March 24, 2004
** Global editorial opinion
remains polarized a year after Operation Iraqi Freedom began.
** Supporters of toppling
Saddam militarily assert the world "is now a safer place."
** Critics label the war a
"failure" that has made the world "more vulnerable" to
** Most writers agree,
however, that Iraq must not now be "abandoned."
A 'success in campaign against global terror'-- Editorial arguments on the merits of the war
in Iraq have changed little a year after "Operation Iraqi Freedom"
was launched. Papers that supported
military action against Saddam Hussein--"one of the bloodiest dictators of
modern times"--argued that the war was "justified, and even
essential." A "genocidal"
and "repressive regime was destroyed." Coalition nations, said a conservative
Israeli daily, "sent a message" that dictators cannot
"scorn the civilized world with impunity." The war was an integral part of "the
continuing struggle against terror" and, according to Scotland's leading
journal, forestalled an "evil alliance" between Baathist
"thugs" and Islamist extremists.
Despite post-war problems, Iraq is "making slow but steady
progress" and is "undoubtedly a better country today." A number of papers, like Canada's
conservative Chronicle-Herald of Halifax, pointed to recent surveys
showing that "Iraqis themselves, on balance, seem to approve" of
deposing Saddam by force. While some
writers found the absence of WMD "deeply disturbing" or criticized
the "naive visions of Washington neo-conservatives" that failed to
anticipate post-war resistance or misjudged the difficulty of stitching
together Iraq's "confessional and ethnic" mosaic into a stable, unified
state, they still applauded the effort to fashion the "first-ever
democracy" in the Arab world.
A 'hideous mistake,' a 'fiasco born of lies'-- Marshaling familiar arguments that the war
was based on "highly selective" intelligence--or
"lies"--about Iraq's WMD and the "the dogged myth that Saddam
Hussein had links to al-Qaida," critics of the "horrendous" war
called it a "total failure."
Muslim papers denounced the action as a "war of aggression"
that has brought "neither peace, nor justice and security" to
Iraq. Despite attempts by the Coalition
"and its media apparatus...to beautify the Iraqi image," Jordan's
semi-official, influential Al-Dustour proclaimed, Iraqis live amidst
"chaos, ruin, destruction, killing, arrests, blood-shedding and continuous
foreign efforts to provoke an ethnic or civil war." Though most agreed that the removal of Saddam
"was a good thing" and some allowed that the war had a "subduing
effect" on other despotic regimes such as those of Libya and Syria,
analysts claimed the war was "counter-productive" and "has made
the world more vulnerable" to terrorism.
"Hatred against the U.S.--and the West--has increased and a growing
number of cells are preparing themselves to continue their holy war under
al-Qaida's trademark," said Belgium's Christian-Democrat Gazet van
Antwerpen. A French op-ed blasted
the "arrogance and ignorance" of the "Bush-Blair Axis of
Incompetence," while other commentators declared the war had left Iraq
"drowning in a bloodbath" and "on the verge of a civil
war." The conversion of the Middle
East to democracy "is at best a far-away dream," skeptics added.
Now the international community must 'show its worth'-- While agreeing on little else, observers on
both sides of the debate contended that "abandoning the Iraqis to their
fate" is "not an option."
Even war critics argued this "would be a bigger mistake" than
the war. "What's done is done"
a Canadian daily said, and both proponents and opponents of the war "have
a vested interest" in Iraq's successful reconstruction. A fiercely anti-war British broadsheet
concluded that Iraqis' "hope for the future is a precious gain, and the
world must work together to see that it is not dashed." Zambia's government-owned Sunday Mail
spoke for a number of papers in stating that Iraq "is a matter that the UN
should now be seen to be truly in control of." Papers in Germany and Britain called for
"a new UN resolution mandating a multinational force to continue operating
in Iraq." Uruguay's conservative El
Observador agreed getting help from the UN is "the option" and
stressed the U.S. "holds the key" to obtaining it; Washington
"will have to concede definitive authority" to the UN "instead
of the crumbs" it has so far been offering.
EDITOR: Steven Wangsness
EDITOR'S NOTE: Media
Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment. Posts select commentary to provide a
representative picture of local editorial opinion. This report summarizes and interprets foreign
editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S.
Government. This analysis was based on
179 reports from 53 countries March 16-24, 2004. Editorial excerpts from each country are
listed from the most recent date.
BRITAIN: "The Myths
The conservative Times had this to day (3/21): “A year on from the start of the war with
Iraq there is much to celebrate. Saddam
Hussein, one of the bloodiest dictators of modern times, was easily deposed and
is in captivity.... Despite the
determination of Saddam loyalists and al-Qaida to kill and maim, life is
gradually returning to pre-Saddam normality....
It would be foolish to pretend everything has gone according to
plan.... America's initial post-war
strategy was based on the naive visions of Washington's neo-conservatives, who
thought that U.S. troops would be garlanded and that democracy would flower the
instant Saddam was removed from power....
The other major glitch, of course, has been over weapons of mass
destruction. If there was a consensus
before the war it was that Saddam had large quantities of [WMD].... The debate was over whether the threat from
those weapons was best dealt with through containment or confrontation. The failure to find them has been a huge
embarrassment, particularly for Mr. Blair.
But let us make no mistake. Most
of those who opposed the war, including yesterday's ragbag of protesters in
London, would have done so even if Saddam had been found to have had missiles
trained on Big Ben.”
"Why We're Losing
The War On Terror"
The center-left tabloid Sunday Mirror
declared (3/21): "One year on and
there is a single question to be asked about the invasion of Iraq--has it
advanced our chances of winning the War on Terror...the reason George Bush and
Tony Blair gave for toppling Saddam? Few,
except for diehards in the Pentagon, would say it has. Most would take the view that it has advanced
the cause of bin Laden, Middle Eastern terrorism and Islamic religious
fundamentalism. Worse, it has created a
dangerous new theater for the terrorists to display their bloody arts. Politicians who supported the war...pretend
the invasion was imperative if the world was to be freed from the barbarism
unleashed by bin Laden and his imitators.
That is why the Spanish are being given so much stick by Bush and his
sidekicks and why, disgracefully, [conservative leader] Michael Howard makes
veiled references to the 'moral cowardice' of changing foreign policy.... The vast majority of Spaniards were against
their leaders' support of the war for the same reason so many opposed it
here--because Bush, Blair and ousted Spanish leader Aznar conspicuously failed
to make the case that Saddam--however brutal he was--constituted a clear and
present terrorist danger to the rest of the world. A year later, the opponents have been proved
tragically right. The invasion of Iraq
was an irrelevance and a desperately dangerous irrelevance at that. It has strengthened bin Laden's resolve. It has given fresh impetus to the cause of
those who would fuel their fanatical hatred of the United States by murdering
innocent civilians. It has shown
terrorism can change governments. Not
because the people are cowards. But
because their rulers made a hideous mistake, the consequences of which were to
make our world a madder, sadder, more evil and more frightening place to
live. When that happens, the people are
right to put the mistake right.
Especially if their leaders lack the moral courage to do so themselves."
"One Year On"
The center-left Independent observed (3/21): “One year on, the arguments for and against
the invasion of Iraq have been exhaustively and exhaustingly rehearsed.... Everything that has happened in the 12 months
since has strengthened us in our conviction that this was an unjustified,
immoral and illegal war. Of course, we are pleased that a survey suggests that
most Iraqis think life is better now than before the war. Their hope for the future is a precious gain,
and the world must work together to see that it is not dashed. But nothing can retrospectively justify the
casualties, or bring the dead back.”
"Iraq Depends On Us Being United"
The center-left Observer editorialized (3/21): “The predictions [about how the war would
go], to a greater or lesser extent, were wrong.... Iraq has not descended into civil war,
although the security situation is critical.
The lack of WMD evidence has revealed that Bush and Tony Blair should
have made much more of the humanitarian case for war than they dared. Iraq is undoubtedly a better country
today.... Of course the picture is
mixed. Sectarian violence between Sunnis
and Shiites is on the rise...intimidation continues of the Turkmen and Arab
minorities by the Kurds.... This
continuing violence marks the greatest failure of the U.S.-led occupation and
threatens other progress--an improving economy, wider free speech and countless
small improvements to the daily lives of ordinary Iraqis. Now is the time for the international
community to show its worth.... The
constitution drawn up by the Iraqi Governing Council as the basis for that
government is worth defending from those trying to drag Iraq into civil
war. All nations, whatever their views a
year ago, should back Britain's push for a new United Nations resolution mandating
a multinational force to continue operating in Iraq. Iraq must feel supported. That is the best way to face those who wish
it to fail.”
"One Year On"
The conservative Times judged (3/20): “Anniversaries should be moments for
reflection as well as celebration....
Reflection, though, would be appropriate on this occasion...not just to
those who fought or supported the war, who must properly consider what aspects
of post-conflict planning may have been handled better, but also to those who
opposed intervention, a stance which would have ensured that Saddam continued
to exercise authority in Baghdad....
Honesty on all sides of this debate would be welcome. It remains a possibility that Iraq did
possess serious stockpiles of biological and chemical material until very close
to the conflict itself but that these were either disposed of or were dispersed
by the time of the invasion.... The
Iraqi dictator was hardly an innocent figure, unfairly and unreasonably accused
of malevolent objectives he had long ceased to entertain. He may have been less competent than was
concluded 12 months ago, yet he was a menace.... The fear of an alliance between rogue groups,
rogue states and rogue weapons remains real.
If the true outcome of the Iraq war is that politicians will feel unable
to confront those who aspire to access to biological, chemical or nuclear
weapons again, then that legacy will prove eventually to be a bitter one.”
"One Year On...And It’s Still A Rotten War"
The center-left tabloid Daily Mirror
opined (3/20): “One year ago the U.S. and
Britain went to war in Iraq.... The
Mirror was among the voices warning that winning the peace would be much
harder.... Far more troops have been
killed and wounded since the war ended than in the battles to remove
Saddam.... Worst of all, there is evidence
that hatred is being fostered between the Sunni and Shiite communities. If that breaks out into open warfare the
bloodshed will be horrific.... Saddam
has been captured and his sons killed.
Their regime has gone forever and many Iraqis rejoice in the end of
their tyranny and brutality. But it is
too soon for there to be rejoicing in Britain or America. The Mirror's fear before the war was that it
would inflame the terrorists and make the allies their targets. That has been proved tragically true--not
only in Madrid, but with the rush of fanatical killers into Iraq.... On this first anniversary we could have
expected there to be dates for elections in Iraq and the withdrawal of British
troops. There are neither and certainly
no prospects of our forces returning home in the near future. If this is victory, it is a very hollow one.”
The right-of-center tabloid Sun editorialized (3/19): “A year ago today, life began to change for
the better in Iraq. Don't just take our
word for it. A poll this week shows that
70 per cent of Iraqis say life has improved with Saddam off their backs. The war on Saddam's evil regime was right -
and it was worth it, no matter what the Dismal Jimmies may whine. Iraq is now within a few months of having a
democratic government. As billions in
American and British aid pours in, Iraq has electricity, running water, goods
in the shops, cars instead of donkeys--and hope for the first time. The bombings, like the hotel blast in Baghdad
and the car bomb in Basra, are not happening because of what George Bush and
Tony Blair started a year ago. Al-Qaida
are murdering in cold blood in Iraq because Bush and Blair's campaign has been
too successful for their liking. They
desperately want to disrupt Iraq's blossoming way of life before it takes root.
"What Kind Of 'Freedom Fighting' Is This?"
The conservative Scotsman of Edinburgh took this view
(Internet version, 3/19): "Tomorrow
is the first anniversary of the start of the Iraq war. We can expect the date to be marked by a wave
of bombings and murders by the remnants of the old Baath Party regime and the
foreign Islamist extremists who have infiltrated Iraq since then. Already, since February, some 400
people--mostly ordinary Iraqi civilians--have been murdered by these
groups. For some in the West, this
continuing violence will be proof that the war was a mistake which has, if
anything, made the threat from terrorism worse, not only in Iraq itself, but
also in Europe and America. That view is
wrong.... Another specious argument used
by those who criticize the war is that it has created an alliance between the
Baathists and al-Qaida which otherwise would not have existed. This is to turn reality upside down.... The consummation of this evil alliance was
always going to happen. At least now the
Baathists lack a state, an army and the oil revenues to help al-Qaida get
nuclear weapons--thanks to Saddam’s overthrow.
Never forget that the tally of 400 innocent people murdered in Iraq in
the last six weeks by the Baathists and their allies is probably fewer than
Saddam normally killed in secret. And
never forget that it is the same thugs doing the killing."
"The Worst Foreign Policy Blunder Since Suez"
Former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook commented in the center-left Independent
(3/19): "It says much about the
nervousness in Government over Iraq that they have no plans to mark tomorrow's
anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.
This is very sensible on their part.
Any retrospective examination would inevitably draw attention to questions
that they find increasingly difficult to answer.... The rational approach is to ask whether our
actions are making the world as a whole safer from their malign
intentions. The sober, depressing answer
to that question must be that the invasion of Iraq has made the world more
vulnerable to a heightened threat from al-Qaida.... On this first anniversary it seems only too
likely that the judgment of history may be that the invasion of Iraq has been
the biggest blunder in British foreign and security policy in the half century
"It Is Essential We Admit We Were Wrong"
Henry Porter commented in the left-of-center Guardian
(Internet version, 3/19): "There
comes a point in every nation's life when its people and their leaders have to
admit to and atone for a mistake in order to be able to continue as a
functioning part of the international community. That point has been reached for Britain on
the first anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.
WMD have not been found in Iraq and, whatever the modifications
subsequently made to the casus belli by the prime minister and his publicly
unabashed cabinet, that was incontrovertibly the reason we sent 12,000 troops
to bomb and invade a sovereign territory.
It's such a simple matter. Tony
Blair was wrong. His cabinet was wrong
not to oppose his policy on the evidence that he presented, and both the major
parliamentary parties got it wrong....
Security in the West has not been improved by the Iraq war; in fact, the
war has supplied al-Qaida with a brand new pretext for attacking the West,
something that was widely predicted before the war and dismissed out of hand by
the prime minister. This was no finely
balanced political decision in which supporters on both sides could after the
event claim equal moral rights in the matter.
One group of people were wrong because they had not thought the many
issues through, because they believed in America's distorted representations of
itself and of its mission in the Middle East, and because they failed to distinguish
between Saddam's regime and al-Qaida's network.... As was evident in his speech in Sedgefield
this month, [Blair] cannot and will not admit to his part in this profound
error; nor to his enthrallment to the U.S., nor to his own vagueness and credulity
about what does and does not work in the Middle East. We cannot be the guardian of the prime
minister's conscience. We can, however,
decide who owns the truth. To deny his
account that the Iraq war was simply one battlefield in the global struggle
against terrorism is the first step we should take as a nation a year after the
bombs fell. We owe it to the world and
War That Has Divided The World"
International affairs editor Quentin Peel commented in the
independent Financial Times (3/18):
"A year after the misbegotten launch of the war in Iraq, its
unresolved consequences continue to haunt us.... Global terrorism is seen by many as a threat
to the existence of democratic societies.
That a government is toppled after a terrorist act seems to confirm
that. But it is not the terrorism that
really threatens democracy; it is the danger of an overreaction to it. That is just what the terrorists are seeking.... Iraq was a dangerous distraction from the
real struggle against terrorism and fundamentalism.... So how to bridge the gap? Joining forces on Iraqi reconstruction is one
way--but it will not work if the U.S. insists on running the show. Iraq has demonstrated the limits of American
power. One cannot expect Mr. Bush to admit
that it was a ghastly mistake. Not in an
election year. But at least he might
have the humility to admit he needs help even if he has to pay for it."
"One Year On, Things Getting Better For Iraqis"
The center-left Independent wrote (3/17): "What the poll of 2,500 people shows,
above all, is that Iraqis are coming to terms with their particular
circumstances in a situation that came about because of events far beyond their
control. What it does not show, however,
is that the invasion was justified by the results--or that what has happened in
Iraq provides in any way a model for the future."
"Voices Of Iraq: A
Poll To Confound The Platoons Of Pessimists"
The conservative Times commented (3/17): "Iraq is a nation of rational
optimists. This poll demonstrates that,
despite what some of the reporting from Baghdad has implied, more Iraqis
welcome the demise of Saddam Hussein than lament it.... That is not to say that foreign soldiers or
the Coalition Provisional Authority are popular. Iraqis, understandably, would prefer to run
their own affairs and have every confidence in their capacity to do so given
time.... The anniversary of the
beginning of the conflict will also doubtless involve a debate about how
postwar planning should have been handled better. That there was and is room for improvement is
not in doubt. That regime change is
itself an improvement, Iraqis have concluded, is not in doubt either."
FRANCE: "Iraq As A Source
Jean-Christophe Ploquin observed in Catholic La Croix
(3/22): “Over the weekend the EU’s
foreign policy representative, Javier Solana said that 'Europe is not at war'
while Spain’s PM-elect Jose Luis Zapatero said 'terrorism cannot be vanquished
with wars.' Almost at the same moment on
the other side of the Atlantic President Bush said in his radio address that
'the fall of Saddam Hussein eliminated a source of violence, aggression and
instability in the region....' These two
antagonistic points of views prove that the victory of the Socialists in Spain
and the defeat of Aznar, who gave his undisputed support to President Bush,
will most probably make Euro-American relations a little tenser, just when Iraq
needs a united international community....
On June 30 the context in Iraq may be one of bombings, reprisals and
mistrust among the different communities that will not give much of a chance to
stability.... A year after the start of
the war, the Iraqis have to navigate in troubled waters, between rejected
occupiers, feared terrorists and the terrible demons of sectarianism.”
"Winning In Iraq"
Ivan Rioufol commented in right-of-center Le Figaro
(3/19): “The West can lose...the war
against Islamic fundamentalism.... The
West can lose this third world war from lack of conviction and courage.... The real perpetrators of terrorism are not
even being named: the culprits fingered
for the bombings in Madrid are Aznar and Anglo-American policies. George W.
Bush and Ariel Sharon are accused of causing world instability.... Many in the West refuse to see the
Koran-inspired imperialism, humiliated and spurned by a feeling of revenge, for
what it is, preferring instead to accuse those who have chosen to fight against
it. The war will be won or lost from
Iraq’s doorstep. A defeat by the U.S.
and its allies in their wager to bring democracy to a Muslim country...would
signal a victory of fundamentalism....
This is not the time to recall and rehash ‘Bush’s mistakes or
lies.’ Yes, the intervention that saw
the light with 9/11 has amplified world terrorism. So what?
Should the answer have been to do nothing and to lie down before the
enemy?... Honor lies with all the
nations present in Iraq who are trying to help the Arab-Muslim world put an end
to the obscurantism that fuels this war of resentment.”
"Ambivalent Successes Achieved In Iraq"
Michel Schifres concluded in right-of-center Le Figaro
(3/19): “Friendship does not preclude
clarity of vision. Even those who
thought that the war in Iraq was a necessity, short of being just, cannot help
but acknowledge that the results are few....
Iraqi sovereignty will be implemented in June under dangerous and
ambivalent conditions.... The democratic
crusade is not spreading, while Islamic terrorism continues to
progress.... Conversely, western
nations...have not much to be proud of....
