June 3, 2003
IRAQ'S WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION
** Papers reveal a
widespread belief that U.S., UK "lied" about the threat posed by
** Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz
remarks have "pulled the plug" on Washington's credibility.
** Blair faces "the
gravest accusation" amid calls for an inquiry.
The liberation of Iraq is 'no excuse' for 'a war policy based on
lies'-- Though dailies agreed that the overthrow of
Saddam was a "veritable blessing" for Iraq's "downtrodden
people," there was growing concern that the U.S. had at the very least
"manipulated" intelligence on Iraqi WMD to produce a "phantom
threat." Austria's liberal Der
Standard wondered if pre-war U.S. claims about Iraqi WMD capabilities were
"a miscalculation based on real worry or...a conscious act of
deceit." Worldwide, other papers
had no doubt that U.S. assertions about Iraqi WMD were "one of the biggest
state lies in years." A
"whirlwind of revelations and admissions about manufactured evidence and distortions
of the truth" convinced editorial writers that the "real reason"
for the war was to change the Iraqi regime and provide the opportunity
"for the U.S. to withdraw its troops from Saudi Arabia."
'Who will believe the Bush administration any longer?'-- Writers seized on Defense Deputy Secretary
Wolfwowitz's remarks calling Iraq's WMD "of secondary importance" as
a casus belli to assert the U.S. "wilfully exaggerated the threat of
weapons of mass destruction" to rally support for the war. The growing perception that the Coalition
partners "conspired to cry wolf" about Iraq's weapons, the Australian
Financial Review said, will compromise their national security "by
heightening cynicism about the credibility of political leaders in a real
emergency." An Arab daily contended
that "the failure of truth" will hurt the U.S. and UK "when they
ask the Arab world to trust them in their efforts to rebuild Iraq or to find
peace in Israel." Writers in
Britain, Germany and Australia called for an "independent assessment"
of the WMD case against Iraq, adding this "would prove far more
reassuring" to the world than expanding the U.S.-led search. Echoing a common view, an Indonesian
editorialist noted that the U.S. is now "using the same old song"
about WMD and ties to al-Qaida about the regime in Iran.
Accused of 'duping' the public, Blair pays 'the wages of spin'-- Though the conservative Times termed
calls for a public inquiry into PM Blair's assertions about Iraq's WMD
"premature" and cautioned that Rumsfeld's recent remarks on the
subject had been "overinterpreted," British papers across the
ideological spectrum agreed that Blair was facing "serious" charges
of having misled Parliament and the public about the Iraqi threat. Writing in the conservative Sunday
Telegraph, veteran war correspondent Max Hastings, who
"reluctantly" supported the war and accepted "public and private
Whitehall assurances" about WMD in Iraq, concluded that Blair
"sacrificed British lives on the basis of a deceit, and it
stinks." The left-of-center Independent
stated that it is "increasingly clear that the case for war rested on
Commenting on the BBC, one observer judged: "If it is ever shown
that Mr. Blair deliberately massaged the facts, then his premiership will
almost certainly be over."
EDITOR: Steven Wangsness
EDITOR'S NOTE: This
analysis is based on 83 reports from 35 countries, May 26-June 3, 2003. Editorial excerpts from each country are
listed from the most recent date.
BRITAIN: "The Inquiry
The center-left Guardian judged (6/3): "In the U.S., two senate committees have
now called joint hearings on whether the Bush administration misused
intelligence information to make its case for an attack on Iraq. In Britain, meanwhile, there is still nothing
but stonewalling. Here, ministers
continue to set themselves against calls for inquiry and to insult those who
make them. This is both wrong and a foolish
position to adopt. An inquiry is
justified, and the pressure for one is mounting, led by Robin Cook. The focus of the inquiry should be the
quality of the intelligence available to ministers in the period leading up to
the Iraq war, and the use that was made of it.
But it is important not to rule out issues that might be raised by this
central theme, including the effect on British diplomacy and the implications
for the government's legal position on the war.
What is needed is an independent inquiry, with broad terms of reference
similar to Franks [inquiry into the Falklands war] and which aims to report
within months rather than years."
"Firing Blanks: Calls For Inquiries Over WMD Are
The conservative Times argued (6/3): "It is important to distinguish between
the charges being aimed at Downing Street.
The most doubtful of them is the most serious. There is overwhelming reason to believe that
Saddam Hussein sought to acquire weapons of mass destruction and that he had
developed an infrastructure to advance that aim, not least through the
recruitment and training of scientists.
The conspiratorial notion that Mr Blair and others actively invented or
warped official intelligence to make the case for war is more presumed than
proved. The broad outlines of what
appeared in the dossiers published here fit with the assessment made by other
European intelligence agencies. The last
claim, that of 'spin' has more weight, not least because Downing Street has
what the police would describe as past form on this matter. If, once a comprehensive search is completed,
that claim proves fundamentally flawed [that Saddam Hussein had WMD], which is
unlikely, then an official inquiry into what occurred before military action
would make sense. Until then, a period
of common sense would be appropriate."
"We Were Duped Into War--Even The Americans Admit It"
The left of center Independent stated (6/2): "The Prime Minister will forgive us if
this time we do not take at face value his categorical assurance that evidence
of Iraq's WMD will be found. Especially
as members of the Bush administration have now admitted that the weapons were a
pretext.... Donald Rumsfeld, the
American defense secretary, and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, have made it clear
that Saddam's possession of these weapons was of secondary importance. Mr. Rumsfeld said it was possible they were
destroyed before the conflict began, while Mr. Wolfowitz said the weapons case
was 'settled on' for bureaucratic reasons as 'the one issue that everyone could
agree on.... If U.S. troops find
evidence of such a threat, that would offer a remarkable retrospective
justification of Mr. Blair's war, but the Americans clearly do not expect to
find it. It is becoming increasingly
obvious that the case for war rested on speculative exaggeration."
"No, Mr. Blair, You Won't Get Away With
Andreas Whittam Smith wrote in the left of
center Independent (6/2):
"In my lifetime, no British Prime Minister has faced charges as
serious as those that are now levelled at Tony Blair. In the absence of discoveries of weapons of
mass destruction in Iraq, a growing number of us are becoming at once ashamed
and angry: ashamed that increasingly the evidence suggests that the Prime
Minister misled the House of Commons in making the case for war; angry that it
may turn out that 32 British soldiers were sent to a needless death hunting for
something that didn't in fact exist....
Mr. Blair's ministerial colleagues...have undermined [his] veracity.... While nothing compares with the anguish
suffered by the families and friends of those members of the British forces who
lost their lives in Iraq, we shall all share in the shame if it turns out that
the Prime Minister was wrong about the weapons of mass destruction."
"The Wages of Spin"
The conservative Daily Telegraph held
(6/2) (Internet version): "It is
about the gravest accusation that can be made in politics. Tony Blair stands
charged, in effect, with committing British troops on the basis of a
lie.... At the very least, Mr. Blair
seems to have dealt shabbily with the security forces.... Mr. Blair had good reasons to be worried
about the menace posed by Saddam; but his obsession with presentation has
gravely damaged that case. Even if our forces
were now to unearth evidence of a major chemical or biological weapons
programme in Iraq, many people in this country--let alone in the Arab
world--would assume it had been planted.
Such are the wages of spin....
The issue on which this is likely to catch him up, however, is not Iraq,
but Europe. While two thirds of voters believe that Mr. Blair deceived them
about weapons, they do not seem especially cross; the same polls show strong
support for the war."
"Prove It, Tony"
The tabloid Daily Mirror editorialized
(6/2) (Internet version): "Tony
Blair stays calm and collected under almost any provocation. So it was a rare moment when he lost his cool
yesterday. The criticism over the
dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction is obviously getting to him. There is no point in him becoming angry,
though, and blaming those who question him.
He made the case for war. It is
up to him to produce the evidence to support it."
"All At Stake In Weapons Row"
Nick Assinder commented on the BBC (6/1) (Internet
version): "The charges currently
being levelled against Tony Blair over the war on Iraq could not be more
serious. And they boil down to a single
question--did the government deliberately spin Britain into the
conflict?... If there is any proof that
was the case then the prime minister, along with several of his ministers, has
committed the greatest of all parliamentary sins--that of misleading the House
of Commons.... Parliament's legitimacy
derives for the fact that 'honourable members' are precisely that--honourable
and truthful.... For that reason, anyone
found to have deliberately misled parliament has only one
option--resignation. And that is
precisely what the prime minister is now being accused of by the likes of Clare
Short.... Before the war, even the prime
minister's harshest critics probably had to accept that he believed
wholeheartedly in what he was doing.
