June 24, 2003
OCCUPATION 'IN THE SHADOW OF SADDAM'
** Saddam's unknown
whereabouts a key reason the war in Iraq "is not yet over."
** A "difficult"
occupation is proving that "peace is harder to manage than war."
** The Coalition must stay
the course or Iraq may turn into "another Afghanistan."
The 'Saddam factor' is impeding Coalition attempts to stabilize
Iraq-- British dailies argued that the uncertain
status of Saddam Hussein was at "the core of almost all the
difficulties" facing the U.S. in Iraq.
"Senior figures who have been captured will not talk" if there
is "the slightest chance" Saddam will come back, said the
conservative Times. Many ordinary
Iraqis, "out of terror, will hedge their bets as well." The center-left Independent agreed
that "the failure to find Saddam...provides a focus for anti-American
sentiment throughout the Middle East."
While the Times argued there was "no alternative to a
relentless campaign" to track down Hussein, the left-of-center Guardian--scoffing
that Saddam "has now been killed three times by U.S.
forces"--contended that U.S. willingness to "obliterate" rather
than arrest him was "a policy of vengeance, not of justice." An Austrian writer concluded the fighting
will end only when Saddam's "most fanatical followers finally understand
that he won't be coming back."
Critics tie 'unpopular occupation' to U.S. 'negligence' and
insufficient forces-- Facing "a shadow
war," the U.S. was in "an increasingly difficult situation" that
put occupation forces in a dilemma.
"By taking excessively tough measures" to deal with continuing
attacks, they "risk a further loss of support" among Iraqis. Thus, Germany's left-of-center Berliner
Zeitung contended, "the Iraqis see an occupying regime that...fails
when it comes to reconstructing civilian structures and, on the other hand,
acts with an iron fist." Papers in
Europe and Southeast Asia judged that too few forces had been committed to
Iraq. Those who advocated
"deploying a larger force" were wrong as far as the war goes, said a
Singapore outlet, but "their arguments are looking persuasive"
regarding the occupation. Indian papers
were mixed on deploying peacekeepers to Iraq, some holding that it was "a
very dubious venture" but others maintaining India would "advance its
best interests" by sending troops.
'The Americans must succeed' in Iraq-- Editorialists agreed that "urgent and
focused action" was necessary to prevent discontent from turning into
"widespread and active opposition" in coming months. A British writer opined that success would
require "a sincere commitment" from the U.S. and going "with the
grain of local culture," while a Norwegian observer contended that
"Europe must not hesitate to support" civil reconstruction. Yet the independent Philippine Star
questioned "whether the American forces...will have the staying
power" to combat Fedayeen guerrillas.
Though "devilishly expensive" to remain in Iraq, the daily
said, "It would be even more expensive" for the U.S. to depart
prematurely. A German daily warned that
the mullahs in Iran, Assad in Syria, the Palestinians and Hezbollah were hoping
that the U.S. "will lose interest in the region and be driven out of Iraq
by guerrilla fighters."
EDITOR: Steven Wangsness
EDITOR'S NOTE: This
analysis is based on 64 reports from 23 countries, June 19-June 24, 2003. Editorial excerpts from each country are
listed from the most recent date.
BRITAIN: "Bush's Fate
In The Hands Of The Ayatollahs"
Patrick Cockburn wrote in the center-left Independent
(6/24): "The success or failure of
the U.S. occupation is still on a knife edge.
With the capture of Baghdad on 9 April, the U.S. won an easy military
victory but it has been unable to turn this into a political victory in the
following 10 weeks.... This is the real
problem for the U.S. It promised
democracy for Iraq but it is frightened of the Shia representatives
winning. It is therefore trying to delay
elections until it thinks that people acceptable to Washington will get
elected.... Even if the U.S. allows,
prior to an Iraqi national election, a genuinely representative Iraqi political
council with real power, it will not be dealing with people it does not
like. But if it does not do so, it will
have increasing difficulties in ruling Iraq by military force alone. In either case the White House is discovering
that the occupation of Iraq...which appeared to be a sure election winner in
the U.S. a few weeks ago has added some dangerously unpredictable wild cards to
"Justice For Saddam"
A leading article in the left-of-center Guardian argued
(6/24): "Saddam Hussein has now been killed three times by U.S. forces in
Iraq--unless they missed him and he is still alive.... What is clear is that the U.S. feels entitled
to launch a Hellfire missile whenever it sees some unidentified vehicles
heading for Syria. What seems lost in
Washington's post-strike inquiry is any scruple as to whether the U.S. is
justified in behaving this way.... The
aim of the war, Mr Bush reiterated time and again...was to 'bring to justice'
the Iraqi leader and his associates....
Of course there may be reasons why the U.S. would find it inexpedient to
put Saddam on trial--for a start he might say something about the support he
enjoyed from Washington in the Iraq-Iran war.
But to obliterate him with an anti-tank weapon is a policy of vengeance,
not of justice.... Military resistance
to the U.S. is continuing, but this does not entitle the Pentagon...to kill
indiscriminately. Washington's shift to
the offensive against Saddam's remnants has an air of desperation, as public
opinion begins to chafe at mounting casualties.
Yet whether it is Saddam or smugglers, the U.S. does not have the right
to blast them from the air."
"Where Is Saddam? And Evidence That He Was A Threat?"
The center-left Independent commented (6/23): "It ought to be embarrassing for a
president who relies on gunslinger rhetoric that he has not been able to haul
in the bodies of any of his very public enemies. Practically, of course, it does not matter
much whether or not any of them is caught and paraded before the world.... Yet the failure to find Saddam does
matter. It matters symbolically. It provides a focus for anti-American
sentiment throughout the Middle East. It
demonstrates that there are limits to U.S. power.... In the U.S. the doubts about the war--and the
price of keeping the peace--are creeping in.
It matters more for what it says about U.S. intelligence-gathering. The failure to find evidence of chemical and
biological weapons, which has so scarred Tony Blair over here, is beginning to
bother Mr Bush over there. It seems that
not only did Mr Blair and Mr Bush misjudge--on the basis of faulty
intelligence--the threat posed by Saddam's regime, but they miscalculated the
extent to which the Iraqi people would be hostile to the U.S., even if it got
rid of their hated dictator. They did
not realize that even those who disliked Saddam would be reluctant to help the
external enemy find him. The former Iraqi
dictator was not a threat to the U.S. any more, [Mr Bush] said. But that only draws attention to the bigger,
unanswered question: how much of a threat was he in the first place?"
"Iraqi Debt, Like War, Divides The West"
David Mulford and Michael Monderer argued in the independent Financial
Times (6/23): "A new conflict
has begun among western nations over Iraq's future, this time over its foreign
debt, estimated at more than $100bn.
Like the pre-invasion skirmishes, the battle lines reflect divisions
between France, Germany and Russia, and the U.S. Senior U.S. officials initially called for
debt forgiveness in the light of Saddam Hussein's evil regime. More recently they have backed off, employing
the term 'debt relief.' which covers anything from short-term deferral to
forgiveness. The U.S. should resume its
original position on forgiveness but for a different reason: assisting Iraq's
recovery. Many Iraqi
creditors--including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, the Gulf States,
Turkey, Bulgaria--are not members of the Paris Club [of creditor nations] and
are owed more than half the debt. They
should not be forced to accept a solution made in Paris. There are precedents for giving Iraq special
treatment, including the debt agreements with Germany in 1953 and Indonesia in
1970.... Such a plan for Iraq,
implemented without delay, would not hinder political and economic recovery and
would help a stable Iraq to join the international economy."
