May 5, 2004
IRAQ PRISONER ABUSE DRAWS GLOBAL MEDIA OUTRAGE
** World media condemn "sadistic abuse" at Abu Ghraib;
call torture a "major defeat" for U.S.
** Such "barbaric idiocy" will recruit more terrorists
and inflame "intense anger" against West.
** Euros want "swift punishment" for the guilty; others
say court martial "doesn't go far enough."
** Arabs, Muslims insist torture was not isolated and demand U.S.
be tried for war crimes.
'Systematic torture' of POWs leaves U.S.-UK authority 'utterly,
shamefully destroyed'-- The editorial consensus worldwide held U.S. and UK forces
guilty of "sadistic abuse" of "harmless prisoners," thus
destroying the Coalition's "small dose of moral legitimacy" and any
remaining chance of winning hearts and minds.
Writers across the spectrum denounced the acts as "shocking and
repulsive" and "beyond shame."
Capturing a prevailing sentiment, India's nationalist Hindustan Times
judged: "America may have just lost its moral high ground in the
much-touted fight between the forces of good and evil." Though the "scale and intensity" do
not compare with Saddam's brutality, the idea in Iraq was "never to
replace one depravity with another," one South African editor
averred. Even stalwart supporters of the
Iraq war were outraged by the "lamentable failure of leadership and
discipline," and shared the consternation of London's Daily Telegraph
that: "If there were any Iraqis who believed the coalition's claim that
they were benign liberators, there won't be many now."
'Confirms all Arab cliches of a decadent godless West' and will
fuel 'cycle of hate'-- Western observers
worried that the images of tortured POWs would "fan the fires of
anti-American hate in the Arab world," declaring those responsible
"have guaranteed thousands of new recruits" for al-Qaida and other
Islamic extremist groups. The disclosure
of the "sadistic practices" was, as Oslo's social-democratic Dagsavisen
put it, "a gift to the international enemies of the U.S." Papers in Asia and the developing world
warned that those countries claiming "to be the abode of civilization and
democracy" would pay for their "systematic" and "barbaric
treatment." Zimbabwe's independent Sunday
Mirror was not alone in saying the "abusive actions hand Islamic
extremist terrorist groups such as UBL's...network extra campaign cards in
their bid for more recruits and a Jihad on the West." Chiding the "sole superpower" for
failing to live up to its world status, a moderate South Korean paper advised:
"Never forget it was the Roman Empire itself that caused its doom, not
'Leading democracies' deserve 'global condemnation'-- Commentators in all regions judged the incident
more serious than a handful of "rogue" cases committed by "a few
misguided soldiers acting under stress."
They viewed the "excesses" in Abu Ghraib as symptomatic of
"serious flaws in the system," a violation of the Geneva Convention
and evidence that "America does not fully abide by the law" in the
war on terror. "It's not simply a
case of a few bad apples," as South Africa's liberal This Day put
it, "but the way occupation troops see themselves: as conquerors,
justified in their actions against lesser beings." Most joined the conservative Australian
in calling for "rapid and exemplary punishment," not only for the
"torturers" but also for the "higher-ups who let it all
happen." While Italy's center-right
Il-Giornale implored "the great American nation" to show a
"clear and strong response to justice," a Spanish skeptic contended
that the transparency required of Washington and London "won't
happen." Others stressed the need
for "a thorough probe" into the role not only of the corporate
security "mercenaries" but also of U.S. military intelligence and the
'Barbaric and inhumane' treatment represents not a few, but
'America as a whole'-- Arab and Muslim writers
portrayed the Abu Ghraib incident as evidence that the U.S. was "nurturing
a sense of revenge" and seeking to humiliate the Arab world. None believed the cases were "aberrant
or isolated"; they were "a crime against humanity" and a
reflection of "true American intentions in Iraq." Egypt's pro-government Al-Ahram
charged the U.S. with "a total disregard for international law and the
Geneva Convention," while a conservative Saudi daily compared the U.S and
UK "to Stalin, Nazism, and other war criminals." Editorials in Jordan and Syria accused the
U.S. of "hideous crimes for sheer entertainment" and of seeking to
"suppress" the Iraqi people "no matter what." Demanding an international investigation, the
pro-government Yemen Times charged "the gross misconduct in Abu
Ghreib is not the exception but the rule in all 'coalition' prison camps." Most joined the West Bank's independent Al-Ayyam
in deriding Washington's "recipe for democracy" and a Greater Middle
East, calling the abuse part of "a new formula to guarantee U.S. control
over the region and a way to keep all Arab regimes humiliated and
subjugated...with no right to argue."
In Turkey, mass-appeal Sabah likewise denounced the acts as
"a manifestation of hypocrisy in the American democracy
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 is based on
128 editorials from 44 countries, May 1-5.
BRITAIN: "I Saw Our
Failure Through The Bars Of Abu Ghraib"
Columnist Simon Jenkins commented in the conservative Times
(5/5): "As for those running the
prisons, I do not see them as 'a few bad apples'. They are victims of the shambles to which
America and Britain have reduced a country they claim to have liberated. After 14 months there is no room for
excuses. Liberation has been followed by
a new bondage, that of individual insecurity, public anarchy and, in much of
the country, a looming clerical totalitarianism."