Similarly many--if by no means all--believed that Saddam really did have
the sort of weapon's capability Mr Blair and President Bush kept insisting he
had. If it is ever shown that Mr Blair
deliberately massaged the facts then his premiership will almost certainly be
"But the rebels also face the danger of
having their own credibility destroyed if the promised dossier on Saddam's
weapons program backs the prime minister's case. The risk for them is that they may have
spoken too soon. It is certainly the case that the prime minister appears as
confident as ever that he will be vindicated.
If he is, then the critics' will have been neutered and they will find
it near impossible to win an audience for their wider claims about the
legitimacy of the war. This is seriously
high stakes for all involved and the affair clearly has a long way to run
"Weapons: A Question Of Trust"
The London Observer, Sunday publication
of the center-left Guardian, editorialized (6/1) (Internet
version): "Disquiet is increasing
on both sides of the Atlantic about one issue in particular. Almost two months after hostilities ended,
there is no significant trace of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass
destruction.... The Prime Minister
continues to have 'absolutely no doubt at all about the existence of weapons of
mass destruction'. That as yet unsupported certitude that something will turn
up is no longer enough. Mr. Blair took a
Parliament and a country racked by doubt into conflict expressly because
Saddam's weapons posed an immediate threat to his neighbours and to the order
of the world.... Mr. Blair's mandate for
war, we repeat, was granted specifically on his assertion that a threat was so
immediate that Hans Blix and his inspectors (who should be sent back to Iraq
forthwith) could not be given more time.
Seven weeks after the conflict finished, war has produced fewer results
on weapons than Mr. Blix achieved and revealed no vestige of urgent
danger. The growing worry is that Mr.
Blair's dossier was, in part at least, a testament to wishful thinking."
"For now, Mr. Blair's credibility is on the
line. He risks creating an
irreconcilable gulf with a constituency far beyond a left-wing rump of the
Labour Party. Concern about missing
weapons is sincere and widespread, not, as he suggests, merely the carping of
disaffected pacifists. This newspaper
backed the Prime Minister in his decision to go to war. Those in Parliament and the wider public who
supported him did so because they believed he had sound reasons for committing
the country to conflict. Now he must
justify the faith that we and others placed in him. Only the full truth can do that."
"I Was Silly To Trust America"
Historian and war correspondent Max Hastings
commented in the independent, conservative Sunday Telegraph (6/1)
(Internet version): "Even by the
standards of the Bush administration, last week was a remarkable one for
diplomatic folly. Paul Wolfowitz, the
Assistant Defence Secretary, disclosed that the U.S. wilfully exaggerated the
threat of weapons of mass destruction, to rally support for an Iraq war. Likewise, Wolfowitz's boss, Donald Rumsfeld,
declared that he has little expectation of finding any WMDs. He then launched a new round of
sabre-rattling against Iran. So much for
the gleeful banner under which President Bush greeted a homebound American
aircraft-carrier crew: 'Mission accomplished.'
"The leading lights of the U.S. Defence
Department always made it plain that disarming Saddam was a pretext for regime
change in Iraq. Yet that pretext was the basis of a massive American diplomatic
offensive. Tony Blair explicitly told
the British people that disarming Saddam justified taking Britain to war. That argument was fraudulent. Some of us, who accepted public and private
Whitehall assurances about WMDs, today feel rather silly.... It is irrelevant that the Allies won the
war. The Prime Minister committed
British troops and sacrificed British lives on the basis of a deceit, and it
stinks.... I was among those who thought
the war mistaken, but reluctantly accepted the arguments for British participation,
to preserve the Atlantic alliance and to maintain some marginal influence upon
American policy. Today, given the
behaviour of the U.S. administration, that case is in tatters.... It remains vital to engage with
Washington. Even in the face of great
difficulties, the diplomatic effort must continue, to restrain American
unilateralism. But a heavy blow has been
struck against our faith in American rhetoric and judgment. The struggle against terrorism, and the
management of the world look harder today than they did a week ago, thanks to
Washington's frightening surge of unforced errors."
"Why Did We Go To War"
The conservative Daily Telegraph took this view
(5/30): "Tony Blair is facing a
credibility crisis over the existence of Iraqi weapons of mass
destruction.... The failure to produce
definitive evidence of WMD is scarcely surprising. What the Pentagon says on this matter is
prima facie true: Saddam might have
hidden, destroyed or dispatched his weapons to a safe haven in Syria before or
during the war. There is enough
commonsense plausibility in such an assertion for Donald Rumsfeld to seem
scarcely embarrassed in uttering it. But
for Mr. Rumsfeld and George Bush, the issue of WMD is of much less urgency than
it is for Tony Blair. Mr. Blair,
desperate for the support of his own party, nailed himself firmly to the mast
of WMD as his casus belli and allowed his spin machine to exaggerate the danger
to Britain. He may have managed to win a
war that was morally justified, only to lose an argument that it was badly
"Mr. Blair...Has To Justify The War"
The center-left Independent editorialized (5/30): "The more that becomes known about the
reasons, conduct and consequences of the U.S. and British war, the more clouded
becomes the picture of a country that we were told had been liberated from
tyranny and of a world saved from the imminent threat of lethal weapons. The glaring gap between intelligence and
fact, however, calls the legitimacy of the war into question, tarnishes the
victory and damages the credibility of the Prime Minister. The statement by Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy
Defense Secretary, that Saddam's weapons were, in effect only a pretext for
war, the lowest common denominator 'that everyone could agree on' is, if
anything, even worse than the manipulation of intelligence. The clear inference is that Washington
cynically used Mr. Blair (and tried to use the UN) to give diplomatic cover to
a U.S. military adventure that had one selfish aim: facilitating a U.S.
withdrawal from Saudi Arabia. If true,
that is nothing short of a scandal that will undermine Mr. Blair and poison transatlantic
relations for a very long time."
"Using One's Intelligence"
The conservative Times stated (5/30): "In few conflicts has intelligence
played such a crucial role as it did in the run-up to the Iraq war.... The row that has erupted over the failure,
more than six weeks after the end of the war, to find weapons of mass
destruction has turned on the use and possible misuse of intelligence.... The debate has been sharpened by the
overinterpreted statement by Donald Rumsfeld that Saddam may, after all, have
destroyed his weapons before the war began.
Accusations that Britain was too influenced by the intelligence coming
from Washington do not stand up. What is
even less open to question is that Saddam Hussein possessed the expertise and
the intent to produce the weapons of mass destruction that he had deployed in
the past. It would be useful for Downing
Street to come clean, but would be a mistake to think that Saddam Hussein was
"Where Are They"
The independent Financial Times editorialized (5/30): "It is time for a reality check: we have been deceived. The U.S./UK occupation of Iraq has done
nothing to prove the case for war. On
the contrary, it has undermined, possibly fatally, their casus belli against
the Iraqi regime--namely that it was stockpiling chemical and biological, if
not nuclear weapons. So did the U.S. and
UK intelligence services get it wrong, or were their political masters
lying? It seems a bit of both. The intelligence failures in Iraq raise many
questions, not least why Saddam Hussein was so unforthcoming to UN inspectors
if he had little left to hide. But there
is one overwhelming caution for the Bush administration. If it ever wants to put its doctrine of
preemptive war into practice again, it will need to come up with far more
convincing proof of threats than it showed in Iraq."
"Where Have All the Weapons Gone?"
The tabloid Sun published this commentary by Richard
Littlejohn (5/30) (Internet version):
"The Not In My Name crowd are wetting themselves with excitement
over the admission that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction may never be
found.... The admission by U.S. defence
secretary Donald Rumsfeld that he didn't know what had happened to Saddam's
chemical and biological arms is clearly an embarrassment for Blair. But it doesn't prove the Not In My Namers
were right.... Rumsfeld is a man who can
always be relied upon to give a straight answer to the most twisted question. When faced with the dilemma of where the
weapons are, he didn't waffle, he told the truth. Is it possible they may never be
uncovered? Sure.... In the meantime, while we continue to look
for the WMDs, is anyone after seeing those mass graves going to say that the
war wasn't justified?"