"We Stayed To Rule. They Want To Conquer and Go"
Veteran war correspondent and historian Max
Hastings commented in the conservative Sunday Telegraph (Internet
version) (6/22): "One of the
gravest mistakes of American foreign policy is to suppose that intervening in
places without a lasting commitment somehow makes it all okay. Unfortunately, it does not--as we saw in
Somalia, as we see in Afghanistan, and as we are likely to see in Iraq.... Afghanistan...has been allowed to lapse into
warlordism since the United States finished punishing the Taliban to its own
satisfaction. It has often asserted that
Iraq has a better chance of making the grade, because it possesses an educated
middle class. This seems true up to a
point.... The most important requirement
is that those Americans who are sent to aid Iraq should possess a sincere
commitment to its people and an understanding that one must work with the grain
of local culture, rather than seek to supplant it.... By their behaviour over the next few months,
we shall discover whether the Americans really care a straw about the Iraqis,
or whether they launched their crusade merely as an act of retaliation for
September 11, with the strategic objective of shifting the balance of power in
the Middle East.... The Americans will
only succeed if they engage with the Iraqi people other than through the
periscope of a Bradley fighting vehicle.....
If the U.S. continues to believe that the role of superpower can be
fulfilled solely through the exercise of military might, then it will rouse
even greater global animosity than it faces today. Gunboats are the easy, and least important
part, of overseas power projection. The
job is mostly about good sewage engineers."
"Iraq's Summer War"
Katy Cronin and Joost Hilterman argued in the
center-left Sunday Observer (Internet version) (6/22): "The U.S. rulers of Baghdad are still
banking on military muscle rather than on administrative talent or political
persuasion in Iraq. On those terms, they
run a higher risk of losing the most important battle.... This is a dangerous time. The United States and Britain will have to
work much more quickly--and with more than sheer force of arms--if they are to
keep the Iraqis on their side. The coalition
has barely begun to address the Iraqis' most basic needs--personal safety,
steady electricity, clean water, health care, a modicum of job security and the
prompt payment of salaries. As the
blistering summer heat sets in, there is a real risk of widespread and serious
trouble. The collapse of the hated
regime of Saddam Hussein has of course brought positive changes and new
freedoms to Iraq--including the right to object and protest, and the
rudimentary beginnings of an electoral process. But there is a grave risk that
U.S. military actions and the relative invisibility of reconstruction efforts
by the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) are pushing Iraqis to
extremes that will make the task all the more difficult.... Washington and London are now scrambling to
bring tangible improvements in the situation.
They could do worse than enable the UN to play a more meaningful
role. The UN's exclusion from anything
but a humanitarian and advisory role has set the Iraq crisis apart from
virtually all previous internationally managed transitions.... The Iraqis' faith in their new rulers is
being undermined by ad hoc decision making, lack of cultural sensitivity and
apparent neglect of the problems that rile them most. Urgent and focused action is needed if this
discontent is not to be transformed into widespread and active opposition in
the coming months."
"Shadow Of Saddam"
A leading article in the conservative Times argued
(6/20): " The 'Saddam factor' is at
the core of almost all the difficulties that U.S. officials have
encountered. The large number of senior
figures who have been captured will not talk while there is the slightest
chance that he will come back, nor will the scientists suspected of intimate
involvement in the pursuit of biological and chemical weapons.... Many Iraqis, out of terror, will hedge their
bets as well. There is, nonetheless, no
alternative to a relentless campaign to track down the ex-dictator and his
sons, if they are with him.... The
Pentagon has to reconsider whether it has enough troops on the ground for this
task. It would also, distasteful as this
is, be rational for America to provide, as Whitehall has suggested, inducements
to some of those behind bars to be helpful.
Donald Rumsfeld, the U.S. Defense Secretary, has begun to move in the
right direction on this issue. Others
need to follow."
FRANCE: "The Third
Bruno Frappat maintained in Catholic La Croix (6/24): “The war in Iraq continues on two
fronts. On the ground more than fifty
American soldiers have died at the hands of Iraqi saboteurs.... As cruel as this battle is, it is not the
most dangerous for the future of the U.S....
The harshest war under way is the one waged over public opinion about
lies and truths. The question is not so
much whether the U.S. will be able to hold together a crumbling Iraq but
whether America’s moral credit is not losing that other battle. Immediately after the war and the coalition’s
victory, it was unthinkable to criticize the legitimacy of the
intervention. France was politely asked
to acknowledge the victory. Two months
later the question of Iraq’s WMD is returning to the forefront of the
international scene. The question today
is whether Tony Blair, George Bush and his advisors knowingly lied to the
world. Doubt is growing daily. As is the idea that a state lie may have
served as a ‘pretext’ for war. It would
not be a first. But any number of
precedents would not make this cynicism anymore acceptable.”
Bernard Guetta held on government-run France Inter radio
(6/24): “The U.S. is indeed
strange. Behind its will to topple
Saddam Hussein no matter what, there was a strategy. It was not to get its hands on Iraqi
oil. The more sophisticated goal was to
create ‘a contagious democracy’ in the Middle East.... The idea was to eradicate evil at the
root.... No warning could have deterred
President Bush and his administration from this goal. But at least one imagined that the U.S. would
give itself the means to reach its goals and that it would be aware of the
difficulty of the task. With a proper
budget and clear policies, the strategy might have succeeded. But reality is proving right the most
pessimistic among America’s critics. It
is not only that the U.S. did not predict the chaos and the looting or how to
deal with it; it is that the U.S. administrators have no money to deal with the
Iraqi population’s direst needs.... It
is as if the U.S. believed that Iraqi oil would suffice to finance the
transition.... Far from moving towards
democratic elections, the U.S. is settling into a most unpopular occupation
with increasing loss of life among its forces.
The only ones to profit from the situation are the Islamists and the
thieves. Strange America indeed! It needs to urgently revise its Iraqi
policy. But nothing proves it is on its
way to doing so.”
"President Bush’s Quest in Iraq"
Right-of-center Les Echos editorialized (6/23): “On Saturday President Bush reiterated his
determination to delve into Saddam Hussein’s WMD program, no matter how long it
takes. But since the end of the war, the
U.S. army has found no prohibited weapons....
The U.S. and British governments are the targets of a number of
accusations.... What this all proves is
the Bush administration’s hasty decision to launch a war, not the fact that
Saddam Hussein may or may not have tried to rearm.... Paul Wolfowitz’s ‘bureaucratic pretext’ is a
case in point.... The situation in Iraq
and the difficulties which the U.S. Army is facing do not help. Nor do the rumors of Saddam Hussein having
survived and the fact that he may still be in Iraq. But the question of Iraq’s WMD remains
crucial. Not only for President Bush’s
America but especially for the international community. Tension with Iran or North Korea can at any
moment lead to major international crises.
More than ever credibility is essential.”
"United States Needs Others!"