It is futile to look back and say, like an Italian minister, ‘that the
war may have been an error.’ One of the
greatest dangers threatening us would be to conclude that the terrorists have
reasons to do what they are doing simply because the Americans were
wrong.... It is not surprising to have
uncertainty in Iraq; it parallels uncertainty around the world. Our world today is as unstable as it was in
the aftermath of 9/11. Today’s wave of
terrorism confirms what we knew then, that the battle would be long and
hard.... Considering the dangers that
still lurk, questions remain: why is the
international community incapable of uniting in the fight? Why are so many nations, Arab nations for the
most part, reluctant to commit to the fight?
Why does the EU give the impression it lacks unity in the construction
of a common defense?”
"Good Morning Iraq"
Patrick Sabatier observed in left-of-center Liberation
(3/19): “News from the front is not all
that good. One year later the war
continues. On the ground, with
terrorism, but also in public opinion where the controversy between the pro- and
anti-war groups rages, all eyes riveted on the carnage in Madrid. It is a bitter victory: the warnings against a ‘preventive war’ have
become reality.... The occupation of
Iraq which was to weaken Islamic terrorism has re-enforced it.... The pursuit for WMD was a fiasco born of
lies.... As for the Middle East’s
conversion to democracy it is at best a far-away dream.... While one cannot yet speak of a U.S. defeat,
one can say that defeat of Washington’s strategies is patent. An equal measure of arrogance and ignorance
is guiding those who find fault with the Spaniards and others who want to put
an end to the Bush-Blair ‘axis of incompetence.’ The choice in fighting terrorism does not lie
with a choice between ‘war and dishonor,’ it is between a war that is
well-thought out and is led in unison, and a slapdash war that plays into the
hands of the terrorists. Abandoning the
Iraqis to their fate is not the answer.
But the road that Bush and Blair have taken leads, via Baghdad, to an
"Aznar’s Original Sin"
Jacques Amalric observed in left-of-center Liberation
(3/18): “Every day that passes confirms
that the second Iraqi war, far from inflicting a blow to Islamic terrorism, has
on the contrary opened a new ideological and geographical battleground.... The original declarations made by Bush and
Blair, look, with hindsight, as manipulation and exploitation of the fear of
terrorism for political ends that have very little to do with the fight against
terror.... Washington, which has been
forced to give up on terrorism as an excuse for the war in Iraq, has found a
new pretext: the Greater Middle East Initiative. Bringing democracy to Baghdad and the region
is an impossible mission. At best it is
wishful thinking. But this wishful
thinking has been contradicted by certain facts: Washington’s ‘pardon’ of Qadhafi the repented
terrorist, its refusal to get involved in the Middle East conflict, and the
fact that George Bush had to make believe he accepted Musharraf’s story in the
nuclear proliferation incident because Musharraf needed to be protected.”
"The Anniversary Of An Error"
Bernard Guetta commented on government-run France Inter
(3/18): “The war in Iraq was to bring
democracy to Iraq and serve as an example....
It was supposed to change America’s image in the Arab-Muslim
world.... The war is not just a lack of
success; it is a total failure.... All
the more so because originally the reasoning was correct, the intention was a
good one. But one does not base the rule
of law on state lies and the violation of international law. One cannot implement democracy by occupying a
nation that has no democratic tradition.
The Middle East needed change. It
still does. But Iraq was not where one
had to start.... There is still time to
repair the Iraqi error.”
"No Cheating With Terrorism"
Serge July wrote in left-of-center Liberation (3/18): “A year after the Anglo-American offensive in
Iraq, it is clear that the war has provided al-Qaida's network with an
"Iraq, A Year After"
Left-of-center Le Monde editorialized (3/17): “A year ago on March 16 three world leaders
meeting in the Azores agreed on a way to fight terrorism.... The Azores trio hoped to introduce a new
model of Western leadership.... On March
20 the first attacks against Iraq began.
With its quick victory, Washington predicted the beginning of a new
strategic era. A year later, where do we
stand? No WMD and no proof of ties
between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida....
The Iraqis were supposed to welcome the Americans as liberators...as
they waited for a ‘decent’ Iraqi government....
Half the U.S. forces are still in Iraq and the transition from one
regime to the other is being implemented in a climate of civil war. The war was supposed to strike a long-lasting
blow to terrorism. While it has certainly
had its effects, with Syria and Libya namely, the intervention in Iraq has also
generated the creation of many terrorist cells ready to chase the Americans
from an Arab land and to punish those who help Washington.... Washington has left the Middle East conflict,
which determines the region’s climate, in a terrible state of abandonment,
fueling daily violence. The Madrid
bombings have cost dearly to the Spanish right, in which President Bush saw a
European ally. Iraq has cost Blair
dearly, he who President Bush saw as the leader of the EU. The other allies of the U.S. have suffered
for their involvement in Iraq. Who knows
if the war in Iraq has not in fact turned our attention away from the main
front: Islamic terrorism?”
"Useless Iraqi War"
Dominique Jung held in regional Les Dernieres Nouvelles
d’Alsace (3/16): “By their savagery,
the terrorist attacks [in Madrid] cast a raw light on the war in Iraq,
tragically confirming its uselessness....
The fall of Saddam Hussein has not made the world safer, nor intimidated
al-Qaida. That said, we must not be
naive. The terrorist attacks of 11
September 2001...were the beginning of a world war. The tragedy of Madrid must show us that our
priority is the merciless fight against terrorism, a fight against the right
target, not Baghdad, and without giving up the rules of democracy."
Pitt von Bebenburg judged in
left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (3/22): "One year after the Iraq war, the peace
movement has been confirmed in its arguments.
WMD were not found, neither the country nor the region has been
pacified. The fight against terrorism
has not made progress, as the bombings in Madrid demonstrated. And fears that the United States only
respects one right, the one it imposed itself, have by no means been refuted
last year, on the contrary.... Even if
President Bush says that all differences between the war opponents and the war
coalition have now been removed, the people do not forget them."
"Messages From Baghdad"
Peter Muench argued in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of
Munich (3/20): "The U.S. government
should be condemned for its tricks and deceptions, but the Iraq mission must be
measured against whether it has pursued the right goals with false means. From Washington we hear a defiant praise for
its own activities...and everything Washington says is correct, but progress
only remains a promise. As a matter of
fact, the Iraqi people are balancing near the abyss on the path of
democracy. A plunge into civil war is
looming.... But the Iraq project will
only have a chance if it is embedded in a program for the region.... The Greater Middle East Initiative that
Washington propagates promises exactly this....
But the initiative could be turned upside down: first pacifying the
region thus sending a impulse for its democratization. In order to do this, the focus should finally
be again directed to a problem that was deliberately postponed with the Iraq
war a year ago: to the permanent
conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.
This is the source for radical currents in the Arab world.... At the beginning of the war, George W. Bush
promised to achieve peace for the region through democratization. This has not come true. If Bush were serious about his promise, he
should now reverse his strategy and come to a democratization of the region
through peace in Palestine. Only with
such a move he could repair the damage the inflicted on the region with the
"One Year After"
Center-right Neue Presse of Hanover had this to say
(3/20): "One year after the
beginning of the war, the 'coalition of the willing' is showing tendencies to
disintegrate, because Poland, Italy, and Spain have to realize that Washington
deceived them with respect to the reasons to go to war. This process will have repercussions. If all allies want to leave Iraq as quickly
as possible, the U.S. political authority in Iraq will also collapse. This means that the transfer of power to the
Iraqi civilian government will turn into an unpredictable risk. One year after the beginning of the war,
there is one dictator less in the world.
This is good, but this war has not create more security."
"A Positive Balance Sheet Of Horror"
Holger Schmale noted in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung
(3/20): "If President Bush is right
[with his statement on Iraq], then only because the United States turned the
country [into a front-line state against international terrorism]. It is true that Saddam Hussein was a
merciless tyrant, but he never played a role in international terrorism. This is why President Bush's remark is wrong
that the world has become a better, a safer place after Saddam's ouster. The president continues to pursue his course
of deception...but, despite all positive developments, it would now be totally
wrong not to raise the question of the reasons for war any longer. Up until today, the real motives for the
attack on Iraq have not been clearly mentioned.... The real reason is probably the Bush
government's desire for an impressive military demonstration of power,
accompanied by strategic considerations to safeguard influence in the region
with a special emphasis on the access to oil resources. The driving forces in the Pentagon have
hushed this up with an aggressive security doctrine, which allows to attack
opponents who were declared rogue states before. But this strategy has failed. A grandiose blitz victory was followed by the
disaster of occupation.... If there is a
positive point on the balance sheet, it is this one: the aggressive security doctrine that was
developed by neo-conservative forces around George W. Bush has been discredited
to such a degree that the American people, the U.S. Congress and the closest
U.S. allies will not allow a second war according to the Iraqi model. In this sense, and only in this sense, has
the world become safer."
"The Erosion Of The Alliance"
Markus Ziener contended in business-oriented Handelsblatt
of Duesseldorf (3/19): "One year
after the beginning of a blitzkrieg the current result is not acceptable. Peace should have been brought to Iraq and
not a civil war.... To find the positive
things in Iraq one has to dig deep these days.... And things might even get worse: the war alliance, which is fragile anyway and
plagued with doubts, is crumbling faster than expected. That is bad for Iraq--regardless of one's
opinion about the war.... After the
dramatic events of Madrid it has become more than clear how little sense war
coalitions make that are not based on convictions and consensus but on
"Shape The World According To A Partnership"
Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger judged in a front-page editorial in
center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (3/19): "If the Iraq crisis, which has revealed
the strategic rift between the Americans and part of the Europeans, teaches us
a lesson it is that U.S. power is no substitute for a consensus among western
democracies--and that a European moral claim which dispenses itself from power
and responsibility, is vain and encourages U.S. isolationism. Since the threats in the 21st century do not
decline, but rather become less predictable, there is no way around it that
America and Europe must cooperate. This
means they must take security concerns of the other side seriously, not dismiss
them; they must begin a strategic dialogue, not refuse it; they must strive for
joint activities, not make it more difficult through arrogance and
smugness. This means: the indispensable shaping of the world must
be done in a partnership. This, too is
another lesson from the Iraq war."
"No Right, No Wrong"
Christoph von Marschall penned in a front-page editorial in
centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (3/19): "Europe is allowed to--and must--be
unforgiving: with respect to WMD that
have so far not been found, at Guantánamo, with respect to the treatment of the
truth, and with respect to international law.
But it should not lose sight of the balance sheet: first, the ouster of the dictatorship;
despite the war, despite the attacks in Iraq over the past twelve months, fewer
people died because of the use of force than during a 'normal' year under Saddam. In addition, there has been a gradual
stabilization of the situation. Repeated
bombings are overshadowing this development, but this is also a problem of
perception.... Now it is not decisive
whether the war was wrong but what is correct today. The scenario that will create more difficulties
for George W. Bush--the Spaniards withdraw and after them probably more
Europeans--punishes not only Bush but also Europe and Germany, for it is in our
interest to see progress in Iraq and setbacks for the terrorist network. Europe must not unite against America, but
against terror, not in favor of a withdrawal but in favor of a UN mandate,
which allows Spain's new government to leave its forces in Iraq."
"Opening Pandora's Box"
Birgit Kaspar commented on regional radio station Westdeutscher
Rundfunk of Cologne (3/19): "When
the U.S. president began this war a year ago without a well-conceived post-war
strategy, he opened Pandora's box. And
with this illegal war that was waged against international law, he has made the
law of the jungle presentable. Ordinary
Iraqis and ordinary U.S. soldiers are now paying the price. And end of this horror is not foreseeable,
but the horror is likely to intensify even more."
"World Is Not Safer"
Center-right General-Anzeiger of Bonn stated (3/19): "The calculation of election campaigner
George W. Bush is easy to recognize:
those who are convinced that the ouster of dictator Saddam Hussein is a
gain for the Iraqi people, for stability in the Near and Middle East, for U.S.
security, will hardly take care of the question why this war was started at
all. Apart from the fact that every
means justifies the end in this politically precarious logic, Bush's argument
has another flaw: it is simply not true
that the world has become safer after Saddam Hussein's ouster. The situation in Iraq itself, where U.S.
soldiers and Iraqi civilians die almost on a daily basis, refutes Bush's
argument and the most recent bombings in Madrid have demonstrated in a tragic
way that international terrorism is not less capable of acting than a year
Centrist Suedwest Presse of Ulm concluded (3/19): "The United States and its allies based
the reason for the second Iraq war on a conglomerate of lies, manipulation, and
played up propaganda. Thus far, evidence
that could back the main arguments for the military strike has not been
presented, and most of the reasons were unmasked as clearly false. As depressing as the analysis of its reasons,
as depressing is the balance sheet of this war.
Even though the dictatorial regime was relatively quickly ousted...Iraq
is still far away from peace, freedom and democracy. The great departure for democracy in the
entire Middle East, which the U.S. president mentioned already a month after
the beginning of the war turns out to be a fantasy."
"More Vulnerable Than Ever"
Right-of-center Saarbruecker Zeitung argued (3/19): "Today, the United States has not been
safer but more vulnerable than ever before.
Fanatic Muslims consider Americans in Iraq living targets, while, at the
same time, the United States does not have the funds to protect aircraft,
trains, ships, and nuclear power plants....
Saddam Hussein's ouster and the freedom of the Iraqis had a high price,
in reality and in a figurative sense.
And the daily victims in Iraq are increasing this price day by
Rainald Becker commented on ARD-TV's late evening newscast
Tagesthemen (3/17): "Almost a year
after the ouster of the dictator, the 'coalition of the willing' has obviously
failed, has been incapable of implementing law and order. I think an engagement of the UN is now
urgently necessary, and the necessary mandate is long overdue. Only now, after the announcement that the
Spanish government plans to withdraw its forces from Iraq, are the U.S. and
Britain considering supporting a corresponding UN resolution. This is much too late. The damage has already been inflicted on
Iraq.... If one year after Saddam's
ouster almost half of all Iraqis want a strong leader and only one-third
supports democracy, then something has gone totally wrong. To democratize means to drill holes into
thick boards. It cannot be forced, and, what
is also important: it must happen in
cooperation with, not against, the people, meaning that Iraq quickly needs its
own sovereign government with sufficient support among the Iraqis. Then, and only then, will the ground be cut
from under the feet of terror and violence."
ITALY: "A Bitter
Anniversary For Washington"
Mario Platero commented in leading business daily Il Sole-24
Ore (3/19): “The Americans are not
living the first anniversary of the war on Iraq in the best of ways: worry; sense of isolation; frustration for
the distancing of some of its allies; astonishment for Spain’s about-face;
discouragement for having been manipulated on the WMD; fear of a new terrorist
attack.... On the anniversary of a
rapidly won war, terrorism is stealing the scene over peace. The attack in Madrid succeeded in dividing
the alliance that the Americans built in Iraq and it brought back to surface
the rift with France and Germany--a rift that everyone is trying to mend. The continuous attacks in Iraq indicate that
the country is still on the verge of a civil war.... With the attacks in Spain and Iraq, terrorism
has scored a point. It has brought back
to the surface the long, painful, and destructive debate at the UN Security
Council. Its activism shows us that
today is not only the anniversary of the war against Iraq--it’s also the anniversary
of the practical application of the U.S. right to pre-emption doctrine; of the
transatlantic rift; an American division of Europe in two parts--the new
decision-making one and the compromising, old one.… Anyone in Europe who thinks, starting with
Jose Luis Zapatero, that this troublesome anniversary will drag on until
November, or that the U.S. will withdraw from Iraq if Kerry wins the elections
is dead wrong.”
"Blood On The War’s Anniversary"
Bernardo Valli noted in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica
(3/18): “Many expected it, but when the
explosion came, and the Karada district rocked...feelings ran amok in a city
that is accustomed to bombs and gunfire....
There could have been no more eloquent or brutal way to remember that
the war began one year ago and to underscore that the war is by no means over.”
"It’s Not Enough To Criticize Bush: We Must Do Better Than Him"
Gianni Riotta commented in centrist, top-circulation Corriere
della Sera (3/17): “Already one year
ago, when President George W. Bush decided to attack Iraq, it was clear that he
opted for the worst decision in order to subdue the dictator Saddam
Hussein.... The White House tried to
bend its adversaries with its military supremacy, without taking into
consideration the international coalition....
If Bush’s strategy doesn’t work, then we need a different one to fight
the war against terrorism and to reiterate to Osama bin Laden that terrorist
attacks will not cause us to give in.
It’s illusory to believe that it would be enough to disapprove of Bush’s
unilateralism in order to escape the vendetta of the strategists of
chaos.... If the left wing, which
governs in England, Germany and now in Spain and possibly in the U.S. if Kerry wins,
wants to become the political and moral guide, it will not be enough to say no
to Bush and to withdraw troops from Iraq....
Iraq must be stabilized with the contribution of Americans and Europeans
(and with the UN aegis), with the cooperation of a UN that is conscious that
the corruption of its ‘oil for food program’ has created bad blood in Baghdad.
We need a coalition that appears unbiased to Iraqi ethnic groups, but resolute
to the terrorists. The military tactic
must be integrated with policies and diplomacy in the Middle East, Arab economic
development, dialogue between religions, effective instruments in the long-term
strategic period.... An erroneous
strategy must be contrasted with a better one, not with illusions, no matter
how well intentioned they are. The
terrorists are not only at war against Bush and his friends. They are also at war against us, all of us.”
RUSSIA: "One Year
After War Began, World Is No Better"
Leonid Gankin commented in business-oriented Kommersant
(3/22): "A year ago George Bush
began a war to prevent Saddam Hussein's regime from using weapons of mass
destruction. It turned out later that
Saddam had no such weapons. Nor was he
found to have been involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United
States. Nonetheless, people in
Washington insist that they did the right thing, and that they would have
started the war anyway, even they had known then what they know now. We, the Americans claim, have liberated the
Iraqi people from a bloody dictator.
That is hard to dispute, but of all the dictators in the world, Saddam
Hussein did not at all deserve to be toppled first. The war in Iraq, far from helping the global
anti-terrorist campaign, has made the problem even worse. Radicals find it easier now to recruit people
in countries of the Islamic world, which has been seething with
indignation. Besides, Iraq is drawing
resources that might otherwise have been used in the real war on terror. More terrorist acts have been committed over
the past year. The latest ones, the
Madrid bombings, stopped Spain's right-wingers, who support the United States,
from winning the elections in that country.
The entire Coalition of the Willing may break up, as the electorate in
Britain and Japan may not forgive their governments' involvement in a game that
is not theirs. But then, of course, it
is too early to sum up the results of the Iraqi campaign. Even so, we have to admit that a year since
the war began the world has been none the better for it."
"Lack Of Respect For International Law And Customs"
Sergey Shishkarev, a Duma deputy, stated in official government Rossiyskaya
Gazeta (3/19): "Not only was
the U.S. administration wrong about weapons of mass destruction available to
Saddam's regime but it totally misjudged the confessional and ethnic
relationships that helped Iraqi authorities for decades to keep the country
from splitting into three separate states.