"The Things Left Unsaid In Evian"
Bernard Guetta commented on Paris France Inter Radio (6/2): "Having swallowed down his lunch, George
[W.] Bush will leave Evian this afternoon, having just passed through,
departing well before the end of this meeting. It is difficult to imagine more
cavalier behaviour, but why is George Bush leaving so quickly? It is not merely to make it clear that the
United States defines its international policy alone. It is also, above all, because the situation
continues to grow increasingly complicated in Iraq and it is looking
increasingly evident that the White House deliberately lied about the extent,
if not the very existence, of stocks of weapons of mass destruction reportedly
held by Saddam Hussein."
"Iraq: The Bush and Blair Manipulation"
Christophe Boltanski contended in left-of-center Liberation
(5/30) (Internet version):
"According to the BBC, Britain's intelligence services were
forced--at Downing Street's request--to 'rewrite' their report in order to make
it 'more alarmist.'... This revelation
is even more embarrassing for Blair insofar as it coincides with extremely
awkward statements from across the Atlantic....
Donald Rumsfeld had already cast a chill inside the British government
with a declaration that the Iraqis might have destroyed their arsenal before
hostilities broke out. his is a theory
that Tony Blair had qualified as 'manifestly absurd' during a crucial debate in
the Commons on the even of the hostilities."
"Prime Minister Accused of
Jacques Duplouich reported from London in
conservative Le Figaro (5/30) (Internet version): "Tony Blair must explain himself. Robin Cook, his former minister of foreign
affairs, is inviting him to. Resorting
to force against Iraq, which the prime minister justified at the time by the
threat that the arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of Saddam
Hussein would have hung over the world in general and the United Kingdom in
particular, could only have happened as the result of an extraordinary
deception, Cook points out.... But,
contrary to what Robin Cook expects, Tony Blair is not one to plead
guilty. He 'won' the war and 'liberated'
the Iraqi people from the Baath barbarity.
History has been made. People
believed the prime minister was inspired by God. They are finding him at Machiavelli's. He will perhaps not come out of this so
well. The press is growling. The Labor party is, again, getting worked
up. Seventy members of Parliament have
signed a motion demanding that Tony Blair support his statements on Saddam's
France Inter Radio broadcast this commentary
(5/30) : "Can a bad thing lead to a
good one? Can the fragile progress in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian issue
that we are witnessing today, thanks to the fall of Saddam Hussein excuse the
big lie the Americans and the British resorted to in order to justify their
intervention in Iraq?... It is not
impossible, but if Donald Rumsfeld is right, if Saddam disarmed because of UN
pressure, then there is indisputable proof that the opponents of war, led by
France, were right, that the war was not necessary, and that the inspections
were sufficient. The deputy defence
secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, understood this so well that he made adjustments straight
away. In the next issue of Vanity Fair,
he explained that the question of disarmament was the only incentive for war on
which the entire Bush team could agree but the other objective of the Americans
was to be able to withdraw their troops from Saudi Arabia because their
presence in a Holy Land of Islam was the main reason for Al-Qaida's terrorist
attacks. On this Paul Wolfowitz is far
from the truth. The first objective of
the hawks--they have never hidden the fact--was--that's right--to reshape the
Middle East and it is here that the debate starts.... Without this war, would have it been
impossible for George Bush to try to impose a resolution on the Israeli-Arab
issue, to give guarantees for the security of the Israelis and to support the
Saudi proposal for the recognition of Israel by the entire Arab world in
exchange for the creation of a Palestinian state? The answer is that half of the energy
released for the war would have made possible the fragile hope--no more no
less--which has been renewed today.
America's word would not be called into question for as long as it will
be. Europe would not be in pieces. The Western bloc would not be devastated but
united. It is true that the USA would
not have made the show of strength that wanted but anyway this is an illusion
which will not last."
Left-of-center Le Monde editorialized (5/30): “What we are witnessing is probably one of
the biggest state lies in years. The
manipulation campaign was probably conducted with open eyes.... Secretary Rumsfeld’s words are the beginnings
of an admission...that the war against Iraq was conducted even if there was
some element of knowledge that the WMD no longer existed.... The most probable scenario is that Iraq had
already undertaken the destruction of its weapons since November 2002.... The U.S. was in fact bluffing when it
published its documented proof....
President Bush and Tony Blair are having a hard time proving that they
remain convinced of the ‘existence’ of these weapons.... The war was not launched to destroy these
weapons but to change Baghdad’s regime and to begin remodeling the Middle
East. The weapons served only as a
Erik-Michael Bader noted in an editorial in center-right Frankfurter
Allgemeine (6/3): "The alleged
Iraqi weapons of mass destruction...are slowly turning into a problem for the
government in Washington. The problem
has two ends: the first is the annoying
feeling in the international public to have been taken for a ride.... And this annoyance is probably very obvious
in the coalition of the willing, which had trust in the scenario of
threat. Distrust will remain, which will
it make more difficult for U.S. politics to get support in a similar case in the
future. At the other end, mainly in the
United States, the unnerving question is coming up in what kind of mess U.S.
politics could get as a result of a combination of unsatisfactory intelligence
work and the frivolous interpretation of intelligence reports, for instance, if
a real threat is being minimized to adjust to the political line."
Centrist Abendzeitung of Munich stated (6/3):
"If it is right what intelligence services claim, then facts were
doctored, distorted and manipulated for the Iraq campaign of the United
States. The problem is not that Saddam
Hussein was a brutal dictator whose end we should not regret, but that the
government of the U.S. superpower probably tried to deceive the Americans and
the world public. This will inflict an
enormous damage to its credibility."
"War Does Not Know Ambivalence"
Eric Chauvistré stated in an editorial in leftist die
tageszeitung of Berlin (6/3):
"If U.S. parliamentarians are now also calling for more
information, then this is only a necessary step. But the basic problem has not been
eliminated. Not only the powers-that-be,
but also journalists have been guided by an excessively naïve understanding of
intelligence information. That is why it
is all the more dangerous, since the past U.S.-led wars always focused on the
defense against a danger that was not yet visible: looming human rights violations, preparations
for terrorist attacks, or the program for the production of chemical,
biological or nuclear weapons. Wars were
waged by referring to alleged 'facts' and 'truths,' whose plausibility could
not be checked by a democratic public.
That is why it is urgently necessary to realize that even the best
intelligence service reports cannot produce the absolute truth.... But those who lay claim to waging a war
against another country cannot accept any doubts."
"Wolfowitz's View Of The World"
Stefan Kornelius opined in center-left Sueddeutsche
Zeitung of Munich (5/31): "Paul
Wolfowitz belongs to those contemporaries who do not necessarily lie but who bend
the truth...until it fits their truth of the picture of the world.... Now he speaks the real truth when he says
that WMD were used as a tool to convince the world of the need to go to war.... But as honest as Wolfowitz is, it will not be
that easy for him to steal away from the affair.... The U.S. president now has the choice: His
apparatus either lied to him--and then he would be faced with an enormous
insubordination of his agency and the president would be a puppet in the hand
of a few shady figures, and subordinates like Wolfowitz must be fired, or Bush
deliberately lied to America and the world....
Bush is currently traveling Europe, while Washington is now painting
another threatening picture with Iran....
Bush, who prides himself of being a member of the club of
straight-talkers and who likes to implement what he says, should be reminded of
the proverb that links truth and credibility."
Arno Widmann judged in left-of-center Berliner
Zeitung (5/31): "It was right
to bomb Saddam Hussein, who oppressed his people for years, out of office. It was wrong to use a pretext to do so. Paul Wolfowitz and his boss have now
eliminated this mistake and clarified things.
The U.S. does not give a damn about international law. It intervenes where it considers this
right. We have no chance of countering
this. This is a lesson Paul Wolfowitz
"So That's What Behind It"
Dietrich Alexander noted in right-of-center Die
Welt of Berlin (5/31): "The
master in the Pentagon, Rumsfeld, sees himself forced to catch his deputy
Wolfowitz.... What he said is a
political explosive which will plunge the winners of the Iraq war into a
credibility crisis and give the opponents of this war satisfaction to say what
they have always known. Indeed the
allies have thus far not found the 'smoking gun' that could undoubtedly
legitimize this war. But is the war
against Saddam Hussein's murderous dictatorship unfair because a reason for war
cannot be found? Don't the mass graves
of thousands of buried Iraqis, the dungeons, and torture chambers not speak a
"Who Will Believe The Bush Administration
Center-right Neue Ruhr/Neue Rhein-Zeitung of
Essen (5/31) editorialized: "Let us
say it in nice words, the duo Bush-Blair manipulated the truth. This is not rare in politics. But this time, the entire world must feel
deceived.... And again the hawks in the
Pentagon are talking about WMD and links to al Qaida. But this time, it is Iran that is in the
crosshairs. Even if the accusations
prove right, who in the world will believe the Bush administration any
longer? But if the U.S. government
believes that it can continue to decide unilaterally what is good and what is
evil, this will turn into a curse for the superpower."
Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger judged in center-right Frankfurter
Allgemeine (5/30): "After the
end of the war, many things surfaced that illustrated the criminal nature of
Saddam Hussein's regime and morally justifies regime change. But up until today, there has been no
evidence of the weapons of mass destruction that were used as a reason for the
war. Nowadays, Defense Secretary
Rumsfeld says quite frankly, and this takes our breath away, that these weapons
could have been destroyed before the war--by Baghdad as the United Nations
demanded. This remark also cuts the
ground from under the feet of Britain's PM Blair.... In addition, it weakened the U.S. (or
Anglo-Saxon) credibility openly when with Iran, another country is now getting
into the cross hairs. The accusation of
misleading the public is obvious.
"Obviously, the Bush administration shied away from carrying
its real intention offensively into the center of discussion: to eliminate the Middle East crisis and
violence potential by using U.S. power.
It is likely that not many would have supported the United States in the
approach that the path to peace in and for Jerusalem leads via Baghdad. But the situation would have been
clear.... Nobody lets oneself be blinded
by a Mideastern mock stability whose deepest characteristics are terrorism,
fundamentalism, dictatorship, and violence.
If Washington wants to change this, it should reveal its true interests
and not put its partners on, because this undermines both credibility and
legitimacy. And even a superpower cannot
do without them."
"Bush Thumbed His Nose At The Rest"
Business daily Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg
judged (5/30): "If the suspicion
comes true, President Bush and PM Tony Blair will be found guilty of a
crime.... Iraq's alleged WMD were also
the key argument of the United States and Britain in the controversy over the
moral legitimacy and its legitimacy according to international law.... If, in retrospect, this cannot be proven, the
political leadership claim, which Bush and Blair have achieved with their
victory over Saddam Hussein, would be destroyed. Instead of relying on dubious pretexts, the
U.S government would have been better advised to go on the offensive and try to
get support for regime change in Iraq.
There were enough good arguments for an ouster of the dictator…. In this case, there would have been a bitter
conflict on a global scale, too. But a
controversy over genuine arguments would have been less detrimental to the U.S.
president than the ignominy to have been unmasked as a liar."
Right-of-center Fuldaer Zeitung noted (5/30): "Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's
statement...is an outrage. There is no
doubt, the war turned out to be not too bad, and Saddam's ouster is a blessing
for the downtrodden Iraqi people.
Nevertheless, the end does not justify the means. A war policy based on lies is at minimum not
a petty crime. And we want to tear our
hair out that the global community does not have any means to stop this kind of
ITALY: "The Gun That
Centrist La Stampa commented (6/1) (Internet version): "There is now widespread
controversy.... As for Italy's position,
there are those who will recall that, during a press conference early this
year, the prime minister had stated there was 'clear evidence' pointing to the
existence of weapons of mass destruction.
But that in this connection, he was 'held to secrecy.'.... However, how to justify, now, this ongoing
'secrecy?' All the more so at a time
when Bush and Blair could be accused of having lied to the international
community.... Actually, if that evidence
were to this day to prove concrete, by disclosing it, the prime minister would
be rendering a great service to the truth.
If, by chance, it should prove to be neither serious nor 'clear,' then
someone should let him know that he was sold a bum steer, in pure American
"Now Only The Creation Of A Free Iraq Can Legitimize The
Gianni Riotta commented in leading centrist Corriere della Sera
(5/30): "If a country is born that
is free from a savage dictatorship, and no longer devoted to wars of invasion
but to development, then the conflict will soon have a legitimacy of its own. If the chaos in Baghdad and the surrounding
areas continues, and becomes established, soon the talk will be entirely about
weapons that were not found. History
knows how to give legitimacy to the winners, after the event, on the condition
that they are able to deserve it, and thus far the allies have been better at war
than they have been at peace."
Reformist Vremya Novostey commented (5/30): "Tony Blair's visit was meant as a
triumph, timed to the 50-day jubilee of the toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue
in Baghdad and the capture of the capital by U.S. troops. Blair has beaten his ally George Bush to the
punch, being the first Western leader to have set foot on Iraqi soil after the
war. But the Americans ruined his PR
action. Blair's triumphant entrance into
Basra was spoiled by U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld having stated
that weapons of mass destruction might not be found in Iraq."
Christoph Winder commented in liberal daily Der Standard
(6/3): “For a few days now, the Bush
administration has been facing an ironic dilemma. It achieved a dazzling victory in Iraq, and
nobody...doubts that overthrowing Saddam Hussein’s was a veritable blessing for
the country. However, in the meantime
Bush has rather painfully mislaid his main reason for the war--the weapons of
mass destruction that Saddam Hussein was allegedly hoarding.... The central question now is who is to blame
for the WMD flop: the politicians, who wanted this war at any cost, or the
secret services, who fed them incorrect material? New gruesome details are being revealed every
day: Allegedly, the military secret services delivered such obviously
nonsensical information to Secretary of State Colin Powell that he was forced
to delete the worst junk from his speech before the United Nations
himself. Was Powell fed this dubious
material...at Donald Rumsfeld’s behest?
Or were the ‘Services’ so eager to deliver the goods that they
hysterically exaggerated the information at hand? Unless fool-proof evidence that Saddam
Hussein was indeed hiding weapons of mass destruction turns up soon, the Bush
administration cannot avoid such nasty questions.”
"Miscalculation Or Deceit"
In liberal daily Der Standard foreign affairs editor Gudrun
Harrer wrote (6/1): “There is still a
possibility that [WMDs] will be found, but the relevance of such findings would
have to be judged rationally, and unfortunately, the U.S. can no longer be
trusted to do this. However, it does
mean that the threatening scenario which was used to present arguments in favor
of the war, had little to do with true information, and a lot with political
propaganda, and that is just putting it politely.... The political players obviously knew how to
get the kind of reports that fit in with their plans. But was it a miscalculation based on real
worry or was it a conscious act of deceit?
To be precise: Whose miscalculation was it, and whose deceit? How much did U.S. Secretary of State Colin
Powell know, when he presented his incorrect evidence to the UN, how much did
British Premier Tony Blair know, when he talked of the ‘certainty’ of B and C
weapons in Iraq, that could be ready to use within 45 minutes?... The latest explanation, that Saddam Hussein
destroyed his weapons before the arrival of the inspectors from Unmovic and the
Atomic Energy Agency, is a double-edged sword:
It would mean that the UN weapons inspections worked in the first
Foreign editor Gerald Papy judged in independent
La Libre Belgique (6/2): “In St.
Petersburg, U.S. President George W. Bush blandly suggested that the
international community should focus more on Iraq’s reconstruction rather than
on the demonstration that the Saddam Hussein regime actually had prohibited
weapons of mass destruction, the main reason used by his administration to
justify a military intervention. Of
course, the challenge of Iraq’s reconstruction, to which the White House only
reluctantly associated the UN, is one of the major issues of the coming years. But sharing this concern with George Bush should
not exempt American leaders from clearing the suspicion that hanged over the
arguments they used to wage war in Iraq."
"Problem Of Unity"
Michal Mocek wrote in mainstream daily MF Dnes
(06/02): "U.S. President Bush's
speech in Krakow calling for a fight against weapons of mass destruction should
become a basis for renewed unity [between Europe and the U.S.]. It looks as a good idea at first glance. But a caution is appropriate. The war in Iraq was justified by the threat
of weapons of mass destruction, but as we know none of these weapons have been
found yet. In light of this, it is
necessary to consider thoroughly what exactly the U.S. is offering to
Europe. Europe certainly should support
an effort to dispose of the most destructive weapons, but only if the Americans
will assure it firmly that this idea will not become an excuse for new
wars. Even weapons of mass destruction
can be disposed of without 'shock and awe.'"
"Saddam Without Weapons?"