Pierre Beylau commented in right-of-center weekly Le Point
(Internet version) (6/20):
"'Welcome to the Real World.'
This headline in the weekly Newsweek is revealing. Doubts are beginning to gain a serious hold
on many U.S. observers. Whether with
regard to Iraq, Afghanistan, or the Israeli-Palestinian question, the
neoconservatives' strategy is in the dock.
Ideological approaches are being challenged, and pragmatism seems likely
to make a discreet comeback. In Iraq,
peace is proving harder to manage than war.
There are almost daily attacks on U.S. troops. The establishment of a new administration is
like some Chinese puzzle. George Bush's
troops will obviously have to remain under Mesopotamian skies for longer than
expected.... And Andrew Higgins
[observed] in his Wall Street Journal column: though the United States can win
wars all on its own, it cannot, however, do without its allies and the
international community when it comes to stabilizing, rebuilding, and
establishing long-term action. The
example provided by the Balkans is revealing in this connection."
"Lessons Of Power"
Clemens Wergin argued in an editorial in centrist Der
Tagesspiegel of Berlin (6/24):
"When the Bush administration came to power, it had planned to
restructure societies. It wanted to cut
the ground from under the terrorists' feet...but the opposite happened: the rejection of the United States is greater
than ever. Even in Iraq, the United
States is forfeiting its reputation as liberator, because they push the
establishment of a civil society with a lack of ability that is in a strange
contrast to the professionalism with which they won the war. The conflict in Palestine, also demonstrates
the limits of the superpower: If the
extremists do not want progress, there will be no progress....
"The balance sheet of the U.S. policy toward the Mideast
remains ambiguous.... It is true that
the regimes in the region orient to the United States and its undisputed
power. But the majority of them only
wait for better times and for the failure of the United States. The Mullahs in Iran, Bashir al Assad in
Syria, the Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Yasser Arafat in Ramallah: they all hope that the Americans will lose
interest in the region and be driven out of Iraq by guerrilla fighters. They will be part of a new Middle East only
if the United States passes the decisive test:
to pacify Iraq and leave it to a better future."
Rolf Paasch judged in an editorial in left-of-center Frankfurter
Rundschau (6/24): "The Bush
administration plans to establish the first division of an Iraqi army.... So far, so good.... But the method the Americans employ to
restructure the Iraqi army shows why the U.S. occupiers even under their new
chief administrator Bremer are getting more unpopular day by day. There is not only the objective problem to
build up a country...but there is also the notoriously bad propaganda of the
Bush administration. In the country of
commercials, politicians have not understood how to advertise
nation-building. There is no
communication with the Iraqi people. How
can we explain that Bremer's first action in office was to dissolve the Iraqi
army without considering the consequences.
No preparation for the move, no explanation, no details, no word about
social implications. For weeks, Saddam's
soldiers feared of their jobs and their existence. In such an atmosphere, the impression of
being fooled just had to develop...even among the greatest sympathizers with
the United States. The belated
information on generous interim payments for draftees and professional soldiers
comes too late. Beyond the unavoidable
resentments, it is the lack of a plan and the U.S. negligence when it comes to
nation building that makes life for the Iraqis even more difficult--and that of
the GIs increasingly dangerous."
"Mission Not Accomplished"
Washington correspondent Dietmar Osterman filed the following
editorial for left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (6/21) and
center-right Neue Ruhr/Neue Rhein-Zeitung of Essen (6/23): "Thus far, Washington has reacted to the
invisible enemy as this enemy has hoped for: with large-scale raids where
mainly innocent people are arrested and with more violence and mounting
distrust. The more than 50 U.S. soldiers
[killed] compare with many times the amount of civilian casualties. This is creating a dilemma for the occupiers. By taking excessively tough measures, they
either risk a further loss of support among the Iraqis, or their authority will
be considerably damaged if they do not quickly succeed in preventing
attacks.... Thus far, the U.S.
government has been trying to get the control over growing problems in Iraq
without questioning its overall strategy.
The White House is pinning its hopes on the situation calming down and
on reconstruction being set in motion once the first oil is exported. If this calculation does not come true, Bush
will have difficulty to gain the support of Americans for a long-term expensive
and possibly bloody engagement in a country that refuses to show the expected
gratitude to the 'liberators.' The first
victim could be an Iraq sliding into chaos.
But the political future of the U.S. president is also at stake."
Washington correspondent Malte Lehming argued in centrist Der
Tagesspiegel of Berlin (6/23):
"Whatever they say, the embarrassment is getting only greater. Each explanation looks like an
excuse.... In his latest attempt,
President Bush said that 'documents and suspicious weapons sites were looted
and burnt down,' and much evidence was 'destroyed.' We listen and are astonished. The U.S. army was able to oust a dictator in
a record time, but obviously it caused exactly the things it wanted to
prevent. It may be possible that the
documents for the production of weapons of mass destruction are in the hands of
looters. Al Qaida is certainly grateful
for this. And the U.S. government should
prefer to remain silent until it reveals the full truth. Otherwise, the entire world is getting
"Bush's Contaminated Truth"
Rainer Poertner editorialized in left-of-center Berliner
Zeitung (6/23): "British
scientists, who examined the alleged mobile chemical laboratories have now come
to the conclusion that the containers contained exactly what the Iraqis
claimed: facilities for the production of hydrogen to fill balloons....This
means that the U.S. government continues to deceive and play tricks to give its
war at least in retrospect a tinge of legitimacy. To what extent should be believe President
Bush who is now claiming that WMD cannot be discovered in Iraq because the
depots were looted in the course of the war?
Let us keep Bush at his word: the attack on Iraq led to the fact that chemical
and biological weapons are now vagabonding across the world. But has the United States not argued that it
had begun this war to ban exactly this danger?"
"Increasingly Uncertain Bush"
Center-right Thueringer Allgemeine of Erfurt (6/23)
noted: "It remains vague why it
should take another one and a half years before the pre-war state can be
reached again. It depends on the revenue
from the oil exports when normalcy returns to Iraq. It is highly dangerous that Saddam's soldiers
have gone underground with a great deal of their guns and have been living
without an income since then. Only next
month does the U.S. government begin with the recruitment of a new army. George W. Bush, who is used to use strong
words, sounds increasingly uncertain. It
does not show any kind of self-confidence to claim that it was impossible to
find arsenals of chemical and biological weapons, since they were looted
before. But how should a new beginning
in Iraq be possible if it cannot even be ruled out that Saddam will, in the
end, play the role of a martyr?"
"Bush Is Twisting The Truth"
Center-right Rhein-Zeitung of Koblenz (6/23): "U.S. President Bush told a surprised
world that Iraqi WMD were burnt or looted during the last days of the war. Aha, and who owns them now? Do fired intelligence officials run around
Baghdad with bio-injections in their pockets?
Have leading cadres of the Baath Party hidden poisonous gas shells in
their book shelves? If research
facilities and depots have really been looted as Bush claims, all U.S. and
British forces should patrol Iraq in their full ABC gear, since a clearly
targeted attack of a single Saddam supporter could otherwise kill hundreds of
allied soldiers. But nothing of this
kind has happened. The reason is simple
and frightening: Bush is twisting the truth."