Washington could not but see that, without that three-in-one 'paradigm,'
there could be no stability in the region following occupation. Its only alternative is disintegration and
civil war. Most observers are of the
opinion that the Iraqi resistance no longer views the U.S. invaders as an
active player in their territory. It has
been concerned more about internal feuds."
"War Served Terror's Purpose"
Vadim Markushin said in centrist army-run Krasnaya Zvezda
(3/19): "Constant acts of sabotage
in Baghdad are certainly no sign of cherished peace being near. Nor does the all-pervading fear in Europe and
elsewhere of more attacks by fanatics attest to an imminent victory over
terrorism. The most honest thing to do
now would be to admit that the war in Iraq has served terror's purpose by
having resulted in terrible blasts in Spain, threats against France and
scandals in Britain."
"Coalition Has Feet Of Clay"
Andrey Zlobin said in reformist Vremya Novostey (3/18): "The possibility of the coalition
breaking up worries the White House not only in terms of prospects for the
operation in Iraq--it may become a major factor affecting people's choice in
November. Ever since the coalition of
35 states came into being, Washington has touted it as a key foreign policy
accomplishment. Exactly a year after the
invasion of Iraq, it turns out that the coalition has feet of clay and,
contrary to George Bush's statements, the world has not become any better or
safer.... By speaking of a rule-of-law
state, international law and special services as a basis on which to fight
terrorism, Madrid echoes what Moscow, Paris and Berlin insisted upon even
before the war in Iraq."
"Iraq Crisis: The Year
Yelena Suponina held in reformist Vremya Novostey
(3/17): "The war started with no
authorization from the Security Council--the Americans didn't give a damn about
the UN. France, Germany and Russia put
up strong opposition, but the Americans ignored us. As Iraq was being bombed, millions of people
around the world staged protest actions.
The Americans couldn't care less, especially because the anti-Iraq
coalition swelled to some 30 countries, most of them ex-Soviet republics and
satellites.... Last Thursday's bombings
in Madrid were acts of al-Qaida's revenge for Iraq. Who's next to play host to that war? A year after, the Americans and their allies,
for all their strenuous efforts, have yet to come up with proof that Iraq had
weapons of mass destruction. Lately,
Americans have been known to admit quietly that Iraq, most likely, did not have
WMD before the war. Why did they go to
BELGIUM: "One Year
Chief commentator Yves Desmet editorialized in
conservative Christian-Democrat Gazet van Antwerpen (3/20): "What did a year of Iraq bring us,
except bombs in Madrid and a stimulus for and the penetration of terrorism into
our living rooms? Iraq itself was not
really waiting for a Western model that was imposed manu militari and more
soldiers have been killed during the occupation than during the actual
war. Hatred against the United
States--and the West--has increased and a growing number of cells are preparing
themselves to continue their holy war under al-Qaida's trademark.... Public opinion in the allied countries tends
more and more to believe that the official reasons to go to war without an
international mandate were exaggerated--to say the least--and that, in the
worst case, they did not even tally with the truth. Even convinced America supporters like
Poland...said this week that they feel misled by the Bush regime.... It would be a mistake to fall into
anti-Americanism and to lend an indifferent or benevolent eye to the Islamic
regimes where democracy still has to be invented, where there is no secular
constitutional state, where the rights of the individuals are nonexistent, just
like the equality between men and women.
However, after one year of Iraq it is becoming alarmingly clear that
George Bush's regime is losing all its credibility at express-train speed and
that Europe is hoping that on the other side of the ocean a new leader with a
new foreign policy will stand up very soon."
"One Year After, a Mixed Balance
Baudouin Loos judged in left-of-center Le
Soir (3/20): "It is already one
year since the invasion of Iraq by the United States and its allies began. We know the context that led to that
war. The United States, deeply hurt by
the September 11 attacks and ruled by leaders who intended to take advantage of
people's emotion to impose their views on the world, decided that Iraq would be
the next target after the end of the Taliban and Afghan adventures.... For the first time, the United States and its
allies were occupying an Arab country.
They unsuccessfully searched for the prohibited weapons that had
justified the invasion. That is why,
suddenly, Bush and Blair claimed that they were in Iraq to bring
democracy!... Washington is now doing
its utmost to get the UN to involve itself in Iraq, probably before begging
military assistance from NATO. One
should not rejoice at the Americans' problems.
But their methods and their lack of preparation led to a result that is
the opposite of what they had in mind:
terrorism has probably and lastingly found a new ground in Iraq. The Iraqi 'laboratory' can lead to several
threatening scenarios: at the worst a
civil war, at the best a democracy, which is very likely to give power to
Islamic radicals. Uncle Sam has reasons
to be worried."
"A Rightful Combat Led Astray"
Foreign editor Gerald Papy concluded in
independent La Libre Belgique (3/20):
"After one year of occupation...it still has not been demonstrated
that the Saddam Hussein regime possessed weapons of mass destruction that were
a threat to its neighbors and to Western countries or that it had relations
with al-Qaida terrorists. George Bush
and Tony Blair will one day owe an explanation to their fellow
citizens.... But the sanction that was
inflicted to the Spanish Prime Minister and his party should already make
Washington and London think.
Misrepresenting the truth--not to say lying--always backfires. Yet, this suspicion on the reasons for waging
the war in Iraq should nevertheless not conceal its immediate results: the fall of one of the most brutal regime of
the 20th century. The war undoubtedly
brought an end to human rights abuses, it authorized political freedom, and it
paved the way to the country's reconstruction.
But the cost of this 'liberation' is high, with innocent Iraqis and
policemen accused of collaborating with the Americans being the preferred
target of terrorists. Terrorist attacks,
from Baghdad to Madrid, and the hunt for the al-Qaida number two in Pakistan
highlight how much George Bush deceived people when he said that the war in
Iraq was part of his war on terror. He
has opened another center of blind violence in an Arab-Muslim world that had
already enough of those, and he has monopolized means that could have otherwise
been more efficiently used for the real fight against terrorism."
"A Year After the Iraq War"
Center-right daily Dnevnik
commented (3/22): "It should
be noted that no Western country that has opposed the war in Iraq considers
this opposition as a guarantee against a terror attack.... Claims that the war in Iraq is the main
reason for terrorism demonstrates a naive lack of understanding of the agenda
and objectives of the numerous terrorist groups.... The outcome of the U.S. efforts in Iraq is
increasingly becoming a factor in determining whether the U.S. security policy
is on the right track. It is not
surprising then, that both the proponents and opponents of this policy in the
Euro-Atlantic community have a vested interest not to see it fail. If someone thinks that one of the main global
problems is the aggressiveness of U.S. foreign policy, then one should consider
that an isolationist America after a possible failure in Iraq could lead to
much more serious security problems."
"Croats To Iraq: Mission
Zagreb-based government-owned Vjesnik
carried a commentary by Zoran Vodopija (3/23):
"Terrorism’s hotbed has not been destroyed, but a new one has been
born: al-Qaida’s and related extreme
Islamist organizations’ commandos have stormed into Iraq, and have started
doing what Americans had expected Saddam to do:
killing their soldiers and destroying strategic targets with
explosives. The attack against Iraq did
not return the blow for the attack against the World Trade Center in New York
on September 11. By attacking Iraq, Bush
& partners have spread out throughout the desert a perfect compost from
which terrorist mushrooms are sprouting in an express manner."
"Time For Truth"
Foreign affairs editor Jurica Korbler commented
in Zagreb-based government-owned Vjesnik (3/22): "After the Iraqi adventure, the world
global order is in a large crisis, the UN has been...marginalized, and the
center of crisis which has led to inflammation of terrorism--the one in the
Middle East--continues to boil, without chances of being put out any time
soon. Croatia is for now maneuvering in
the position without anyone publicly forcing it to send soldiers to Iraq, but
that’s what it is expected to do. It is
clear to America too that Croatia is in a delicate situation, waiting for the
invitation into the European waiting room, with internal and foreign problems
piled up, and the fact that possible departure of soldiers to Iraq would
furthermore polarize the political scene.
That’s why nobody is too loudly asking about Croatian engagement in
Iraq. And Zagreb’s message ‘Enough of
Wars,’ from a country which has bled too much in the past few years, and which
is surrounded by countries from which the smell of war is spreading once again,
summarizes mass protests throughout the world both against world terrorism, and
the failed allied Iraqi adventure."
"Year Of Long Noses"
Branko Mijic had this to day in Rijeka-based Novi
list (3/21): “Overthrow of Saddam
Hussein and his recent arrest, has sent a dictator, and nobody will shed a tear
for him, into history’s storage room. At
the same time, another one has climbed to the throne, and provided himself with
the right to impose his interests to the entire world as the only ones possible
and irreplaceable, allowing himself to implement them by force anywhere, at any
time, and over anyone. After the dirty
dictator who was pulled out of a pile of garbage in Tikrit on December 13, a
naked one has showed himself to the world, led by pure force, and who doesn’t
care about international law and order.
Will American voters be able to put an end to it, just like the Spanish
voters did to their marionette, and just like the Italian, English,
Australians, and all those who have in the past year perceived their leaders’
long noses, or is there really no chance for the world?”
"Incursion Into Iraq"
Split-based Slobodna Dalmacija published
this commentary by Dusko Cizmic Marovic (3/21):
"The too easily ‘won’ preventive war against invented weapons of
mass destruction has turned into a global inextricable knot--military,
economic, and political. Regarding Iraq
itself, it seems more likely that it will fall apart than get a democratic and
efficient post-Saddam government."
Foreign affairs editor Jurica Korbler observed in Zagreb-based,
government-owned Vjesnik (3/16):
“One year later, Saddam is gone, but terrorism is more powerful.... Bush’s triumphant statement that America is
now safer than before, and that there have been no terrorist attacks against
that country since September 11, 2001, has been fading out before the reality
that nobody is safe anywhere any more.
Prodi is right: Bush’s recipe for
the fight against terrorism has proven incorrect. Instead of extinguishing it, Bush is flaring it
up; instead of maintaining things under
control, the situation is becoming intolerable.
The Pentagon’s laboratory of force, which is convinced that a ‘small
handful’ of terrorists can be frightened with sophisticated weapons, has
totally failed. Nervous Europe is
talking through Romano Prodi’s mouth, and claims that the result of the war in
Iraq is a negative one. Both in Iraq and
outside of it.”
"Dictatorship, War, Chaos...Future
Petr Nemec observed in the leading business Hospodarske noviny
(3/23): "One year after the war
against Iraq, the country is still a long way away from President Bush’s vision
which promised Iraq to become the ‘lighthouse of freedom and prosperity’ for the whole region. In reality, Iraq balances on the verge of
civil war. Instead of freedom, democracy
and prosperity there is chaos and escalated terror. Even if the political and security situation
is stabilized, there will always be the irresolvable economic issue. Will Iraq have to be drip-fed by Western
help? The countries, which promised to
help Iraq in Madrid last year, are delaying their help...and the same applies
to the pardoning of Iraqi debts.... Even
if these problems are resolved, it is hard to imagine how this ‘lighthouse of
freedom and prosperity’ will go on shining alone in a region torn by
conflict.... All the euphemistic
statements of the toppling of Saddam’s regime resulting in reconciliation
between the Palestinians and Israelis have been proven wrong."
"It Would Have Been Worse Without Intervention"
Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda wrote in business daily Hospodarske
noviny (3/22): "The war in Iraq
has been criticized mainly from the standpoint that it has not achieved what it
apparently should have. Let’s look at it
from the opposite perspective. A
repressive regime was destroyed, it is sure now that Iraq will not use WMD
anymore and Iraqi society is open to new development. Iraq has the chance to become a prosperous
country and thus contribute to stabilization of the situation in the Middle
East. The Czech Republic doesn’t need to
be ashamed of the effort it has so far put into this process. The transformation will take a long time, and
it’s likely to cost more than we would wish, but the results so far show that
it is worth it. We must not lose our
memory--if we had done nothing, it would not have improved our security and
Iraq would have been much worse off."
"They Won The War, But They Are Still Missing Peace"
Petr Pravda wrote in mainstream MF Dnes (3/20): "The coalition in Iraq is losing an
important member on the first anniversary of the war due to the bomb attacks in
Madrid--Spain wants to withdraw its soldiers earlier. Washington and London are afraid that this
step may trigger off an avalanche of further withdrawals. Polish President Kwasniewski indicated that
Poland was misled by the information about weapons of mass destruction
possessed by Iraq. He thus touched one
of the main problems, which the coalition faces on the international scene as
well as in domestic politics. And that
is justification of the globally resented war in Iraq by WMD whose existence
has not yet been confirmed."
"The World Is Not Safer But…"
Roman Gallo commented in the business daily Hospodarske Noviny
(3/19): "Many European leaders are
still hesitating to help in the 'Iraqi campaign of George Bush,' who did not
listen to their arguments against the war....
The last thing that Iraq needs now is the world to shrink back from
it.... The UN and many influential, but
so far listless, countries ought to join the renewal of Iraq as soon as
possible.... Extermination of terrorism
is much more problematic. Its roots are
too various--religious radicalism, ethnic and political oppression or
ambitions.... No functioning, quick
solution exists. This is a fight which
must be fought but which nobody can really win in the real world."
"It Could Be Late in Iraq.
Jana Hybaskova, former Czech Ambassador to Kuwait, wrote in the
business daily Hospodarske Noviny (3/19): "Operation Iraq Freedom started a year
ago.... After one year we can state that
the Iraqi oil industry has been renewed....
Water and electricity have been restored; schools are being
reconstructed, as well as medical facilities.... Social and political structures have not
managed to be reinstated. Democratic
political forces almost do not exist....
The U.S. representation, under pressure from the Pentagon, has
simplified the situation in Iraq for domestic reasons.... Nevertheless the effort to prevent Iraq from
using chemical weapons was legitimate.
The second mistake has been an excessive concentration on a military solution
without equivalent preparation of political and social stabilization.... The last thing is the factor of
time...whether, 366 days after the end of the war, the depleted Iraqi
population is capable of recovery...to create representative political structures...to
administer itself.... And are we
actually capable of renewing political structures in nonfunctioning states to
the extent that such a renewal would exclude a misuse of such states'
territories as bases of security risks?...
It could be late in Iraq. But is
it not already late in other places too?"
"The Luxury Of Choice"
Frantisek Sulc editorialized in the center right Lidove noviny
(3/18): "The war against Iraq was
easy compared to the stabilization of the situation in the country. This, however, does not mean that toppling
Saddam was not the right thing. The
Iraqis have been given a chance they did not have under the dictatorship. Now it is up to them what they will do with
it.... According to the latest surveys
the Iraqis are aware of this possibility and they are grateful for it.... A totally different perspective, however, can
be seen not only in Europe but also in the U.S.... The opponents and supporters of the war have
barricaded themselves on their positions unable to find a common
language.... Steps to protect ourselves
may temporarily elicit chaos, but from long-term perspective they will lead to
years of peace."
DENMARK: "U.S. Is
Leaving Iraq In The Lurch"
Middle East correspondent, Herbert Pundik opined
in center-left Politiken (3/22):
“A year ago, the U.S. was busy starting the war in Iraq. Today, the U.S. is equally busy preparing to
slip out of the country and leave everything to the unprepared Iraqi
"Anniversary And An Alternative"
Senior columnist Endre Aczel editorialized in leading Nepszabadsag
(3/22): "Even if the war in Iraq
was a mistake at the time when it was launched, that mistake...should not be
made worse by adding a tragedy to it.
Everybody (every country) must stay in Iraq because the alternative of
leaving Iraq would be anarchy and a civil war."
"The First Year Of A Strange War"
Foreign news writer Szabolcs Tohotom argued in right-wing Magyar
Nemzet (3/22): "Those countries
that supported the United States [in the Iraq war] have found themselves in a
difficult situation. The message they
would convey if they were leaving Iraq would be that they bend not only to the
perpetrators of the terrorist attacks in Iraq but to the perpetrators of such
acts anywhere else.... All those who
marched into Iraq stepped into Osama bin Laden's trap as well. Because [it is] precisely al-Qaida and its
allies taking advantage of the growing anti-Americanism and anti-Europe
attitude and of the increasing anger of the Arabs."
"Variations To Iraqi Themes"
Columnist Miklos Ujvari judged in liberal Magyar Hirlap
(3/20): "If the main 'frontier' of
the anti-terrorism war is Iraq's American occupation the result is
disappointing. Even if the war was
launched under a wrong ideology and was based on lies it still wasn't entirely
useless. A dictator, who was most
probably mentally sick, was ousted from power.
The opportunity arouse that Iraq become a normal country. The Americans certainly did plan the victory
very differently. The coalition did not
have an exit strategy. There are now
signs of backing out [of the mission in Iraq].
No, the Hungarians and the others should not leave, they need to stay
and help the stabilization in Iraq. This
is the least that the people of Iraq, who suffered so much, deserve, regardless
whether the war was illegitimate or not."
"One Year Chaos"
Constitutional lawyer Laszlo Valki wrote in liberal Magyar
Hirlap (3/20): "The United
States could not and has not achieved its officially declared objectives as
most of those objectives weren't legitimate.
There were no weapons of mass destruction and there were no terrorist
bases either. The objectives the United States did not declare officially, like setting up a strategic base
in the Middle East and taking over the control over the Iraqi oil production,
also seem to be now uncertain. The whole
war has been, in my opinion, a failure, on which Aznar lost, Tony Blair almost
lost and Bush will also lose in the fall."
IRELAND: "The Real
Reason For Staying In Iraq"
David Quinn offered this view in the center-right Irish Independent (3/19): “In truth, WMD were really only a secondary
reason for the invasion. The main reason
was the overwhelming need to situate in the Middle East a country that will
over time become democratic, stable and prosperous and act as a model for
others to copy. This is a tall order,
but at present no such country exists in the whole Arab world and it is the
single biggest reason for the rage that expresses itself in organizations like
al-Qaida. Transforming Iraq along these
lines is a tall order, and could easily fail but it must be tried because it
offers the best chance of addressing the causes of Islamist terrorism. At present, the countries of the Middle East
seem incapable of meaningful internal reform.
Even those who bitterly opposed the war must now realize that all of us,
and that includes above all the Iraqi people, have a vital vested interest in
transforming that country for the better.
In a way, whether that is done mainly through the U.S. or the UN is
irrelevant. The war on terrorism is
going to last a very long time and is bound to be very bloody and affect all of
us. It must be fought by our security
forces, by our armies where necessary, but above all by transforming the Middle
East from within, starting with Iraq. If
anti-Americanism blinds us to this fact, the terrorists will be the only
NORWAY: "One Year
The independent VG commented (3/22): "American politicians have previously
spoken with contempt about nation building.
But if there is anything that Iraq now really needs, it is nation building.... And it should take place under a UN
flag.... But first President Bush must
give up the political unilateralism. The
worst possible scenario is withdrawal, to leave the Iraqis to themselves. That would quite certainly led to an orgy of
violence far exceeding what we have seen so far."
"A Tragic Year Has Passed"
The independent Dagbladet noted (3/22): "The period before the invasion has long
ago been discovered as a cloud of half-truths, pure lies and hidden
agendas.... Almost every day one or
several U.S. soldiers are killed....
Iraq has turned into a magnet for terrorists and the danger of terror in
the world has been increased, not reduced, after the invasion a year ago."
