International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

April 7, 2004

April 7, 2004





** The "barbaric" Fallujah attack signals Iraq is getting "much worse"; hatred "abounds."


**  Critics complain Washington is in "denial;" the war is far from over.


**  Some expect the incident to turn more Americans against the war as in Vietnam, but the lesson of Somalia means the U.S. can't leave.




Fallujah is an 'impasse of hate,' brutality highlights the 'deterioration' of the situation--   Repulsed by the Fallujah attacks, global commentators viewed the "butchery" as a sign that the situation in Iraq could get worse and as marking a "new and pernicious turn of events" that could have far-reaching repercussions in Iraq and beyond.  Expressing the widespread angst about the "goriness" of the conflict, Nigeria's Daily Independent judged "the whole thing regrettably seems to be tapering gradually and dangerously towards another human calamity while the world is watching."  For many observers, Fallujah underscored the "visceral hatred" toward Americans in Iraq.  As one Italian writer noted, although Fallujah is "an extreme case," it shows that "hostility" toward U.S. soldiers and the civilians working for them "abounds."  While denouncing the "brutal slaughter" as an affront to Islam, Saudi and other Arab papers warned "Iraqis have always used retaliation against anyone who attempts to abuse their dignity."


Problem is more serious than what the White House is 'willing to admit'--  Despite all U.S. government "statements to the contrary," most writers have no doubts that the war "continues" and is getting "even worse."  Leftist Euro papers criticized Washington's "war-spin" of "progress and political development" amid images of Iraqi children "rejoicing over the mutilation and the death of Americans."  A French paper asserted it must be "extremely embarrassing" for the U.S. since the Bush administration had been insisting that "things were improving."  Implying the Green Zone was out of touch, London's Independent quipped that "within the palace walls the occupying power believes in optimism, progress and political development." Others agreed with India's nationalist Hindustan Times that the "dramatic upsurge" in violence "gives the lie to Pentagon generals' claims that they are close to defeating the insurgency." 


'Heavy echoes' of Somalia and Vietnam--  Although Fallujah is reminiscent of Somalia and Vietnam, columnists doubted the U.S. would backout of Iraq.  "When the U.S. left Somalia," Prague's centrist MF Dnes recalled, "the country fell even deeper into anarchy and chaos," suggesting the U.S. could not afford to run the same risk in Iraq.  Asian papers stressed President Bush was "mired in a dilemma."  A German writer agreed Bush was "in a fix": a sudden withdrawal would raise the "politically dangerous question" of why so many soldiers died, and if forces remain "more bloodshed...seems to be unavoidable."  Despite the similarities of the "quagmires," Iraq is different due to 9/11.  Euro and Western papers feared a U.S. withdrawal would be "a victory for the terrorists."  Some, such as Brazil's liberal Folha de Sao Paulo, saw the potential of "increasing public opinion pressure forcing Bush to leave Iraq."


EDITOR:  Irene Marr


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 70 reports from 28 countries April 1-7 2004.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "Images Of Fallujah Confront America"


Foreign editor Bronwen Maddox commented in the conservative Times (4/2):  "The message of Wednesday's killings is clear.  In some parts of Iraq, the Americans are hated.  No matter if they are contractors trying to rebuild power lines and water supplies, they are loathed as symbols of foreign occupation....  If the killings continue after the handover of sovereignty on June 30, it may test the stamina of the U.S. public in a way that this week has not.  In Mogadishu, it was not just the images which rattled Americans, it was the sense that there was no exit.  The same could prove true of Iraq, in which case the images of Fallujah will be remembered and revived."


"Driven By National Pride"


Jonathan Steele opined in the left-of-center Guardian (4/2):  "Not many of Fallujah's people are former Baathist loyalists, as the Americans say, nor have the Americans produced evidence of large numbers of foreign 'jihadis'.  They are ordinary families, driven by nationalist pride, and increasingly by a desire to retaliate when their homes and neighborhoods are violated and their relatives and friends are killed."


"We Need A Pacifism That Is Ruthlessly Practical"


Simon Jenkins opined in the center-right Times (Internet version, 4/2):  "I am no pacifist. I hate violence but I expect peace to come with order. I accept that heads may get broken on the way. But peace can only be the one famously described by Clausewitz. If there must be war, victory lies not in defeating an army but in securing the willing submission of a populace. Stability, not a passing triumph of arms, is the test. That is my kind of pacifism....  The doctrine of punitive aggression and pre-emptive war espoused by George Bush and Tony Blair pandered to democracy's basest instinct, the violence instinct. Coupled with military overkill -- 'shock and awe'-- it ensured that the West would fail the Clausewitz test.  The Taliban and the warlords are now returning to Afghanistan. America and Britain are being driven from the streets of Iraq by revenge violence which they cannot contain. If Downing Street is to be believed, the threat to Europe from militant Islam is now greater than ever since the 11th century, with Mr Blair as El Cid. One day historians will pore over these strange months. Records will be revealed and leaders interviewed. I believe they will show that it was not Al-Qa'ida's 9/11 attack that caused such deep conflict between the West and the Islamic world. The attack merely relit a fuse which had failed on the same spot in 1993. The explosion resulted from the response of American and British leaders. They took electoral comfort in a reckless violence. They laid the trail of gunpowder which ignited wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and which now has an alarming number of young Muslims applauding the killers of Baghdad and Fallujah....


" With its crusades against Afghanistan and Iraq, Britain is party to a predictable return to anarchy in both countries. Muslims everywhere thus feel themselves targets of the West's 'exemplary violence'. They naturally seek comfort in group defensiveness....  We learn nothing from our past. This neopacifism is not a limp turning away from conflict. It means leaving alone countries where we do not belong, which do not threaten us and where our soldiers breed humiliation and violence. It means facing down the rantings of the security lobby and warmongers. It means denying terrorists the oxygen of publicity and the stimulus of overreaction. Such scepticism towards violence pays no debt to traditional pacifism but that of common sense


"The Shock Waves From This Atrocity Will Be Felt Around The World"


The center-left Independent declared (4/1):  "Yesterday's horrific attacks in Fallujah marked a new and pernicious turn of events that could have repercussions far beyond Iraq and far into the future.  Four foreign civilian contractors were killed.  They were dragged from their cars and set alight.  Their bodies were mutilated and displayed....  Yesterday's slaughter in Fallujah may or may not be the event that galvanizes a movement to get Americans out of Iraq.  And it may not be the event that by itself accelerates erosion of public trust in George Bush.  But it undoubtedly brings this prospect closer.  The 1993 killings in Mogadishu summarily ended US intervention in Somalia and scared America off foreign military involvement on the ground for a decade.  And, had such an attack occurred during an election campaign, it could well have cost the President his job."


"Things Are Getting Much Worse..."


Robert Fisk wrote in the center-left Independent (4/1):  "What has happened to the Coalition Provisional Authority, also known as the occupying power?  Things are getting worse, much worse in Iraq. Yesterday's horrors proved that. Yet just a day earlier, Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, America's deputy director of military operations, assured us that there was only an 'uptick' in violence in Iraq.  Not a sudden wave of violence, mark you, not a down-to-earth increase, not even a 'spike' in violence--another of the general's favorite expressions. No, just a teeny-weeny, ever-so small, innocent little 'uptick'. In fact, he said it was a 'slight uptick'....  A marine vehicle blown off the road near Fallujah, a marine killed, a second attack with small-arms fire on the same troops....  All this was just 17 hours before Fallujah civilians dragged the cremated remains of a Westerner through the streets of their city.  When you go to the manicured lawns and villas of the so-called 'Green Zone' in Baghdad, you get this odd, weird feeling; that here is a place so isolated, so ostentatiously secure--it is not secure of course, since mortars are regularly fired into the compound--that it has no contact with the outside world....  Within the palace walls, the occupying power believes in optimism, progress and political development....  But there was an interesting twist--horribly ironic in the face of yesterday's butchery....  From inside the Green Zone on the banks of the Tigris, you can believe anything. How far can the occupying powers take war-spin before the world stops believing anything they say?"


