"This is a complicated world, but it really isn't so complicated that CBS News should leave us feeling that we would get a clearer account of what is going on by reading the comic strips."
If you desired, one recent evening, to take your news from television, and relied on CBS, you would have come upon the story of the South African incursion into Angola as follows:
Dan Rather: "South Africa's incursion into Angola evoked condemnations from governments around the world -- with one major exception. The only vote supporting South Africa's right to participate in the discussion on the future of the territory of Namibia [was the United States'] . . . Its lone support for the South Africans has evoked some comments."
(Camera to Julian Bond, black activist in Atlanta.)
Bond: "This nation is a blot on the conscience of the world. For the United States to be in alliance with it lowers us to a level that no president previously has ever done."
(Camera to Andrew Young, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., now running for mayor of Atlanta.)
Young: "[The action by the United States] will cost American corporations billions as black Africans take their business elsewhere. Supporting racist South Africa in Angola, [we are] thereby sanctioning the slaughter of blacks by 4.5 million whites in a continent of 450 million blacks."
(Camera to Donald McHenry, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N.)
McHenry: "The U.S. risks being identified as a country which will do nothing unless we are opposing the Cubans and the Soviets . . . we would go to the help of the devil."
(Camera to an assistant to Dan Rather.) Assistant: "Black leaders are planning to express protest. . . . If South Africa is permitted to invade Angola without any protest, who is to say that Zimbabwe won't be next?"
Had enough? There is no way in which that question can be negatively answered -- because there is no more. I mean, that is CBS's entire treatment of the entire incident, three black leaders telling us that South Africa is a racist country, and that the United States, by voting for South Africa, is derivatively pro-racist.
In 1975 the Cubans, directed by the Soviet Union landed a detachment of troops in Angola. Their goal was, of course, to communize Angola. To take advantage of (a) the departure of the Portuguese and (b) the confusion in Washington over the lose of Saigon, to do to Angola what the communists were simultaneously doing to Mozambique and would later do to Ethiopia, i.e., establish communist dictatorships aimed at bringing convulsion to non-communist African states.
The United States was enjoined by such as Senators Church, Cooper and Javits from resisting the colonization of Angola by Cuba. However, anti-totalitarian forces, notably championed by Jonas Savimbi, have evern since continued to resist the central communist tyranny.
South Africa, which has been running Namibia (South West Africa) ever since World War, notwithstanding that the old mandate had been revoked by the United Nations, is unwilling to turn Namibia over to the South West African Peoples Organization (SWAPO) because this movement, quite simply put, is an arm of the Soviet Union. SWAPO has engaged in concerted acts of terrorism against Namibia from its guerrilla bases in Angola. The South Africans announced that this must end and struck the guerrilla bases in Angola; and, having struck the, pulled out.
The United Nations, led by such exemplars of freedom and justice as the Soviet Union and China, drew up a resolution condemning South Africa and a second resolution banning South Africa from participating in any of the conferences that would determine the future of Namibia. With the exception of Great Britain, which abstained, other countries took what one must these days call the "Mitterrand Line."
The United States, through Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick and Charles Lichenstein, voted no in a carefully worded statement which said (a) we don't approve of violence; (b) we don't approve of apartheid; but (c) this isn't a pure and simple case of South Africa attacking a peaceful Angola, but one of a series of violent actions and counteractions, precipitated by Angola, not South Africa; and (d) the issue before the U.N. is the action against Angola, not the domestic polices of south Africans, as to which the U.S. is fully on the record. And finally, (e) there would not seem to be much point in discussing the future of Namibia, which is governed by South Africa, without the participation in those discussions of South Africa.
This is a complicated world, but it really isn't so complicated that CBS News should leave us feeling that we would get a clearer account of what is going on by reading the comic strips than by listening to three U.S. black leaders who find nothing to criticize in the Cuban totalitarization of Angola, and who seek to frighten us into good behavior by the awful specter of a black African boycott of American industry.