"One Year Later"
The Christian Democratic Vaart Land judged (3/22): "It rather quickly turned out that it
was far more difficult for the U.S. and its allies to win the peace."
The newspaper of record Aftenposten commented (3/21): "A recent survey shows that the U.S.
under President George W. Bush has been met by little understanding, and even
outright opposition, by several important countries.... President Bush and his closest advisors must
bear the largest responsibility for this [unfortunate] situation.... The U.S. decision to go it alone has ended in
just that; the country has ended up alone.
It is now up to the U.S. to remove the impression of being a selfish,
single-minded country that moves ahead without concern for others."
POLAND: "This War
Could Not Have Been Avoided"
Editor-in-chief Grzegorz Jankowski argued in tabloid Fakt
(3/22): “The anti-war demonstrations
demanded an end to the ‘barbarity of the war.’
Every man of reason objects to ‘barbarities of war.’ The protesters, though, tried to manipulate
the public...by forcing an unequivocal message that the coalition states are
‘responsible’ for the barbarity.... The
biggest barbarians in Iraq were those who were ousted with our
assistance--Saddam Hussein and his gang.
The war continues not because the coalition members want it, but because
there are terrorists in Iraq perpetrating bloody attacks. They are the ones to blame for the deaths of
dozens of innocent people. Only by being
consistent in trying to eliminate terrorists can war be prevented from moving
on to Europe. If we do not want to live
under a permanent threat, let us not be deluded by the allegedly anti-war
"Our War, Right War"
Marcin Bosacki opined in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza
(3/20): “Just before the first
anniversary of the Iraq war, President Kwasniewski said we ‘were misled’ by the
information about weapons of mass destruction.
These words were right but unfortunate at the same time. Unfortunate, because these words giving a
rise to speculation that Poland might withdraw from Iraq should not be
communicated to allies through French journalists. Right, because Washington should receive a
signal: it’s a bad thing that the
principal motives of the war turned out to be a smoke screen. The WMD were not found, and links between
Saddam and al-Qaida proved to be vague, compromising the U.S. Government, and
putting its allies in an awkward position....
Despite murders and robberies, however, the Iraqis are better off
today. Freedom of speech is
extraordinary in the Arab world.
Restoring normalcy is in the interest of the Iraqis, Poland, the U.S.,
the West, and the Middle East.”
"We Have Not Won This War"
Piotr Pacewicz wrote in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza
(3/20): “The intervention in Iraq was to
save the world from weapons of mass destruction in the hand of a despot, and to
undermine Islamic terror, which had a supporter in Saddam. These were the main arguments as presented by
Bush. Time has shown that the first
[argument] was false, and the second quite stretched. It is good that President Kwansiewski said it
openly, even though his choice of time and place was unfortunate.”
SERBIA & MONTENEGRO: "Iraq: One Year Later: An Unwilling War Of The West"
Belgrade's weekly Reporter opined (3/23): "One year after the beginning of the war and the Anglo-American coalition
forces' campaign to topple Iraq's dictator, questions on motives, the operation
itself, Iraqi resistance and post-war results are still unanswered.... The political situation in the U.S. and UK is
developing unfavorably. The two
governments have been caught in something that could be called tampering with
intelligence data regarding the causes for war.... It is hard to believe that Americans decided
to topple Saddam Hussein in order to save their way of life. Sending almost one hundred thousand
well-armed troops in the region rich with oil and which is connecting three
continents...that makes sense."
SLOVAKIA: "The Future
Is Already Beginning"
Miloslav Surgos commented in center-left Pravda
(3/22): "The fact that the war in
Iraq was bad is incontrovertible....
History will tell whether the attack on Iraq and the ousting of Saddam
Hussein did more help or caused more damage.
The war, however, has already happened.
The lives of the dead will not be returned, even if every single person
on the planet were to demonstrate against it.
But, something has been started and now it is necessary to finish
it. Abandoning Iraq at a time when the
decision is being made on the direction it will take would be an even bigger
mistake than the entire war. The time
has come for the international community to show what it is made of. Whoever believes that Iraq, with its varied
ethnic and religious composition and after decades of tyranny, will be able on
its own to turn into a country at least somewhat stable and democratic is not a
realist. Foreign troops will be
necessary provisionally for this--whether under the UN banner or within the
framework of a coalition. Now is a time
when the world can show how Iraq matters to it."
SPAIN: "The World, One
Year After Iraq"
Conservative daily ABC editorialized (3/21): "The future of Iraq continues to be at
the center of the debate about the world order.
On the one hand because, success in this case will be in large measure a
product of American efforts and U.S. attempts in advancing democracy in the
world, including in the Arab world....
To modernize the Islamic world, to promote better living conditions and
development and avoid in this way the frustration and hatred that feeds
terrorism is a task as ambitious as it is demanding, too much for one country alone, even if it is
a superpower. Spain, committed to the
mission of promoting democracy should play an active and imaginative role in
this process.... To defeat terrorism
collective effort is necessary"
"One Year Of War"
Centrist La Vanguardia wrote (3/20): "One year later Iraq is immersed in an
state of endemic violence caused by a terrorism that is present in the cities
with a nearly daily string of deaths....
During these twelve months the arguments with which the White House and
its allies justified the war, haven't turned out to be true.... This year, the predictions of those that
warned that the occupation of Iraq wouldn't end terrorism, have been
confirmed.... The future is a question
mark.... This postwar year, far from
unimaginable benefits that were promised, finds the world in the hot
"Iraq, A Year On"
Madrid's conservative La Razon editorialized (Internet
version, 3/19): "A year ago now the
first bombers dropped their message of fire on Saddam Hussein's empire.... Today things are very different in Iraq, but
the war has not ended. Simply, it has
changed its form and gone from being a confrontation between armies to a system
of guerrillas and a battlefield for fanatics from all over the Islamic world
coming to wage their personal holy war against 'the great Satan,' represented
by the Western camouflage uniforms.... A
year on, things have not ended, the allies are the target of continuing
attacks, we have suffered the murder of about 10 Spaniards and our soldiers are
forced to work with the new Iraqi authorities protected in their armored
vehicles and with weapons always at the ready.
It seems that, with the war over, little or nothing has been resolved
apart from the division of public opinion in the West and the number of those
who consider the attack to have been a great mistake is seen to be
growing. It is logical when the feared
weapons of mass destruction have not been found and not even the capture of the
former dictator has brought peace. We do
not know what really justified the attack, or they have not explained it to us
with due diligence or credible arguments.....
But it would be unjust to forget the Iraqis and to close our eyes to the
constitutional process that is beginning to gain force in spite of the
bombs. The Iraqis do not think, as we
do, that it is all an absolute disaster, and according to opinion polls carried
out by the BBC they think things are getting better and they are safer. They suffer their attacks, it is true, but no
longer do they fear the tyrant, his private wars, his police, his extermination
camps, his whims and his attacks with mustard gas. A year on, Saddam is no longer a danger to
his people. And that is their only
"Iraq, One Year Later"
Left-of-center El País wrote (3/18): "A rapid 'Iraqization' of the country,
with the hasty assumption of responsibilities by the Iraqis themselves, may
aggravate the problems instead of making their solution easier.... These days we see how [coalition] forces have
been trapped in the quicksand of Iraq....
A year later, Saddam Hussein is in prison and his regime has
fallen. But the region is a complete
mess. And the West is divided and more
threatened than ever."
SWEDEN: "One Year Of
Loneliness For George W. Bush"
Political editor Niklas Ekdal opined in independent, liberal Dagens
Nyheter (3/21): “The more or less
unilateral U.S. intervention in Iraq one year ago confirmed the image held by
the fundamentalists about the 'Great Satan' and opened a new battleground for
frustrated Muslims. Saddam Hussein got
what he deserved, but it was at the cost of a cracked, receding front against
"The World Has Become A Safer Place"
Conservative Svenska Dagbladet took this
view (3/21): “The world had become a
safer place. This can be said one year
after the liberation of Iraq began by the U.S. and the UK.... Unfortunately the invasion could not take
place under a UN flag, but the alternative would have been to allow the
dictator Saddam Hussein to remain in his golden and bloodstained palaces. Other alternatives existed only in a fantasy
world.... The world has become a safer
place since the liberation of Iraq made dictatorships, which had the ambition
to procure WMD, more willing to cooperate....
Without a U.S. engagement the world will remain insecure. In order to reinforce the Atlantic ties, the
EU and its member states should in words and deeds give the U.S. strong
support. The U.S. is the only state that
has the both military capability and will to use it to counter threats against
world peace. This should be the
objective of our policy. Everything else
is just wishful thinking. The EU and the
UN are playing in another league. Should
the U.S. abandon the world, the path would be open for terrorists to make our nightmares
South Sweden’s major morning daily, the
independent, liberal Malmo-based Sydsvenskan editorialized (3/21): “The war was won surprisingly quickly. But the peace is far from won.... What is going on in Iraq is a war against the
open, democratic society and its values....
The purpose of the prolonged terrorist attacks is obvious...to
extinguish the Iraqis’ hope for a better future. The security and freedom of Iraq should be a
concern for all democracies. But in many
quarters of Europe only one incantation is heard: if we do not take part we will not be
hit. If it just would be that
simple.... Everyone should be afraid,
that is what terror is all about.”
"One Year Later"
commented in independent, liberal Stockholm tabloid Expressen
(3/21): “One year has passed since the
Iraq War began but the world feels more insecure than ever before.... The war supposedly would result in victory in
the war against terrorism, but instead Iraq has transformed into a sugar-cube
for all Jihadis in the world.... It was
substantially right to wage war but it was forced through...although it was
just a sidetrack in the fight against terrorism and thereby opened a new front
in a vulnerable situation.... The truth
is that it is premature to proclaim victory or defeat. However, much indicates that this year will
be crucial.... Neither Iraq, nor the war
against terrorism have been irretrievably lost.... But in order to succeed the free world must
close ranks and the fight must be widened....
The questions are: is the U.S.
prepared to listen, and is Europe prepared to take responsibility?”
ISRAEL: "One Year
Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized
(3/21): "In toppling Saddam
Hussein's regime, the U.S. sent the message that dictators cannot forever scorn
the civilized world with impunity. This
is what's called 'demonstration effect,' and the world is better off for
it. The U.S. has also set in motion a
mechanism aimed at delivering the Arab world's first-ever democracy.... Ironically, just as the invasion's
anniversary came, Europe has itself been handed a 9/11-type of terrorist
attack. Depressingly, many Europeans
lost no time blaming their victimization on America, mentioning Spain's
dispatch of several hundred troops to Iraq.
Such critics would do well to recall that when America was attacked it
had yet to invade Iraq and Afghanistan.
The enemy, in other words, was intent long ago on fighting the West in
its entirety--first by dividing it.
Here, then, is the challenge facing us all as we approach the next phase
in the war on terrorism."
"Bush Imagined A Different Scenario"
Washington correspondent Nathan Guttman wrote in independent,
left-leaning Ha'aretz (3/19):
"A year after Bush started a war in order to bestow democracy on
Iraq it is becoming clear to him that the world did not unite with him even
after the victory. If Bush and his men
believed that from the moment Saddam Hussein's regime falls the countries of
the world would understand their mistake and support the war, the elections in
Spain, the polls in Europe and Arab countries position, proved to him that he
was left alone.... The struggle for
American public opinion over the war is at its height.... The war in Iraq did not succeed in building
George Bush's image as a leading commander enjoying the American public's
trust.... Opposite stands John Kerry and the Democrats, who talk about the
mistaken information, the international isolation and the entanglement
continuing on the ground. So was it a
good year fro Bush? The answer to that
question will be given only on November 2 when the American public's voice is
"The Year Of Iraq"
Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized
(3/19): "One year ago today, the
American assault on Saddam Hussein's regime began. It has been a year of many ups and downs: the first strike on Saddam's hiding place
failed; the military campaign to conquer Baghdad and overthrow the regime
succeeded; the American effort to immediately establish a peaceful, democratic
Iraq failed; the operation to capture Saddam succeeded; the effort to cope with
acts of guerrilla warfare, terrorism and sabotage against the American occupation
army and its allies failed. Upon hearing
the frequent reports of attacks in which Americans and Iraqis are killed, it is
very tempting to label President George W. Bush's Iraqi adventure as an
expensive entanglement that is likely to end badly. But this would be to take the narrow-minded,
short-range view. On balance, Bush's
decision to make it impossible for Saddam to make war was justified, and even
essential, for the future of the region....
In the strategic context, Israel should benefit from the war in
Iraq. The eastern front has collapsed,
in a manner that justifies updating our security concept and our defense
budget.... The Middle East now lies at
the heart of American policy, and one can only hope that after the November
elections, the U.S. administration will find time to settle the Israeli-Arab
SAUDI ARABIA: "A Year
Of Aggression...A Year Of Chaos"
Jeddah’s moderate Okaz editorialized (3/21): "The United States justified its
invasion of Iraq with promises of establishing democracy and protecting the
world from the danger of Saddam Hussein and his WMD.... A year later, no WMD have been found, and no
peace or democracy has been established.
The excuses were just an illusion for the U.S. to give itself a
legitimate reason to occupy Iraq....
Does the United States then have the right to offer its help to
countries who are seeking reforms? The
White House needs to listen to the voices of the world outside its walls. The U.S. needs to understand that the peace
the world craves will only happen when America puts its rocket launchers away,
and refrains from interfering in the reform processes of other countries."
IRAQ: "Iraq After A
The clandestine Arabic-language Voice of the Mujahidin commented
(3/19): "It is natural for the U.S.
president to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq.... President Bush is still using the pretexts of
combating terrorism and the existence of weapons of mass destruction in
Iraq.... We should ask whether the
United States and its allies are sincere [about]...combating terrorism, and the
establishment of peace, freedom, and democracy in the world, particularly the
Middle East? If the answer is yes, then
why did the West support the defunct Baathist regime and back the dictator of
Iraq financially, politically, and militarily?... We strongly denounce all forms of terrorism
because they are criminal acts, which target innocent people.... However, we say that the U.S. policies are
erroneous and are basically aimed at achieving their interests and ambitions in
the world.... Therefore, we warn all
sides against the sweet-coated statements the White House leaders make from
time to time."
JORDAN: "A Year After
Columnist Fahd Fanek wrote in semi-official, influential Al-Rai
(3/21): “In the days and weeks leading
to the war on Iraq, the U.S. administration believed that the guaranteed
American victory will provide complete legitimacy for the aggression in the
eyes of the world. The leaders in the
Pentagon and the White House said that the war is going to provide America with
security, to exercise pressure in favor of democracy in the Middle East, to
open the road towards a peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,
to terrify Iran and Syria enough to force them to yield to American conditions,
and to direct a knockout blow to international terrorism, shutting up the
opponents of the war. One year later, it
becomes clear that all this was more a fantasy than a well-studied policy and a
calculated decision. Contrary to that,
the war opponents’ warnings about its cost and its destructive influence on the
America’s reputation and credibility were proven, not to mention the fact that
it opened the door wide to terrorism and isolated America from the
international community.... Iraq before
the war stood fast despite the unjust 13-year siege. Iraq today is ruin, destruction,
unemployment, poverty and sectarianism....
America won militarily within a few weeks, but it is politically and
morally defeated, and for many years to come.”
"The Spoils Of The War In Iraq"
Columnist Khaled Mahadin wrote in semi-official, influential Al-Rai
(3/21): “This war of aggression, which
was and continues to be based on lies and allegations, has placed the world and
world peace between two terrorisms: the
terrorism of the United States, Britain and the Israeli entity and the
terrorism of those who are angry about the occupation of their lands, the
contempt for their religion, the humiliation of their dignity, and the efforts
to turn them into slaves for the western civilization and the false democracy.”
"Why The Occupation Of Iraq?"
Chief Editor Taher Udwan contended in independent, mass-appeal Al-Arab
Al-Yawm (3/21): “If Iraq had had
weapons of mass destruction, then Bush and Blair would not have dared launch
the war. The war took place because
Washington and London were sure that there were no weapons of mass destruction
in Iraq and that Saddam Hussein would not be capable of resisting. The story of the weapons of mass destruction
is nothing but a trick and a title for the biggest misleading campaign in
history. The relationship between Iraq’s
occupation and Israel’s security is not merely a thin line subject to
debate. There is a ‘highway’ linking the
two objectives. The ruling extremist
right wing in Washington succeeded in recruiting the superpower to fight on
behalf of Israel and on behalf of Zionism....
A balance of terror or balance of weapons is not permitted between the
Arabs and Israel, which has more than 100 nuclear warheads. Such a balance would impose a peace or a
settlement in the region that would take into consideration the interests of
both parties and would be based on international legitimacy.... There are many reasons for the occupation of
Iraq, but the last is the spread of democracy in Iraq and in the Arab
countries. Democracy...is nothing but a
cover for the continuous American-Zionist campaign to deprive Arabs of any
weapons whereby they can achieve the balance of terror with Israel’s weapons of
mass destruction. The lesson learned
from the occupation of Iraq is that the peace process between the Arabs and
Israel on the basis of international resolutions is no longer a priority.”
"Both The Occupation And The Terrorism Must End In Iraq"
Bater Wardam remarked in center-left, influential Al-Dustour
(3/21): “A year after the American
aggression on Iraq, we can understand the reality of the war as being similar
to the war of elimination between gang leaders.
This war was the outcome of a process of elimination launched by the big
gang leader in Washington against a small gang leader in Baghdad, who happens
to have many riches that the former wanted....
Lies about weapons of mass destruction and liberating the Iraqi people
cannot convince anyone anymore. The
weapons do not exist and the promise of freedom is not fulfilled.... The United States turned Iraq from a state
that might have been oppressive and totalitarian to a vast land of chaos and
destruction, where people die without cause and where murderous groups, be they
the American army or terrorist or religious extremist organization, are
rampant.... A year later, the war proved
a big failure, not because of the bombings or the resistance operations, but
because it failed to fulfill its promises to the Iraqi people.... If we want to help the Iraqi people, then the
way is not ululating the resistance and former regime, but rather by supporting
every effort towards ending the occupation and achieving stability.”
"The Events Of One Year Of Occupation"
Chief Editor Taher Udwan judged in mass-appeal Al-Arab Al-Yawm
(3/20): “'Democracy' and 'rebuilding
Iraq' have become the mottoes of the occupation forces after the fall of
Baghdad. Yet, a year later, these
mottoes seem to have entered the same realm of lies as that of the story of
'Iraq's weapons of mass destruction' and the tale of Saddam Hussein’s
capability to destroy the world within 45 minutes. This is not all. The new Iraq is not Bremer’s constitution
that cast aside the Arabic identity of Iraq, nor the celebrations of Talbani
and Barzani of the veto they got to divide up Iraq, but rather the heroic
resistance to the occupation, a resistance that grows solid with every passing
day.... As for the identity of this
resistance, its quality and momentum stress that it is Iraqi and that it enjoys
popular protection, and this is enough.