Petr Pravda observed in the mainstream MF Dnes (5/30): "We must start to accept the fact that
Saddam's regime in Iraq perhaps did not have any weapons of mass
destruction. Maybe it destroyed them
shortly prior to the war, maybe even before that. Regardless of the doubts, the war happened
and it has confirmed that Saddam's regime was criminal and terrorized at least
its own people. The Iraqis have a real
chance now to have a better life. The
U.S. and Britain, which carried out the war in spite of doubts by the rest of
the world, should, however, muster all their strength to help Iraq now and
dispel the doubts. This is the only way
Popular, pro-government and anti-American Eleftherotypia
argued (5/31): "The lies being
disseminated by George Bush and Tony Blair cannot be disguised, and are coming
to light in a whirlwind of revelations and admissions about manufactured
evidence and distortions of the truth.
The warlords insist that the weapons of mass destruction exist, but that
'patience' and time is needed, 'perhaps weeks and months,' to find
them.... They will not, however, ever be
found because, as is emerging in the United States, much of the evidence
against Iraq was manufactured."
The lead editorial in popular, pro-government and anti-American Eleftherotypia
held (5/30): "The cynical
confessions of U.S. Secretary and Under Secretary of the Invasion Rumsfeld and
Wolfowitz about the fabrication of WMD information in Iraq leave PM Blair
unprotected to strong charges for deceiving the British public.... A huge lie was used to terrorize and deceive
the U.S. public and the ‘willing allies’ to insure their consensus to the
illegal raid.... Who will apologize to
the victims of the illegal invasion, the people of Iraq whose country was
thrown to chaos, and all the American and British citizens who were deceived by
Foreign policy analyst Romulus Caplescu opined
in influential daily Adevarul (5/30):
“After the shocking declaration made by U.S. Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld that weapons of mass destruction have not yet been found because the
former regime in Baghdad may have destroyed them shortly before the start of
the war, other shocking revelations have appeared.... Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz,
one of the toughest supporters of American military intervention, explained in
a ‘Vanity Fair’ interview that the emphasis on the existence of such weapons as
justification for the war was because of ‘bureaucratic reasons.’ He said that the supposed weapons were ‘the
single reason that everyone could agree on.’… This statement is a new evidence
that the noise made about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction was a simple
Endre Aczel stated in leading Nepszabadsag
(5/30): "Defense Secretary Rumsfeld
went further in withdrawing than Wolfowitz.
In a sensational statement made at an International Relations Council
meeting in New York, Rumsfeld pronounced the unspeakable: Iraqi weapons of mass
destruction might never be found, because Saddam may have annihilated them
before the war. Well, if this is how the
case turns out, then there will be no proof either, and the set of arguments
built up to support the war will collapse with retroactive effect.... Of course, there might be some kind of a
'result' in the end. This would
especially benefit British Prime Minister Tony Blair.... In the United Kingdom, the proponents of the
'war based on lies,' including Blair's former foreign minister, are already
expected to account for the steps taken."
"Only WMD In Iraq Were Coalition Bombs"
The centrist Sunday Tribune editorialized (6/1): "It would be smug of us to say we told
you so. But the fact is, we told you
so.... It is now patently clear that the
war on Iraq had nothing whatsoever to do with weapons of mass destruction. It was and is about oil, and about big
business and about some at the top of Bush's administrative team farming out
contracts to their friends, and in some cases, former business partners. They will, no doubt, earn billions while the
people of Iraq suffer without electricity, sewerage, clean water and
"Reasons for Opposing Iraq War Have Been
Michael D. Higgins, Irish Labour Party spokesman
on foreign affairs, commented in the center-left Irish Times (5/31)
(Internet version): "The Iraq war
now appears to have been justified on an entirely false basis.... This is profoundly challenging to the Irish
Government, and others like it that assisted the war. The Government...not only stressed the
existence of such an imminent threat for their covert and overt support for the
war, they, in the case of the Taoiseach [prime minister] and the Minister for
Foreign Affairs, actually denied that regime change was the purpose of a war on
the people of Iraq. The existence of WMD
referred to in a number of UN resolutions was their sole justification. Now
they are shown to have swallowed propaganda from Britain and the United States
offered as incontestable intelligence....
Certainly the decision of countries like Canada to withhold support on
the basis of such flimsy assertions has now been thoroughly vindicated. We now understand as well why it was that so
many countries withheld support for a resolution, despite being put under the
greatest intimidation of an economic and diplomatic kind."
Respected veteran journalist Mário Mesquita
argued in influential moderate-left Público (6/1): "The confessions by Rumsfeld and
Wolfowitz regarding WMD in Iraq should probably be interpreted, in the context
of the philosophy of the master Leo Strauss, as virtuous lies by the State
meant to allow it to defend itself against domestic and foreign public
opinion.... Because of this, Europeans
found themselves confronted with an uncomfortable choice: opting to blindly
follow the enlightened elite on the other side of the Atlantic, or joining the
group of ignorant masses who will never know the real motive for the choices
made by the world's power."
Former Social Democratic Party Finance Minister
Francisco Sarsfield Cabral opined in respected center-left Diário de
Notícias (6/2): "A war was
triggered based upon mere pretexts for public consumption (propaganda weapons,
in the end), pretexts that later were admitted to be false. And this came from someone who--in the case
of Wolfowitz--defends the war as a way to bring democracy to the world. But what kind of democracy is this in which
leaders wage war (without even at least formally declaring it) deceiving the
citizens who elected them?... It is the
enemies of the values of civilization who win with this caricature of
democracy, where essential questions are decided by enlightened vanguards,
scorning the citizen to the point of deceiving him."
"An Unsettling Question"
Editor-in-chief José Manuel Fernandes wrote in influential
moderate-left daily Público
(5/30): "For now, the fact
that all that has been discovered is limited to two mobile laboratories raises
an unsettling question: was the Coalition lying when it brought the evidence it
had to the Security Council, according to which Iraq possessed weapons of mass
destruction?.... The interrogations of
arrested senior officials will perhaps aid in clearing up the mystery. But even if the mystery persists, the motives
for the war will not disappear--since even without these arsenals, Saddam had
ways of obtaining them, and that was the danger: the possible convergence of a
regime with the capacity to construct weapons of mass destruction, and
terrorists with the will to use them in any big city in the West."
SERBIA & MONTENEGRO:
Bosko Jaksic commented in
Belgrade's leading, pro-government Politika (5/29) (Internet
version): "Washington's promoters
of the preventative strike doctrine...have already launched a systematic
anti-Iranian campaign of accusations, propaganda, and misinformation.... Everything really is the spitting image of
the unimaginatively arrogant scenario that preceded the strike on Iraq. It does not matter that weapons of mass
destruction have not yet been discovered in Iraq. The U.S. Ali-Baba knows what he is doing.... It does not matter that no ties between
Saddam's secular regime and the Islamic Sunni theocrat Usama Bin Ladin and his
al-Qa'ida have ever been proven. A casus
belli was needed and it does not matter, either, that many people did not
believe it.... The building of the
'Iranian case' is a distilled recycling of the Iraqi model. A very tasteless deja vu. Nobody wants to listen to Tehran's denials,
just as nobody took any notice of Baghdad's."
TURKEY: "Bush And
Blair: Are They Lying To Us?"
Ozgen Acar argued in social democrat-intellectual Cumhuriyet
(6/3): "The main argument for
Iraq's occupation stems from history's largest terrorist event--September
11--after which Washington declared a war against terrorism. First we have observed the occupation of
Afghanistan with the excuse of capturing Al Qaida and UBL's headquarters. Yet UBL has not been found and captured so
far. Next came the Iraq argument: not
only supporting terrorism but also producing weapons of mass destruction. That was the fundamental argument for
toppling Saddam and his regime. But
there has been no WMD found in Iraq to date, not to even mention that no Saddam
has been found either. And interestingly
enough, now both London and Washington are working on a plan to eliminate
weapons of mass destruction which 'probably' exist in Iran."
"Saddam's Hell, Bush's Paradise"
Mahmud Nafi contended in government-owned Al-Jumhuriyah
(5/29) (Internet version): "Time
has proven that Bush and Saddam are merely two sides of the same coin. Both are ruthless slaughterers, are unjust
and coercive, and ignore human values and international norms.... Saddam lied only to his people, but Bush
misled the entire world. The U.S. House
of Representatives recently ascertained the deception of Bush and his
administration and asked the CIA to reassess the information it forwarded to
the U.S. administration on Iraq's ability to develop weapons of mass
destruction and its alleged al-Qa'ida connections. The House of Representatives
asked in dismay: Where are the weapons of mass destruction?"