FRANCE: "The Iraqi Imbroglio"


Left-of-center Le Monde stated in its editorial (4/7): “On Monday April 5 in Iraq the political of the battles in Najaf and Fallujah was more costly than the lives lost. The U.S. was already in the grips of a persistent Sunni armed rebellion… Now it must deal with a second front, the Shiites. This is a key moment since the start of the occupation of Iraq by the Americans a little over a year ago… Washington put its hopes in the Shiites. They were to be America’s natural allies.… A major confrontation with the Shiites would lead Iraq into permanent chaos. It would leave the U.S. only one ally, the Kurdish ethnic minority. In short, the U.S. cannot afford to alienate Iraq’s Shiites. These difficult relations with the Shiite community illustrate America’s difficult and ambiguous plans to impose democracy.… If the confrontation with Sadr’s followers should continue or worsen, it could incite the entire Shiite community, out of solidarity, to participate in the fight against the Americans, placing them in an untenable situation. There is no military solution. Paul Bremer has only one card to play: ask for the support of Ayatollah Sistani and his moderates to bring around Sadr’s partisans. But there will be a political price to pay in terms of concessions to the Shiites. All of this is happening at the worst possible time for the Americans, as they plan for a transfer of power to the Iraqis.”


"A Violent Movement Of Shiite Protest"


Helene Despic-Popovic wrote in left-of-center Liberation (4/5):  “Yesterday the Shiite world exploded...just as the UN emissary was setting foot in Iraq in order to ease the political transition....  Unlike the Sunnis, the majority of the Shiite population had welcomed the Americans with enthusiasm...hoping they would be handed the keys to the kingdom....  Their frustration is proportionate with the hopes they had nurtured....  This new radicalism, a mix of Arab nationalism and anti-American rhetoric, which attracts the young and the poor in Iraq, may well become the newest headache for the U.S.” 


"Hate In Fallujah"


Bruno Frappat wrote in Catholic La Croix (4/2):  “At the risk of offending, let us say that more gruesome than the pictures of the bodies were the faces of the living who committed these acts.  Their faces were a mixture of glee and furor, of satisfaction and exaltation, with at times a glance towards the cameras that were recording the scene.  These were men, simply men and children.  The intensity of their hate was all the more horrifying because it was coming from a crowd that formed haphazardly, after the crimes were committed....  This crowd wanted to kill the victims all over again.  It will soon be a year since the coalition toppled Saddam Hussein’s regime.  A year later the violence against the forces of occupation seem to have increased.  Experts think that the violence is becoming more structured and more and more effective, with no need to tie it to al-Qaida.  Humiliation and frustration are the natural fuels of hate.  The faces in the crowd, almost as much as the pictures of the burned bodies, are sending a message to an Iraq in shambles:  the reality of this new dictatorship, of hate and death holding hands, will not be easily vanquished.  What did these avengers want, to see the occupier fall into the same trap?  Fallujah may be turning into a new impasse of hate.”


"Fallujah:  A Cemetery And A Nightmare"


Thierry de Rochechouard had this to say in popular right-of-center France Soir (4/2):  “This could be a turning point in the war in Iraq.  Television stations for the first time since Mogadishu, showed pictures of American if America was becoming aware for the first time that its soldiers were fighting in a conflict that has no name, raising questions about the intervention itself....  These incidents emphasize once more the deterioration of the situation in Iraq.”


"U.S. Speeches Versus Televised Images"


Pascal Riche noted in left-of-center Liberation (4/2): “America is under shock....  But Iraq is not Somalia....  Official remarks from the forces stationed in Fallujah confirmed that in spite of the attack, the area was ‘relatively stable.’  The precaution adopted by American officials is understandable.  What happened Wednesday in Fallujah is extremely embarrassing for the U.S. administration, which is trying to show that things in Iraq are improving....  The images of Iraqi children rejoicing over the mutilation and the death of Americans looks like a terrible denial of Washington’s official stance according to which the attacks in Iraq are fomented by radical Islamic and foreign terrorists.  The difference between the official optimistic take and the atrocities on the ground is somewhat reminiscent of Vietnam.”


GERMANY:  "The Situation Can Get Even Worse


left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau argued (4/6):  "The horrible clashes in Fallujah are pointing to another dimension that goes beyond Iraq.  The mutilation of four members of the private U.S. security company, which has taken over military tasks, has been characterized in a few regional papers as a revenge for the execution of Sheikh Yassin.  If the conflicts in Iraq and Palestine merge, Bush's Iraq invasion has achieved something it did not want:  chaos in Mesopotamia and soon an uprising in the entire region.  'Vietnam' does not repeat itself.  The situation can get even worse."


"Iraq At A Crossroad"


Dietrich Alexander said in a front-page editorial in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (4/6): "Iraq is at a crossroads.  Combat helicopters over Baghdad, marines attacking cities of the Sunni triangle.  The pictures that reach us from Iraq do not indicate that the main combat actions are over.  And they do not indicate at all that it will and can be possible to transfer sovereignty to the country in three months time.  Malice and a know-it-better attitude are totally out of place.  If Iraq is sliding into a civil war or into a coordinated guerilla fight against the occupiers, the country will lose its future and the international community of nations the race for peace and democracy.  This would be a fatal signal that goes beyond Iraq's borders and is also our business.  Our security, our credibility, and integrity are at risk in Iraq."


"Occupiers Among Barbarians"


Silke Mertins contended in business-oriented Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg (4/5):  "The dramatic alienation between Iraqis and U.S. forces that felt as liberators a year ago, will also have political consequences.  The U.S. will not be able to withdraw in a rush, but the pressure to have early elections and grant far-reaching Iraqi independence is enormous, even though this approach has considerable risks.  Many Iraqis, who show an understanding for the mob in Fallujah, do not seem to realize the disastrous consequences the scenes will have for the country's reconstruction....  The willingness in the West to offer taxpayers' money for reconstruction and the cancellation of debt will face serious problems.  The crime and the reactions to it are also without any political sense, because the Americans would like to leave Iraq as quickly as possible....  But this withdrawal should not look like a flight....  The bitter lesson from Somalia in 1993 has not been forgotten:  the hurried U.S. withdrawal only promoted the development of terror.  Disintegrating states like Somalia and Afghanistan offer terrorists possibilities to find a hideout and to develop.  In addition, the U.S. withdrawal also backed the arguments of extremists that even strong armies can be defeated because non-Islamic societies are unable to accept sacrifices.  A U.S. withdrawal from Iraq would be a victory for terrorist groups, which could have worse effect than the current situation....  The only way out is the quick establishment of new armed forces and intelligence services....  But irrespective of the power the U.S. is willing to give away in Iraq, it will have to adjust to the fact that, despite all problems, it will continue to play the role of the bogey man."




Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger remarked in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (4/2):  "Events like the ones in Fallujah will prompt U.S. voters--and not only them--to ask for the price of their president's Iraq policy....  The Americans' resolve is now being put to the test, since these pictures will recall those days...when 18 U.S. GIs were killed in Mogadishu....  Iraq is not Somalia, its strategic significance is much greater....  But a withdrawal now would also have implications that would be no less fatal."