The talk about Zarqawi and al-Qaida is nothing but fabrications from the
American war on terrorism that are designed to cover up the American-British
failure of achieving security, democracy, reconstruction and such other false
"One Year On The Occupation Of Iraq"
Jamil Nimri noted in independent, mass-appeal Al-Arab Al-Yawm
(3/20): “True, Washington got rid of two
regimes [Saddam Hussein’s and the Taliban] that we are not sorry to see go, but
that was the easy part, that required muscle and not brains. Apart from that, everything the
administration did was wrong. It is no
coincidence that at the end of every discussion, the American official has
nothing left to say but that ‘if we had not done that, Saddam’s regime would
still be standing’. This is important
for the people of the two countries and maybe for the opponents, but as far as
the international community and the cause of the war on terrorism, which is the
headline for everything that America did, is concerned, this administration
recorded an enormous failure and politicians who had orchestrated this failure
must feel great shame.”
"Marking The Anniversary Of The Aggression Against Iraq"
Mohammad Amayreh had this to day in semi-official, influential Al-Rai
(3/20): “On the eve of the first
anniversary of the American-British aggression...Iraq remains suffering from
‘fear and loneliness’ and terrorism continues to strike here and there, and all
the while, the occupiers continue their claims and their allegations of
freedom, democracy and human rights for the Iraqi people. Despite the attempt of the occupation and its
media apparatus--new and old--to beautify the Iraqi image, failure is the title
of this attempt. The real image of
occupied Iraq is that of misery, with everything this word means: chaos, ruin, destruction, killing, arrests,
blood-shedding and continuous foreign efforts to provoke an ethnic or civil
war. These efforts are relentless and
the Mossad's playing fingers are noticeably clear, although the occupiers are
trying to pin everything on al-Qaida or Ansar Al-Islam or other
organizations.... Much could be said on
this painful anniversary, but the major events that are taking place in Iraq
every day confirm two basic facts: the
first is that what happened is an occupation...and the second is that resisting
this occupation is a legitimate right to all Iraqis.... A point to keep in mind here is that the real
resistance would not lie to its people and would not kill its own sons and
daughters. Therefore, people should look
for western foreign hands behind the terrorist operations, for those who stand
to benefit from them are enemies of the nation and enemies of Iraq.”
"One Year After The War"
Semi-official, influential Al-Rai concluded (3/19): “A year has gone by after the war and the
consequences on the ground answer the many questions that are related to the
crises of international relations. The
former Iraqi regime fell, but no one won.
In fact, everyone lost. Is there
anyone to learn the lesson?”
KUWAIT: "The War For
Dr. Ayed Al-Manna wrote in independent Al-Watan
(3/20): “Whatever drawbacks or
shortcomings caused by foreign or American occupation, there is no doubt that
the liberation of Iraq would not have been possible in any other way. If the Iraqis are suffering now because of
lack of security, the near future is looking up to the Iraqis with hope,
security, political freedom and economic development. If some Iraqis are complaining about the
state of affairs now, it won’t hurt to wait until June 30 when they will be
handed over authority to rule their country.”
"One Year After Iraq’s Occupation"
Hamed Abdullah Al-Ali opined in independent Al-Watan
(3/20): “On this day one year ago, the
United States and Britain invaded Iraq on the premise of liberating the people
of Iraq and to make the world a safer place.
Things are worse after one year.
While the American president stood before his troops, and declared the
world today is living a crucial hour in defending freedom, Baghdad was
vibrating from explosions which targeted hotels frequented by Westerners. After one year of Iraq’s occupation, events
in Iraq signify 1) the extent of ignorance, prejudice and barbarity of the
neo-cons who are drawing up America’s policy; 2) the extent of stupidity of all
followers of the neo-cons; 3 the extent of hypocrisy and lies of the engulfing
politics and media world that we live in.”
"The Last Stop"
Columnist Sateh Noureddine commented in Arab nationalist As-Safir
(3/20): “Despite the passage of a whole
year, there is no winner in Iraq.
America and its allies cannot claim victory. However, the list of those who failed is long
and is not limited to the former Iraqi regime.... What is worse, is the fact that failure is
not limited to states, nations or people but it also includes ideologies and
ideas.... One of the ideas that failed
is the idea of reforming and developing the Arab and Islamic world. The Americans claim that reforming the Arab
world was one of their reasons for launching a war against Iraq...however,
their war on Iraq has only postponed this reform for years to come. Saddam’s regime was impossible to reform, but
toppling him and his regime through war and direct occupation...has obliterated
every possibility for reform. In the
minds of Arabs and Muslims, America has become an enemy...and is not qualified
in any way for any kind of partnership or friendship with the Arab and Islamic
"America’s Gloomy Scene On Eve Of First Anniversary Of
Nizar Abdel-Kader editorialized in sensationalist Ad-Diyar
(3/20): “On the eve of the first
anniversary of the war on Iraq, the scene seems gloomy regarding the American
policy towards the Middle East and the world.
The majority of nations are against the strategy and policy adopted by
President Bush.... As for the Arab and
Islamic worlds, there is almost complete rejection of the U.S. political
initiatives for the region.... The
military...scene also looks gloomy...human losses are increasing...and it seems
that the U.S. has no cure for this problem.”
"The Year Of Failures In Iraq"
Paul Shaool stated in pro-Hariri Al-Mustaqbal (3/20): “Where is Iraq today?... When we search for Iraq, we only find a piece
here and a piece there with geographic, historic and political gaps between
them.... One year following the war on
Iraq and the results are the following:
failure for everybody: for the
occupation which found itself in a bloody swamp, for the Governing Council
which was never free, and for the Iraqi people who are feeling that their dream
of a new Iraq is about to disappear.”
"The Anniversary Of War Against Iraq: Bush’s Promises"
Aouni Al-Kaaki commented in pro-Syrian Ash-Sharq
(3/20): “On the eve of the first
anniversary of war against Iraq, Bush informed his soldiers that the world is
living in an era of defending freedom, characterizing the changes in the Middle
East as a message to Damascus and Tehran....
President Bush...did not mention that the freedom he promised the Iraqis
has changed into hell which is burning the Iraqi people.”
"A Year Later In Iraq:
Anchor Progress In The Rule Of Law"
The English-language Daily Star editorialized (3/20): “Like the rest of the Arab world, Iraq does
not lack for properties, equipment or human talent. Instead, what has been missing is a system that
allows those assets to be used in the most productive manner. It takes time to design and implement such a
system, especially in a region whose ruling establishments are virtually devoid
of genuine democrats. As various
evidence indicates, however, more and more Iraqis are concerned about whether
Washington’s nation-building strategy can ever succeed.... The law remains a timid force in Iraq, which
means that while Saddam can no longer directly oppress his people, they remain
highly vulnerable to malfeasance of every sort.”
Istiqlal party Al Alam opined (3/19): "A year has passed since the declaration
of war in Iraq that led to the occupation of Baghdad. Coalition leaders were insisting that Iraq's
problems would be solved on the first day, that they would eliminate Saddam
Hussein's regime, liberate the Iraqi people and put them on the path to
democracy and human rights.... After a
year of war, Iraq is drowning in a bloodbath with American GIs and Iraqis dying
every day.... Spain's new stand, what is
happening in Britain, and what may still occur in Italy and in Holland will
affect the U.S. elections next November.
President Bush may not be able to defend his political status and win a
second mandate. America's war on Iraq
has let the demon of terrorism out of its bottle and...[America’s] arrogance is
responsible for this black year in Iraq."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
AUSTRALIA: "War Has
Paid Us No Dividend"
The national capital’s Canberra Times editorialized
(3/22): “The fall of Saddam Hussein, if
only incidentally the end, in view of the invasion, was a good thing. But it has yet to be demonstrated that his
removal has reduced violence, aggression and instability in the Middle East, or
whether Iraqis see themselves as liberated....
It is increasingly clear that 'liberation' has engendered no affection
for the liberators.... The unilateralist
doctrine that promoted the invasion, and the repudiation of the United Nations
that it involved, has reduced the standing of America in other countries. Even though the U.S. has now shifted somewhat
from its stance, it is finding it more difficult to forge agreements and win
international support. The credibility
of its leaders...has been considerably eroded as it has emerged that the
ostensible reason--Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction--seems not
to exist, and that the leaderships misled even their own publics about them.”
"War On Terror Failing"
Columnist Paul Gray opined in Melbourne's tabloid Herald-Sun
(3/22): “Clearly invading Iraq had
nothing to do with reducing the terrorist threat.... Supporting the U.S. ... fine...as far as it
goes. The trouble is, as a strategic aim
it depends entirely on whether the U.S.’s strategy for resisting terrorism is
itself wise. Events have now
demonstrated time and again, that this is not the case. Attacking Iraq and opening it to terrorists,
and letting Saudi Arabia off the hook over its funding of Islamic extremists
for many years are two big blunders that our allies, sadly, have indulged in.”
"We Were Right To Go To War Against Iraq"
The national conservative Australian asserted (3/20): “There are just wars democracies must fight,
and last year's campaign to disarm Saddam Hussein was one such struggle. A year on, we must consider it a success in
the continuing campaign against global terror.
The dictator's disgusting regime is gone forever.... Regimes that share Saddam's grotesque
fascination with weapons of mass destruction have moderated their
ambitions. Iran is co-operating with the
United Nations over its nuclear program.
Libya has abandoned its long-standing fascination with terror and has
effectively disarmed.... Saddam's defeat
sent dictators around the world a clear message--they can no longer hope to
hold the world hostage by acquiring WMD....
Democracies rarely go to war, except when the values that distinguish
them from dictatorships are attacked.
The campaign to end Saddam's regime, and the continuing struggle against
terror, are and were different parts of the same war. The U.S. and its allies, Australia among
them, must not abandon Iraq or renounce their role in the war in a desperate
attempt to appease the terrorists. The
lesson of Iraq is that Saddam was finally defeated when the coalition of the
willing stood up to him. To beat Osama
bin Laden, and everything he represents, we must do the same.”
"The Bush Doctrine Has Been Turned On Its Head"
The Sydney Morning Herald Baghdad correspondent Paul
McGeough wrote (3/20): “The U.S. in Iraq
is still demonstrating what it cannot do, not what it can do. Already it is retreating to the safety of its
'hard' bases and talking up the competence of Iraq’s incompetent new security
and emergency services--which have had less training than the security staff at
your local Target store--so that it can foist the mess on them when sovereignty
is handed over on June 30. But the U.S.
is so entrenched in Iraq that it is hard to see it being able to devote its
full resources to fighting terrorism any time soon.”
"The Year Of Delusion"
Columnist Mike Carlton remarked in the liberal Sydney Morning
Herald (3/20): "And so we enter
the second year of the Iraq war with the death and carnage more appalling than
ever, the al-Qaida killers as rampant as ever, and no end in sight. Let alone any sort of victory. It is more than a grim anniversary. It is a disaster. The U.S. president, George Bush, prattles
inanely about peace and freedom, but it is a mirage pursued at the cost, so
far, of more than 570 American lives, and heaven knows how many Iraqi lives. Yet the neo-conservatives of Washington
agreed before it began that the war would be 'a cakewalk.' Shock and awe would triumph.... Surely, now, we should at least contemplate
the possibility that we are beset by the worst U.S. administration of our
time. Bush is ignorant and floundering,
a silver-spoon ideologue whose presidency was rigged for him by the hard-right
establishment of the Republican Party.
He is advised--if that is the word--by a ghastly camarilla of
fundamentalist Christian bigots, Zionist zealots who often appear to owe more
allegiance to Israel than to the United States, number-crunchers, spin doctors,
academic fantasists, touts, urgers, corporate boondogglers and war
"One Year On In Iraq, A War Without End"
The liberal Sydney Morning Herald maintained (3/19): “A year after the invasion of Iraq began,
argument still rages about its causes.
The decision by the United States and its coalition partners, including
Australia, to go to war was contentious at the time. It is no less so now. The shadow it casts over the national politics
of all coalition partners shows no sign of lifting.... One year on, the justification for the war is
not the justification given for starting it.
Instead it is the hope that by toppling Saddam, Iraq might become a
template for a new, stable Middle East.
It will not be easy, although Iraq does have the chance to make a new
country, and the international community has a collective responsibility to
help, independent of the rights and wrongs of the war, or the fact of American
pre-eminence as the primary occupying power....
It must not be abandoned in the face of terrorism. It is a task to be seen through, as the
surest answer to all who might seek to take from the Iraqi people in their time
of weakness. It is owed to the people of
Iraq, whose war will not end until their nation, renewed and free, is restored
"Stumbles At The Top Put The War On Terror At Risk"
International political editor Peter Hartcher asserted in the
liberal Sydney Morning Herald (3/19):
“Although it is still very early in the long twilight struggle against
terrorism, it seems more likely that the invasion of Iraq was a major
distraction and diversion from the serious work of counter-terrorism.“
CHINA: "What Causes
The U.S. To Choose Hegemony?"
Gao Zugui commented in the China Radio International-sponsored
newspaper World News Journal (Shijie Xinwenbao) (3/22): “The Iraq war was not sudden or
accidental. It is a step on the U.S.
march from the thirteen states at its inception to the ‘global hegemon’ of the
past 230 years.... Ideology, combined
with a ‘God-inspired mission’ and the ‘theory of U.S. exceptionalism’, form the
mental origins of U.S. hegemony..... In
American society, in which religion has an increasing influence on politics and
in which the conservative trend is increasing, the influence of such
ideological origins is even more prominent.
When the U.S. possesses the strength to promote hegemony and also faces
the right opportunity and temptation, it takes immediate action. The Iraq war is just a necessary result of
"U.S. Makes A Subtle Change To Its Diplomacy In Wake Of Iraq
Yan Feng commented in the Beijing-based newspaper Beijing Times
(Jinghua Shibao), under the official Communist Party People’s Daily
(3/20): “Iraqi reconstruction, repairing
trans-Atlantic relations, the Middle East peace process and War on Terror have
become the main diplomatic themes of the U.S. over the past year. This year, ...as required by the
international situation and reality, the U.S. has made some partial and
strategic adjustments to its diplomacy.
It has been forced to seek help from the UN. ...It has begun to fix
Atlantic relations. ...The U.S. government repeatedly claimed it would make
anti-war countries pay the price and exclude them from Iraq’s reconstruction
process. ...As it got bogged down more deeply in the Iraq situation, the U.S.
had to soften its diplomacy. ...It started the Middle East peace process.
..The so-called ‘Greater Middle East Democracy Plan’, ...once exposed, aroused
many Middle Easter countries’ dissatisfaction and some European countries
maintained a certain distance from it. ...It retains its aggressive stance.
..Since it hasn’t found WMD in Iraq, the U.S.’ international image and
reputation have been greatly damaged. ...Maybe this has caused the U.S. over
the past year to be prudent and rational in dealing with the Syria, Iran, DPRK
and Haiti issues etc., and to give up its aggressive posturing.”
"What The Iraq War Changed"
Tang Zhichao commented in the official Communist Party
international news publication Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao)
(3/19): “Using the Iraq war as a
pretext, the U.S. has begun to promote its Middle East democratic reform
strategy in various aspects: political, military, economic and
cultural.... On the U.S.’ strategic
chessboard, Iraq is the ‘entrance’ to the Middle East and also the ‘focus’ of
the war on terror, and what’s more, the ‘democratic sample’ the U.S. wants to
set up. Analysts think, however, that
the Bush Administration’s Middle East democratic reform strategy is just a
‘Utopian dream.’ The Middle East is the
Middle East; it will never become the Americanized Middle East.... The Iraq war, to some extent, has changed the
world.... It caused a major rift in
transatlantic relations, severely damaging traditional western allied relations
and making NATO and the EU face a serious split.... Moreover, it caused more chaos and insecurity
in an unstable world. It deteriorated
the international security situation and fostered an arms race.... Following the U.S., more and more countries
have begun to adopt the policy of pre-emption; the Iraq war gave countries from
East Asia and South Asia to the Middle East and Europe an excuse to make
pre-emptive strikes against their enemies.”
"One Year After The Iraq War, Plenty Of Bitter Fruit"
Li Xuejiang commented in the official Communist
Party People’s Daily (Renmin Ribao) (3/18): "First, the U.S. weapons
inspectors...found no trace of so-called ‘weapons of mass destruction’.... Second, the Iraq war damaged the UN’s
authority, laid waste international rules and caused a schism among the UN
Security Council, NATO, the EU and the whole international community.... Third, the unilateralist war isolated the
U.S. and UK from the rest of the world.
Domestically, both Bush and Blair are stuck in the mire of the
intelligence issue.... Fourth, the war
did not deter and contain terror activities, but globally made them even
fiercer.... U.S. allies Saudi Arabia,
Turkey and Spain have successively become proxy targets for terror
attacks.... Fifth, at the time of this
writing Iraq has not changed into a ‘free and democratic’ model as the U.S.
claimed it would; on the contrary, the country has turned into a new hotbed for
CHINA (HONG KONG SAR): "Promises On Iraq Still To Be
The independent English-language South China Morning Post
held (3/20): "A year on, rather
than stabilizing the Middle East, the wrong-headed U.S.-led invasion of Iraq
has resulted in a form of guerrilla warfare that threatens to engulf it. The March 20, 2003, attack was preceded by
months of international lobbying and justifications premised largely on the
danger posed by Iraq and its stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. As the world now knows, any weapons that may
have existed had long been destroyed....
A year on, the war has not made Americans, their allies or the West any
safer. The occupation provides
propaganda for al-Qaida and its loose network of terror groups. The links between Iraq and such groups,
tenuous before the invasion, will now grow stronger so long as the U.S. is seen
to be in charge there.... The immediate
task now is delivering on the promise of a more just, secure and democratic
Iraq. The recently signed interim
constitution and the establishment of the Governing Council are a
beginning. The worst possible outcome
would see religious and ethnic divisions being given free reign as of July 1
and violent extremists tightening their grip on the country. Iraqis, so recently liberated from Hussein,
would be no better off, while the country would remain a center of regional
instability. The UN's authority,
undermined a year ago, now holds the key to avoiding this dreadful
JAPAN: "Japan Should
Play Vital Role in Rebuilding Iraq"
The top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri editorialized
(3/19): "It has been a year since
the war in Iraq began. The Iraqi people
are getting back on their feet despite numerous difficulties. Freed from dictatorial rule, Iraq is making
slow but steady progress in rebuilding its economy. Almost one year after the start of the Iraq
war, terrorist bombings recently occurred in Baghdad and Madrid. However, bowing to terrorism will only
encourage terrorists around the world to intensify their actions. To ensure the safety of their citizens, all
nations must resolutely confront acts of terrorism. It is impossible for Japan to ensure national
peace and security without maintaining its alliance with the U.S. If U.S. efforts to stabilize Iraq fail, the
possible loss of U.S. drive could shake international security. Stability in the Middle East is also
important to Japan, which relies on the region for about 90 percent of its
crude oil imports. Japan has no option
but to support the U.S., and PM Koizumi had good reason to support the U.S.-led
use of force against Saddam Hussein one year ago. Japan has an even greater role and
responsibility to fulfill in restoring peace and stability in Iraq."
"Iraq War: Too
An editorial in the liberal Asahi observed (3/19): "It is a certain fact that the U.S. and
Britain freed the Iraqi people from the despotism of Saddam Hussein, who also
posed a serious military threat to neighboring countries and even the U.S. From a long-term point of view, there is
emerging hope for Iraq's democratization.
