma, was assassinated, and the partition of India, to which he was opposed, was not achieved without a whole lot of sectarian violence.

  28. Cletus says:

    That gold dust covering the cars every morning? Mined by black workers nearly enslaved by their white masters. Good times…

  29. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like a real Newt acolyte comment, not satire.

  30. karmanot says:

    “I’ll acknowledge that Mandela was PART of a rebel group that used terrorism.” When you save a nation from racist apartheid that’s a good thing.

  31. karmanot says:

    Always carry pepper spray and brass knuckles in your lunch box.

  32. LosGatosCA says:

    The restoration revolution will definitely be televised – on American Idol.

    “You took that guerrilla attack and made it your own, dog!”

    Text 1776 to vote for the revolution that promises mobility scooters for old white people and life in prison for anyone who looks like they might be eligible for food stamps.

  33. karmanot says:

    Simple fact: Republicans hate blacks and will lose elections. Note to black Republicans: You will be used until inconvenient.

  34. ComradeRutherford says:

    They think that if they overthrew the US Government and instituted the ‘christian’ version of Sharia Law, that the bread truck would still deliver and the Wal Marts would still be stocked.

  35. LosGatosCA says:

    First off, George Washington owned blacks, he wasn’t black. That’s the main difference.

    Of course, Washington was far superior to Mandela in other important ways. Like he never aligned himself with a foreign power who spoke a different language and didn’t have a democratic form of government just to win his revolution.

    He also never attacked the forces of the establishment in a sneak attack on a Christian holiday.

    List of his virtuous virtues of extreme virtuosity is quite lengthy and very white.

  36. ComradeRutherford says:

    “they wish it was back because the country was safer, if you can believe that.”

    Yeah. I can’t believe that.

  37. maria says:

    As I recall, in our fight for independence we vandalized a ship and threw its cargo into Boston Harbor. And we subjected Loyalists to tar-and-feathering before seizing and burning their property. We stooped to that and more, if how British history books record it. Going to a Revolution isn’t like going to a picnic. How soon the faux patriots forget.

  38. Dave of the Jungle says:

    Primitive black and white thinking and fact averse strategy sums up today’s nutcase right wingers, in a nutshell.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Superstition and entitlement are their core tenets. Find a scapegoat that’s taking “their” money, then attempt to “take it back” without justification. It’s better than a meaningful solution that benefits the greater good. The right wing is consistent, at least, in being bullies and taking your lunch money when times are tough. Screw everybody else, right?

  40. BeccaM says:

    As I wrote the other day: The American radical right is well into its dogma and orthodoxy phase. Anything — and I mean anything — that is not 100% in lockstep with their philosophy of “us good; other evil” has to be denounced, without exception.

  41. ArthurH says:

    What do you expect from the bumpkins. They’re been reading this hate for years. The U.S. could have helped a lot of rebel groups that wanted to overthrow dictators and repressive governments beginning in the 1950s. Many of them asked for our help. But our government was so paranoid about Communism that we propped up vicious dictators on grounds that they were keeping their nations from going Communist. It got to the point that anyone who opposed these vicious governments were branded as being Communistic. And even as the White-minority government was faltering under a near global protest and sanctions, several prominent Republican office holders (and staffers carrying support from Sen. Jesse Helms) tripped to South Africa against U.S. orders to try to get the White government to hold firm. Old propaganda is hard for some to forget. The naysayers also probably think Geritol is still a useful medicine.

  42. nicho says:

    Notice how long it took them to get the message with the talking points. Of course, most of these people probably had to go find someone to read them to them.

  43. Naja pallida says:

    The frothing masses are responding exactly how the Republican party has conditioned them to, with irrational fear, arbitrary loathing, and rampant ignorance. I can’t see how anyone could be too shocked. This has been their standard response to everything since Obama first announced he was running for President.

  44. Anonymous says:

    “Did the end justify the means? How many innocent people were killed by his bombs?” They said the same thing about Benghazi. Before that, it was a-ok that Gaddafi was breaking down on civilians’ doors and killing entire families. It was okay, of course, in the sense that Republicans didn’t give a damn about anything outside America, as usual.

  45. Anonymous says:

    As usual, they fail to understand context. They only focus on violence when it’s done by one of “Obama’s sons” (a black man). Love how the uneducated come out of the woodwork to try to understand apartheid NOW, which was largely ignored by conservatives as it occurred. Now that it’s convenient, they suddenly claim to know more than a few talking points. I’m sure most of them don’t even realize how violent the South Africa regime already was. “But…but…he used violence against a ruthless, murdering despot!”

    See also: their knowledge of the motivations for today’s wars. They were misled by Fox News then and they’ll continue to be. We’re off the deep end, folks.


  46. Monoceros Forth says:

    I’d far rather that a Republican were calling Mandela a commie and a terrorist than pretending to admire him. Right-wingers are rubbish at faking emotions other than hatred. Let them stick to their strengths.

  47. Indigo says:

    From obstructionism to defamation in one congressional session. What frightening karma these fools are generating for themselves and those around!

  48. Reasor says:

    Washington condoned the use of smallpox to wipe out native villages. What was Mandela’s track record with biological weapons?

  49. mirror says:

    Simplified: the GOP believes whites enslaving blacks and other people of color is better than communism. They believe having all the power in the hands of a colonial master race is better than communism.

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