"Shadow War From The Underground"
Washington correspondent Wolfgang Koydl filed the following
editorial for center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (6/20): "The New York Times is
meticulously and concisely registering the names of all U.S. soldiers who have
fallen in Iraq...and they can become an even greater danger for the Bush
administration than Saddam Hussein's disappeared WMD.... These soldiers have all become victims of a
shadow war that is waged in the underground, a war that is being waged by
loyalists of the ousted dictator.... The
guerrilla force pursues three goals: They want to wear down the U.S. forces in
Iraq and provoke them to carry out inconsiderate actions against the civilian
population; in the United States they want to sow the seeds of doubt.... And in addition, they want to keep alive the
fear of Saddam and his revenge among the Iraqis.... The U.S. administration is taking this
problem seriously...and even Donald Rumsfeld admitted that 'it will take some
time' before the underground fighters will be defeated. But even the Pentagon leader did not know an
answer to the question of how high the tolerance level of the Americans for
this kind of toll of lives is. He only
said: 'The Americans stand with both
legs firm on the ground.' And they 'are
realizing that this is an precious task in Iraq which reflects the American
spirit, and they are realizing how difficult the task is.' Rumsfeld only rarely uses such vague
"The War In Iraq Is Not Yet Over"
Holger Schmale noted in an editorial in left-of-center Berliner
Zeitung (6/20): "It is
surprising to hear that there is an opinion poll institute in Baghdad that has
just concluded its first opinion poll.
And the Iraqis have given the Americans a devastatingly bad rating for
their performance since the end of the war.
End of the war? The daily reports
on ambushes and gun battles, about dead Iraqis and Americans speak a different
language. Since the end of the fighting,
which President Bush proclaimed on May 1, more than 50 U.S. soldiers have lost
their lives.... The Bush administration
is getting into an increasingly difficult situation. Of course, soldiers must attack marauding
gangs, snipers, and attackers. But this
will also result in innocent victims, and it does not correspond with the
picture of liberators who want to bring peace and democracy to the
country. Thus the Iraqis see an
occupying regime that, on the one hand, fails when it comes to reconstructing
civilian structures, and, on the other hand, acts with an iron fist. But a U.S. president shows himself to an
increasingly critical American public, whose soldiers expelled, but did not
capture the dictator, a president whose allegations against WMD were wrong, and
a president who, in a kind of show, declared the end of a war, in which U.S.
soldiers still die on an almost daily basis.
This is not the basis that can prepare the ground for his
ITALY: "The Three
Pillars Of Stabilization"
New York correspondent Maurizio Molinari wrote in centrist,
influential La Stampa (6/24):
“The Baathist guerrillas have chosen the pipelines to sabotage the
reconstruction plans of the military administration.... The plan of the American administration,
which was presented by Paul Bremer at the World Economic Forum in Amman, is to
speed up the reactivation of the energy industry in order to set up a mechanism
of distribution of dividends to the citizens, along the lines of what is
already taking place in Alaska and in Norway.... And the prospect that the oil might become the
pillar of the post-Saddam stabilization is at the origin of these sabotage
actions, that hit the refineries in Basra as well, and that have been carried
out by ‘very expert’ people.”
"The Smoking Gun Is Now Aimed At Bush And Blair"
Special correspondent Gianni Riotta wrote from New York in
centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (6/20): “If you go back and examine thoroughly last
winter’s fierce disputes, you will see that the propaganda machine did, indeed,
spread confusion on weapons of mass destruction, but also that the forecasts of
the enemies of the war were exaggerated in that they predicted millions of
refugees and tens of thousands of dead....
President Bush and his ally Tony Blair, however, bet the credibility of
the Western coalition on the threat posed to the world by illegal weapons and
must now respond to that one way or another.”
RUSSIA: "There'll Be
No Return To Past"
Aleksandr Kapralov said in reformist Vremya MN (6/24): "There will be no return to the past on
the Tigris and Euphrates. No doubt about
that. But there has been no progress
either, with the Americans in charge and there being no mechanisms to do the
job more effectively. As no new
government is expected to be formed in Iraq until next month, the Coalition
forces have concentrated on maintaining at least a semblance of order in the
"U.S.' Allies To Bear Brunt"
Youth-oriented Moskovskiy Komsomolets asserted in its
"Rumors From Over The Hump" column (6/23): "There is every reason to suggest that
the allies--the British, Poles, Danes and others--will have to shoulder the
burden of serving in Iraq unless the Americans do something radical about the
Iraqi guerrillas. The growing number of
U.S. casualties may result in the bulk of the U.S. troops leaving Iraq before
the year is out."
"Was It Saddam?"
Vladimir Dunayev argued in reformist Izvestiya (6/23): "The Americans will have a hard time
trying to convince the world that the man they killed was Saddam Hussein, even
if DNA analyses bear that out. The
international community has yet to see a single piece of Iraq's weapons of mass
destruction that Washington has been talking about for years, trying to scare
everybody around. So it is not certain
that the story of Saddam's death is not just another falsehood."
Aleksandr Samokhotkin commented in reformist Vremya Novostey
(6/20): "The Americans tarry about
turning over power to the Iraqis for fear of chaos, but irritation over the
flagrantly occupation character of the U.S.-imposed 'democracy' leads to more
unrest. This is a vicious circle since
intensified resistance causes the Americans to delay the power hand-over
Situation In Iraq"
Foreign affairs editor Gudrun Harrer judged in liberal daily Der
Standard (6/20): "The Americans
are sentenced to be successful in Iraq, but the current situation is
gloomy. Attacks on U.S. institutions and
soldiers have long lost their spontaneous character---they might not be
coordinated yet, but they are certainly organized. All the more important in this scenario is
the arrest of Saddam Hussein's personal secretary, Abid Hamid, the
moustache-wearing shadow who can be seen on so many photos right behind the
Iraqi dictator. He was the one who
administrated the access to Saddam--if he doesn’t know what became of him, nobody
does. Faced with the Osama story, the
Americans have always played down the importance of catching Saddam or finding
out where he is. However, one thing
remains certain: The whole thing will only be over when even his most fanatical
followers finally understand that he won’t be coming back. But if the attacks on the Americans are
already coming from a different corner, that is a disaster."
NORWAY: "Now The
Iraqis Must Be Supported"
Former Prime Minister Thorbjorn Jagland commented in newspaper of
record Aftenposten (6/23): “It is
also right to say that if one should succeed in building a democratic Iraq, it
will get an enormous positive result for the whole Middle East. That is why Europe must not hesitate to
support the building of political parties, trade unions and civil institutions
that are necessary in a democracy. The
U.S. has used its ‘hard power’ to get rid of a regime. If this is combined with Europe’s ‘soft
power’ the result might be rather successful.... There is no doubt that the Iraqis thank the
U.S. and UK for liberating them from Saddam Hussein. But they feel that they also have carried
heavy burdens as a consequence of what they believe is the West’s and UN’s
POLAND: "Flies In The
Lukasz Warzecha wrote in centrist Rzeczpospolita
(6/24): “The Bush administration used
the WMD argument as a convenient pretext to attack.... The advocates of the notion that the U.S. is
the ‘empire of good’ ousting tyrants out of the goodness of its heart do not
want to admit that the U.S., like other countries worldwide, acts for selfish
reasons; that the U.S. realizes its own interests in a ruthless and sometimes
brutal way. As a realist, I do not
condemn America for this. This is the
normal course of events. Pro-American
idealists...do not want to acknowledge this because it ruins their vision of
the world with America being its ‘moral vector.’ Accordingly, they are ready to eagerly accept
even the most controversial decisions of the current U.S. administration. This is not the right way to go.”