But one year after the start of the Iraq war, we cannot continue to
justify conflict that has imposed such a burden and sacrifice on the world. Although about 140,000 troops from the coalition
of the willing are deployed in Iraqi to maintain peace and security, President
Bush remains unable to bring an end to the conflict amid ongoing acts of
terrorism or guerrilla warfare.
Conflicts of interest among religious and ethnic rival groups are making
Iraq's postwar reconstruction even more difficult. The Iraq war has also caused serious cracks
in the U.S.-Europe alliance..... While
it is understandable that the GOJ, led by PM Koizumi, spoke in support of the
U.S. policy regarding Iraq, it is deplorable that the GOJ went to the extent of
sending SDF troops to Iraq, where hostilities still continue--a move
unprecedented in Japan's postwar history.
While the Koizumi government reiterates Japan's position of 'never
yielding to terrorism,' it does not show any positive stance toward helping
build a new order in Iraq and the entire Middle East."
"World Must Help Rebuild Iraq and Fight Terrorism"
The business daily Nihon Keizai remarked (3/19): "Saturday marks on year since the launch
of the U.S.-led war on Iraq. Although it
took the U.S.-led coalition forces only a short period of time to remove Saddam
Hussein from power, Iraq's postwar situation remains unstable. There are still numerous problems that need
to be addressed by the world community in order to help get Iraq back on its
feet and fight terrorism. With coalition
forces yet to discover Iraq's alleged WMD, questions remain over the
justification of the war and the so-called 'unilateral' stance of the U.S.
toward world affairs. Members of the
international community must unite in fighting global terrorism. Further efforts should also be made toward
promoting Middle East peace, including finding a solution to the Palestinian
problem. The USG should not suspend
Middle East diplomacy even during the presidential election campaign
"One Year After Use Of Force Against Iraq"
Foreign editor Watari stated in liberal Asahi (3/17): "Despite the U.S.-led preemptive use of
force against Saddam Hussein and terrorism nearly one year ago, a wave of
terrorism remains unstoppable and is on the rise in Iraq, Spain and other
places of the world. The war, originally
designed to eradicate the roots of terrorism, has backfired and caused anti-U.S.
sentiment in the postwar nation. The
coalition forces have yet to discover Iraq's alleged WMD, used by the U.S. and
Britain to justify the use of force against Saddam. Force can topple a government but cannot
propagate democracy. The U.S.-led
postwar administration of Iraq appears to be on the brink of failure--a
development that could have a profound effect on the U.S. presidential election
in November. The UN is reported to be
increasingly critical about what it calls U.S. 'diplomacy of convenience'
through which Washington, when in trouble, uses the UN to break a stalemated
global issue.... Greater efforts should
be made to check a rise in terrorist attacks that could lead to a civil war, as
the date of the CPA's transfer of power to Iraqi approaches. Iraq must not become the 'epicenter'
of global terrorism."
"Ironies Flow From Bush-Blair Invasion Of Iraq"
Colin James commented in the New Zealand
Herald (3/23): "This last
weekend was an anniversary of an event of high drama.... The coalition had overwhelming firepower, so
of course it won. But has it won the
peace? In Iraq, it is argued, the peace
is slowly being won.... If the wider
coalition of reconstruction...sticks it out long enough, there might be a
more-or-less stable mandated government, though genuine democracy (as distinct
from a temporary grafted variety) is a generation or two away. But the occupation authorities now sound like
a broken record when they call the latest terrorist slaughter a last-gasp act
of desperation or claim the terrorists' organizations have been greatly
weakened. Maybe they are right but the
bombs keep coming.... Bush and Co. now
adduce the end of a dictator's tyranny in Iraq as ex-post-facto
justification. And that outcome deserves
respect. In a sane, co-operative world
there would be international rules governing which circumstances warrant
invasion to protect beleaguered citizens, who might conduct it and how to do
the reconstruction. But world leaders
have rejected such rules, the United States especially.... The U.S. has found in postwar Iraq that it
needs partnerships. Even the world's
greatest superpower needs some multilateral collaboration to advance its
broader interests.... A year
later...Bush...and Blair owe us all an apology, a big one. Either they, or underlings answerable to
them, were highly selective in the 'intelligence' they paraded on Iraq's
threat.... The honorable course for both
is resignation or, at the very least, apology and humble beseeching of
forgiveness. That neither shows the
slightest inclination to do so besmirches the cause of democracy they claim to
"Same Battlefield But The Prize In Iraq Has
The Daily News took this view (3/23): "One year after the invasion of Iraq, it
is timely to consider what has been achieved and what happens next. Because news agencies around the world
traditionally chase ambulances, the headlines tend to present an unmitigated
scene of bitterness and bloodshed. Not
so. A reputable poll...indicated that
57% [of Iraqis] thought life was better than under the regime of Saddam
Hussein.... Almost half the country
(49%) said the invasion was the right thing to do. But, most significantly, 71% expected life to
be better in a year's time.... With the
genocidal Saddam gone, like-minded rulers are having second thoughts about
their accomplishments and unproductive anti-Western aggression.... The world is a vastly different place from
that relinquished by Muslim rulers half a millennium ago, and it cannot be
recreated. The leaders of al-Qaida do
not believe this essential truth, however, and in considering appeasement with
them it is worth remembering what they want:
the reconquest of the lands within the former Muslim empire and
establishment of Taliban-style states is only a start.... The dominant and envied West was a terrorist
target long before Iraq. It will be an even bigger one if al-Qaida wins
"Bloody Chaos A Year After War"
The Waikato Times took this view (3/23): "The first year after the invasion of
Iraq was [not]...cause for celebration...nor hope for the future. On the contrary, in the year since U.S. and
British forces attacked Iraq the world has become more divided over the war and
a much more dangerous place to live as terrorism flourishes. There have been so many casualties of people
and of morality that they are almost impossible to recall.... Since the war, which did provide a slice of
good with the removal of despot Saddam Hussein, there has been chaos in
Iraq.... Truth has also been a scarce
commodity during and after the war and intelligence, American and British, a
dirty word. The attack on Baghdad was
launched with the purpose of disarming Iraq of nuclear and chemical
weapons.... None have been found and
British intelligence was discredited as being little more than plagiarism of
articles on the internet and from weapons magazines. The war caused immense damage to the UN as
America and Britain defied the wishes of the majority of members on the
Security Council with their invasion....
It created a split among world powers.... It will take much time for the trust that has
been broken in the UN to be mended....
The U.S. attempted, and is still attempting, to link Saddam and Iraq to
Islamist extremists al-Qaida.... It
suited the U.S. to be able to promote the invasion as part of its 'war on
terrorism.'... The war totally alienated
the Muslim world.... In response to the
Madrid bombings and Spanish reaction, Bush appealed for international support
for his 'war against terrorism.' After a
year of chaotic killing it is not surprising most nations are skeptical of his
"A Year On And Still Few Answers"
The Manawatu Standard editorialized
(3/22): "There are some facts on
which most people are agreed, such as the overthrow of Saddam Hussein being a
good thing. That's one dictator less in
the world, pity about the others, but hey, we can't go around invading
everybody, right? Another reasonably
certain fact is that Saddam wasn't a major sponsor of international terrorism,
which hasn't gone away despite his demise....
It is hard to argue that the world is a safer place today. On the contrary, with the Australians openly
debating whether they have become a target because of their government's
support for the Iraqi invasion, the threat is now unnervingly close to our
shores. For those of us who are not
pacifists, and for whom war may therefore be viewed as a sometimes legitimate
extension of diplomacy, the question remains as to the sense of the march on
Baghdad.... The invasion was a watermark as far as the conduct of international
relations is concerned for it gave, outside the orbit of the United Nations,
force to the new notion of pre-emptive action against a sovereign state. In other words, it is now okay for the U.S.
to take military action against any country to which it takes a dislike for any
halfway plausible reason--halfway because unless it wants to go completely solo
it will still need to take some others with it to give the action some veneer
of acceptability. In the case of Iraq
the ostensible reason was, of course, the weapons of mass destruction which
Saddam was supposed to have tucked away somewhere. Now that those weapons still haven't been
found, the grounds of justification for invasion have shifted, but the American
project remains the same: to build the
first Arab democracy which will liberate the long-suffering Iraqis and serve as
a shining example to the neighbors, still groaning under the oppressive weight
of neo-feudal and non-democratic regimes.
It's classic capital city think tank stuff, dreamt up by policy wonks
who have too much time on their hands, for whatever else Iraq might be, it is
not a blank sheet upon which any old fantasy might be imposed, no matter how
well-intentioned. It is a complex and
ancient society in which people today are forced to live together inside
boundaries drawn up by foreigners. One
year on, hoping for the best is about as good as it gets."
"A Difficult Year"
The Nelson Mail judged (3/22): "It is one year since the United States
launched its 'shock and awe' attack on Saddam Hussein's Iraq. As wars go, if that is the right word for it,
victory was quick...although peace has been more costly and difficult to
win.... Though arguments continue about
the basis on which war was waged, the way in which the United Nations and its
security council were circumvented and the rift driven between the 'willing'
and those against taking pre-emptive action, the focus one year on must be on
improving the lot of the Iraqi people....
As much as George W. Bush and his supporters would like to put Iraq
behind them and concentrate on a presidential election this year, they must
finish the task they so eagerly started.
Reconstruction efforts have not been made any easier by ongoing violence
and terrorist strikes by those with a vested interest in an unstable Iraq. However, such efforts should only stiffen
American and international resolve to get on with the job begun on March 20,
2003, in the name of making the world a safer place. For Mr. Bush, the war might have ended on May
1 last year, but for the Iraqi people it will only be over when their nation,
rebuilt and safe, is back in their hands."
Alex Magno wrote in the
independent Philippine Star (Internet version, 3/23): "The world commemorated the anniversary
of the Iraq war last week with as much dissonance as when that war
began.... Terrorism has not abated, in
Iraq as elsewhere.... All the major
leaders of the 84-nation 'coalition of the willing' now seem to be under great
political pressure. Britain's Tony Blair
narrowly escaped a strong challenge from the Conservative Party. George W. Bush has suddenly become vulnerable
to an upset from a resurgent Democratic Party.... But this whole debate over a war with gray
edges, a war with an unsettled aftermath, threatens to overshadow the real
concern: the global effort against
international terrorism. The attack in
Madrid, the various other terrorist attempts that were effectively counteracted
the past year, the involvement of foreign militants in the continuing attacks
in Iraq itself--all these tell us the world must continue to exert much more
effort to restore the trust and sanity we all enjoyed before al-Qaida became a
household word. Those who think the
invasion of Iraq was unwarranted must tell if there was a better response to
the threat of international terror at the time the war was initiated?"
SINGAPORE: "Was Iraq
The pro-government Straits Times editorialized (3/24): "Expecting to be greeted by cheering
crowds, Washington was unprepared to deal with the post-war reality. It is still struggling one year later. Was it worth it? On the plus side, Saddam is no more. There is no doubt that Iraq and the region
are better off without him.... In
displaying its determination to dispossess a tyrant of his WMD, the Bush
administration also sent a powerful signal to other rogue states that it meant
business. Libya's decision to give up
its nuclear program, Iran's new-found willingness to open up its own program to
international inspection, and the rolling-up of Pakistan's nuclear weapons
bazaar, all owed something to regime-change in Iraq. The administration's strongest critics must
acknowledge that. On the negative side,
those critics are now legion, at home and abroad. The failure to find WMD has severely harmed
U.S. credibility. Washington's
unwillingness to admit it was wrong has worsened matters. The Western alliance, badly divided in the
run-up to the war, has since drifted further apart.... Public opinion in most countries has turned
against America, and its occupation of Iraq seems to have become a new
recruiting tool for Islamic terrorist groups.
The top priority now is to deny these groups a beachhead in Iraq. Whatever the merits or demerits of war a year
ago, the U.S. cannot withdraw until Iraq is stabilized. Indeed, the force strength it has in the
country now--130,000 troops, soon to be reduced to 110,000--is woefully inadequate. But it is not going to get more troops unless
the UN gains a greater say in Iraqi affairs.
Washington's reluctance to cede real authority to the world body has
prevented many countries, especially Muslim ones, from sending peacekeeping
troops. With the June 30 deadline
looming, Washington should do what it didn't a year ago: involve the world."
SOUTH KOREA: "Why So
Desperate To Send Troops?"
The nationalist, left-leaning Hankyoreh editorialized
(3/20): “Today marks the one-year
anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. The
Bush administration's unilateral decision to invade Iraq not only lacked moral
justification but also failed in terms of international security. This is becoming clearer with recent
developments--thousands of Iraqis have died, but the security situation is
worse than a year ago; anger among Muslims and anti-American sentiment are
fiercer; Spain’s leader has said he will withdraw Spanish troops from
Iraq. Yet, it is frustrating to see the
ROKG so anxious to send troops.... The
decision to send troops to Iraq has to be withdrawn if we are going to correct
the mistake and avoid an even greater difficulty ahead.”
"Al-Qaida Outwits U.S."
International news editor Lee Jae-hak wrote in the independent Joong-Ang
Ilbo (3/19): “The main reason the
U.S. staged the Iraq war was to topple the dictatorial regime of Saddam
Hussein. Toward that end, the U.S.
poured more than 20 billion dollars in war expenses during the month that the
war started. Today, it has to spend four
billion dollars a month to keep order in Iraq.
In contrast, al-Qaida has changed the regime in Spain with only a couple
of bombs. It is time for Washington to
ponder over more effective counter-terrorism measures, and it should start by
asking itself, 'Why do they hate us?’ If
the U.S. cannot fundamentally answer the question, it would be impossible for
it to contain terrorism to a ‘tolerable’ level, no matter how rigorously it
tightens border controls and how earnestly it asks its allies for help.”
You Need To Do The Right Thing"
The top-circulation, moderately conservative,
English language Bangkok Post maintained (3/22): “The aftermath of the terrorist attacks in
Spain raises the question for every participating nation of whether to withdraw
from the military coalition in Iraq. The
government has stated correctly that Thailand will complete its mission in
September. A sudden pullout now would
stain Thailand's reputation with charges of capitulation to terrorism. But the reason to stay the course is because
it is good for Iraq and arguably even better for Thailand.... It is clever and divisive of terrorists and
their supporters to claim safety lies in distance from America. It is also a lie. The top demand of Osama bin Laden was the withdrawal
of U.S. forces from Saudi Arabia. Since
U.S. troops left, bin Laden's followers have struck twice in Saudi Arabia. Those who detest the U.S. attack on Iraq last
year must come to terms with today's reality.
Iraq is a magnet for international terrorists. It pits the decent world against the tiny
handful of hateful people trying to hijack a great religion in the name of
violence and hatred. American leaders
are undoubtedly grateful to each country in the Iraq coalition. Participation may gain some influence in
Washington. But the reason to take part
in the Iraq occupation and transformation lies within Iraq and inside Thailand,
much as the Thai participation recently in East Timor."
"The War In Iraq: One
The lead editorial in independent,
English-language The Nation read (3/20):
“It was a year ago today that the U.S. began the war against Iraq and
successfully brought down Saddam Hussein.
As it turned out, that was the easy part. One year after, the United States and allied
forces are still trying to consolidate their hold and win the hearts and minds
of local people. Along the way, more
than 500 U.S. troops have been killed, not to mention a growing number of Iraqi
civilians. Despite condemning the
actions of the US, countries opposed to the war didn't say that Iraq with
Saddam would be a better place for the Iraqi people or Middle East
security. That much was clear. Beyond that, the situation in Iraq represents
a huge dilemma for Iraqis as well as the international community, which will
have to cope with the situation.”
SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA
"After One Year The King Is Now Entirely Naked"
Rajat Roy wrote in the independent
Calcutta Bengali Anandabazar Patrika (3/23): "President Bush is now an woeful
man. He has been surprised to see the
events happening all around....
Terrorism is increasingly spreading to newer regions rather than coming
to an end.... Spain is now focusing on
restoring its relationship with France and Germany.... In Iraq too control over the situation is
slipping out of the hands of the Americans to that of Iraqi guerrillas....
Bush's address on the first anniversary of the Iraq war simultaneously creates
revulsion and intrigue.... Even now
innocent Iraqis are dying almost every day.
But Bush did not spend a single word of sympathy for them in his
speech.... Bush, Blair and their cohorts
should be tried at the International Court of Justice for annexing a
country...with a baseless allegation...about the so-called WMD."
"The Volcano In Iraq"
The Mumbai edition of left-of-center Marathi daily Sakaal
editorialized (3/20 edition): "The
invasion of Iraq by the U.S. and its allies completes a year this
Saturday.... While the Iraqi population
is aware of the blood-spattered history of [insurgent] groups, it holds America
equally responsible for the ongoing mayhem.
They look upon the U.S. occupation of their country as the source of the
current chaos. Therefore, before the average
Iraqi openly supports the guerrilla warfare directed against America, it is
advisable for President George Bush to show a willingness to retreat from
"Anniversary Of Attacks On Iraq"
The centrist Calcutta Urdu-language Azad Hind observed (3/19): "At present a ravaged and devastated
Iraq by dint of its bravery, determination and instinct of faith is fighting
against the U.S. and its allies. This is
the fight for national existence and when a nation stands up against anyone, it
fights to the last, or in other words, it fights until victory is
achieved.... The Iraqi nation considers
America as its enemy and quite naturally, supporters of the enemy are also
looked on...as enemies. There are no
signs of ending the bloodshed in Iraq.
One can, however, hear the heresy that...the ruling power will be
transferred to the Iraqis themselves....
But it is sure that Iraq will not be independent from the occupation of
the imperialist powers, because the occupying forces' main target is Iraq's oil
wealth.... The establishment of peace in
Iraq is possible only if the U.S. and its allies call their forces back from
Baghdad soon and place the whole authority under the control of the United
Nations.... The U.S.and Britain are
solely responsible for whatever has happened and is happening in Iraq. It is inevitable that both the colonial
powers shall get punishment for their cruelties."
"Big Power, Big Trouble"
L.K. Sharma wrote in the Bangalore-based, left-of-center
English-language Deccan Herald (3/19):
"The Bush camp had banked on celebrating the first anniversary of
the Iraq war amid a well-planned re-election campaign. Things did not turn out the way his advisers
had anticipated. Instead of
celebrations, the U.S. is witnessing a huge political rumpus at home and sorry
spectacles in Europe and the Middle East....
Unable to adequately respond to the charges of 'intelligence failure'
and 'misleading' the people about WMD, Bush administration officials ultimately
take the line that whatever be the reasons for going to war, the removal of
Saddam was a good thing. The critics on
the other hand talk of the high price being paid by the U.S. forces.... The Bush camp had calculated that the war
against terrorism would continue to win the 'War President' the voters'
loyalty.... Well, many Americans have
begun to feel uneasy about the way other countries see them. Even a predominant military power, it seems,
needs some friends."