"No Second Mogadishu"


Steffen Hebestreit argued in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (4/2):  "Fallujah is not Mogadishu, Iraq is not Somalia.  As much as the ghastly pictures from the Sunni triangle resemble the pictures for the Somali capital in 1993, a comparison would be wrong.  The marines' [sic] death that resulted in the U.S. withdrawal from the peace mission in Somalia hit the U.S. public unprepared....  But Fallujah shows that a war is still going on in Iraq despite all U.S. government statements to the contrary.  Fallujah also shows how difficult it is to win a war in which high-tech weapons and long-distance bombers have no effect.  And Fallujah shows to what extent Iraqi partisan forces have understood the value of a policy of symbols.  The cruel pictures are directed to the U.S. public, which is increasingly asking for the reasons that have led to the Iraq war.  They will not expel the marines from Iraq."


"Bush In A Fix"


Right-of-center Saarbruecker Zeitung (4/2) noted:  "Horror in Iraq.  Headlines like those following the mutilation of killed U.S. citizens by an angry mob in Fallujah, are the best evidence of an escalating security situation in Iraq....  Now President Bush is in a fix.  If he quickly withdraws U.S. forces under mounting public pressure, the politically dangerous question will be unavoidable, why hundreds of U.S. soldiers lost their lives.  But if the forces remain in the country to improve the security situation--something that could possibly take years--more bloodshed in view of the hostile mood seems to be unavoidable.  No wonder that the term 'Vietnam' has not disappeared from the public debate."




Mariam Lau opined in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (4/1):  "The ghastly pictures from Iraq, which seemed to have reached a new level yesterday, persistently hide the pictures of spectacular reconstruction achievements that also exist in Iraq:  a constitution that is unprecedented in the Arab world, a provisional government in which the ethnic groups negotiate with each other, women who need no longer be afraid of the Kusai Hussein's torture chambers, universities with free libraries, free Kurds, watered marsh land and many more.  The cruel pictures from Wednesday should not prompt anybody to assume that this mob reflected the people's anger.  Sacked members of the former Baath regime in cooperation with al-Qaida supporters pillaged and killed foreigners.  These are those who will have something to lose if Iraq turns into a democracy, those who should not allow 'Islam' and the rule of law to join forces....  The engineers and plumbers who rebuild Iraq even though their lives is in danger not only need military protection but also political escort like in the case of Afghanistan."


"Attack In Fallujah"


Clemens Wergin noted in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (4/1):  "The most recent attacks on Americans in Iraq have been the worst over the past weeks.  They would be added to statistical data if we did not see these ghastly pictures....  The rebels in Iraq are pinning their hopes on such pictures.  They want to provoke cruel pictures, since these people in Fallujah at least know that TV pictures from the front-line decide wars.  Nevertheless, the rebels will hardly succeed.  Iraq is not Somalia, where the Americans, wanted to create order on behalf of the UN.  In Iraq, totally different goals are at stake.  And President Bush could forget about his re-election if he would now order a retreat.  The zealots from Fallujah will not be able to enjoy such a triumph."


ITALY:  "Two Mistakes, One Chance"


Marcello Foa commented in pro-government, leading center-right Il Giornale (4/5):  “America continues to be confident. According to CPA Paul Bremer, Iraq is ever more free and democratic....  And yet everyday we see unprecedented acts of violence....  Perhaps Washington is right. Perhaps these attacks are being carried out by isolated groups, which are destined to disappear in time.  But the impression is that the problem is much more serious than what the White House is understandably willing to admit....  U.S. neo-conservatives like sensational formulas, but they are too simplistic....  Washington inverted the democracy and well-being factors and it underestimated the ties between Saddam and local tribes. Bush acted in good faith and he certainly can’t go back now. But now he must seek peace: by conquering the hearts and minds of the majority of Iraqis....  The situation is complex and the transfer of powers scheduled for June 30 will most likely not resolve the situation. And yet there are no other solutions....  America must adjust its goal. And Europe has many reasons to push it in this direction. But to abandon the U.S. in the Iraqi torment, as Spain seems set on doing, is harmful--for everyone.”


"Baghdad Fair Canceled After Fallujah Massacres"


Alberto Negri reports in leading business daily Il Sole-24 Ore (4/2):  “CPA Paul Bremer promised that the ‘crime committed in Fallujah will not go unpunished,’ but he knows he doesn’t have much time:  the transfer of power, which is scheduled for June 30, is coming up quickly and is increasingly more complex....  The events in Fallujah don’t only pertain to the military and political fields, to the guerrilla warfare that has been under way in the ‘Sunni triangle’ for the past year, to terrorism and repression, but it also pertains to the battle of propaganda and information.”


"The White House: We Are Horrified, But Not Surprised"


Alberto Pasolini Zanelli commented in pro-government, leading center-right Il Giornale (4/1):  “The official statement regarding the bloody events underscores their ‘unprecedented’ brutality, but the alarming aspect is that there have been many precedents. The majority of Iraqis is willing to try a democratic experiment, but a minority could succeed in intimidating it by making it necessary for the U.S. to continue its military presence indefinitely....  What can Bush do in the following weeks and months? The clock is ticking, especially with regards to the U.S. election campaign. The installment of a civilian government in Baghdad, given the date, was also to serve as a catalyst for the President’s re-election. But good news from Baghdad is rare and some would like a ‘fresh’ initiative. In this campaign, which is being conducted by the ‘moderates,’ there is speculation that CPA Paul Bremer’s mandate may be extended....  Names of possible successors have come up--one such name is that of the Pentagon’s number two man, Paul Wolfowitz....  But the nomination of Wolfowitz, who for many years was the principal advocate for a military attack on Baghdad ‘to change the regime,’ would mean putting all the local power in the hands of a ‘super hawk’ and would perhaps exacerbate disputes within the administration.”


"The Macabre Dance Of The City Of Hate"


Bernardo Valli held in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (4/1):  “Its name is sinisterly familiar to the White House and is a nightmare for Pentagon officials. Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was overthrown, his army dispersed, and Saddam himself was captured....  But in Fallujah the war continues. The city remains a bulwark of resistance....  Some say it is tied to remnants of the Baath Party....  No matter what the truth, the images of the macabre dance around the bodies is a demonstration of the hatred that is still felt in Iraq one year after the end of the war....  Fallujah is an extreme case, but it shows that hostility toward U.S. soldiers abounds and that it is also felt for the civilians working for them.”


RUSSIA:  "Bush's Fiasco"


Leonid Ivashov, Vice President of the Academy For Geopolitical Studies, stated in business-oriented Kommersant (4/6): "You can safely call this the beginning of a national liberation war.   If the Sunni and Shia should reach agreement between themselves, sporadic riots would give way to a full-blown

war.   They have enough weapons left behind by the army, which, once the war started in the spring of last year, fled, without fighting.   All of the Islamic world would join in.   What Samuel Huntington referred to as a clashof civilizations would for the first time happen in Iraq....   The Bush administration is being deliberately drawn into this mess so it could drown in it.    The interests of major oligarchic groups and countries are involved in the confrontation in the Middle East.    What is going on in Iraq is a fiasco for President Bush and his violent methods, not a defeat for U.S. foreign policy.   Betting on the use of force has caused an outburst of anti-Americanism in the world.   The next U.S. administration will have to patch up relations with the allies and make more use of the carrot than the stick."


"Americans May End Up Sadly"


Anatoliy Yegorin, Deputy Director of the Institute for Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences opined in reformist Vremya Novostey (4/6): "Those familiar with Arabs know that Iraqis are probably the most rebellious among them.  Rather than trying to impose his own idea of democracy on Iraqis, Bush would do better to leave the matter to the UN Security Council, pull out of Iraq as soon as possible, and let Iraqis decide their own destiny.  Otherwise, the Americans may end up sadly, as more and more of them get killed.   Eventually, the leader of one of a score of Iraqi clans, acceptable to all--Sunnis and Shiites--will take the upper hand, emerging as a national leader."