"Peace Against Freedom"
Barbara Labuda, social affairs minister in the Presidential
Chancellery, said in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza (6/24): “I cannot agree with [France’s] criticism of
Poland’s involvement on the side of Americans in Iraq. For me, this war meant a removal of a tyrant
and liberation of an exhausted nation....
Perhaps there are other, better ways to help an enslaved nation and stop
tyranny. But one can hardly accept
inaction as one of the options.... I
cannot understand why France, which I love so much, the country of freedom,
remained indifferent on such a fundamental issue as the freedom of another
nation. In the struggle between
dictatorship and democracy we cannot turn our back.”
TURKEY: "Lies And
Zafer Atay judged in the economic-political Dunya
(6/24): “Things are becoming a mess for
the Bush administration because of the way it seems the hawks have built their
Iraq policy on lies and mistakes.... It
seems very unlikely that the American forces in Iraq will be able to find any
weapons of mass destruction. All over
the indications lead us to the fact that the Saddam regime actually destroyed
its WMD prior to the UN inspections....
The U.S. administration has made another mistake by convincing itself
that it is seen as the savior of Iraq.
And the ongoing instability as well as social disorder seems to be
creating a very painful period for the U.S. administration. It remains to be seen what other consequences
will occur after carrying out a policy filled with lies and mistakes.”
SAUDI ARABIA: "The
Jews Are Sneaking In Iraq"
Riyadh's conservative, Al-Riyadh editorialized (6/24): "Israel is Iraq, it is purchasing
properties and buildings, pushing the Americans to operate the Haifa-Mosul fuel
pipeline, has a share in Iraq's reconstruction, and assisting the occupants in
suppressing the Iraqi outlaws and resistance as well. If this all turns out to be true, then the
U.S.A. either it does not have a rational policy, or does not recognize the
reality of the Iraqi Muslim, who dislikes Israel. The U.S.A. must realize that taking these
steps, might generate hostility among the Iraqis.... Iraq is not a commodity to be offered in
public sale, since its affairs are fully administered by the Americans. Rejection of the nation's right might jeopardize
the occupants to danger with the up-coming days and months."
"The U.S. Success That Will Please The Iraqis"
Abd-al-Karim Abu-al-Nasr judged in Abha
Al-Watan (Internet version) (6/22):
"It is not in the interest of the Americans for their relationship
with the Iraqis to become similar to the relationship between the Israelis and
Palestinians.... However, the killing of
innocent Iraqis by U.S. soldiers, the numerous erroneous acts and practices by
the U.S. governor, and the mutual fear between the two sides--all these issues,
if left unresolved, will make the Iraqis gradually forget who liberated them
from the nightmarish Saddam Hussein regime....
The current U.S. military presence in Iraq is necessary even if for a
short period to preserve the unity of this country and to prevent the breakout
of a civil war and a bloody power struggle among the various sects, forces, and
factions.... However, what has made the
Iraqis angry and feel spiteful toward the Americans is that the Americans have
committed many mistakes against this country since its liberation.... They have not been able to restore life to
normal in many domains.... They have not
been able to impose law and order....
They have no clear and integral plan prepared in advance to govern this
country.... The important thing is that
the Americans must succeed in Iraq...because their failure or inability to
provide stability and establish a new legal regime around which the Iraqis will
rally will threaten the unity of Iraq.
It will also threaten the security and stability of the Gulf region and
"Resistance in Iraq"
London-based pan-Arab Al-Hayah held
(6/20): "The emergence of
resistance in Iraq against the U.S. occupation is not ruled out. What we are witnessing now cannot be
considered resistance but is probably a mixture of two phenomena. The first is the presence of the former
regime's remnants whose elements were able to retreat and are trying to regroup
and organize their actions. The second
reflects the protest of sectors that were harmed directly by decisions taken by
the occupation authority within the framework of rebuilding the government,
army, and institutions from scratch....
It is obvious that the presence of U.S. forces on Iraq's territory is
giving the situation some cohesiveness.
But the wisdom and effectiveness of the U.S. political mind that is
seeking to reengineer the country remain doubtful.... There is much experimentation and haste in
the occupation authority's choices. This
means that it is thinking of a long stay in which it must rely on might and
might alone to manage its affairs. As to
reaching the magical formula for the government that absorbs all the powers
within its framework, it appears to be a matter that keeps postponing itself
and it will not be born from a bright idea in Paul Bremer's mind but from a
national dialogue, which the occupation authority must encourage if it is
thinking of an early departure."
ALGERIA: ”Post-War Iraq: The
French-language independent daily, El Watan
reported (6/23): "Since they
launched their war against Iraq, Americans have shown no relevant evidence to
support their accusations and allegations.
Since the end of the war on May 1, neither WMD nor Saddam Hussein have
been found in Iraq and considerably less treasure than the former leader had
supposedly misappropriated has been uncovered.... In any case, nothing indicates that the
manipulation has ceased. Such an
acknowledgment leads one to speculate over the reasons which compelled the United
States government to recognize--even unofficially--that it knows nothing about
Saddam's fate and, more importantly, that it has not totally handled the
situation. Is this a way to justify its
refusal to at least temporarily transfer power to the former Iraqi opposition? Or may be it does not have a sustainable
policy, leader, or consensus group to propose?"
"The American Conscience"
Yihya Ahmad Al-Kaaki opined in pro-Syria Ash-Sharq
(6/21): “There is no doubt that the
closed session that will be held by the Congress to study the information
offered by the American administration about the Iraqi weapons of mass
destruction will bring this issue to the limelight despite the fact
that...newspapers like the Washington Post and New York Times started a month
ago to question the legitimacy of the war on Iraq.... This congressional closed session...is
similar to a wake-up call that is supposed to re-evaluate the war and the
so-called victory in Iraq.... The
question is: Will this closed session
become a victory for democracy and freedom?....
In any case, the increasing criticisms against the war in Iraq proved
that the American society is open for struggles and has a conscience that wakes
up sometimes and goes to sleep some other times.... We, as Arabs should know how to deal with
this American conscience, not only at the presidential level but on all levels
of the American society.”
"The Last Stop"
Sateh Noureddine held in Arab nationalist As-Safir
(6/20): “If the news reports from the
U.S. are correct, and they probably are, Iraq is regaining its normal life in the
shadow of the American occupation which is not really facing any serious
challenges.... The Americans are saying
that Baghdad and most of the major Iraqi cities...are regaining the normal
rhythm of life: Schools are opened,
supermarkets are working, institutions went back to work, even the daily
demonstrations reflect social movement in Iraq that was never seen in Iraq’s
modern history.... Perhaps the scenes
that are being painted by the Americans are better than the reality, but
nevertheless there is a measure of truth to what the Americans are
saying.... We hope, though, that the
Iraqis realize that they should not be content that they are regaining the
momentum of their normal life, but they should be negotiating their future with
the Americans before it is too late.”