"Ordinary, Decent Soldiers Doing A Good Job In A Dangerous
Columnist Patrick Bishop commented in the conservative Daily
Telegraph stated (5/5):
"Whether the pictures [of British troops allegedly abusing Iraqi
prisoners] are fake or genuine, the damage is done. No denial or contrary evidence will be enough
to persuade the Iraqis or the wider Arab world that our troops are not engaged
in routine brutality. The 10
investigations launched into separate allegations of ill-treatment of prisoners
in Iraq show that we have nothing to be complacent about."
"Why Those Pictures Had To Be Shown"
The tabloid Daily Mirror took this view (Internet version,
5/4): "The storm over the Mirror's
pictures showing an Iraqi prisoner being beaten by British soldiers is
understandable. Just as national pride
swells when our forces perform great acts of heroism, so we feel badly let down
when they act like this. The Mirror has
no doubt that the photographs are genuine and the story they tell as real as it
is horrifying. Others, with their own
vested interests, are determined that they are cruel fakes. The Ministry of Defense has taken a neutral
position, as is right and proper while its investigation continues,
dissociating itself from the regimental colonel who has been denigrating the
Mirror story. But one absolutely vital
point must not be lost in the welter of nit-picking and argument. And that is that this incident is only one of
a series being investigated into rogue elements in the Queen's Lancashire
Regiment. Those who say the Mirror has
inflamed the situation in Basra are talking nonsense. Our publication of the photos has explained
why tensions there are running so high and our troops facing such danger. This incident did happen. It appears to have been one of several
carried out by men who, in the words of Sir Michael Jackson, are not fit to
wear the Queen's uniform. It is not in
the interests of this country, the army, the regiment or other newspapers to
say this is not a true and proper cause for concern and investigation."
"The Images That Shame Us All"
The center-left Observer observed (5/2): “Pictures of torture and abuse of prisoners,
such as those that emerged last week, are not only deeply shocking, their
incendiary nature seriously imperials hopes of peace in the region.... But outrage, though clearly and promptly
expressed, is not enough. We hope that
it speaks of a genuine sense of anger and a determination to conduct a vigorous
investigation and to adhere rigorously to rules of imprisonment and
interrogation in future.”
"The Electrodes’ Switch Is In Washington"
Henry Porter wrote in the center left Independent
(5/2): “The Americans have been
negligent in the extreme to allow this situation. Try as we might to forget these episodes, we
can be sure that they will live on in Arab minds for a generation. Al-Qaida and Hamas could not have designed a
better recruiting poster. The Abu Ghraib
portfolio is shocking, but not at base so surprising. Since the 'war on terror' was inaugurated...
the U.S. has permitted itself a much more relaxed interpretation of civil
liberties.... It is clear that if the
U.S. is prepared to ignore the liberties defined in the Bill of Rights of its
own citizens, it doesn't require special deliberation before foreigners are
abused on their own soil by U.S. Army personnel and their contracted thugs.... There are grounds to believe that the U.S.
has used a number of proxy nations to go the whole way with terrorist suspects.
Torturers employed by these nations--often Arab freelancers--are supplied with
questions by U.S. terrorist hunters in the hope of gaining what are eerily
known as ‘extreme renditions.' The
electrodes may not be applied by U.S. citizens; the rubber truncheons may not
be wielded by 'our boys', but there is a sufficient dialogue between the
torturer and the terrorist hunter for us to attribute responsibility for
unthinkable suffering to U.S.policies....
George Bush can now respond only by formally renouncing all such
practices and more important, the connection with Middle Eastern states that
have tortured on behalf of the world’s only superpower.”
"The Propaganda War"
The conservative Scotsman of Edinburgh editorialized
(Internet version, 5/4): "The last
week has seen a difficult situation in the Middle East get worse rather than
better. The bottom line is that America
and Britain are losing the propaganda war in Iraq--and that is making it
increasingly difficult to ensure that an Iraqi provisional government can take
over on 30 June.... Newspapers and
television across the Arab world have assumed the worst [about the abuse of
prisoners].... It would be easy to
panic, but that would be an indulgence.
Now is the time for cool heads.
The Iraq problem is resolvable by doing exactly what the coalition went
to Baghdad to accomplish--giving ordinary Iraqis their independence through
free elections. Showing democracy in the
flesh is the way to dispel the exaggerations in parts of the Arab press
regarding Western intentions. In tandem
with elections in Iraq has to come some demonstration that the Israel-Palestine
road map can be implemented.... What is
apparent is that in the desperate prevailing situation in Iraq and the Middle
East, anything which prioritises greater democracy there must be championed
with vigor. The coalition is losing the
PR battle and it would be easy in the circumstances for the allies to give up
and retreat from the region. But having
undertaken regime change in Iraq, both have a duty to stick out the grim months
ahead and undertake fresh attempts to secure a peace settlement in the Middle
"Coalition Comrades Will Pay In Blood For This Barbaric
Former SAS officer Andy McNab commented in the conservative Daily
Telegraph (Internet version, 5/2):
"In a properly run army...an effective chain of command is
precisely what prevents soldiers' baser instincts from running riot. That is the whole point of military
discipline: to ensure that soldiers who
are placed in situations that generate extreme emotions never let those
emotions take them over.... The pictures
shown on television...demonstrate a lamentable failure of discipline and
leadership within at least one unit of the U.S. Army. If the latest allegations
against the British soldiers also prove to be true, they will indicate that
there are parts of the British Army which suffer from the same failing.... That individual soldiers have been allowed to
behave in so disgraceful a fashion in Iraq shows that some officers have lost
control of their own troops. There must
be swift, and very severe, punishment for that failure. And it should not just be the lowly ranks
pictured participating in the torture who are punished. There must be more than a mild reprimand for
the senior officers who are supposed to ensure that nothing of this kind ever
takes place.... Still, even severe
punishment publicly meted out to those responsible would not be able to undo
the damage done by the pictures.... The
photographs of the Americans taunting and insulting their Iraqi
prisoners...will have convinced thousands of Iraqis that the Americans are just
as bad as Saddam's torturers. If there
were any Iraqis who believed the coalition's claim that they were benign
liberators, there won't be many now. The
soldiers responsible for the abuse have guaranteed thousands of new recruits to
the organisations such as al-Qaida which want to kill as many coalition troops
in Iraq as possible. The images of
torture they have created will have stiffened the resolve of the Iraqi
militants and encourage those Iraqis who were wavering to join the resistance
against the coalition."