BELGIUM:  "Iraq"


Maarten Rabaey maintained in independent De Morgen (4/1):  "March 31, 2004.  In an attack with missile launchers four foreign workers are killed in Fallujah, Iraq, the stronghold of the resistance.  Their carbonized corpses are tied to cars, dragged through the streets and hung from a bridge.  Smiling children stand nearby, showing the victory sign.  That image may become the number one symbol of the debacle in Iraq--with or without the withdrawal of the U.S. troops.  No public opinion can stay insensitive when it sees such images.  They remind us of the true nature of war and the barbarism that is inherent to all conflicts.  Unfortunately, such images are no exception....  Let's hope that the countries that occupy Iraq today--the United States and Great Britain in the first place--will draw a conclusion from the sense, no-sense and, as we saw yesterday, the madness that is the result of their action in Iraq so far."


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "After The Lynching In Falluja"


Zbynek Petracek commented in political weekly Respekt (4/5):  "What will influence more the result of a distant war and its aftermath?  The strategic situation on the battlefield or the public mood on the home front?... It is not surprising that the U.S. press is repeating the words Somalia and Mogadishu.  It is still well remembered that in 1993 after the pictures of the lynched corpses of its soldiers, the U.S. removed its troops from Somalia.  Is there a danger...of something similar in Iraq?…Was this orchestrated by Al Qaida, or was it spontaneous?  Hard to prove one or the other, but that is not really important.  Important is what will the viewer-voter seeing this somewhere in Nebraska or Utah think:  whether he, under the influence of his emotions, will want to back out of Iraq.  However, after September 2001, the American public is emotionally hardened in comparison to 1993.  Now it knows that it is not living in an imaginary idyll following the fall of the iron curtain when a desecrated corpse caused trauma.  Furthermore, from Somalia there was no danger to the U.S. …  In Iraq it is different…George Bush is trying to deflect the lack of success and so the American public, for now, is tolerating the losses."


"Test From Fallujah"


Petr Pesek editorialized in the center-right daily Lidove Noviny (4/2):  "The organizers of Wednesday's attacks in Fallujah, Iraq might have followed a cynical strategy...killing chosen victims in a most brutal order to convince the American public to press for the return home of U.S. soldiers and civilians....  Unlike the rather isolated incident in Somalia, the attacks in Iraq are more frequent, so Americans are getting used to war casualties.  And after September 11 they must also have come to the conclusion that it is impossible to win a war--either against terrorists or the one in Iraq--without casualties.  Thus, the brutal attack in Fallujah will perhaps become a test whether this recognition has not yet disappeared."


"Will The Iraqi Horror Influence The U.S.?"


Viliam Buchert opined in the leading, centrist daily MF Dnes (4/2):  "When a mob dragged dead bodies of two U.S. soldiers along the streets of Mogadishu, then U.S. Secretary of State Albright wrote that it was a nightmare.  Washington withdrew from Somalia, and avoided ground military operations in such regions in subsequent years, as it was afraid of the shocked reaction of the public.  Maybe that was also the reason why American TV stations did not broadcast the scenes of horror in Fallujah yesterday.  The number of voices calling for a withdrawal from Iraq will inevitably increase, which is what the Iraqi attackers and terrorists planned.  [However,] when the U.S. and UN left Somalia, the country fell even deeper into anarchy and chaos.  The same is threatening to happen in Iraq.  It would also cost George Bush the presidency.  Most likely, stricter measures will be applied in Iraq, and new attacks and massacres will follow in response.  The question is how the public will react, because when it comes to polls, all political principles and resolutions are pushed aside."


ROMANIA:  "Islam Is Facing Unprecedented Provocation"


Former foreign affairs minister Andrei Plesu, commented in the elitist weekly The Old Dilemma (4/6):   “A year after the launch of the war in Iraq, the disputes regarding its legitimacy continue with the same intensity, without any clarification or new points of view.  The two sides in conflict have not done anything more than to consolidate their positions:  the ‘civilized world’ (Euro-Atlantic) has fixed an equivalence between Islam and terrorism, and the Islamic world re-affirmed its status as victim  (which is not understood and is subject to injustice) of a foreign aggressor.  The first side reacts by defending themselves, the other attacks to take its revenge.…The Arab countries do not need our enlightenment, but, more, our sympathetic trust and patience.  Islam is facing an unprecedented provocation.  It has to reaffirm its identity, balancing between separatist isolation and abandoning its own traditions.  Islam should show the world its true image, whose rigor has nothing to do with revengeful hysteria and with the ideology of death."


SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO:  "Pictures Of Death In The Media"


Belgrade independent, liberal Danas commented (4/5): "The massacre of four American civilians in Fallujah became one of  the unfortunate issues of modern journalism. Until now, journalism ethics and rules defined that such brutal pictures should be presented somehow blurry and from less scary angles....  American media in the last several days also published a photo that marked the history of the 20th century. That is the famous shot of  a Vietnamese boy getting shot in the head by an American soldier. The reason for reminding readers about this picture is connected with a dilemma whether readers should face the  authentic horror from  Fallujah or not... The answer is - Yes they should....Pictures of death from Fallujah send a message: truths from the war, regardless of  how  scary they are, should be a top priority of the media and editors on both sides."  


SPAIN:  "The Hatred"


Centrist La Vanguardia editorialized (4/1):  “Oil extraction has been safeguarded in Iraq, and multi-million dollar reconstruction contracts awarded...[but] the war has wrecked...[the country] and the invaders have ensured neither survival nor security....  Yesterday's savagery deserves no forgiveness.  But take heed, it also provides specific clues that give food for thought."


TURKEY:  “Iraq Dead End”


Zeynep Atikkan noted in the sensational-mass appeal Aksam (4/6):  “There is no solution when a mistake has been made.  Developments in Iraq are proof of this fact.  The U.S. has come face to face with a civil war in light of the most recent Shiite rebellion.  Meanwhile the U.S. still plans to turn over authority to the Iraqis on June 30.  No one pays much attention anymore to U.S. promises to bring peace to Iraq and the Middle East.  After the bloody uprising started in Basra and Baghdad, two US senators, Richard Lugar and Joe Biden, predicted a civil war in Iraq and noted the difficulty of transferring the administration to the Iraqis in these circumstances.  The chaos grows in Iraq with every passing day.  It will be difficult for President Bush to portray himself as a successful war leader during the current election campaign.  Even the Republicans prefer to keep quiet when the Iraq issue is mentioned in the U.S.  As these latest developments demonstrate, it is no longer possible to defend this war.”




ISRAEL:  "Gloves Off in Iraq"


Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (4/7): "It is a testament to what the coalition has achieved that the principal Shi'ite cleric in Iraq, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, has called on Sadr to 'stop resorting to violence' and to turn away from a 'course that could destroy the nation.'  But just because Iraq's nominal future leadership favors a course of moderation doesn't mean that's the course Iraq will take.... It is not simply a matter of political or strategic necessity, but rather the moral obligation of the coalition, to ensure that the monopoly on the use of force rests firmly in the hands of legitimately constituted authority.  Whatever price ordinary Iraqis will pay in the coming weeks to ensure that outcome will surely be a small one next to what they'll have to face at the hands of an emboldened Sadr, an emboldened Iran, and an emboldened Fallujah street.  We trust Bremer and Co. know this, too."


SAUDI ARABIA:  "What Is Next After The Massacre At Fallujah?"


Riyadh’s conservative Al-Riyadh editorialized (4/6):  "Superpowers, with their financial and military resources, and their fragile coalition need a wider imagination to understand the reasons that made them enemies in a country governed by ugly dictators for many years.  They also need to be more humble in dealing with their allies in the region and abroad.  They should believe in sharing ideas and considering the U.N. as an international organization, which should not be limited in its objectives to the needs of the U.S.  Iraq should be looked upon as an independent country, not a colony governed from military bases and from the largest embassy complex of a superpower.  Otherwise, the [Shiite cleric] Sadr issue would be just an example of resistance.