The Sahara Group-owned Hindi-language Rashtriya Sahara held
(3/19): "Prior to the military
action, the U.S. president boasted that he would liberate Iraq from the
clutches of the dictator Saddam Hussein and restore democracy in the country. He must be held directly responsible for the
deterioration in the situation a year after the operation. Iraq is on the verge of a civil war
today. There seems to be little
justification in trying to bring a semblance of democracy to pacifying the
people. As long as peace does not reign
in the country, an atmosphere of insecurity will continue to envelop it. At best, a democracy can only be thrust on
the country in this situation. Restoring
democracy through the normal process of popular mandate is absolutely
"Voice Of International Conscience"
The Karachi-based, pro-Taliban/Jihad Urdu daily,
Islam (3/22): "The situation
for the U.S. in Iraq is not very encouraging even after the passage of one year
of this useless war. American troops
deployed there are suffering from psychological and mental ailments and want to
get out of Iraq. Public opinion in the
U.S. is also swiftly turning against their government and President Bush’s
presidency seems to be at stakes in the forthcoming elections. The U.S. had brought the slogans of peace,
justice and security for the people of Iraq but today there is neither peace,
nor justice and security."
"Global Protest Against U.S."
The Islamabad rightist English-language Pakistan Observer
held (3/22): "The rallies manifest
growing public anger worldwide over the plight of the Iraqi people at the hands
of the Anglo-American occupation forces....
It’s, therefore, advisable for Washington to urgently announce time
frame for withdrawal of its troops from Iraq in its own interest, failing which
seemingly it’s in for another Vietnam.
Iraq has had enough of bloodbath and quite a number of body bags of U.S.
soldiers have also gone back to the United States. Wisdom and sanity demand of the Bush administration
to shun belligerence and avoid spilling of any more blood of both the Iraqis
and the Americans."
"A Year Of Occupation"
The center-right national English-language The Nation
opined (3/21): "Notwithstanding the
oppression of the fallen Saddam regime, the aggression launched on Iraq has
brought untold miseries to its population.
Thousands of innocent men, women and children have died, the country
laid waste, and its people rendered insecure.
The occupation has proliferated terrorism and roused ethnic and
sectarian tensions that threaten to tear the country apart. What is more, it has provided a cause caliber
to terrorist organizations. Neither the
world nor the U.S. is safer now than a year back."
"One Year In Iraq
The Lahore-based liberal English-language Daily Times"
remarked (3/21): "Al-Qaida is the
effect, not the cause of this conflict.
Fifty years down the line or even hundred years from hence, the conflict
would still be alive and simmering unless its causes are addressed. In this long war, conquering a few countries
are mere tactical victories. They will
add up to a strategic victory only when the real issues are tackled."
"One Year Of Illegal American Occupation Of Iraq"
Second largest Urdu daily, Nawa-e-Waqt argued (3/21): "One year of occupation of Iraq has
proved that America has targeted only Islam and Muslims, which is why it has
attacked Afghanistan and Iraq and included Syria and Iran in the ‘axis of
evil.’ Muslim countries have not done
anything seriously to combat the situation."
"Result Of Iraq War"
The center-right Urdu daily Pakistan declared (3/21): "U.S. President George W. Bush has vowed
on the Iraq war anniversary that he would not surrender before
terrorism.... America is not willing to
reconsider its obstinacy. However,
sooner or later it will have to think and see that its actions did not give
peace to the world rather increased the lawlessness. It would be better if America reconsidered
its policy and did not blow up the causes of terrorism."
"One Year Of U.S. Occupation Of Iraq"
Lahore-based populist Urdu daily Khabrain concluded
(3/21): "Real and durable peace
cannot be restored to Iraq until a representative government is established
there. Instead of tightening their hold
over the country, the U.S. and its allies must think along these lines instead
of foisting a regime of their choice there.
This would save their credibility and the Iraqis would also get a
Urdu-language Taliban mouthpiece Islam declaimed
(3/19): "From the time the historic
and Islamic city of Baghdad went in the hands of the so-called champions of
peace and justice, and from the time Saddam Hussein was removed, Baghdad has
presented a scenario of a burning hell where the winner or the loser cannot be
identified and where nothing can be seen, other than fire, death and
BANGLADESH: "One Year
Pro-opposition Bangla-language Janakantha editorialized
(3/22): "Many analysts believe that
the Iraq issue may become the reason for Bush’s defeat in the presidential
election. The occupation and
indiscriminate plunder of Iraqi oilfields has revealed the for the Iraq war to
the people of the world.... On the first
anniversary of the Anglo-U.S. aggression, we demand immediate end to
bloodletting in Iraq. The rule of Iraq
must be left to the Iraqis and the aggressive power must pay reparations to
Iraq and bear the cost of its reconstruction through the UN. Peace must be restored in Iraq with the
unconditional release of Saddam. The
Iraqi people should be allowed to determine the fate of the Iraq leader."
"One Year Of Iraq Invasion"
Independent English-language Daily Star commented
(3/21): "President Bush is still
convinced that the war on Iraq was a legitimate attempt by the U.S. to oust
President Saddam’s regime. But his ideas
have not been that convincing to his people...[and even]...some staunch U.S.
allies did not approve.... So the war
has bred divisiveness among the international community, which could only make
the task of fighting terrorism even harder.
And what about the people of Iraq who were sidetracked in the war
between Bush and Saddam? It was a
mistake on the part of the U.S. war strategists to think that Iraqi people
would welcome the foreign invaders. They
have suffered and are still suffering as the country bleeds from war and
sectarian violence. The interim
government installed by the U.S. is far from a broad-based entity capable of
running Iraq smoothly. The question of
returning its sovereignty is a very tricky one.... Talk of power transfer by July 1 appears to
be more of a political ruse than a seriously conceived plan, since no
indigenous leadership acceptable to the Iraqi people has emerged."
"Apolitical analyst" Mr. Qannadbashi commented on
state-run Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran Radio 1 (3/19): "The massive propaganda campaigns
launched by America and Britain over their occupation of Iraq are in response
to the widespread domestic, regional, and international criticism leveled
against them. This propaganda clearly
does not demonstrate America's political, military, and economic success in the
Middle East. But, it betrays America's
apprehension over ever-increasing criticism and protests. America is facing serious problems in Iraq,
specially in view of the Iraqi people's opposition to Washington's policies and
the newly ratified constitution, which they consider to be contrary to
democratic principles. They are calling
for an immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. Regional opposition is very strong as well. In the final analysis, what Bush and Blair
present as their record in Iraq is, in truth, a disgraceful page in their book,
which includes their disregard for the United Nations. They launched a war under the pretext of
trying to find weapons of mass destruction [WMD]. Their destructive actions will determine the
course of global development in the coming years."
"Unilateralism Not Best Way Forward For U.S."
The liberal Sunday Independent editorialized (3/21): "If there is a lesson to be learnt from
the invasion of Iraq...it is that unilateralism is not the best way forward,
even for the world's only superpower....
Spanish voters have in the wake of the Madrid bombings shown the first
crack in the international coalition against terror by voting in a new
government that will withdraw Madrid's small but symbolic force from
Iraq.... An effective war against an
international network of fanatics requires effective international
GHANA: "Iraq War One
Year On: Is The World Now Safe Or
Seidu Sandow Kpebu stated in Gye Nyame
Concord, an independent bi-weekly with small urban circulation (3/22): "The world would have been a safer place
had ‘Dubya’ George Bush not sent forces to invade Iraq. What has the world gained from the war? Nothing but carnage, senseless bombings, fear
and grief. Some argue that in the short
term there will be instability in the world but peace will prevail in the long
term. Sincerely, so long as America’s
interests continue to smear the world, the terrorists will not spare us our
lives.... Who knows, tomorrow any West
African country with oil reserves may be accused of sponsoring terrorism and
attacked (God forbid).”
NIGERIA: "Iraq And
Lagos-based independent daily The Comet editorialized
(3/23): "The more successful the
outcome of the power transfer in Iraq on June 30, the more the war will
diminish as a symbol and a provocation.
If Iraq does achieve stability, it will be evidence of the value of
TANZANIA: "The True
Friends Of America"
The independent English-language Daily Times editorialized
(3/23): "Hardly a few hours after
President George Bush addressed the American people to give the merits of the
war which he started, the wail of sirens filled the air of Baghdad as the U.S.
army headquarters was hit.... One year
ago, the war was begun despite millions of people marching all over the globe
to plead with the American president and the British prime minister to refrain
from the unjustified bloodbath that would inevitably occur.... One may easily fail to see why the Americans
in particular have resorted to such brute use of power in Iraq. However, the answer is that America’s actual
foreign policy is universal domination at all costs, as a strategy of security
and survival.... Granted that all forms
of terrorism should be fought against, but whatever methods that are going to
be used...should not fuel the problem further.”
ZAMBIA: "One Year
The government-owned Sunday Mail commented (3/21): "It is one year since the Iraq war
started.... The objective of the
invasion, we were told, was to dislodge the Saddam Hussein regime because it
had weapons of mass destruction which it threatened to use against its neighbors
and cause instability in the Gulf region.
Saddam is long gone, no weapons of mass destruction have been found and
yet the killing continues and there certainly is no stability in the
region. Is it any wonder now that Spain
and Poland are thinking twice about continuing being part of the so-called
allied forces in Iraq? And is it any
wonder that there were anti-war protests across the world.... Is Iraq any better today under U.S. and UK
control at than it was under Saddam Hussein?
That may be a question best answered by the Iraqis themselves, but it is
clear that the status quo is a far cry of what they expected. Iraq deserves better and this cannot be
provided by external forces. The Iraqis
themselves have to decide on what is best for them...[and] Iraq is not short of
quality leadership to decide on what is best for the people. War can never be the solution for all
problems.... There are times when it is
inevitable to use force to attain a goal, but this must be only as a last
resort. In the case of Iraq, there were
still plenty of peaceful options available to make the country a better
place.... This is a matter that the UN
should now be seen to be truly in control of...[and a] time that all nations,
regardless of their military might, began playing by the UN rule book.... Bush is right in saying that allies must be
united in the fight against terrorism.
But this alliance must be woven around the UN and not used as a vehicle
to launch wars against sovereign states."
Invasion: One Year On"
The pro-government Sunday Mirror contended (3/21): "Worldwide demonstrations yesterday
marked the one year anniversary of the American-led invasion of Iraq.... Bush and his main ally, Britain's Prime Minister
Tony Blair, have been exposed as liars....
Both men are tottering on the brink of political demise in their
respective countries as angry citizens raise a furor over their leaders'
deceitful actions.... One year on, it
has become convincingly clear that Bush's pre-emptive doctrine is nothing but
an imperialistic strategy to facilitate unilateral military action against
"Bush War: Giving Up
Life For Oil"
Nathaniel Manheru maintained in the government-controlled Herald
held (3/20): "George Bush
self-panegyrized himself as U.S.'s 'war president'.... The war president's knees now appear knocked
and 'bent double' under a bagful of imponderables that demand a bit of
intellect and sense than nature has endowed or granted him.... Voting America is beginning to listen and to
be moved. Bush is fast realizing he
sneaked into Iraq too soon and may have to pull another hat trick to convince
skeptical America that her war-machinery is beneficent to democracy and
CANADA: "Iraq Is In
Turmoil But Not In Despair"
Associate professor of journalism and
international affairs at Carleton University, Andrew Cohen commented in the
nationalist Ottawa Citizen (3/23):
"A year later, it is safe to say that both sides were wrong about
the consequences of war in Iraq, not that either hawks or doves will admit
it.... Both sides, then, overstated
their case for and against war in Iraq.
If the doves said the hawks couldn't conduct a tidy war, the hawks said
the doves couldn't contemplate a tidy peace....
The Americans lied about why they went to war (even if it wasn't about
oil), refused to admit their support for Saddam in the 1980s and were afraid to
make an argument for intervention on humanitarian grounds. They ignored the United Nations, and
trumpeted unilateralism. Too often, the
swaggering Mr. Bush has reminded those liberals sympathetic to regime change
why they could never trust his judgment, why they'd have preferred that this be
Al Gore's war.... But whatever Mr.
Bush's equivocation, whatever the chaos, there is another truth in Iraq. It is that a genocidal regime is gone,
something well-meaning people forget....
It is a regime, let us remember, which would have continued to defy
sanctions, taunt the United Nations, murder and torture its enemies, and
underwrite Palestinian suicide bombers.
This would have continued for another generation, for surely Saddam,
like other dictators, would have passed on power to his sons. There is no denying that Iraq is in turmoil
this spring. But if you believe the
public opinion surveys, it is not in despair.
For all the threats, lies and laments, that is why this was the right
war for the wrong reasons."
"A War Just And Necessary"
Mark Milke wrote in the right-of-center Calgary
Herald (3/23): "The war against
Iraq was evil, as any war is. But the
idea that a war between the West and Saddam could have been avoided forever is
hope strung up with the thinnest of threads.
Had he stayed in power, one might have hoped that Saddam would have soon
lapsed into senility and that perhaps no tyrant Baathist would have replaced
him. But those are not reasonable odds;
it was a justifiable war."
"Opposed To What?"
The leading Globe and Mail commented (Internet version,
3/22): "In Canada and around the
world this weekend, hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated against 'the
war in Iraq.' But which war? If they are talking about the war to
overthrow Saddam Hussein, that is one thing.
Though this newspaper still believes the war was justified, many people
do not, especially given the failure to find weapons of mass destruction. If they want to remind the world that they
were right about the war waged a year ago, fair enough. But if they are talking about the war being
fought in Iraq now, they are dead wrong.
Whatever the rights or wrongs of last year's war, the fight being waged
in Iraq today by the United States and its allies is a noble one. Its aim is to rebuild a country devastated by
three decades of war and to help the Iraqis establish a decent, representative
government. The opponents of that effort
are a murderous rabble of Hussein-era thugs and foreign extremists. These are the people who bombed the Red Cross
and the United Nations and blew up a hotel in Baghdad last week. Their aim is to wreck Iraq's transition to
democracy and hurl the country into anarchy.
Are the demonstrators saying that the United States should pull out of
Iraq tomorrow and leave it to the tender mercies of these killers? Surely not. If they really care about the
fate of the Iraqis, the demonstrators should be supporting the effort to build
a better future for them, not chanting slogans about a war that ended a year
ago. The 'war in Iraq' that matters is
the one being waged right now against terrorism and tyranny and hate. Every peace-loving person must pray for
"Iraq Better Off A Year After The Invasion"
Rosie DiManno observed in the liberal Toronto Star
(Internet version, 3/22): "Iraq:
One year later. A handy tagline, but
what does it mean?... The Americans are
still there, and must stay there perhaps for years to come...because Iraq
cannot be abandoned to collapse into civil war.... It has been a traumatic segue, from invasion
to liberation to clumsy occupation....
It will take more than a year, maybe a generation, to properly assess
whether the war in Iraq was worth the effort, worth the hardships and chaos and
the loss of life. Is the world a safer
place because of it? No, I think not. Is Iraq better for it? An unqualified yes."
"Iraqis United In Their Fury Toward U.S."
Editorial page editor emeritus Haroon Siddiqui
commented in the liberal Toronto Star (3/22): "Set aside the arguments over how George
W. Bush invaded Iraq under false pretenses.
Forget the mirage of the weapons of mass destruction and the missing
link between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein.
Ignore the inconsistency of toppling one dictator but sparing
others. On the first anniversary of the
American occupation, concentrate instead on what is happening in Iraq--the
resistance, the spreading terrorism and the presumed imminence of a civil war
between religious, ethnic and tribal factions.... Iraqis are furious at America, first, for the
same reasons that Canadians, Europeans, Asians and, increasingly, Americans
are.... Iraqis have not only been the
principal victims of Bush's war but also American indifference or hostile
actions stretching back two decades....
The only Iraqis keen on keeping the U.S.-dominated status quo are those
with the least public support. The ones
closest to the Americans won't get elected dogcatcher. Meanwhile, Arabs across the Middle East--who
were prescient in warning of post-war chaos--are estranged even more from
Washington than a year ago. So are most
Muslims. Their view is the same as that
of most of the world, namely, that beyond toppling Saddam, the war has been an
unmitigated disaster, providing new recruits for terrorist groups.... Arabs are also reacting strongly to
inconsistencies in Bush's words and deeds.
While advocating freedom of thought for Arabs, his troops have been
harassing and hitting journalists from Al-Jazeera and other Arab TV
stations.... While championing democracy
for Arabs, his administration has been violating the rule of law: holding
prisoners without charge, selectively prosecuting Muslim residents of America,
and assassinating suspected terrorists abroad."
"One Year Later"
The conservative tabloid Ottawa Sun
commented (3/20): "Looking at the
war in Iraq one year later, it's important not to be blinded by hindsight. Yes, much has changed since the high-stakes
standoff between Iraq and the United Nations last March collapsed and a
coalition led by the U.S. and Britain opted for invasion. Saddam Hussein has been toppled and captured
and a new government installed--all to the good.... But disturbingly, no weapons of mass
destruction (WMD) have been found....
The intelligence agencies that led U.S. President George Bush to tell
the world Iraq was a 'grave and gathering danger' have taken a gigantic
credibility hit. American military
casualties are mounting, even as the country's multibillion-dollar deficit
rises, along with resistance to the ongoing military occupation.... While the connection some tried to draw
between Iraq and 9/11 is now discredited, Iraq today has indisputably become a
magnet for terrorists who cannot be appeased.
But Iraq is also a better, freer and safer place for ordinary Iraqis
than it ever was under Saddam.... Still, let's be clear--this is not a case of
the end justifying the means. We at the
Sun supported the Iraq war because we believed U.S. and British claims that
Saddam possessed WMD. The failure to
find WMD is deeply disturbing. But
what's done is done. Smugly lecturing
the Americans while abandoning Iraq--or Afghanistan, where Canada did rightly
stand with its American allies--is not an option. The war on terror didn't end with either
country, as last week's bombings in Madrid reminded us. The world is arguably safer today than it was
a year ago. It will be safer still when
Iraq's infrastructure and independence are completely restored. The sooner the better."
"Iraq And Us"
Columnist Pierre Foglia wrote in the liberal La Presse
(3/20): "Two things about
Iraq. First: it was a mistake to go. Almost everybody admits it today, except Mr.
Bush and his friends. And second: it would perhaps be an even bigger mistake to
withdraw now. I am not saying this for
the Americans who have absolutely no intention of leaving, I am saying it to
the others who would want them to go home and mind their own business. Unfortunately, Iraq has become their business
and ours.... And if I don't believe in
the efficiency of a UN presence, the commitment even if only symbolic of the
international community a the side of the American forces seems
indispensable. We must not pull out the
Spaniards. We must send in the French,
the Germans, the Russians, the Canadians.
Iraq will not find peace if left alone.
Not that a wrong has been committed, the international community owes it
to the Iraqis to repair it."
"Echoes Of War"
The conservative Chronicle Herald of
Halifax opined (3/19): "Were you
right about Iraq? Were we? Is that
really the question? In other words,
shouldn't we be concerned, at this point, less with the satisfaction of being
proven right, and more with the imperative of doing the right thing in post-war
Iraq? A year to the day after the
invasion, there is still no yardstick--other than one's own prejudices--by
which to measure the success or failure of George W. Bush's beau
risqué.... While the war remains widely
reviled in the Western and Muslim worlds, and while those democratically
elected governments that sided with the U.S. did so at their peril, Iraqis
themselves, on balance, seem to approve.