"Shame On Them"
The conservative Times had this view (5/2): “It is likely that only a tiny minority of
soldiers is involved, although the estimated 20,000 U.S. ex-military personnel
in Iraq may be a law unto themselves.
The propaganda value of these revelations to the coalition’s enemies is
huge. Winning the peace means
recapturing the moral high ground. That
task is more urgent now than at any time since the invasion."
FRANCE: "And Now,
Bruno Frappat opined in Catholic La Croix (5/5): “In this ghastly affair, the American
president has at least the merit of having condemned the abject conduct as soon
as it was made public. He did not try to
find excuses for the guilty soldiers; he did not deny the facts or hide behind
censorship. We must also give credit to
America’s democratic society, which allows these facts to be revealed and
denounced, precisely because the U.S. is a democracy.... The horrible pictures of humiliated Iraqis by
Americans being shown around the world have devastating effects not only for
the guilty parties and the victims. They
accentuate the cycle of hate and humiliation.
This is the result of this war, which started in the name of freedom,
and is ending on a note of dishonor and bestiality.”
"Misuse Of Power"
Gerard Dupuy commented in left-of-center Liberation
(5/5): “President Bush’s armed forces
have just shot themselves in the foot.
The extreme reactions in the Arab world illustrate how high Arab rancor
is running, a rancor that has been accumulating and that was waiting for a
suitable pretext to express itself....
For Washington, the political damage will be immense.... In an indirect fashion, this pitiful episode
of Iraq’s occupation will weigh in on the international alliance, which
President Bush has tried to build and which is flagging.... His friends were already on the defensive.... For his adversaries these pictures are a godsend
because they emphasize America’s misuse of power.... Just when the Americans are asking for a
broader international participation in Iraq, the scandal will carry a high
price. Once again, President Bush’s team
is paying for its militarist conception of politics.... Since yesterday, the Bush administration has
been working on damage control, but too late.
In the battle for public opinion, it has already lost one more skirmish. And there is no one else to blame for it.”
"Torture In Iraq"
Left-of-center Le Monde editorialized (5/4): “We cannot minimize the impact these
photographs will have on the streets of Arab countries.... Neither can we point a finger only at the
coalition soldiers, because the Iraqi opponents have made wide use of blind
terror. Torture, unfortunately, is a
by-product of conflicts and repression.
No country is blameless, including France.... Even if the culprits are adequately and
rapidly punished, this could prove insufficient to quell the hostility of the
Iraqis.... President Bush’s loss of
prestige is also serious: an
administration wanting to give lessons is now hoisted by its own
petard.... It is crucial for the
coalition’s image and effectiveness that they respect the Geneva Convention, in
Iraq and in Guantanamo. This may not be
enough to right all wrongs. America’s
honor depends on Washington’s swift punishment of the guilty individuals and on
a return to the international laws that govern armed conflicts. Otherwise how can we convince the Iraqis and
the Muslims--if this is still possible--of Washington’s good intentions? And how can other European countries be
convinced to take part in the peace process in Iraq under U.S. command?”
Patrick Sabatier wrote in left-of-center Liberation
(5/4): “One can lose a war in places
other than battlegrounds. The torture
that took place in the Abu Gharib prison is a major defeat for the U.S. The photographs fan the fires of
anti-American hate in the Arab world.
Elsewhere they trigger reactions of disgust, and take away from the
coalition’s small dose of moral legitimacy, gained by toppling Saddam’s
regime.... But the fact is that war is
hell. It can reveal the sleeping
bestiality that lies in all who are forced to go to war. Democracies which go to war must impose on
their men and women a certain discipline so that they can fight the demons that
haunt all battlegrounds.... And their
leaders must go to war only when absolutely necessary.... Responsibility lies also with President Bush,
who sent men into a war without weighing the consequences.”
"In Iraq, The Civilized Are Now Reverting To Torture…"
Dominique Bromberger commented on state-run France Inter radio
(5/3): “On either side of the Atlantic
military officials are trying to minimize the magnitude of the
phenomenon.... What happened behind the
walls of the prison is all the more shocking because in Saddam’s times his men
used the same interrogation techniques, in the same prison, albeit more
severely.... The troubling fact that
emerges from the incident is that no one is immune from such behavior.... Man or woman, rich or poor, civilian or
military.... But we the French cannot
point a finger at anyone after the tortures that took place in Algeria.... It is also impossible to forget that it was
Germany, the land of philosophers and musicians, that proceeded with the worst
massacre that humanity has ever known....