"Iraqi Anger Burns Americans"


Riyadh’s moderate, Al-Jazira ran a commentary by the paper’s Managing Editor Jaser Al-Jaser stating (4/3):  "The terrifying action of burning American corpses was inhuman and uncivilized, even if it were carried out against soldiers whom many Iraqis consider to be occupants and invaders.  Furthermore, the Islamic and Arabic moral values to which the Iraqi people adhere, condemns such an action...  The Americans ought to have studied the history of Iraq. The Iraqis have always used retaliation against anyone who attempts to abuse their dignity or attempts to impose their will on them.  They have done so with their kings and their political leaders.  Invaders will be no exception.    


"Messages From Fallujah"


Jeddah’s conservative Al-Madina editorialized (4/3):  "What is the meaning of all this hatred against the U.S.? Why has animosity reached the level of vindictive acts against dead bodies? These were actions of average people, not an organized resistance body or remnants of an old regime. These scenes carry a clear message; it is a warning that improved life quality and restored security, and soldiers being received with open arms in Iraq, is just an illusion.  To put an end to this violent resistance the U.S. occupation must come to an end.  The U.N. must take its designated role of restoring stability and normalcy in Iraq.  Then the people of Iraq would become self-governing.  Those who are behind the resistance must answer this question:  if the Americans were to leave now, would Iraq have a plan ready for a united, stable, and independent country?


"Why The Brutal Treatment Of Corpses?"


Abha’s moderate Al-Watan editorialized (3/4):  "Arabs and international public opinion, including the pro-Iraq resistance, expressed their shock, and denounced the bestial scene of mutilating American bodies. These irresponsible acts are unacceptable and violate the ideologies of all religions.  The gruesome action that took place on Wednesday is totally rejected.  It will reflect negatively on the credibility of Iraqi resistance."




Jeddah's pro-government, English-language Arab News editorialized (4/2):  "The spectacle of the mutilated remains of four American contractors being paraded through the streets of Fallujah will have turned the stomachs of all who saw this savagery on their television screens....  Those who participated in the butchery must be punished.  The mob may oppose the Coalition the insurgents...count the death of soldiers as victories.  But there is no understanding the brutish slaughter of four unarmed men who were working to rebuild their country....  The Fallujah mob has soiled the reputation of Iraqis.  It also appears to misrepresent the true feelings of most Iraqis, if an independent opinion poll commissioned by the BBC is to be believed....  It is Iraqis who are the main victims of common criminals as well as terrorists.  The murders of occupation troops, foreign contractors or aid workers earn world headlines, but the killing of Iraqis is often treated by international correspondents as incidental.  Likewise when tens of thousands of Iraqis recently filled the streets of Baghdad to demonstrate against the hidden killers and call for peace and reconciliation among all Iraqis, there was scant international media attention.  Baghdad is still a city for flak-jacketed reporters.  Stories which highlight the unpredictable dangers of sudden violence make excellent television.  Though the military authorities would dearly like better news to report, at the moment they are happy to play up the lawlessness.  It still appears to be stiffening civilian resolve back home to see the job through and return Iraq to peace and independence.  But many Americans will take the crazed mob in Fallujah as typical of all Iraqis.  Their government has told them too often that Iraq equals terrorism, that Muslims are terrorists.  We must not allow that to happen.  Many people in Iraq may hate the American-led occupation, but that does not mean they can behave like rabid dogs and tear apart the bodies of innocent civilians who were there to build up, not beat down, Iraq.  It is hard at such times for the voice of moderation to make itself heard.  Nevertheless, honest Iraqis, including those in the city of Fallujah, and all honest Arabs, owe it to themselves to say loudly that Wednesday’s carnage was wrong."


"A Scene From Somalia Repeated"


Jeddah’s conservative Al-Madina observed (4/1):  "In the early Nineties, President Bush the father lost popularity and public support when Americans watched a scene on their TVs of a U.S. pilot being dragged in the streets by Somalis.  Yesterday the same scene was repeated, except this time the place and time have changed.  It is obvious that Americans and American interests in Iraq are being targeted.  As we come closer to the first anniversary of the fall of Baghdad, and the removal of Saddam’s statues from city squares, Washington must revise its entire international agenda.  The U.S. must reconsider its attempt to impose unpopular reform models and styles of governing on other nations.  Americans will pay an expensive price in the future if their government continues to follow the neo-conservative agenda."


"Mistakes In Iraq"


The English-language pro-government Arab News stated (4/1):  "It is now only three months until the U.S.-led coalition hands power over to the Iraqis but the security position in the country is very poor indeed. Precisely why this should be so after a year of military occupation is worth examining.  The terror is coming from both diehard Baathists and foreign fighters, almost certainly organized by elements of al-Qaida  It points to a substantial intelligence failure.  This has happened for two reasons. The first is that though they claimed to be liberators, the coalition was very quickly seen as occupiers....  Why the coalition has failed to win the trust of ordinary Iraqis has much to do with the fact that he Americans have a fundamental lack of insight and understanding both of Iraq and of the wider Middle East....  The key consideration is this: No insurgency can survive without the support and protection of part of the population. Baathist resistance in Saddam’s old heartland around Tikrit undoubtedly benefits from old loyalties among locals. But the ability of foreign insurgents to survive anywhere in the Iraqi landscape, where they ought to stick out like sore thumbs, is deeply troubling. It would seem to demonstrate how unsuccessful the Americans have been in persuading Iraqis that they must rally around their interim government. That lack of enthusiasm has a lot to do with perceptions of the interim government as a creature of Washington’s policy.  This is extremely dangerous. Instead of venting their anger and frustration on the Americans and their coalition allies, Iraqis should be working calmly and determinedly toward building their own future. Unfortunately, discontent with the coalition is being exploited by the insurgents in order to sow discord which is designed to undermine the future of a free and diverse Iraq. Both the coalition and the Iraqis are making a serious mistake for which ultimately the Iraqis will pay the real price."


LEBANON:  "Between Falluja And Gaza"


Sahar Baasiri noted in moderate anti-Syrian An-Nahar (4/2):  “The scene of the dead bodies of the four American contractors in Falluja is frightening, disgusting and condemned at all levels.  However, it is a scene that calls for deep thinking on by the Americans....  The people who cheered the operation and dragged the bodies and hung them are not the ones who carried out the operation and are not the ones Washington should consider terrorists.  They were boys and youth from the city who came out to express in the worst way their hate for the Americans....  Also, the raising of Sheikh Yassin’s picture by the cheering boys is a strong indication to the link between what is happening in Iraq and what is happening in Palestine.  The link is the Americans who continue to occupy Iraq on the one hand and who continue to support Sharon on the other hand....   Connecting Iraq and Palestine is natural for Arabs.  The Americans have always ignored the depth of the Palestinian case in all Arab problems....  It is time for American decision makers to realize this fact.”



MOROCCO:  "With The People"


 Abdelkerim Ghallab commented in Istiqlal party Arabic Al Alam (4/4):  "If Israel practices terrorism day and night with all its might, and even after the early Al-Fajr prayer, with the green light of the great powers, those powers, in fact, also participate in terrorism with Israel. If people are killed like flies in Iraq and Palestine by American and Israeli missiles and bombs, we should not be taken by surprise if terrorists declare their struggle and confront terrorism with terrorism."