"Summit of 'Emperor' Bush"
Chief Editor Abd-al-Bari Atwan judged in
London-based pan-Arab Al-Quds al-Arabi (6/2) (Internet version): "Iraq is now the model of chaos and
depression.... What support is left in
Iraq for the U.S. administration when its closest ally Ahmad al-Jalabi accuses
it of deception? And what credibility is
left for it at the Arab and international levels when it does not find a single
ounce of the weapons of mass destruction [WMD]?"
The English-language Saudi Gazette had
this view (5/31) (Internet version):
"Democracy depends on informed decisions and if the Iraq experience
has demonstrated anything at all it is that accurate, reliable information is a
commodity in short supply. Does any of
this matter now that Saddam has been deposed?
It matters insofar as that Rumsfeld's comments came during the course of
threats made against Iran, which he claims is not only developing a nuclear
capability but sheltering al-Qa'ida elements.
If all of this sounds familiar then it should as it is very much the
language that was being used in the run-up to the U.S.-British invasion of
"Iraq's Curse Chases Blair"
London-based pan-Arab Al-Quds al-Arabi
judged (5/30): "Rumsfeld's
confessions confirmed the doubts the British public and the political elite had
about the existence of a hidden war agenda that did not in any case include
weapons of mass destruction.... What is
certain is that Tony Blair's future as leader of the Labor Party and prime
minister of Britain is perhaps at greater risk after the confessions made by
his U.S. allies. This is so because the
British public will not easily accept the loss of scores of their children in a
war launched on the basis of U.S. lies....
Iraq's curse will continue to chase Blair and Bush and all those who
joined them in this unethical war."
"What Now, Mr. Bush?"
Tariq al-Ma'ina wrote in the English-language Arab
News of Jedda (5/31) (Internet version):
"In today's dynamic world, yesterday's news is fast becoming a
fading memory, and yet can we not remember what it was that started this
all? Wasn't it those notorious weapons of
mad destruction that were on everybody's lips then, the reason to enter and
destroy? Wasn't evidence tabled in front
of the UN Security Council? Where did
they go? Polls today show most Americans
aren't too concerned.... Iraq was and
remains a distant dot on the map, and so long as it does not interfere with
their daily lives, so be it.... Since
the war began, the military and its media have trumpeted one WMD discovery
after another that turned out to be false.
Today, the same people are saying it could take months or years for them
to be discovered. Or better yet, some
have gone do far to suggest that it was all destroyed a week before the
bombings began. Right under the noses of
the UN inspectors who were combing all over Iraq! Did the end justify the means? Or are the occupiers no better than the
oppressors they replaced? Over 3,500
innocent Iraqi civilians are dead and maimed today because of the non-existent
WMDs. And on whose conscience shall
those deaths lie?"
"American Military Presence In Iraq Will Be Long"
La Tribune, the economic French-language independent
daily, reported (6/2): “The United
States, which was planning to withdraw some of its troops from Iraq, will
certainly maintain them for a long time, in view of the persistent insecurity
since the end of the war, while the polemic on Saddam’s Weapons of Mass
Destruction, which cannot be found, is growing more and more.... In an interview given to an American
magazine, the number two of the Pentagon, Paul Wolfowitz confessed that the
weapons of mass destruction were only a pretext ‘upon which, everyone could
agree,’ for a response in Iraq. The real
reason for the war, according to Paul Wolfowitz would have been the necessity
for the United States to withdraw its troops from Saudi Arabia. Seven weeks after the end of the conflict and
while the forces of the coalition have yet to find a single weapon of mass
destruction, these declarations constrained President Bush and Prime Minister
Tony Blair to react.... On the eve of
the G8 summit which starts today in Evian, Bush has begun to smooth things over
with the countries of the ‘Bloc of Peace’.”
"Weapons of Mass Destruction And Deception"
Sahar Ba'asiri judged in moderate, anti-Syrian An-Nahar
(5/30) (Internet version): "The
United States has so far not found one gram of any chemical or biological
substance in a country on which it launched a war that was described as
pre-emptive, claiming that this country constituted imminent danger because of
the weapons it possessed.... There might
now be mounting speculations and even demands in the United States and Britain
to open an investigation in this regard, as British Minister Robin Cook, who
resigned in protest against war, had demanded.
There might also be more talk about the attempt to mislead the U.S. and
British public (and Blair himself), and even about what some U.S. commentators
have began to predict would become the 'biggest intelligence trick.' But, all this does not change anything about
the Iraqi reality. Rather, it exposes
the falsehood of those democracies and the transparency and values they claim,
in the name of which they launch wars and do not hesitate to call them
"Will There Be Any [Arab] Awakening?"
Haidar Haidar commented in government-owned Al-Thawra
(6/1): "Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz
stated openly that the Iraqi WMD was a pretext to justify war on Iraq. This came a day after Rumsfeld's statement
that Iraq might have destroyed its WMD before the war. This was an attempt to explain not finding
such weapons in Iraq.... The unethical
war launched against Iraq...was received with a huge international
objection.... It has increased the
international split over strategic issues that worry all humanity.... The whole world is attempting to avoid the
negative impacts of U.S. unilateralism on our planet. Isn't it high time to take serious steps
toward Arab rapprochement and solidarity?"
"The Death Toll Of Humanism"
Abdelmajid Chorfi commented in independent French-language daily Le
Quotidien (6/2): "Research
undertaken by an avalanche of American military units throughout the Tigris and
Euphrates basins did not detect even an ounce of any chemical, biological or
nuclear substance likely to be used in the making of such weapons [of mass
destruction].... Such a fact does not
really surprise. Most of the world
leaders knew--and implicitly stated--that Saddam very likely no longer had
these type of weapons after twelve years of a tough embargo and unbearable
"Too Much Misery At The Same Time"
M'hamed Ben Youssef penned this editorial in the
French-language weekly Tunis Hebdo (6/2): "For more than six months, this column
has been monopolized by the analysis of events generally initiated by the
strangeness of the provoking and misleading behavior of the hawks gravitating
around the White House leader.... As for
the existence of bacteriological, chemical or nuclear weapons, they were just
brazen lies to justify more or less, the military conquest of this
State.... In this unbelievable commotion
which threatens our human dignity...Washington uses the same scenario to target
a new aim, still another Muslim country.
Iran is today surrounded by GI's controlling, among others, the Iranian-Afghani
borders, and the Iraqi-Iranian ones.
This is leading to a professional destabilization of the Mullahs'
"Gulf News Says: Trust Is Most Precious"
Independent, pro-government English-language Gulf
News of Dubai held (5/30) (Internet version): "The American and British governments
appear to have misled the world with their claims that Iraq had weapons of mass
destruction. This failure of truth will now
give both governments a serious challenge when they ask the Arab world to trust
them in their efforts to rebuild Iraq or to find peace in Israel. Why should the Arabs believe governments that
treat the truth so lightly?"
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
"Challenge Over Iraq’s WMDs"
The liberal Sydney Morning Herald commented (6/3): “The Howard Government should be embarrassed
by the failure to uncover chemical and biological weapons in Iraq. It was to rid the world of such weapons of
mass destruction (WMDs) that the United States, Britain and Australia went to
war.... The dearth of evidence so far
does not mean the illegal weapons case will not eventually be made. However, an independent assessment would
prove far more reassuring to the international community than merely expanding
the U.S.-led search. This is now
possible under the terms of the recent UN Security Council resolution on Iraq
which allows for the return of UN weapons inspectors. In Australia, a thorough and open review of
prewar intelligence material would go a long way to reassuring the public that
we did not go to war over two mobile trailers.”
"A Cynical Hoax?"
Defense writer Geoffrey Barker opined in the
business-oriented Australian Financial Review (6/2): “A war is too important and too costly to
waste on a phantom threat. As doubts
grow about the existence of Saddam Hussein’s supposed WMD so do suspicions that
the war against Iraq was a terrible and costly waste.... As days pass without any WMDs being found,
the suspicion must be that American, British and Australian leaders conspired
to cry wolf about Hussein’s arsenal to win domestic and international support
for a war conducted for other geopolitical and possibly resource reasons. The growing perception will compromise the
national security of the three nations by heightening cynicism about the
credibility of political leaders in a real emergency.... If there are no weapons, why was Iraq
selected for liberation this year?… Perhaps the U.S. wanted to demonstrate what
can happen to countries that defy its power....