Civilization is but a superficial varnish that cracks under the
slightest pressure. Especially when we
are not prepared for what awaits us. For
the GIs, the war was no more than a video game where blood was spilled at a
distance through the use of intelligent weapons. When they were faced with reality and its
acts of barbarianism, some jumped in a fit of rage, and later with
pleasure.... This type of behavior is
not all that surprising, even if we tend to forget it.”
GERMANY: "Out Of
Frank Herold remarked in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung
(5/5): "Washington claimed to oust
an inhuman dictator to bring democracy, human rights and the rule of law to
Iraq, but at the latest now, this allegation has lost [the U.S.] any
credibility in the Arab world. The
hatred of the western leading power continues to grow. But the events are also dangerous for
Washington for a different reason. At
issue are not the crimes of a few perverse individuals, as the Pentagon wants
to make us believe.... The fighters
against terror follow the example of their superiors: they do not feel bound by rules and get out
of control. Bush seems to recognize
this, since he has promised a tough prosecution of the criminals...but it is
not enough to simply punish the torturers.
Human Rights Watch...demanded regular access for independent observers
to the prisons. This is the crucial
point: if the United States wants to
regain its credibility, it should no longer elude international control."
Business daily Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg
judged (5/4): "All indications are
that this scandal cannot be minimized that easily. In the fight against terrorists and Iraqi
resistance groups, moral and legal standards have begun to slip. This is why far-reaching consequences must
now be taken by the military, the executive in the United States but also by
other democracies.... The excesses from
Abu Ghraib are not an accidental lack of discipline of a few GIs under
stress. They point to serious flaws in
the system: mistakable and ambiguous
signals of the leadership, insufficient controls, a total lack of an awareness
of being wrong. The argument that this
is a very perfidious opponent and the incidents are harmless compared to
terrorist atrocities does not count. If
the previous legal means in the fight against violence do not suffice, then
there is only one reliable answer: new
limits must be discussed in public and then be binding for everyone. Those who allow or even promote intelligence
services and special units to take the law into their own hands will in the end
jeopardize the credibility and the reputation of the rule of law--like now in
"The President And His Soldiers"
Michael Streck editorialized in leftist die tageszeitung of
Berlin (5/4): "The entire incident
could have easily be resolved if the mistreatments could be understood as
individual cases committed by a few misguided soldiers acting under
stress. But all of a sudden the armed
forces as an institution are brought into discredit, since reserve soldiers
allegedly acted on orders of their officers to force prisoners to
testify.... The incidents foster growing
unease at this war, and if U.S. media complain that the U.S. soldiers do not
know the Geneva Convention...then this points to the core of the problem: America does not fully abide by the law in
its war on terror. This is why the lack
of inhibition in Abu Ghraib is symptomatic.
In Guantánamo, too, prisoners are unable to enjoy basic rights.... Piece by piece, the United States is giving
up the rule of law. If President Bush is
an ideal for his soldiers, then only in a negative sense."
Center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine editorialized
(5/4): "Such pictures of the abuse
of Iraqi prisoners will outrage the people everywhere but the effect will not
be the same everywhere. It is very
likely that they will not increase resistance to the United States in the
Islamic world [and]....only confirm the existing perception pattern in the
region. The sympathies which America
enjoyed in the region following the 9/11 attacks have been forfeited by the
Bush administration with its Iraq policy.
The pictures will have a sustainable effect in Europe and America
itself. Many people are now referring to
My Lai in Vietnam...but whether this comparison is true...will depend on
"Torturers And Their Master"
Stefan Kornelius opined in an editorial in center-left Sueddeutsche
Zeitung of Munich (5/4): "The
U.S. government pretends that this is not its business...that the incident is
an indiscretion of a few individuals.
The U.S. government is wrong--and offers once again an example of its
perception of the world, which no longer fits the perception of the rest of the
world.... The U.S. government refers to
the military hierarchy and says that such things happen in a war. This is the perception from Washington--and
it is cynically ignorant. The Pentagon
has known for months that people were tortured--and did everything to keep the
facts secret. The military ignored that
its own intelligence services had become independent and have become a threat
for the values which America pretends to export to the world. An excess of this symbolic extent requires
more than a punishment in the military system, which in reality protects its
members. It is not enough to put the
torturers and their instructors on trial.
Such a symbolic crime can be balanced only with a political
sacrifice. It requires the resignation
of the secretary responsible. This is
the only chance to convey to the Iraqis the meaning of democratic values."
"The Hearts Of the Boys"
Mariam Lau opined in an editorial in right-of-center Die Welt
of Berlin (5/4): "General Taguba's
report...indicates that we have to deal with a strategy in the war on terror
that has also been reported from Afghanistan to Guantánamo. It may be true or not, but it is clear that
we have again to deal with another effect of Secretary Rumsfeld's
strategy. He wanted to tell the military
and the State Department how quickly and with how few soldiers he would be able
to put the old regime to flight. If he
had listened to his supreme commander instead of exposing him to ridicule, if
he had not ignored the warnings of the post-war chaos and sent enough political
advisors, judges and lawyers, he would not have to rely on 20,000 mercenaries
to support his forces and who are not bound by any code of law. But the pictures of smirking boys and girls
from Virginia also signal that the hearts and minds of ordinary Americans were
not won for the mission in Iraq. This
impression is also supported by the fact that the government does not want to
show the pictures of coffins draped with the Stars and Stripes to the relatives
of fallen soldiers.... It is easy to
guess what effect the pictures will have in the hearts of Arab observers.... It is certainly right that such things happen
in a war, but in a campaign that his waged in the name of democracy such
pictures are fatal."