Joseph Samaha contended in Arab nationalist As-Safir
(6/20): “The United States has done
nothing except implement divine will!
The war (against Iraq) was written in the Old Testament, Saddam Hussein’s
destiny was also written in the Old Testament, and even the description of
American tanks was written in the Old Testament.... To say that the road to Jerusalem passes
through Baghdad is not a geo-strategic theory by the American new-conservatism
movement. It is simply an implementation
of divine will.... Now the next divine
will is to prepare for Armageddon (war mentioned in the book of Revelations). The only way to do that is to strengthen the
Jews all over Palestine.... If we
examine this logic, we find that the Palestinians are seen as devils who are
obstructing the divine will...and that the Torah should be the roadmap.... We might find these ideas ridiculous, but
millions of Americans believe in these ideas or in similar ideas...for this
reason we should really take them seriously.”
Editor Nejib Sassi commented in independent French-language daily
newspaper Le Temps (6/22):
"The American secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld has asserted
that 'Baghdad is a city less violent than Washington.' He added:
'You should remember that if Washington was the size of Baghdad, you
would have the equivalent of 215 dead persons per month.' Of course, Rumsfeld does not speak of Iraqi
dead persons, the number of which has exceeded by far this figure since the
occupation. To him, as well as to
Sharon, Iraqi or Palestinian dead persons do not count.... In their lugubrious accounts, an American or
an Israeli dead is equivalent to a thousand Arab children, women and old
UAE: "Israel Is In
Pan-Arab Sharjah-based Al-Khaleej editorialized
(6/21): "The danger that threatens
Iraq and the rest of the Arab region is not only represented by the American
military occupation, but also by Israeli security and economic attempts to
penetrate into the Iraqi arena through the occupation.... Iraq has become an occupied country lacking
independence and sovereignty, and its people lacking freedom, while its destiny
and future will be defined according to the American will. Therefore, the mission of countering Israeli
expansion into Iraq is not the responsibility of the Iraqi people alone. The Arab countries are required to wake up
from their state of unconsciousness to confront an imminent danger."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
JAPAN: "U.S. 'Power
Jitsuro Terashima observed in the liberal Asahi
(6/24): "The U.S. appears to have
revived the 'right of the strongest' after using overwhelming force to defeat
Iraq's Saddam Hussein, while the UN remains dysfunctional. But the entire world is functioning--based on
rules and regulations as well as on international cooperation--without
accepting such a 'right of the strongest' theory.... Japan should not be carelessly inclined to
give blind support to the U.S. and its 'right of the strongest' by hastily
enacting the 'Iraq reconstruction' bill (that would allow the government to
send SDF troops to Iraq to give logistical support to U.S. and British
PHILIPPINES: "War Of
Max Soliven, publisher of the independent Philippine Star
opined (6/23): “The more important thing
to consider, however, is whether the American forces now in Iraq will have the
staying power to combat the ‘war of attrition’ now being waged by Fedayeen
guerrillas who surround them, mounting violent anti-American demonstrations,
and cutting U.S. servicemen down from ambush or by sniper fire.... The U.S. military last week
launched...'Desert Scorpion' to search out and capture or kill
guerrillas.... This continuing campaign
won’t win ‘hearts and minds’, but what the hell--the Muslim Arabs hate America,
anyway.... Aside from the pro-Saddam
Sunni Muslims, the...Shiites, whipped into a frenzy of rejection by their
Ayatollahs, are also demanding the Americans leave.... The Americans realize, of course, that if
they depart, leaving those oil fields to a hostile Muslim group, they’ll have
another Iran on their hands.... It is
devilishly expensive for them to remain in Iraq, in terms of blood, sacrifice,
and treasure. It would be even more
expensive for them, alas, to depart.”
"Bush Has To Keep Saddam Alive In Americans’ Minds"
Federico Pascual wrote in his column in the independent Philippine
Star (6/22): "The Bush
administration is fanning supposed intelligence reports that Iraqi strong man
Saddam Hussein is most probably alive somewhere.... Even assuming the man is in fact dead, White
House propaganda at this point has to keep Saddam, or at least speculation over
his fate, alive. Reelectionist President
George W. Bush needs that convenient hate-object more than the $2,000
hamburgers served recently to raise megabucks for his 2004 election
campaign. It would be fatal for Bush to
allow his war on Iraq fade out of the consciousness of American voters getting
increasingly worried over the bad performance of the economy under the
Republicans. With the war propping up
his rating at the polls, it seems that the only hole left to be plugged in
preparation for the 2004 election is the sluggish economy. Bush knows that, so he now goes around saying
that the economy will soon pick up."
"When Leaders Lie"
Jose Bayani Baylon wrote in his column in the anti-administration Malaya
(6/20): “Saddam Hussein has been
overthrown, but his ghost continues to haunt George Bush and his close ally
Tony Blair. Unable to find weapons of
mass destruction in Iraq, the American and British leaders are now under attack
for apparently having misled the case of a war against Iraq.... It appears that the leaders of America and
Britain waged a war devoid of its pre-eminent rationale--and, worse, perhaps
knew about this from the beginning. It
is, it seems, a case of when leaders lie to suit certain political
purposes.... The question now is, how
harsh will be the fallout?... Whether the fact that no WMD can be found in Iraq
will similarly begin the erosion for Bush...will depend on how much Americans
truly cared about the existence of weapons of mass destruction as a
justification for overthrowing Saddam, and whether the Democrats can come up
with a second Bill Clinton to pose a serious challenge to Bush the
younger. My guess is that as far as
Americans as concerned they are happy to have Saddam gone for whatever reason,
but there will be an erosion in the support for...President Bush.... That erosion will stem from the question that
will now linger in the minds and maybe even hearts of Americans: on what other
matters may the President be lying to us?
A simple question, but one that weakens the basic foundation for
effective leadership, credibility."
SINGAPORE: "Rigours Of
The pro-government Straits Times maintained (6/23): "The allied occupation of Iraq is
getting to be far messier than the Bush administration had expected.... Critics who had accused the administration of
cocksureness in not deploying a larger force for the invasion, turned out to be
wrong about the war itself, but their arguments are looking increasingly
persuasive as applied to the peace. As
is evident now, one reason why U.S. and British forces still find themselves
putting out brush fires more than two months after Baghdad fell is that they
did not have sufficient forces in the theatre to begin with.... Cutting forces now before Saddam loyalists
are flushed out, before law and order is established, and before an Iraqi
police force is trained and equipped, will send the wrong signal. Washington
cannot let Iraq slip into another Afghanistan."
SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA
INDIA: "Dying For
Siddharth Varadarajan wrote in the centrist Times of India
(6/24): "One wonders what kind
of epitaph will be penned for the Indian soldiers who will lay down their lives
helping the U.S. occupiers in Iraq if Advani has his way. 'For the brave Indians who sacrificed their
lives for King George Bush II and his viceroy, L Paul Bremmer III'? The call for troops from India is an act of
desperation by the Bush administration...
With the body bag count slowly mounting, the U.S. wants to cut its
150,000 soldier-strong presence to about 30,000, replacing the conquering
heroes with dupes from around the world whose leaders aspire to nothing more
noble than a chance to wait on the high table.... The U.S. aim is not to restore stability--it
has not even managed to restore electricity and water--but to impose political
arrangements aimed at protecting its own interests. If that means aggressively wading into
civilian areas (as in Fallujah, Tikrit and elsewhere) and making mass arrests,
or closing down a TV station (as in Mosul), it is the Indian soldiers and other
peace-keepers who will have to deal with the fall-out."