"Unhappy Destiny"

A front page editorial by Abdelmouneim Dilami, director of L'Economiste stated (4/4):  "The chaos into which Iraq has been plunged is getting worse. It is now clear that the U.S. wishes to see a partitioning of the country between Shiites, Sunni and Kurds. Iraq’s partitioning will permanently weaken the country, facilitate the appropriation of the petroleum fields and eliminate any potential threat to Israel. Furthermore, by virtue of the domino effect, the U.S. will plunge Syria, an ethnic mosaic, into disorder as part of the regional reconfiguration plan.... What is unfolding in Iraq is the exacerbation of what characterizes the Arab nation as a whole: one group attacking another over a few meters of land, or because some do not practice exactly the same religious rites.... The twentieth century was a lost century for Arabs. With their thoughtless actions, the Arabs are setting themselves up to be the victims of the 21st century."

SYRIA:  "A Force of Occupation"


An unsigned editorial in government-owned Al-Ba'th said (4/6): "Over the last 48 hours, accelerating events in Iraq show that the multinational force is obviously an occupation force that doesn't hesitate to use bloody repression to curb peaceful demonstrations nor to use organized military might against civilians who call for abandoning the US campaign of repressive arrests and press restrictions....  Coalition forces have paved the way for new revenges in an Iraq governed by tribal differences, and sectarian disputes...where it will be difficult to cement security and stability....  Coalition forces have used lies and deception for a long time as a diplomatic capacity and political means to reach their goals. The hour of truth has come and has exposed the true nature of occupation."




AUSTRALIA:   “The Fight For Freedom Still Continues”


The national conservative Weekend Australian remarked (4/3):  “Anything that demonstrates Australia does not stand shoulder to should with the U.S. will weaken the alliance against terror. Mr Latham's decision to bring the troops home if he can is a bewildering rebuff to the Americans, which flies in the face of Labor's traditional commitment to the alliance....  Mr Latham's decision will be popular with people who believe that the U.S. was wrong to invade Iraq and who argue that the war was born from greed for oil or an obsessive personal hatred of Saddam Hussein by Mr Bush. But such arguments ignore the near century-long U.S. tradition of fighting for democracy....  For Mr Latham to propose we abandon such an ally by bringing our contingent home from Iraq makes no sense. Mr Latham should reverse his decision to bring the troops home from Iraq before a democratic Iraqi government releases us from our obligation to help. It is in his own political interest to do so--Australians will not thank him for creating the impression that we cut and run before the job is done. And it is in the national interest to advance the cause of democracy in Iraq as the U.S. did in Europe and Japan after World War II. There was no option but to stand firm with our American ally in the Cold War. There is none now."


CHINA:  "U.S. Encounters Cruel Revenge"


He Hongze commented in the official Communist Party international news publication Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (4/2):  "Experts believe the affair has two implications for Bush:  first, it will not have a substantial influence on U.S. military action in Iraq....  Second, it is a severe strike against Bush.  The U.S. is in fact mired in a dilemma in Iraq....  How the American people will react will put pressure on the Bush administration.  Moreover, the affair has also had a certain influence on UN activities in Iraq....  After such a bloody incident, the UN will be more cautious about returning to Iraq.  The Americans in Iraq face several tortures:  first, the ‘Sunni Triangle,’ consisting of Baghdad and Fallujah, etc., is both a mandatory zone for the U.S. military and a ‘death zone’ for them.  Second, the U.S. military has no alternative but to see the death toll continuously increase.  Third, the guerrillas have made the senior officials of the Iraqi Provisional Government uneasy and thus directly have threatened the U.S. plan to rebuild Iraq."

CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):  "Brutal Killings Raise Uneasy Questions"


The independent English-language South China Morning Post said in an editorial (4/4):  "The killings have...also highlighted the key role played by civilian security personnel in Iraq.  There are thousands of these hired guns, many of them former members of elite military units, working for top dollar in the country.  They undertake dangerous tasks, including the guarding of food convoys and oil installations.  They also protect business executives and officials.  Many provide security for corporations.  But the coalition forces also rely upon them.  The U.S. alone spends millions on these corporate paramilitaries.  They are bodyguards for Paul Bremer, head of the U.S. civilian administration in Iraq....  The private armies are subject to minimal regulation.  Doubts have been raised about the standard of their training and expertise.  They do not have the same chains of command and strict discipline which keeps regular soldiers in check.  The private soldiers also present the insurgents with easy targets.  They do not enjoy the intelligence information and on-the-ground support available to regular troops.  It is still not known why the four men killed last week were in such a notoriously dangerous area without backup from U.S. forces.  Private security personnel are vital to the ongoing effort to rebuild Iraq.  But the brutal killings in Fallujah raise uncomfortable questions about their presence."


JAPAN:  "U.S. Troop Fatalities In Iraq Rising Again"


Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri's Baghdad correspondent remarked (4/1):  "The death toll of U.S. troops in Iraq is on the rise again.  According to the latest DOD announcement, the number of US troops killed in combat or assault incidents in March rose to 31, up sharply from the 12 reported killed in February.  There was also an increase in the death toll of foreign civilians engaged in Iraq's reconstruction.  An almost three-fold increase in the death toll of U.S. troops is believed to be linked with the intensifying armed offensive being carried out by Iraqi and other insurgents to mark the start of the Iraq war on year ago.  There are already concerns that the security situation in Iraq will further worsen, as the first anniversary of the collapse of the Hussein regime on April 9, 2003 approaches."


PHILIPPINES:  "Probably Just The Beginning"


Teodoro Benigno wrote in the moderate Philippine Star (4/5):  “Fallujah will ring a bell for sometime....  The American 'dream' for Iraq was poetic and pristine in the beginning....  Except that it didn’t, couldn’t, work that way at all.  It was pure naiveté on America’s part to believe it could bring democracy to Iraq and eventually the rest of the Middle East....  It would take decades perhaps generations, and billions of dollars to make any kind of meaningful dent in Iraq, once the heartland of Islam.  America could never understand it could be hated, that all its good intentions in Iraq would be held suspect, that the Iraqi people would vilify them, spit at them, murder the Yankee whenever this is possible.  Fallujah was probably just the beginning.  There certainly could be more Fallujahs in the future.  This is presumably the tragedy of the greatest heir to the Roman empire.”




INDIA:   "America In The Face Of Iraqi Hate"  


Independent Calcutta-based Bengali-language Ananda Bazar Patrika judged (4/4):  "The longer America clings to the Iraqi soil the more the situation would get vitiated. But the problem is that none can make Bush and his advisors understand that. Standing on the possibility of being reelected, Bush under compulsions of domestic politics is not ready to retract from the path of the U.S. jingoism. It seems that even the Democrats would not dare to suddenly get down from the back of the tiger that he has let out of the cage....  Besides, the Republicans' stand on the issues relating to Afghanistan, Israel or Iraq is not so opposite to that of the Democrats....  If freedom, democracy and all other principles pertaining to human rights get redundant to the attitude of forcibly occupying another country then its consequence is bound to invoke intense darkness. Even many distinguished Americans have already cautioned that Iraq is going to become the 21st century's Vietnam to America. Bush did not pay heed to it. Is he  eager to sink America into the quicksand of yet another Vietnam?"  


"Iraq, Still Churning"


The nationalist Hindustan Times editorialized (4/2):  "The mighty Euphrates seemed to flow red on Wednesday....  The Iraq situation is far more complicated, as is clear from the admission of U.S. military officials that there is now an average of 30 attacks daily against coalition forces--with the casualty figure even higher for Iraqis who help U.S.-led authorities.  Such visceral hatred for Americans as poured forth in Fallujah can only indicate two things.  One, that many Iraqi cities remain as dangerous as they were more than a year ago when U.S. troops captured Baghdad.  And two, the dramatic upsurge in violence throughout the Sunni heartland in recent months gives the lie to Pentagon generals' claims that they are close to defeating the insurgency led by members of the toppled Saddam Hussein regime.  The arrest of militants carrying Lashkar-e-Tayyeba ID cards in Baghdad the other day suggests an influx of foreign fighters from Muslim countries across West Asia, Asia and Africa into Iraq.  If these extremists succeed in exploiting the bonds that Iraqi nationalism shares with Arab sensibility, it could fuel a war of national resistance that would be still harder for the U.S. to contain, leave alone defeat."