Dietmar Ostermann opined in an editorial in left-of-center Frankfurter
Rundschau (5/3): "The more
details on the torture of POWs are coming to the fore, the greater the
suspicion that more is behind the incorrect conduct of a few U.S. and probably
also British soldiers. On the one hand,
there were too many incidents that can no longer be minimized as individual
cases. On the other hand, the question
must be raised which role superiors and above all the responsible intelligence
services played.... And finally, we must
also wonder who is politically responsible.
With respect to the treatment of prisoners, the Bush administration has
ignored international rights...right from the start in the 'war against
terror.'... Those who create a climate
with 'soft' torture like endless interrogations and deprivation of sleep in
which the human dignity of an enemy counts less than its possible use for the
intelligence services, should not be surprised at sadistic excesses and at a
loss of all inhibitions if soldiers still think they served their country when
they torture prisoners. President Bush
may be nauseated at the pictures of torture.
But with the tough punishment he promised, he will not resolve the
devastating loss of image."
Georg Gafron editorialized in mass-circulation, right-of-center
tabloid Bild-Zeitung of Hamburg (5/3):
"Shocking and repulsive.
These are the only words that come to our minds when watching the
pictures of tortured Iraqis. The
perpetrators were obviously Americans and British. There is no apology for the crime of abuse of
prisoners. But it would be wrong to even
equate the fatal activities of individual soldiers with the crimes of Saddam's
regime. Those who easily do this or do
this with malicious intentions are trying to attack the entire U.S. policy in
Iraq by referring to the incorrect conduct of a few individuals. During times of war, the low instincts of
some have always come to the fore....
After a orderly trial before a military tribunal, the perpetrators will
have to atone for their crimes, since democrats do not tolerate such a
behavior. Unlike to Saddam's times, when
torture, rape, and murder were daily activities of the state."
"The Honor Of The Victims"
Caroline Fetscher opined in an editorial in centrist Der
Tagesspiegel of Berlin (5/2):
"In all debates over the Iraq war--over oil interests, WMD, lies
and mistakes in the post-war planning--human rights were the lowest common
denominator. Saddam's ouster ended a
regime of terror and state-approved torture.
This was the fortunate message in times of distress; and now the
pictures of liberators how they grinningly enjoy the torture of the
defenseless. Will they mean the end of
all arguments in this military intervention?
Or should we take a more balanced view?
It was only a few soldiers, and their behavior was atypical and
condemned by their superiors. If there
were a TV station called 'Amnesty International' which would have broadcast a
24-hour show from Saddam's Abu Ghreib or if it showed pictures of the misery of
thousands of women and girls in the Arab world, we would have no difficulty
putting them in the right proportion to Saddam's regime. We know this, but to settle old accounts and
open up new ones is neither an excuse nor an apology. A more serious damage to the democratic
message would not have been possible than the pictures that have now been
published. This is why the current
reactions are not enough.... They are
inappropriately weak, because they did not mention the victims but mainly
talked about the honor of the armed forces....
If Bush and Blair do not understand this, they will have lost the
struggle for the reputation and the ethos of democracy. This is what the struggle is all about."
Bertram Eisenhauer noted in an editorial in center-right Frankfurter
Allgemeine (5/2): "The
revelations could not have come to a more unfavorable time, at a more unstable
situation. Americans and British will,
possibly with the assistance of other nations, have to support the future Iraqi
government for a long time. And they
cannot be replaced in the country when it comes to creating stability and
order. In order to achieve this goal,
they need the support of the Iraqis. But
many Iraqis will now see their assessment confirmed that the Americans are
undesired occupiers.... Those who come as
liberators will have credibility problems even if they make a mistake only in
Center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine noted (5/3): "The pictures of the abuse of Iraqi
prisoners are crying out in accusation....
Apologies look useless in view of such scenes.... The soldiers...were allegedly not informed
over the Geneva Convention. But what
would this have changed? Is it necessary
to tell soldiers of a democratic state that prisoners are to be treated in a
human way? Those who want to use this
interpretation will now see themselves confirmed in their views on the U.S.
campaign and its occupation policy. But
there are no indications of widely-spread, systematic violations of human
rights. The excesses of a few do not
offer a new argument in the debate over the meaning and legitimacy of the
global anti-terror war. But the pictures
from Baghdad show the thin line that separates the rule of law from its
enemies--and which it has to draw to separate its from its enemies."
"Horror In the Name Of The Queen"
Christoph Schwennicke judged in an editorial in center-left Sueddeutsche
Zeitung of Munich (5/3): "These
pictures are a disgrace for the U.S. army and the British forces, a disgrace
for the United States and Great Britain....
But they will have their most devastating effect not with the BBC or CNN
but with Al Jazeera.... It confirms all
Arab clichés of a decadent godless West....
