International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

March 24, 2004

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 terrorism.

**  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 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 Of War"


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.”


"Better Times"


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 since Suez."


"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 to ourselves."


 "A 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 Of Discord"


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 impasse.”


"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 unhoped-for prosperity.”


"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 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."


GERMANY:  "Confirmed Arguments"


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 war."


"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 individual loyalties."


"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 ago."




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 day."




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 After"


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 war then?"


BELGIUM:  "One Year Later"


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 Sheet"


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 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."


BULGARIA:  "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."


CROATIA:  "Croats To Iraq:  Mission Impossible"


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." 


"European Wail"


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.”


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "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.  And Elsewhere?"


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 create representative political 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 people.” 


HUNGARY:  "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 beneficiaries.”


NORWAY:  "One Year After"


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 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 demagogy.”


"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 spot."


"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 victory."


"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 terrorism.”


"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 reality.”


"Europe’s Incantation"


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 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"


Anna Dahlberg  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 On"


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 heard."


"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 conflict."


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 Year"


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 The War"


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. 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 promises.”


"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 Freedom"


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.”


LEBANON:  "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 worlds.”


"America’s Gloomy Scene On Eve Of First Anniversary Of War"


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.


MOROCCO:  "Black Year"


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."




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. ... 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 profiteers."


"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 to them.”


"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 this logic.”


"U.S. Makes A Subtle Change To Its Diplomacy In Wake Of Iraq War"


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, 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 terror activities."


CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):  "Promises On Iraq Still To Be Delivered"


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 scenario."


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 Costly"


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 period."


"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."  


NEW ZEALAND:  "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 be serving."


"Same Battlefield But The Prize In Iraq Has Changed"


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 there."


"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 exhortation."


"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 Worth It?"


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.”


THAILAND:  "Sometimes 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 Year On…"


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.”




INDIA:  "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 Iraq."


"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 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."


"Retaliatory Attitude"


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 impossible."   


PAKISTAN:  "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 And ‘Terrorism’"


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 democratic government."


"Baghdad Ablaze"


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 destruction."


BANGLADESH:  "One Year In Iraq"


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."


IRAN:  "War's Anniversary"


"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."




SOUTH AFRICA:  "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 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 partnerships."


GHANA:  "Iraq War One Year On:  Is The World Now Safe Or Dangerous"


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 World Peace"


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 reform."


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 Later"


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."


ZIMBABWE:  "Iraq 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 sovereign states."


"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 mankind."




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 victory."


"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 assistance."


"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 been vindicated."


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 civilizations."


"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 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 Continues"


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 War's Anniversary"


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 promising territories."   


"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."


MEXICO:  "Against War"


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.”


Wrong War"


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 danger."


COLOMBIA:  "One Year Of Failures"


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.”


ECUADOR:  "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.”


GUATEMALA:  "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.”


JAMAICA:  "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 Year Later"


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."


Commentary from ...
Middle East
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March 24, 2004 IRAQ: ONE YEAR LATER

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