"The Iraqi Rebuff" 


The Guwahati-based English-language centrist Assam Tribune commented (4/1):  "The ground reality in Iraq has been giving resolute rebuff to the U.S. administration's policy of aggression and affront.  The calculations of the U.S. administration have proved hopelessly wrong by the brave people of Iraq who have distinguished themselves for their courage and self-respect.  Washington bosses were under the impression or rather the illusion, that the Iraqis sharply divided on denominational differences...would fall before American aggressors like a house of cards. But this has not happened clearly demonstrating that the brave Iraqis as descendants of the millennia-old civilization of Tigris and Euphrates rivers have the inner strength and vitality to overcome problems arisen from political vicissitudes and economic difficulties....  The U.S. and its allies miscalculated that any armed intervention or aggression would prove disastrous for the regime of Saddam Hussein....  The U.S. administration's practice of riding roughshod over patriotic sentiments of people has, instead of weakening the Iraqi cause, has strengthened it....  The differences in perceptions and approaches among major Western powers have become too pronounced to be ignored.  The U.S. administration can ill afford to ignore these factors because of its great military and economic strength. There is a limit to the extent of such strength as in international relations.  The strong arm method cannot be used for long without proving counter productive."


BANGLADESH:  "The Attrition In Iraq"


The independent English-language New Age asserted (4/2):  "Iraqi insurgents have now changed tack and are prepared to strike at any western target they have in sight....  As for the U.S.-constituted Iraq governing council, it should be obvious to everyone that it not only does not exercise any authority but also runs the risk every day of coming under assault from the Iraqi resistance.  The problem is particularly grating for the American President, who must somehow find a way of putting a lid on Iraq before the November election.  The belated move by the White House to permit the national security advisor, Condoleezza Rice, to testify in public is an instance of the worries that have seeped into the administration on Iraq and its consequences for the President."




NIGERIA:  "Teleguided Democracy"


Tajudeen Thani observed in the Lagos-based independent Comet (4/4):  "Considering the political situation of the West, one finds it difficult not to conclude that Bush is not a true expression of the rascality of western democracy....  Now Washington's plan in Iraq is to impose an American lapdog in power.  This is the more reason why U.S. does not want an election to usher in a new Iraqi government.  Iraqis have read through this poli-trick, and have constantly taken to the streets in tens of thousands to protest that American cunning.  America wants a transition government that will teleguide, in an American fashion, the appointment process an errand boy as the president, without election....  Prophet Bush is not interested in a truly representative government in Iraq."  


"Human Calamity In Iraq"


Sunny Igboanugo commented in Lagos-based Daily Independent (4/2):  "Something must certainly give in the current gory engagement going on in Iraq.   The world certainly cannot continue to be assaulted with the unspeakable picture of what has been happening in that country....  How much the Americans can carry through what they said they are determined to do against a seemingly more determined resolve of the Iraqis to thwart every effort to cage them, is left to be seen....  But as the struggle continues, what seems to be more worrisome is the goriness of the entire conflict.  The whole thing regrettably seems to be tapering gradually and dangerously towards another human calamity while the world is watching."




CANADA:  "The Somalia Syndrome"


Editorialist Mario Roy wrote in the liberal La Presse (4/2): "This time, the Americans cannot abandon Iraq. According to all the polls conducted over there, the last thing even Iraqis in the street, who hate them with gusto, want to see is the immediate departure of the Americans. The situation cannot be compared to the Vietnamese quagmire, a legacy of European colonialism; nor to the Iranian confrontation, a direct product of Islamist fascism; nor to the Somali disaster where the U.S. was acting on humanitarian grounds. No, the Iraqi imbroglio is largely the product of their actions and their lack of foresight. Thus it is politically and morally impossible for Washington to abdicate, regardless of the intensity of the local resentment."


"U.S And Britain Must Stand Fast" 


The conservative Montreal Gazette editorialized (4/2):  "Nobody should think the bombings and shootings are the voice of the people of Iraq. We have a more credible measure of that, in a survey conducted in December....  The results indicated 53.3 per cent of Iraqis want U.S. and allied troops to remain until there is a functioning Iraqi government; only 15.1 per cent say ‘troops out now.’ And 78 per cent said assaults on foreign troops are unacceptable. For attacks on Iraqi police, that figure was 96.6 per cent. The attacks in Iraq are attacks on the future. With steadily-better intelligence, growing experience and local allies, the U.S. and British governments can weather this testing time. The people of Iraq, who endured Saddam for so many years, now need--and want--their liberators to show fortitude and determination."


"Fallout From Fallujah"


The leading Globe And Mail opined (4/1):  "Call it the Somalia effect. When 18 U.S. soldiers were killed on one day in Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1993, the United States began making plans to pull its forces out. Osama bin Laden...later said the Somalia pullout persuaded him that the United States was a paper tiger that would fold up under attack.  Now the U.S.  and its allies are again under attack in a harsh foreign land. The barbarous assault on four civilian contractors in the Iraqi city of Fallujah are a reminder, once again, of what sort of enemy the U.S.-led coalition is up against as it attempts to rebuild and revive that shattered country. The burned bodies of the slain contractors, killed in their cars, were mutilated, pulled through the streets and hung from a bridge as a group of locals cheered in triumph.  The attack carried heavy echoes of that day in Somalia....  After seeing the horrific images from Fallujah, Americans will decide that the U.S. has no business in a far-off country where it is not wanted.  That would be a tragic mistake. The thugs who attacked these innocent contractors and disfigured their corpses are in no way representative of the Iraqi people, most of whom will be as horrified as Americans at what happened. The attack took place in the home region of Saddam Hussein, which resents his overthrow and the U.S.-led occupation. Even there, the insurgents are a vicious minority, made up, it seems, of former regime elements, perhaps allied with foreign terrorists. They seek to restore his regime by putting the Americans to flight.  Elsewhere in the country, most people are happy to see the regime gone....  That doesn't mean the Americans are popular. Many Iraqis blame them for failing to restore public services and provide a safe environment....  Having deposed the old regime, the occupiers have an obligation to usher Iraq safely into a better future. That means handing formal sovereignty back to the Iraqis...and helping its new, provisional government prepare for elections and the drafting of a new constitution. For the Americans to cut and run now, as they did a decade ago in Somalia, would be a disaster for the Iraqi people, the region and the world.  al-Qaida and other like groups would reach the same conclusion they did after Somalia: that the West was weak, vulnerable and ripe for attack. For that reason, it is vital for the U.S. and its allies to stay. No matter how searing the images from Fallujah, they must finish what they started."


"An Unjustifiable Atrocity In Iraq"


An editorial in the nationalist Ottawa Citizen asserted (4/1):  "Actually 'killed' is too weak a word to describe the action of the murderous mob that desecrated the dead men's bodies.  The killers deserve no sympathy or understanding but rather the condemnation of all peace-loving people....  Not satisfied with murder, some people in the crowd dragged the bodies from the burned cars and mutilated them.... THen some people hacked the bodies to pieces and hung the remains from the bridge.  Footage of a similar incident in 1993...may have influenced the U.S. decision to pull out of Somalia.  But the U.S. government says yesterday's atrocity in Falluja will not force it out of Iraq.  Even Iraqis who oppose the U.S.  occupation of Iraq must condemn this violence.  So must everyone, on all sides of the issue.  No matter how angry people are at events in their country, there is no justification for this kind of mob violence which can only create more suffering for Iraqis."