With their activities in Iraq, Great Britain and the United States have
even raised the opposition of moderate forces and forfeited their controversial
claim to lead. Iraq must be entrusted to
the UN's care and be put under the military control of NATO. And this as quickly as possible."
ITALY: "Another Blow For The White House"
Prominent foreign affairs commentator Vittorio Zucconi remarked in
left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (5/5): “The incredible stupidity, which can only be
explained by presumptuousness and a blind ideology of those who had mistaken
Baghdad for Paris and Fallujah for Florence, is the real cause of the ‘horror
show’ that we are watching and that will continue with other
revelations.... The ‘rotten apples’ that
tortured, and caused the death of the most sacred of enemies, the defenseless
prisoner of war...will certainly pay....
But if we were to restore the credibility of the American democracy, it
would not be enough to court-martial a dozen idiots in uniform or a woman
general who said she never set foot in the Abu Ghraib prison. Those who should pay are the ones who sent
those soldiers to those prisons, those who gave the orders to inflict abuse on
the enemy who has always been described as a terrorist...[and] therefore a
"The Line Not To Be Crossed"
An editorial in elite, classical liberal daily Il Foglio
noted (5/4): “Not even the most
brutal abuses committed by a soldier of the coalition against Iraqi prisoners
could ever be likened to Saddam’s regime and delegitimize the intervention that
removed him. When a political regime
makes violence the reason and instrument of its dominion, then free countries are
called to cut off its roots. When it’s
single agents of democratic countries to cross the line of the necessary force
and of respect for life and human dignity, then it’s a crime that must be
verified and rigorously punished.”
"The Prisoners Tell Of Systematic Tortures"
Bruno Marolo opined in pro-democratic left party (DS) daily L’Unità
(5/4): “The U.S. would like to project
the image of a democracy that has the antibodies to eliminate the abuses. But daily revelations show the embarrassment
of a government that is trying to hide the truth.... Before invading Iraq the U.S. government had
announced its intentions to bring to trial the officials of Saddam’s regime for
war crimes. In reality, it threw into
prison thousands of Iraqis without trial.
It doesn’t want to punish them, but only to force them into talking so
as to crush the revolt.... The America
that claims it wants to bring democracy to the Arab world is acting like a
"The Antibodies Of Horror"
Angelo Panebianco commented in centrist, top-circulation Corriere
della Sera (5/1): “The incident
regarding abuses by some U.S. soldiers on Iraqi prisoners in the Abu Ghraib
prison camp has greatly damaged the image of the Anglo-American coalition. Just as war operations were in their most
difficult period (for Westerners) after Saddam Hussein’s fall, the terrorists
have obtained a propaganda victory....
It is sacrosanct to demand that the culprits be dealt with and that such
things occur no more. Having said that,
however, we must also observe that there is a good dose of hypocrisy in the
reactions of both the Arab world...and the Western world that used this
regrettable incident as yet another pretense to manifest its hostility towards
the U.S. These kinds of things happen in
all wars and even soldiers from democratic countries can commit reprehensible
acts. The difference between democracies
and tyrannies is that democracies have the political and judicial antibodies to
cure the infection when their soldiers commit a wrongdoing.... The fact remains that too many mistakes were
made in the Iraqi game. This is another
reason why a rapid and exemplary punishment is necessary for the Abu Ghraib
"I, A Pro-American, Against America"
Paolo Guzzanti remarked in pro-government, leading center-right
daily Il Giornale (5/1): “This is
the first time that I write an article against America, and I very much hope it
will be the last. But the story
regarding the Iraqi prisoners, who were tortured, humiliated, used like
urinals...is horrible and I don’t want to just forget about it.... We did not expect this from the U.S. Army
engaged in a military action...and now serious consequences must follow this
very serious incident.... Such a harsh
and disgusted condemnation can only come from someone who is a friend of the
U.S. and who is convinced that that country has always been the bulwark against
tyranny; the only one who liberated us, along with the Britons, from Nazi
fascism...and that later prevented Western Europe from ending up like Poland or
Czechoslovakia.... We believe that this
horrific chapter of torture in Iraq must not be cast aside, because it’s a
chapter of dishonor that all of us are part of.
Therefore, we hope that the great American nation will be able to show
us new proof of their greatest quality:
a clear and strong response to injustice, especially when this injustice
derives from deep inside itself.”
"America Asks For Justice To Re-Conquer Honor"
Gianni Riotta noted in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della
Sera (5/1): “The Pentagon’s
resentment is worsened by the absurdity of the incident. This was not about torture, but about
sadistic humiliation inflicted on harmless prisoners. It was not about gaining information that
would thwart a terrorist attack. It was
almost a game on the part of soldiers who became drunken thugs.... The fact that the scandal came out in the
open and that the culprits will be brought to trial and punished demonstrates
how hypocritical it is to talk about a ‘machine of fascist consensus’ or of a ‘military
junta’ when it comes to U.S. public opinion.
With the diplomatic impasse entrusted to the UN and with the setback in
military operations in Fallujah, it will be hard to find consensus and moral
legitimacy for Baghdad.... An exemplary
trial for the Abu Ghraib thugs is not only positive, it's indispensable.”
Vissarion Sisnev, Washington correspondent of the centrist daily Trud
opined (5/5): "The country's top
leaders, including President Bush, have voiced their indignation at the
criminal 'games' by Abu Ghraib guards.