"Troops: Attempts To
Former editor of The Statesman and The Indian Express S. Nihal
Singh held in the independent centrist The Tribune (6/24): "If the root cause of the government's
inclination to send troops is fear of annoying America, such an ignoble emotion
should be banished. America and the
world will respect India all the more for refusing to participate in a very
"Trooping To Iraq"
The pro-economic-reform Financial Express held (6/23): "India is still undecided on whether to
send its troops as part of the stabilization force in Iraq, but the grounds for
its indecision are rapidly changing.
Time is fast running out....
Given the domestic opposition to deployment, India's political
leadership has been signaling to the Americans till now that the move was possible
only under UN authorization for a multinational force as in Kosovo and
Afghanistan.... The fact is that we have
strategic interests in Iraq which concern our future energy security.... If we play our cards well, the nation can
thus be assured of supplies of cheap oil on a long-term basis. Sending troops is an important gambit to
further our interests in the region....
India must soon take a decision to send troops to Iraq to advance its
best national interests.
K. Subrahmanyam wrote this analysis in the centrist Times of
India (6/23): "Quite obviously,
U.S. policy-makers failed to assess the nature and magnitude of governing Iraq
as an occupying power.... As of now,
Washington has not come out with a road map for these steps. This is a lengthy process.... There is a good case for India helping the
stabilization process by sending troops to Iraq, not merely to oblige
Washington but to help the Iraqi people....
Our attitude should be similarly pragmatic, forward-looking and mindful
of our national interest. We should bear
in mind that Islamabad is ready to send troops to Iraq and thereby increase
U.S. dependence on itself. It is only by
agreeing to consider the proposition of sending troops to Iraq that India will
be in a position to raise various issues with the U.S. on the road map for an interim
administration, constitution-making, elections and total transfer of power to
an Iraqi representative government....
Our stand should be to engage the U.S. on these issues and not just
reject outright our participation in the stabilization process on the grounds
that Washington is guilty of aggression.
It undoubtedly was, but harping on it is not going to help the
"Send In The Troops"
Former high commissioner to Pakistan G. Parthasarathy judged in
the centrist Indian Express (6/23):
"It is obvious that India should not be an American Trojan horse in
the Persian Gulf. Nor should we be seen to be supportive of the ham-handed
manner in which trigger-happy Americans deal with genuine Iraqi grievances,
manifested through public demonstrations....
Before taking a final decision on deployment in Iraq, there are a number
of measures that New Delhi has to take.
Contacts should be established with Kurdish political leaders in
Iraq.... There should be continuing
consultations with Iran and Turkey....
The Americans should be told that we would not countenance any
cross-border activity by Iranian opposition groups that continue to operate
from northern Iraq.... The Indian
stabilization force should operate in a totally autonomous manner, with
mechanisms for coordination with the Americans and British..... If handled properly, we do have an
opportunity for our armed forces to do us proud in an unprecedented
The pro-BJP right-of-center The Pioneer took this view
(6/23): "The desperation of the
Bush administration to secure an Indian military presence in Iraq stems from
two chief reasons. First, swift as the
collapse of Saddam's outgunned military resistance to invading forces of the
U.S.-led coalition may have been, the post-war operations by American forces to
mop up remaining pockets of Iraqi resistance and maintaining law and order in
the country have been, to put it mildly, disastrous.... Virtually every day there are American
casualties and, more significantly, the U.S. interim regime has been steadily
antagonizing more and more Iraqis by its arbitrary strong-arm methods.... Second, even after the decline of the
non-aligned movement, India still retains at least a symbolic halo of a major
neutral world power. For the Vajpayee
government, there is undoubtedly a temptation to succumb to U.S.
pressure.... The real challenge before
the Vajpayee government...remains in continuing a dialogue with the United
States on ways and means that New Delhi could cooperate with Washington in
restoring order in Iraq, without compromising itself in a manner which devalues
the world's largest democracy, which also has one of the largest and best
trained armies across the globe."
"Sending Of Indian Troops To Iraq Against National
The Punjabi daily Jag Bani argued (6/22): "No consensus is likely in India on
[sending troops to Iraq].... Shall we be
able to accept casualties of Indian troops?
NDA can lose the elections and any compensation by way of trade would
not be enough.... The propriety of the
Iraq war is still in question and people's anger is in evidence.... The U.S. troubles are increasing.... The U.S. wants to get out of Iraq as soon as
possible.... Though India wants to
cooperate with the USA, sending troops would be like pushing them in a war
zone.... The UN should deploy troops to
"Circles In The Sand"
J.N. Dixit commented in the centrist Indian Express
(6/20): "While we should not send
our military and paramilitary forces for maintenance of political stability in
Iraq, it would be appropriate for India to send medical teams. India can also offer training for the new
Iraqi police force and armed forces which are in the process of being created....
The guiding principle for India's involvement in the reconstruction and
rehabilitation of Iraq should be participation in those spheres which would
directly benefit the people of Iraq."
"India Is Under No Obligation"
The nationalist Urdu Rashtriya Sahara editorialized
(6/20): "After ensuring the
exclusive rights to plunder Iraq, the U.S. is now looking for partners to
suppress the anti-occupation resistance that has been on the rise even in the
face of brutal oppressive measures undertaken by the invading forces against
the Iraqi people. A country like India,
that has won its freedom after a long struggle against imperialism, is
naturally seen as standing by the side of the struggling Iraqi people and not
as siding with the colonialist invaders....
India is under no obligation to share the responsibility for the U.S.
"Why Indian Troops For Iraq?"
Veteran columnist Adil Siddiqui argued in the pro-Congress Qaumi
Awaz (6/20): "There is no point
in sending Indian troops to Iraq and risking their lives.... India did not support the U.S.-led war
against Iraq. Therefore, it makes
absolutely no sense for India to send its troops to help the U.S. in
consolidating its occupation."
The Karachi-based center-left independent national English daily, Dawn
held (6/23): "A recently released
report by Amnesty International gives a disturbing account of the conditions in
which the U.S.-led occupation forces are keeping Iraqi prisoners since the fall
of Baghdad on April 9.... Other reports
emanating from Baghdad speak of torture and abuse that prisoners at the
notorious Abu Ghraib prison are being subjected to by the occupation
authorities. Amnesty says the Bremer
administration denied it permission to meet the Iraqi prisoners.... From the details given by the AI, which has
previously criticized conditions at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, it seems
that in the absence of an international monitoring mechanism under the UN,
America's treatment of Iraqi prisoners of war may be in contravention of the
Geneva Conventions on the POWs. This,
once again, underscores the need for a greater and more active role for the UN
in post-war Iraq. It is time the EU,
Russia, China and the UN rose to the occasion and tried to rein in a vindictive
Washington from inhumane treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody."