ARGENTINA:  "In the Opposite Direction"


Paula Lugones, leading Clarin international columnist, wrote (4/6): "In January, 63% of the Americans believed that U.S. troops had to continue in Iraq until a stable government was created. According to a Pew Research Center survey - the first one after the Fallujah massacre and mutilation of U.S. contract personnel -- that percentage dropped to 50%. Moreover, 44% believe the U.S. should bring its soldiers home as soon as possible, precisely when the scenario has turned so violent in Iraq that - instead of a withdrawal--the White House is analyzing the deployment of more troops in the Gulf. Bush said he won't 'order a return'. But reality--going in the opposite direction of Washington's policies and desires--will undoubtedly play a dramatic role in November's elections."


"When Victims Are No Longer Statistics"


Jorge Rosales, daily-of-record La Nacion Washington-based correspondent, wrote (4/2): "Seven months away from the presidential elections, the impact on the election campaign of the brutal images of the Fallujah massacre are uncertain. The clear issue is that if this escalation of violence in Iraq continues, the most damaged person will be President Bush, who's fighting for his re-election.  Yesterday, the American people were shocked by the mixture of horror and rage sparked by the images of the four civilians -- murdered, burnt and mutilated -- that were exhibited like a trophy by a mob down the streets of Fallujah..... Bush's strategy for his election campaign is fundamentally based on his role as 'President at war' and on the progress achieved in Iraq. But news from that country shows chaos, insecurity and growing violence."


"U.S. Shocked by Photos of Mutilated Corpses"


Ana Baron, leading Clarin Washington-based correspondent, observed (4/2): "The question everyone asked oneself yesterday is whether those images will serve the ones who are in favor of the war or whether they'll favor those who are against it. Also, whether the photos will have a big enough impact so as to result in the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. The White House showed more determination than ever. 'We won't change our policy,' said Scott McLellan, Bush's spokesperson. 'We won't be intimidated.'  Although the terrible photos reminded people of the 1993 images of a U.S. soldier being dragged down the streets of Mogadishu, in Somalia, nobody expected yesterday that those of Iraq would have the same effect (the withdrawal of troops from the area.)'The difference is that, right now, those who are against war in Iraq aren't very sure whether the best thing to do today is pull the troops out of Iraq,' said Judith Nowak, a social psychologist who's following public opinion on Iraq very closely."


"Paying Attention"


Paula Lugones (4/2) "Before, no one had seen photos of dead soldiers because the media self-censored them - in good taste - or yielding to government pressures. But yesterday, they jumped the fence and displayed the pictures of horror. They may have understood that those gory images deserve to be seen because, as Susan Sontag says, they are an invitation to pay attention, reflect, and react.'"


"In View Of The Ghost Of A New Somalia"


Juan Castro Olivera, international columnist for daily-of-record La Nacion, observed (4/1):  "The strength of media images in many cases compels governments to make decisions, but it also makes them backtrack.  This is the lesson left of Somalia for the U.S. military....  For the U.S. military, Somalia left a clear lesson:  in the event of future conflicts, the U.S. should only act along with the UN and not alone in the role of the world's police force.  In Iraq, Bush forgot this lesson."


BRAZIL:  "Another Front"


Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo editorialized (4/6): "The occupation troops in Iraq now also have to deal with the revolt of a Shiite radical group.  The new front is a not an encouraging scenario for president George W. Bush's re-election plans.... By adopting the same methods Israel has used against the Palestinians, the U.S. has threatened to retaliate for the Fallujah massacre.... The result of all this is a major deterioration of security in Iraq.... The main Shiite leaders approved Saddam Hussein's overthrow.... But the situation may be changing after the American administration ordered the closing of a newspaper linked to Ayatollah Muqtada al Sadr, who leads a fanatical minority.... What favors Bush is the fact that Iraq is not a topic that mobilizes U.S. voters, who are more concerned with the economy and unemployment. It is clear, however, that a disturbing environment in Iraq may be used against him."


"Bad Moment"


Center-right O Globo stated (4/4):  "The intervention in Iraq has never been in such a sensitive political moment.  A few days ago, Falluja gained a top place in what the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges called the ‘Universal History of Infamy':  A crowd slaughtered 4 American civilians in the most bestial demonstration of anti-Americanism ever registered in Iraq since U.S. troops entered and overthrew Saddam Hussein.  As a demonstration of resistance to the occupation, the massacre in Falluja is unmistakable evidence that there is still a long way to go, also militarily, before the country is stabilized.  And as an expression of rejecting the invader, it shows how remote is the possibility of the Iraqi people seeing a force of the good in the American intervention."


"Effects Of The Massacre"


Liberal Folha de S. Paulo editorialized (4/2): "The immediate consequence of the barbaric murdering of four American civilians in Fallujah will affect the contractors operating in Iraq's reconstruction. It is very unlikely that the firms that are already in Iraq will leave the nation as a result of the atrocities, but it is certain that other companies will think twice before signing contracts to work there.... The principal doubt, however, is how the U.S. public opinion will react....  Mutilated corpses dragged by Iraqis have evoked the humanitarian intervention in Somalia. Obviously, Iraq is not Somalia. Bush will not withdraw the troops because of the episode. The most likely is that he will organize punitive missions against those really or supposedly responsible. If scenes like those happen again, one should not discard the scenario of an increasing public opinion pressure forcing Bush to leave Iraq. Such discontent may be fatal in an electoral year. There is the risk that these atrocities will become a pattern. Radical groups carrying out actions against the occupation will soon find out the power that images can produce not only on the U.S. public opinion, but also on the so-called Arab masses, which even while condemning the murdering also applaud the humiliation imposed on the invaders."


CHILE:  "Objectives Of The Iraqi Resistance"


Libardo Buitrago commented on private, conservative Santiago-based television network Mega (4/1):  "What occurred in Fallujah is the Iraqi resistance's cruel and bloody revenge, which has two objectives: to demoralize U.S. troops and to warn those countries with soldiers and civilians in Iraq that they are also targets of their terrorist acts....  U.S. broadcasters have not aired the savage images because of the impact they may have on the electoral process....  Ten years ago a similar event occurred in Mogadishu and U.S. television networks aired the images.  That horror prompted the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Somalia....  The horrendous images have reached Spain, Poland, and Italy who also have personnel in Iraq, and are already feeling the horror that could prompt them to leave the U.S. alone in Iraq...which is what Saddam Hussein's followers seek."


NICARAGUA:  "Death And Liberty In Iraq"


Center-right La Prensa editorialized (4/3): "When one sees such terrible scenes like the one of an Iraqi mob tearing the corpses of four U.S. men apart in Fallujah, one wonders if countries like Iraq have any capacity to live in liberty and democracy, or if, for some unknown reason, their destiny is to be eternally subjected to dictators and tyrants.... One thing is to resist a foreign occupation, fighting directly and bravely against the occupying military forces, and another, and repulsive at that, is to murder innocent people by way of cowardly terrorist attacks, or murdering foreign unarmed civilians. And, worse than that, is the unheard of savage action seen in Fallujah last Tuesday.... In any case, the best the U.S. can do is to leave Iraq, the sooner the better, for everyone else's sake, and, their own. The U.S. invaded Iraq and overthrew Saddam Hussein to teach the Islamic terrorists who attacked New York and Washington (undoubtedly with the support of, or at least the consent of, the Iraqi tyranny) a lesson....  But once Saddam's regime is gone, if the Iraqis want to live in liberty, or, be subjected again, it is exclusively a matter of their own."




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