Several credible surveys have shown that a broad cross-section of Iraqis
think they are better off, despite all the insecurities, uncertainties and
resentments of the occupation. They have
been given the gift of hope. Let's face
it: most of the assessments and
conclusions we make about Iraq remain, to a degree, as faulty and
result-oriented as the U.S. intelligence that packaged the war. There are few objective facts to hang your
hat on. The most glaringly empty peg is
the absence of weapons of mass destruction.
The Bush and Blair administrations deserve to be hoisted on their own
petard over this issue, which they had turned into the primary rationale for
the war, when a litany of Iraqi violations of the 1991 cease-fire would have
sufficed. In retrospect, the most
generous thing that can be said about this is that they conflated an incipient
threat into an imminent one.... The real
propaganda was in slipping loose, then failing to rein in, the dogged myth that
Saddam Hussein had links to al-Qaida.
Wrapping the Iraq war in the bloody cloak of 9/11 was an effective way
to jack up domestic support for the president's war plans. If anything, this was the Big Lie. For the legions of critics, these two pillars
of untruth are enough to throw the baby out with the Baath party. Their main argument is that the war was
always about oil and all else was pure fabrication.... Has the Iraq war increased terrorism against
the West? This is an impossible question
to answer, for no one knows what acts al-Qaida was planning before Iraq and
which excuses it would have used if there had been no invasion. All we know a year later is what our gut
tells us: that abandoning Iraq in its
time of greatest hope, and the Americans in their time of greatest need--as
Spain has just done morally and materially--spells collective suicide."
"Necessity And Opportunity"
Editorialist Mario Roy wrote in centrist La Presse
(3/19): "The world will soon decide
if its priority is to 'punish' the United States for launching a war almost
nobody wanted, by using false pretexts...or to collaborate in the normalization
of Iraq--not to please George W. Bush--but as a humanitarian duty towards the
people of Iraq.... The first anniversary
of the start of the invasion of Iraq will give rise in the coming hours to
demonstrations in most western capitals.
The rallying cry that will be heard, 'Get the U.S. troops out of Iraq,'
verges on angelic stupidity. What is
needed are more troops, under different flags, as well as other means of
"Canada Got It Right On Iraq"
Paul Heinbecker, director of the Laurier Centre for Global
Relations, Governance and Policy at Wilfrid Laurier University wrote in the
leading Globe and Mail (Internet version, 3/19): "Rarely in life is a decision so quickly
and thoroughly vindicated as Canada's decision to opt out of the war in
Iraq. A year later, the stated casus
belli has evaporated. No weapons of mass
destruction have been found, despite the best efforts of more than a thousand
American weapons inspectors with free rein.
No connection to al-Qaida has been established. No persuasive argument endures about the
urgency of the U.S. need to act. It is
no clearer today than it was a year ago what Washington's purposes were in
invading Iraq.... The war proceeded,
with consequences that the world is still trying to calculate. The most obvious consequence is that the
United States and its posse are caught in a morass. They cannot end the occupation precipitously
without triggering a civil war and undoing the good they have done in removing
Saddam Hussein. They cannot stay in Iraq
without losing more soldiers and more money.
Echoes of Vietnam. Meanwhile, the
Iraqi toll also rises.... The cost to
U.S. interests extends well beyond Iraq....
International discontent with the United States and its foreign policy
has intensified rather than diminished since last year....
"What lessons should Canada learn from the Iraq experience? First and foremost, that values matter in
foreign policy. Reduced to its basics,
participation in the Iraq war would have meant sending young Canadians to kill,
and be killed by, young Iraqis for the sake of maintaining friendly relations
with Washington. Second, going along to
get along has never made good public policy, or good politics, either. The Canadian government looked at the
evidence Washington presented and voted its conscience. Another government, the Spanish, looked at
the same evidence, and voted its interests, specifically its interests with
Washington. One is in office and the
other is not. Third, the Iraq war
demonstrates the limits of intelligence.
The U.S. administration and others made intelligence pivotal to their
decision-making. The Canadian government
used it as one input among many. One
government is embarrassed and the other is not.
Time, and inquiries, will tell whether the intelligence in the United
States and Britain was just catastrophically bad, politically manipulated or
both. The Canadian analysis was
better. Fourth, Canada does not have to
choose between the UN and the United States.
To be respected in Washington, we need to be effective in the world,
including at the UN.... Finally, we
should not shrink from disagreeing with U.S. administrations when they are
wrong any more than we should shrink from agreeing with them when they are
right. We should call them as we see
them. We did so on Iraq, and we have
ARGENTINA: "The War In
Iraq, One Year Later"
An editorial in leading Clarín held (3/22): "The evaluation of the war in Iraq is
not positive.... The Hussein regime was
quickly destroyed but it was made clear that the alleged threats posed by WMD had
been overestimated or 'created' by the invading coalition, thereby damaging the
credibility of the international action....
But also, said occupation has worsened the problems it wanted to
confront. Terrorism continues
ferociously hitting and the postwar has become equally bloody and devastating
for the Iraqi people, to which we should add the attacks on Madrid, which must
lead to rethinking the way the anti-terrorist fight has been led by the main
powers. They should again look to the UN
for validating the legitimacy of the international action, rebuild the Iraqi
nation and prevent the fight on terrorism from becoming a war between
"Iraq: One Year Later,
The Same Mistake"
Business-financial El Cronista editorialized (3/22): "One year ago, this newspaper did not
support the war in Iraq.... But now, if
the troops of the countries led by the U.S. abandoned Iraq, they would leave an
uncontrolled country. It would be a clear victory for terrorism ad a defeat for
the West. George Bush (or John Kerry)
will have to repair the damage they inflicted.
But he cannot do it by himself.
The rapprochement among the U.S., France, Russia, Germany and other
powers to solve the fiasco in Iraq is today more necessary than ever. The U.S. has failed in the post-war scenario
and it cannot continue overlooking its failure while death and destruction are
a routine matter in Baghdad."
"Iraq One Year After:
It Is Time For Rethinking"
Oscar Raul Cardoso, international analyst of leading Clarin,
opined (3/20): "The U.S.-UK led
coalition does not appear damaged...but its weakness is shown in its political
viability. The whole war on terrorism
conceived by Bush is suffering a profound crisis of legitimacy.... Zapatero's announcement that he will withdraw
troops from Iraq...is just one of the symptoms of the blooming downfall of U.S.
legitimacy in the international arena.
The president of Poland...lamented that Washington 'deceived' its
partners [about] WMD.... South
Korea...cancelled its plans to send more troops to Kirkuk.... There is an increasing tumor in the
international will to accompany Washington.
Perhaps, this is why Bush 's address had a conciliating tone and he
avoided direct criticism of those leaving the train of his imaginary victory."
"A Year After War Broke Out, Chaos In Iraq
Lisabetta Pique, on special assignment in Baghdad, wrote in
daily-of-record La Nacion (3/19):
"Today is the first and tragic anniversary of the Anglo-American
invasion of Iraq, a war which, they said, was launched to stop terrorism
implicitly found in WMD that the overthrown dictator Saddam allegedly
concealed. However, one year later,
terror has multiplied, here and in the rest of the world. For many Iraqis, according to testimonies
found on the streets, if the 36 years of Saddam's dictatorship were bloody and
stifling, the present panorama isn't any better: although a ruthless hand is no longer
present, there are explosions and attacks that rock people practically every
day.... A year after the beginning of
the war, freedom to move around and freedom of expression returned but, at a
political level, things aren't too well either.
And amid growing instability, generated by a post-war of terror, the future
is more than uncertain. While real power
is in the hands of the Shiites--repressed by Saddam's dictatorship but today so
influential that they triggered an 'Islamization' of society (many women now
wear veils), and some even count on their own militia--administrator Paul
Bremer is negotiating against the clock."
"Facing A New International Disorder"
Facundo Landivar international editor for daily-of-record La
Nacion opined (3/19): "One year
later, this war has a sad record: except
for the capture of Saddam, it couldn't achieve any of its goals and even
worsened, to a certain extent, the evils it was supposed to fight. Europe is far from having healed the bruises
produced by this war--relations between the Old Continent and the U.S. are far
from being at their best, the UN no longer exercises the influence it had on
the map of global power, the WMD never appeared in Iraq, the Middle East
continues to be a powder-keg, there's been a fall in the confidence of the
people in their rulers in Great Britain and the U.S., and the world is today a
more insecure place than it was a year ago....
Today terror isn't receding, it's expanding very quickly.... This is the reason to fight terror and not
give in: this must be the entire world's
priority. Of course, a year after the battle began, the question is whether
this war helped in fighting this terror or, in a tragic consequence of a
miscalculated measure taken 365 days ago, it pushed it forward, gave it more
life and definitely installed it among us."
BRAZIL: "Ghosts Of The
Liberal Folha de S. Paulo international writer Luciana
Coelho remarked (3/22): "One year
of occupation in Iraq has produced a scenario much more heterogeneous than
George W. Bush and his strategists expected and a negative slant that the Texan
and his hawks seem not have foreseen....
Bush's decision [to invade Iraq] has been widely questioned, the reason
for the invasion is at stake and, worse, his hopes for a democratic Iraq seem
extremely distant. Bush was wrong in at
least two ways. First, in thinking that
Baghdad was hiding forbidden weapons with the purpose of attacking the U.S. or
its allies.... Second, for not having
foreseen that a nation where ethnic and religious divisions are so deep, and
where the populace has no history of political participation, would be a land
much too arid for democracy. One year
after the outbreak of war, nothing, not even the disturbing American presence,
can guarantee that the system will develop roots and produce the fruits Bush
expected for the region.... Finally, the
U.S. forces seem to be far from resolving the primary question for the Iraqi
people today: security.... The world is
free of Saddam Hussein, but neither Bush nor Iraq are free of ghosts."
"Elections, Lies, War And Death"
Nelson Rocha wrote in center-left Jornal do Brasil
(3/22): “It’s already evident that there
were no chemical weapons in Iraq to justify the attack.... It's certain that Bush and Blair already knew
there was no concrete evidence on the so-called weapons of mass
destruction.... Bush used the
successful tactic of creating panic in the American citizens, with yellow and
orange alerts, in order to obtain support for the invasion.... But this strategy ended up costing the lives
of millions of Afghans, Iraqis, Spaniards and many, many American and British
soldiers. The result was a stronger
reaction from those opposed to the invasion....
Suspicions that weapons of mass destruction were within the purview of
the Iraqi leader gave the war a positive view since the U.S. had been able to
withdraw Hussein from the scenario....
At the end we have: terrorism
equals death equals reprisals equals war equals death.... Why was the powerful Bush unable to establish
an efficient strategy to fight terrorism?
Why do the attacks continue to take place? Because such a powerful nation as the U.S.
should not have an ignorant leader who has only been able to worsen the
differences between the East and the West.”
"One Year Later"
Center-right O Globo asserted (3/21): “President George W. Bush...insisted Iraq is
on the front line of the fight against terror and...compared Saddam Hussein’s
fall to Europe’s liberation from the Nazi domain. Rhetoric apart, there may be less to
celebrate than to regret in this first year of American occupation. Unlike one of Bush’s sayings which is, the
world is now safer than a year before, democratic societies continue to be
extremely vulnerable. How to conciliate
Bush’s optimistic view of success with the Madrid March 11 bombings [in
Madrid]?... A constitution was approved
for the new Iraq. It has outstanding
points, but for the moment it’s merely a letter of intent. In practice, the conflicting interests of
Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis still have to be resolved, the risk of
‘Balkanization’ of the country is real. That
is the price of arrogance. Had Bush
sought UN approval, the scenario would be a different one. Saddam’s fall is the only achievement, which
had it been better managed, would have brought other simultaneous benefits to
Iraqis and to the region.”
"The Wrong War"
UNCTAD Secretary General Rubens Ricupero commented in liberal
Folha de S. Paulo (3/21): "The
invasion of Iraq was justified as a priority in the fight against al-Qaida's
fundamentalist terrorism and to avoid the risk of WMD proliferation. One year later, what, on balance, are the
results achieved in regard to these goals?
The number of terrorist attacks that have occurred in the 30 months
following Sept. 11 is higher than that of the previous 30 months.... The invasion of Iraq has certainly had a
subduing effect on regimes such as those of Libya and Syria. But is this sufficient to justify the
introduction of an extremely serious complicating factor in a region that is
already destabilized by the unresolved conflict between the Palestinians and
the Israelis? Saddam's Iraq had many
problems, but one began only with the occupation: indiscriminate and savage terrorism aimed at
everyone. Not only has terrorism not
diminished in areas where it already flourishes, but it has gained new and
"One Year Later"
The lead editorial in liberal Folha de S. Paulo (3/20)
held: "The world is a better place
without Saddam Hussein. This, however,
is not enough to obviate the fact that Iraq is today on the brink of civil war
and, following the invasion, has become a major center of world terrorism, in
addition to being a permanent source of instability in an already extremely
turbulent region.... If the current
conflict does not evolve into a large-scale civil war, Iraq may eventually be
stabilized. It is highly doubtful,
however, that it will become in the short or medium term the democracy the U.S.
would like to proclaim it to be. The
overthrow of Saddam does not hide the fact that in order to involve himself in
the Iraq adventure, Bush significantly damaged incipient and still fragile
international multilateralism.... One
should not underestimate arguments that the military escalation resulting from
the war in Iraq is a factor that encourages young Muslims to join terrorist
groups.... Analysts have pointed to the
humiliations imposed by the U.S. on Muslims in Iraq and Israel's repression of
the Palestinians as the driving forces behind Islamic terror.... George W. Bush's response to the problem of
terrorism continues to be wrong."
Luis Eduardo Villarreal Rios wrote in the
independent El Norte (3/22):
“After a year of war and occupation, the U.S. situation in Iraq not only
hasn’t improved but also has suffered a serious weakening. Terrorism expands and the UN doesn’t hold its
head up. This is not new. This same strategy has been rehearsed in
other latitudes. For the first time it
was practiced in Nicaragua in 1909, where the U.S. overthrew the president,
invaded the country and imposed a consul and delivered Nicaragua’s resources to
U.S. companies.... Iraq is not Nicaragua
and we’re not in the first decade of last century. Bush, Powell, Donald H. Rumsfeld and Condoleezza
Rice should understand this. If the U.S.
doesn’t deliver real power to the UN and doesn’t withdraw from Iraq, there
would be no end to the crisis.”
Former UN Ambassador Adolfo Aguilar Zinser commented in the
independent Reforma (3/19):
"A year after the U.S., Great Britain and their allies invaded
Iraq, the war has not ended but the conflict continues to escalate. Are living in a safer world today than
before? The answer is no. The war in Iraq has served not to suffocate
terrorism but it has had counterproductive effects.... The outcome is the waste of human lives and
resources, as well as the multiplication of tensions and of international
conflicts, as well as the irresponsible opening of new terrorist fronts that
did not exist before. Thanks to the U.S.
military occupation, Iraq has become an epicenter of Islamic terrorism and a
reason for recruiting new terrorists....
The current anti-terrorist strategy imposed by the U.S. is based on
military and police measures... It has failed
as the recent developments in Spain demonstrate.... Mexico should propose an in-depth revision of
the international anti-terrorism strategy so that this fight is carried out
through multilateral agreements. Mexico
should particularly speak out against unilateral military actions that only
turn the world into a more fertile land and more vulnerable to terrorism."
"A Lesson For Bush"
Alberto Aziz Nassif noted in nationalist El Universal
(3/16): "A year after the Iraqi
invasion, we can perceive the terrible consequences it has brought: Iraq got rid of Hussein but lives in chaos;
Blair is discredited and his government is suffering, trying to legitimize the
British participation in the war; George Bush is going down in the polls,
despite the economic recovery and he probably will not win the presidential
elections in November--depending on whether John Kerry maintains his electoral
advantage. The reason for the war, the
so-popular WMD, was just a pretext because up to now nobody has found
them. Islamic terrorism is still around
and wants to retaliate. The trauma from
the March 11th attack in Spain spreads through Europe. Countries that joined Bush are in
COLOMBIA: "One Year Of
Cali-based El Pais judged (3/19): “The future is not attractive either for Iraq
or for the war against international terrorism.
Nor is it for the international political and legal order, unless the
leaders of the powerful nations involved in the invasion recognize their
mistake and open a path to rebuilding the UN into the guarantor of world peace
and development, as envisioned by its creators in 1945.”
"One Year Into Invasion"
Raul Vallejo judged in Quito’s leading centrist El
Comercio (3/20): “One year into the
invasion of Iraq, it’s clear that the arguments used by the Bush-Blair-Aznar
axis to justify the war were a lie. The
judicious voices that warned against war now take on a more ethical
relevance. The BBA axis tampered with
intelligence information regarding the existence of weapons of mass destruction
allegedly owned by Hussein and about the level of threat his regime posed for
Western democracies.... And what is even
worse, the planet is not a safer place after the toppling of Hussein, as the
axis promised it would be.”
"Iraq, A Year After"
Jose Raul Gonzalez remarked in leading daily Prensa
Libre (3/23): “A year after
'Operation Iraqi Freedom' the results of the war are mixed. Politically, the rapid victory elevated
President Bush’s popularity, but the nonexistence of weapons of mass
destruction overshadowed his military victory.
Many believe that the liberation of Iraq has made the world more exposed
to Islamic terrorism.... Now we must
face the totalitarianism of the bin Ladens of the world.... Unfortunately, peaceful negotiations are not
an option. Therefore, a new war, the war
against terrorism will continue between police and military operations. New York, Iraq and Madrid have been the
scenes of this war. A war that will have
to be fought through education, tolerance and economic prosperity.”
"Tell Me Who To Kill"
Wayne Brown, columnist in the business-oriented, centrist Sunday
Observer remarked (3/21):
"Virtually the entire world supported the U.S. ouster of the
Taliban in Afghanistan, a country harboring a training camp for al-Qaida. If most people then turned around and
protested the attack on Iraq, it was precisely because they recognized that the
real agenda of the Bush-Cheney regime in Iraq was quite irrelevant to the ‘war
on terrorism.’… In fact, many of those protesting the Iraq war recognized it
was...likely to be counter-productive; and events since then have ruinously
borne them out.... Enormously vitalized
by the sight of Mr. Bush’s imperial legions camped in the heart of the Islamic
lands, hyperterrorism is a real, and growing, danger to us all."
URUGUAY: "Iraq, One
Montevideo's conservative, business-oriented
tabloid daily El Observador editorialized (3/21): "The option is the UN and the United
States holds the key. Instead of the
crumbs that the U.S. is offering the UN in order to return to Iraq, the Bush
administration will have to concede definitive authority, as much over the
political process as over the voluminous multinational peacekeeping force that
will settle in for the long years required to guarantee and orient the
evolution towards democracy in a fragmented and violent society that has never known
it. The approval of a new preliminary
constitution as the first step in eventually returning to the Iraqis the
government of their country lost even its cosmetic effect upon being denounced
by the ayatollah Ali Sistani, leader of the Shiite majority and one of the most
influential figures on the political stage.
It is a fantastic dream to think that the Iraqis can create and manage
alone an ordered democracy in either the near or distant future, owing to the
hostile division between the three Islamic sectors of Shiites, Sunni, and
Kurds. However, neither is it the
solution the continuous occupation under the flag of the United States and its
allies, an excuse wielded by the terrorists to attack at will."