They will certainly be punished.
But the loss sustained by America is irreparable. Islamic propaganda has long branded the
members of the coalition as having started a war in Iraq as 'crusaders' knowing
no mercy and hating Muslims. Pictures
taken in jail have been published in all Arab nations...and they can tell
rank-and-file people one thing only: the
United States is a cynical and hypocritical invader having no respect for the
people it allegedly wants to liberate."
Generates Hate And Fear"
Deputy chief editor Victor Hermann commented in
independent provincial daily Salzburger Nachrichten (5/3): "As the only remaining superpower, the
U.S. likes to pass off as the global policeman that topples tyrants, rids the
world of criminal regimes and promotes the rule of law and human rights. Instead of actually doing so, however,
America is playing into the hands of terrorists by relying on a completely
wrong policy.... With their abuse of prisoners
in Iraq, the U.S. and British troops have lost their chance at winning the
hearts and minds of those people in the country who would otherwise have been
grateful for the ousting of mass-murderer Saddam Hussein. Now, many of them probably fear and hate the
occupying powers more than ever."
Foreign affairs writer Christoph Winder wrote in
liberal daily Der Standard (5/3):
"George Bush and Tony Blair have condemned [the abuse of Iraqi
prisoners], but the reassuring effect their move is going to have will most
likely be limited. Even if only a small
minority of the military was actually responsible, such acts will further the
general view that the occupying powers in Iraq are only too ready to approve of
and resort to a racially motivated use of force.... No doubt, heads are going to roll in the U.S.
and British armies in the near future....
The massive damage the recent events have done to the troops' image can
perhaps be contained to some extent. To
repair it entirely, however, is no longer possible."
"Vietnam-Iraq: Same Images,
Left-of-center Le Soir commented
(5/5): "After the publication of
images of Iraqi prisoners being tortured and of coffins of fallen GIs, the
United States has lost the war of images.
These recent images remind people of other images, those from
Vietnam. George W. Bush has done his
utmost to avoid people making any comparison between the two, but there is
nothing he can do against images that are deeply rooted in people's mind. Although his Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld announced that the six U.S. soldiers who tortured Iraqi prisoners
would be sanctioned, the damage has been done."
CROATIA: "Triumph And
Dusk Of Democracy"
Jurica Korbler wrote
in Zagreb-based government-owned Vjesnik (5/4): “It is now completely clear why Americans
have persistently requested that their soldiers not be brought before the
International War Crimes Tribunal. The
avalanche in that case could, based on the commanding responsibility principle,
lead to the very leadership at the Pentagon, if not to the White House
itself. The most powerful world power
simply cannot afford it. However,
justice is a universal category, and the only point is that same rules apply to
everyone. Otherwise, there can be no
democracy, no truth, no future. Full
truth about Iraq is necessary so that atrocities which are happening now can be
avoided in the future in that tormented country, and so that the proclaimed
triumph of democracy which was to happen with the arrival of allies does not
turn into the dusk of democracy.”
"Criminals, Even (If They Are) Heroes"
Inoslav Besker commented in Zagreb-based mass-circulation Jutarnji
list (5/4): “The military has, this
time, been faster than journalists and has initiated not just an investigation,
but criminal procedure before military court, even before the information had
reached journalists. It had, maybe, even
believed that everything would remain covered up, at least outside of
Iraq. In the disgusting story about
tortures which American soldiers subjected Iraqi prisoners to, that, in a way,
is good news.... That’s one of the
results of NATO’s London Protocol, which allows every member to put its
soldiers on trial--thus Americans, the most numerous and the most powerful, and
frequently also the most ‘prankish,’ can count on their colleagues’
benevolence. That’s exactly the reason
why the United States of America is refusing to recognize the International
Criminal Court. Which, for horrors
committed in Iraq, can now incriminate Tony Blair, but not George W. Bush.”
"Maltreatment Of Prisoners -- Another Iraqi Headache"
Petr Pravda wrote in mainstream MF Dnes (5/5): "The U.S. and the British militaries
must solidly investigate the incidents of maltreatment of prisoners in Iraq and
must apologize properly for these crimes.
Even at a price that more dirt will come to light. If the crimes are trivialized or swept under
the carpet, there will be no chance for redress."
HUNGARY: "There Is No
Laszlo Seres opined in leading Nepszabadsag (5/4): "The mission is far from over.... In hopes of a new Vietnam, the armed Iraqi
guerilla fighters (and their fellow terrorists, who are fighting in several other counties) have only one
chance to successfully prolong the war, to crush the Americans and the Brits
morally. [They can prolong the war] if
they manage to prove that the 'occupiers' are nothing better than Saddam or the
rest of the world. They are neither more
democratic or better, nor they have higher moral standards. At the moment there
is a chance that the world believes them. There is no excuse for torturing and
humiliating people, regardless whether a war is going on or not, and whether
the charge [of torturing] is proved on twenty or on one single account. And it can't be an excuse either that it is about
wicked armed fighters. And it can't be an
excuse either that it is nothing compared to Saddam's
standards. And it can't be an excuse
that the 'line of command' collapsed because how will the Americans transfer Iraq to the Iraqis if
they are unable to keep order within their own shop? This whole issue, that
makes the anti-terrorist look like terrorists, couldn't have come at a worst
time [for the coalition]. A fight on many fronts has begun.... But a military response is not enough: one
ought to be different [from the terrorist] morally."