The WMD explanation looks increasingly like a cynical hoax that could
haunt the coalition of the willing for years.“
"Terror And The Tyranny Of Language"
Independent Koran Tempo held (5/31): "It was enough for American politicians
to use the words 'al-Qaida terrorism' to turn the American public and people of
the world into supporters of the assault on Afghanistan. The words 'weapons of mass destruction' were
used to hypnotize people into supporting regime change in Baghdad.... Just this week, the United States Deputy
Defense Secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, has acknowledged that getting rid of 'weapons of mass destruction' was not
America's main purpose in Iraq.... He
has said that the main aim is so that America can move its military bases from
Saudi Arabia to Iraq. With that new
acknowledgment, we cannot but suspect that invading Afghanistan was perhaps
also not to destroy terrorism. We also
cannot help suspecting America's motives when its officials again sing the old
songs--'al-Qaida terrorism' and 'weapons of mass destruction'--to intimidate
Iran. More terror, more war.... America has lied in using the argument 'to
destroy terrorism' to hide its various real motives, including control of oil
and strengthening its political and economic hegemony."
The independent Today (6/3) editorialized (6/3): "Currently a hot topic on both sides of
the Atlantic is whether the Saddam Hussein regime ever really had the weapons
of mass destruction.... The quick
reaction among people who think logically was, therefore, 'So what was the war
for?.... Ah, well, but that kind of
tough questioning forgets that, besides the WMD, there were other 'standby' or
'optional' reasons for calling the war, i.e.: to 'liberate' the Iraqis from
Saddam Hussein; to break the back of the international terrorism
movement.... Yet even these other
'standby' reasons are now being called into question.... .America faces the tough situation of helping
Iraqis set up a democratic government....
As for the global terrorists...it is becoming increasingly clear that
the al Qaeda is a very resilient force and has regrouped...and is ready to
operate again.... And yet, wasn't it
George W. Bush who declared, after Saddam Hussein was toppled, that because of
America's war on Iraq, the world has become a safer place?"
SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA
"The Iraqi Challenge"
The centrist Times of India observed
(6/2): "Finally, Washington has given
up pretending that the Iraq war was about weapons of mass destruction. Indeed, official American pronouncements now
admit that Iraq is the first step in redesigning the political architecture of
West Asia. The neo-conservatives in the
U.S. seem convinced this is necessary to ensure that this will be the American
century.... Attacks by the Al-Qaeda and
its associated organizations are to be expected in various parts of the world,
including the U.S. itself, so long as the war on terrorism is not brought to a
successful conclusion. Clearly, this is
what motivates the neo-conservatives to press on with their agenda of carrying
out regime changes in West Asia with coercive diplomacy to the extent possible,
and use of force if and where necessary."
"Iraq: Crocodile Tears"
Editor K. Narendra argued in pro-BJP Urdu daily Pratap
(5/29): "In his recent speech at a
dinner in Washington President Bush gave the audience an account of the issues
that, in his view, the U.S. currently faced and the actions he was taking or
planning to take to meet the challenges....
A large part of his speech was devoted to Iraq, during which he made no
reference to the weapons of mass destruction which was used as an excuse to
attack Iraq. As far as his
pronouncements about the reconstruction of Iraq are concerned, it made me
recall the deceitful claims used to be made by the Britishers during their
colonial rule over India. They would
also shed crocodile tears about the misery of the Indian people with the sole
aim of intensifying their economic and political exploitation and consolidate
British hold over the country. The
post-war situation has only reaffirmed the fact that the U.S.-led attack was
solely aimed at capturing Iraq's oil resources.
Notwithstanding its lofty self-congratulatory claims regarding
democracy, humanity and ethical conduct, the U.S. has proved itself to be not
only a big power but also an unmatched liar."
IRAN: "Big Lies On
Tehran's Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Radio stated (6/2): "Nearly three
months after the occupation of Iraq, no weapons of mass destruction have been
found in that country. The issue was the
main pretext for launching a military attack on Iraq. Now many American and British politicians as
well as the media in these countries are criticizing the matter. An expert on political issues, Mr Sabah
Zanganeh, comments on the motive and objectives behind the propaganda in these
'It was to a large extent clear from the start
that the allegations of America and Britain on the Iraqi weapons of mass
destruction were not true. This is
because the representatives of the international organizations such as the
International Atomic Energy Agency and the head of the UN weapons inspectors,
in their reports to the Security Council, stated these facts. Now that the entire world has realized that
such weapons either did not exist or were destroyed at some stage, and in the
wake of the realization that the pretext exploited by America to attack Iraq
was false, some groups in America and Britain in the mass media and the
parliaments of the two countries are joining the protest raised by the leaders
and mass media of other countries. These
deputies are now questioning the defense ministers and foreign secretaries of
America and Britain. This is, firstly,
the outcome of a heavy pressure that exists in the world which refuses to
accept the allegations of America and Britain.
Secondly, it is an attempt by these deputies and media representatives
to reduce the negative consequences of this issue and the fact that the leaders
of America and Britain lied to the people in their own societies. That is, they are trying to lessen the
negative effects of the big lies, which were unbearable to the global
community, among the public in their own countries.'"
"U.S.-UK Claims Questioned"
The Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran Radio 1 broadcast this
commentary (5/31): "The credibility
of earlier claims by America and Britain about Iraq's weapons programmes have
come under question almost two months after the end of the war and the fact
that no weapons of mass destruction have been found. Meanwhile, news sources have revealed that
Colin Powell has, under pressure from the White House, used dubious documents
to blame Iraq of possessing weapons of mass destruction."
PAKISTAN: "What New
Scenes Will We See In This Drama?"
Lahore-based independent Urdu daily Din
judged (6/3): "U.S. Defense
Secretary Rumsfeld and his deputies are openly saying now that the WMDs were an
excuse used for documentation purposes only, the real reason [for war in Iraq]
was to get U.S. troops out of Saudi Arabia....
These revelations have made Mr. Tony Blair's position quite
precarious. Mr. Blair is still trying to
convince his parliament and nation that Iraq under Saddam was a threat to the
entire humanity.... Statements by the
U.S. defense secretary and his deputy clarify U.S. ambitions in the region--that
its real motive was to gain control of Iraq's oil reserves and to pave the way
for Israeli domination of the Middle East....
As far as the WMD pretext goes, the U.S. has now turned its guns towards
Iran, which signals the start of a new act in this drama."
"New Truths On Iraq"
The center-right, national Nation
editorialized (6/2): "In what seems
a deliberate policy to play down the issue of Iraq's WMD, both Secretary
Rumsfeld and his neo-conservative deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, have issued
statements within a day of each other which annihilate the thesis Washington
adopted for going to war on Iraq....
Wolfowitz said that the Iraq war was launched primarily to prepare
ground for relocating U.S. forces from Saudi Arabia to Iraq. The issue of Iraq's WMDs was merely adopted
for the bureaucratic reason that every one could agree on it. This confession comes a day after Mr.
Rumsfeld's statement that 'it was possible that Iraqis may have decided to
destroy any weapons before the conflict started.' Should we now believe Washington was lying as
a matter of policy a few weeks ago, but is now whistle-clean, after having
entered the confessional?... It now
seems the UN inspectors' demand for more time and the Saddam regime's
cooperation had become an obstacle in Washington's designs for Iraq. Had the inspectors finally given Iraq a clean
chit, the U.S. goal of regime change would have been foiled. So too would its access to Iraq's oil
wealth.... By revising the official
reason for going to war on Iraq, Washington may have eased public pressure to
deliver Iraq's WMDs; but surely it realizes that it has also pulled the plug on
its own credibility and made its more-loyal-than-the-king allies, look like
The Lahore-based, liberal, English language Daily
Times commented (5/31): "The
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz...has said that Iraq's weapons
of mass destruction were not really the casus belli.... Are we surprised? Yes.
Not because Mr. Wolfowitz has said something that we did not already
know, but because he has chosen to make a clean breast of it. It couldn't have been a Freudian slip; could
it then be hubris, a kind of message to the entire world that the U.S. can do
what it wants regardless of the bleating world?