"Sufferings Under Occupation"
Karachi-based center-left independent national English daily, Dawn
argued (6/20): "Ten weeks after the
overthrow of the Saddam regime, Iraqi babies are still dying of hunger, and
because of a shortage of medicines, Iraqi cities are still without reliable
water and power supply and nearly a million households without a means of
livelihood. Those that do have a job
have not been paid their salaries since February/March. Iraq's largest and once best-equipped
hospital...has been without oxygen and life-saving drugs for five years. One need only to look through the curtain of
the American propaganda to see the real picture: 'liberated' Iraq is occupied
by two of the world's richest nations, which are doing all they can to hide the
truth. The situation for the hapless
Iraqi people is no different now from what it was under Saddam Hussein. The only difference is that under the
dictatorial Baathist regime, independent media and international aid workers
were able to report the misery of the Iraqi people, which they cannot do
anymore under Paul Bremer's administration."
"Grim News From Iraq"
The Lahore-based liberal English daily, Daily Times
commented (6/20): "Washington’s
liberal-imperialists need to go back to the drawing board. While President George Bush announced the end
of combat operations in Iraq from the deck of USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, the
war, by all indications, might just have begun.... The real war relates to Iraqi nationalism,
which is more than the sum total of the parts that make for chaos in that
country. Indeed, it is the very product
of the success of the American enterprise....
While it is easy to theorize about liberal imperialism even in a
post-colonial world, making that agenda stick in real terms is not easy, as
Washington has begun to learn. Further,
how does one tackle nationalism in a country actually made up of contending
sub-national, ethno-sectarian and ethno-linguistic groups, gelled artificially
by an authoritarian regime?... What does
this mean for the United States? For one
thing, it should cure Washington of its hubris that the world witnessed in the
run-up to the war on Iraq.... If the
United States wants peace in this world, it needs to embrace, rather than shed,
multilateralism.... This is the real lesson
of the Iraq war. And it should be reason
enough for the U.S. establishment to put the brakes on the misplaced
grandiloquence of Washington’s neo-conservatives."
CANADA: "Sex, Lies And
Political commentator Linda McQuaig remarked in the liberal Toronto
Star (6/23): "Bush's apparent
lie--that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction even though his own
intelligence agency could find no such evidence and his own army can find no
such weapons--was made repeatedly to the American people, but not under
oath. So, does that explain it? Lying to the American people is okay, as long
as it's not done under oath?... Some
insist that Bush didn't really lie; he just exaggerated. But his allegations about Iraq's weapons were
more than exaggerations.... Another possibility
is that he lied to conceal the real motives for invading Iraq. If so, his lying is more deeply
worrisome. Under this scenario, he
essentially fabricated the notion that Iraq posed a threat to the U.S. (it
didn't, as we saw), in order to disguise motives that Americans might not have
considered valid grounds for going to war--like ensuring U.S. companies get
control of Iraqi oil, extending U.S. military control in the Middle East,
having a war victory under his belt for the next election, proving to his dad
that he isn't a wimp after all.... There
is no graver responsibility entrusted to a president than sending his citizens
to war. Being deceitful about the
reasons for war would seem to be the most fundamental betrayal of trust."
"So The U.S. And Britain Lied To The World. So What?"
Columnist Marcus Gee observed in the leading Globe and Mail
(6/20): "When the United States,
Britain and their coalition went to war this spring, they said they were doing
it to remove the imminent threat posed by Saddam Hussein's weapons. More than two months later, not a single
chemical warhead or test tube of anthrax has been found. Worse, there is evidence that both the George
W. Bush administration in Washington and the Tony Blair government in London
may have made exaggerated, even false, claims about those weapons.... If the governments of Britain and the United
States embroidered or twisted the facts in one of the most important and
contentious debates of recent times, it is no trifle. If they hope to confront the very real threat
posed by anti-Western, terrorist-supporting regimes with nuclear ambitions,
they will need the support of the rest of the world. They won't get it if other countries think
they are exaggerating the danger. Like
the boy who cried wolf, they will find that no one comes when they warn of the
imminent threat posed by Iran or North Korea.
For that reason, both governments should come clean about what, exactly,
they knew and how that fits with what they said."
BRAZIL: "Drama In The
Right-of-center O Globo commented (6/21): "Hollywood scriptwriters know how to
create situations of spectacular heroism for their characters and that is just
half their work. It's necessary to give
the director a scene fraught with danger and emotion like that showing, with
equal talent, how the hero has escaped unscathed. Pentagon scriptwriters seem to have learned
only half the lesson: with some competence they have created the moving scene
in which soldier Jessica Lynch escaped from her Iraqi executioners--but her
rescue has been described in an awkward manner.
And that wasn't the only work of fiction: the Iraqi version was...equally
Hollywood-like. This confirms the saying
that 'in times of war, lies sell like hot cakes.' To complete the mess it only lacks having
someone go to Baghdad in search of the real truth. A reporter famous for making up facts. Like the recently resigned Jayson Blair,
whose talent for fiction took the New York Times years to find out and then
shamefully announce it to their readers."
"The Reasons For Military Intervention In Iraq"
Retired Brazilian Ambassador Antonio Amaral de Sampaio commented
in center-right O Estado de S. Paulo (6/19): “The debate about the real reasons for the
victorious American-British military intervention in Iraq is
insignificant.... What is really
important is that this initiative freed the civilized world from the presence
of a criminal like Saddam Hussein....
Bush and Blair had three objectives in this invasion: deprive Saddam
Hussein of authority...free Israel from [the threat of] a sudden WMD
attack...and stop Saddam from using his huge, oil-funded resources to stir up
more conflicts in the region.... Now,
with the regional political environment clear, it is up to President Bush to
lead a movement of the European Union and Russian Confederation to disarm
persons in Tel-Aviv and through the Palestinian Authority so that peace can be
negotiated. From this would come a
Palestinian state destined to live in harmony with its Israeli neighbor.”
MEXICO: "Weapons Of
Jorge Camil argued in left-of-center Jornada (6/20): “Today, when mass media revealed that the
[U.S.] government ordered an invasion of Iraq even when it knew that there were
no WMD, we can affirm that the deaths occurred there are unforgettable, that
the loss of the cultural heritage is a crime...and that the amount of money
used to satisfy the insatiable desire for oil of this industry smells like a
political scandal in the hands of the candidates of the Democratic Party who
prepare to compete for the White House next year.... In a national security seminar in Germany,
Paul Wolfowitz stated that Washington chose Iraq instead of North Korea--even
if the latter possesses and produces WMD--because 'Iraq is swimming in an ocean
of oil.' The mystery of the WMD has
become an international scandal.”
Tension In Washington"
Government-owned, editorially independent Santiago daily La
Nacion editorialized (6/23):
"There are many doubts about the way the Bush administration
proceeded to get his country to commit itself to another war.... Evidence that information has been
manipulated, intelligence information has been distorted, and that the threat
of what 'the enemy' represented had been exaggerated are complicating things
for the Republican administration...and could seriously undermine the government's
moral and political authority.... Since
last September, the CIA had been reporting that the Iraqi regime lacked almost
all the strengths that Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld attributed to it.... The increasing 'credibility vacuum' of the
U.S. government could end by undermining the confidence of American citizens in
their government and increasing international mistrust about Bush's
leadership. Inevitably, this situation
reminds us of the crisis that the United States found itself in about 30 years
ago when President Richard Nixon's credibility began to crumble."