Perhaps. Yet, coming as it does from Mr. Wolfowitz, a highly placed
official in the Bush administration, the admission--if it can be called
that--puts the official seal on what has been unofficially suspected and said
for a long time. The countries opposing
the U.S. war on Iraq were right, given the stated purpose, that UN weapons
inspectors were doing fine. But while
pushing the WMD line, the U.S., nonetheless, was not prepared to give
inspections any chance. Dr. Hans Blix,
the Swedish diplomat and chief weapons inspector, has already publicly accused
the U.S. of hoodwinking the UN and the entire world. Mr. Wolfowitz has vindicated him.... Many columnists and commentators in the
mainstream U.S. press chose to depict Iraq as a threat. If Mr. Wolfowitz' statement fails to wake
them up from their self-inflicted delusion, then we can only suspect that they
were a party to the great deception mounted by the administration."
"Profitable Flouting Of The Truth"
The liberal Sunday Tribune commented
(6/1): "It is becoming patently
obvious that the invasion of Iraq...was carried out on the wings of a
deliberate lie. It was a monumental con
trick.... The stated reason...was to rid
the region of weapons of mass destruction....
Months after the invasion, the weapons haven't been found, Saddam has
disappeared, Iraq is in chaos, the conquerors have their hands on the oil and
are parceling out the contracts to their friends. This is a lesson--and a costly one--that if
world peace is to be maintained, all countries, big and small, should abide by
international laws and conventions."
"How About A Little Apology, Mr. Rumsfeld"
Pro-ruling party (NPP) daily Accra Mail
argued (5/26): “Mr. Rumsfeld, it is
unfair, almost an insult, to the world, to now flippantly wave away the reality
of the WMDs not having been found after all the bombings and trauma caused the
world. Yes Saddam was a horrible
dictator, etc., but did the U.S. require over $70 billion to remove him? Priorities do indeed differ! All the same, how about a little apology for
misleading and endangering the world?”
"War And More War?"
The privately owned and independent Post
editorialized (5/30): "It is very
clear now that George W Bush and Tony Blair lied about weapons of mass
destruction in Iraq.... Now the
liberators of Iraq are scheming on how to share contracts, how to loot the
wealth of that country and recover their war expenses and make profits. True liberators don't behave this
way.... This is a reality but it will
not last forever; it cannot last forever because the political and economic
order that currently prevails in the world is simply unsustainable and can only
lead to disaster."
Editorialist Jean-Marc Salvet contended in centrist Le Soleil
(6/3): "Seven weeks after the
disappearance of the tyrant none of the weapons have been found. Worse still, the doubts regarding the
information that attested to their presence are growing daily. The suspicions of political manipulation are
rife.... The present uncertainty forces
us to ask what was really left on the ground and what exactly did Washington
know when it launched the military operation.
The disappearance of the despot is a happy turn of events. Slowly and despite the troubles on the
ground, Iraqis are emerging from their jail.
But the satisfaction we feel should in no way hide the truth."
"The Straussian Conspiracy"
New York-based correspondent Richard Hétu wrote in the centrist La
Presse (6/1): "The foreign
policy of the U.S. has fallen under the grasp of a small group of intellectuals
who follow the ideas of a Jewish philosopher of German origin, Leo Strauss, who
died in 1973. It explains everything
including the latest comments of Defense Deputy Secretary, Paul Wolfowitz about
the justification of the war in Iraq....
One of Strauss' main ideas is that intellectual elites can lie to the
world to defend liberal democracy against its enemies.... In the past weeks several prestigious
newspapers or magazines, including Le Monde, The New York Times
and The New Yorker have published articles on the influence of Leo
Strauss and his disciples on Washington's foreign policy."
Editorialist Serge Truffaut wrote in the liberal Le Devoir
(6/1): "All the Doctor Jekylls of
the White House and of 10 Downing Street and all the Mister Hydes of the
American and British administrations have lied.
Today they admit that their weapons of mass destruction were only a trap
they used because they are men on a mission....
Why? Because they are
all...crusaders of action.... All these
men, starting with Paul Wolfowitz, claim to be intellectual disciples of
philosopher Leo Strauss who says..."the laws of nations are exclusively
determined by the legislators and tribunals." Pushing his logic, their logic further would
mean falling into another law: the law of the jungle."
"The Last Victim"
Chief editorialist André Pratte wrote in the centrist La Presse
(6/1): "In a recent declaration
which is as embarrassing as it is revealing, Defense Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz
explained the emphasis was put on weapons of mass destruction 'because it was a
reason which everyone could agree on.'
In other words, in the mind of Mr. Wolfowitz, there were other reasons just
as, if not more important, to attack Iraq than those made public. So far these declarations had had relatively
little impact in the U.S.... There are
other less important but nevertheless troubling information. For example, according to a BBC story, the
supposedly heroic rescue of private Jessica Lynch did not unfold at all as the
U.S. army said it did.... And the
Americans had to admit that on the site where Saddam Hussein was said to be on
the first night of the war, they found neither bodies nor remnants of a
bunker. Thus, as time passes we wonder
more and more not only if the justifications for the war were true but also if
the war itself unfolded as we were told it did."
""No Way Out"
Right-of-center O Globo editorialized (5/31): "Prime Minister Tony Blair swears he
never doubted the existence of banned weapons in Iraq: that's what Her
Majesty's espionage services told him.
One and half months after the war it's almost certain the weapons didn't
exist and probably never did. It's
either one thing or another: Blair was either misinformed or he lied. Neither of the two possibilities is good to
his statesman reputation."
"Wolves And Hawks"
Liberal Folha de S. Paulo editorialized
(5/29): "Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has admitted that Saddam Hussein might
not have possessed WMD, thereby contradicting the main reason George W. Bush
and Tony Blair used to try to justify the conflict.... The U.S. and the UK did not hesitate to use
gross falsifications to allege an enormous Iraqi threat.... The U.S. acted as if it were the wolf of
Aesop's fable. Saddam was not a lamb,
but he was devoured by the law of the strongest, according to which
justifications and the law are inconvenient details made to be forgotten."
"Blair Concerned, Weapons Still Not Found In Iraq"
Old-guard nationalist El Universal judged
(6/2): "Little by little, public
opinion in the U.S. and in Great Britain is reaching the conclusion that the
White House and Prime Minister Blair exaggerated information supporting the
existence of mass destruction weapons in Iraq.... Additionally, there are elements pointing
that the war against Iraq had already been decided in the year 2002, regardless
of the outcome of UN inspections…. It
would seem that the U.S. and British governments had confidence in that the
coalition's victory would make public opinion forget the arguments for
war…. Nothing silences better criticism
than success, and for the allies the benefits of the operation largely overcame
the moral objections of nations that were treated as 'traitors.'... Bush and Blair will be reminded that they did
not speak the truth…. Those who opposed
the war, as Mexico did, were right. Even
though serious political consequences against the U.S. and Greta Britain are
not foreseen in the near future, the wheels of justice are slow but once in
motion, it will be very difficult to stop them."
"Bush: The Weight Of The Lie"
Left-of-center Jornada editorialized
(6/2): "Two months after the end of
the war in Iraq, U.S. authorities realized that the links between Al-Qaeda and
Hussein were nonexistent; the occupying troops have not been able to find a
single piece of evidence that the Hussein regime possessed WMDs. On the contrary, U.S. Deputy Secretary of
Defense Paul Wolfowitz admitted in an interview that the ‘chemical weapons’
were a bureaucratic pretext to launch the war.... On the other hand, there is plenty and proven
evidence of the lies of Bush and Blair....
American public opinion is indulgent with the massacres that its
authorities effect overseas but it does not forgive lies.... We hope from this American Puritanism, that
this lie becomes the political grave of Bush."
Leftist Managua daily El Nuevo Diario ran
an op-ed written by former Sandinista foreign minister Miguel D'Escoto Brockman
(6/2): "There is no doubt that
there is plenty of hypocrisy in the U.S. official rhetoric against terrorism or
weapons of mass destruction. The U.S.
pretends to pass as humanitarian and peace loving when the truth is the
"U.S., A Power Out Of Control"
Journalist Demetrio Olaciregui argued in
conservative El Panama America (6/2):
“Little by little the veil that hides some of the U.S. actions in its
anti-terrorist war and the Iraqi invasion has been lifted.... The CIA is being questioned by Congress,
accused of manipulating the information on Iraq for possible political
purposes.... The credibility of the U.S.
leader has been undermined. He has not
found Hussein, nor weapons of mass destruction, nor Osama bin Laden."