IRELAND: "Horror And
Disgust Are Not Enough: They've Lost The
Stephen Dodd wrote in the center-right populist weekly Sunday
Independent (5/2): "Had Saddam
Hussein dreamed it up himself, it would be hard to conceive of a greater public
relations disaster than that faced by America and Britain in Iraq last week.... The reactions from the U.S. president and
British PM are no less than the world might expect of the two coalition leaders
who have set out their stalls for war on a heartfelt, if confused, pledge to
replace abhorrence with essential decency....
Two leaders professed shock, and it would have been the wholly rational
reaction to believe them. Wholly rational, but wrong. George W Bush and Tony Blair have known about
accusations of widespread torture, carried out by American and British troops
in Iraq, for many weeks. In fact, far from being a horrific secret suddenly
laid bare, the knowledge has been available to us all. In March, Amnesty International's report on
human rights abuses in Iraq, a year after the Coalition invasion, received
scant attention in the media.... Though
there is shock around the world, America itself is experiencing a degree of
difficulty in approaching the subject. It is claimed CBS agreed to a White
House request to delay broadcast of pictures.... Few American newspapers had the stomach to
treat the story as front-page news....
Last week, America and Britain lost the war in Iraq. Though they might
still succeed in subduing the country, their undisciplined soldiers have
forfeited on behalf of their countries all moral right to wage a war of
Confirms Failure In Iraq"
Newspaper-of-record Aftenposten commented (5/4): "We are witnessing a conflict that is
escalating and increasing in brutality, both on the battlefield and
elsewhere.... This is exactly why so
many warned the current U.S. President and his advisors about entering into an
armed conflict.... At the same time
there can be no doubt that the need to disable and disarm militant and armed
and aggressive Muslim terrorists is as important as before... Today the
positive signals from and around Iraq are few, but there is one bright spot we
should not overlook: the freedom of speech and the freedom of press in two open
and democratic societies like the American and the British, which have made the
reports of torture known - in the middle of a war. And there also lies the hope
of other solutions in Iraq at the end of the day."
"Without Hearts And Minds"
Line Franssen held in independent Dagbladet
(5/4): "The abuses in the Abu
Ghraib prison are the greatest victory of all for the terrorist Osama bin
Laden. Images of humiliated Iraqi POWs have further set fire to the burning
hate against the U.S. in the Middle East. Terrorists will use the pictures for
whatever they're worth. The queues to become a suicide bomber or a terrorist
are getting longer and longer."
"The True Face Of The Iraqi War"
The social democratic Dagsavisen noted (5/3): "On Saturday it was one year ago since
the Americans declared the invasion of Iraq as ended.... The injustice and abuse that is to have been
conducted by U.S. and UK troops should not surprise us. It is the true face of war that now is making
its appearance. War is cruelty.... The disclosure of sadistic abuse of POWs is a
catastrophe for the U.S. propaganda war, and a gift to the international
enemies of the U.S. and for the president's internal enemies within the
PORTUGAL: "In the
Heart Of Darkness"
Leftist author and journalist João Paulo Guerra opined in leading
financial daily Diário Economico (5/5):
"The occupying armies of Iraq are, indeed, going to take harsh
measures to avoid the repetition of such incidents. That is, to avoid that cases of abuse against
prisoners be known and denounced.... No
one with common sense believes that the incidents of torture and other
degrading treatment of prisoners in the concentration camp of Abu Ghraib, in
Baghdad, will have been an isolated. The
issue is that there are still concentration camps. Inside, the worst imaginable--or even which
could be possibly reported--is always way less than the reality itself. Does anyone know what happens beyond the
barbed wire in Guantanamo? We only know
that there are no cameras and no information leaks. Maybe, someday, there will be a book or a
film (on this subject)."
Oana Popescu commented in the respected daily Adevarul
(5/4): “The proportions that the torture
photos scandal has reached, after the release of images showing American
soldiers torturing and humiliating Iraqi prisoners, and images showing British
soldiers doing the same, has stirred a wave of anger in the entire world and
could seriously undermine the coalition’s efforts to stabilize Iraq, and to let
Iraqis govern by themselves starting June 30.
For the Bush administration, the situation is all the more embarrassing,
as it happened before the elections, after the president and his advisers
had already been accused of lying about
Saddam’s WMD, and more recently, that they had neglected the al-Qaida threat
"Damage To Credibility Of Coalition"
Foreign policy analyst Madalina Mitan wrote in financial daily Curentul
(5/3): “The credibility of the coalition
in Iraq has been seriously damaged by the release of some photos of Iraqi
prisoners being tortured by American and British troops. The ‘bomb’ was launched by CBS, which
presented pictures of naked Iraqi prisoners, and the British daily, The
Mirror published other images of the tortures to which the Iraqis were
subjected. The American president,
George W. Bush, expressed his profound ‘disgust’ and ensured that torturing
prisoners ‘does not reflect the nature of the American nation’.”
José Antich observed in centrist La Vanguardia (5/4): "The governments of the U.S. and the UK
are only trying to hide what is already an international scandal which has done
away with any sort of protocol for conduct in war. What started as a war that would overthrow
Saddam...emerges now as a conflict where basic human rights violations have
taken place. This demands that
commissions of investigation are created to urgently study the emerging
information and assign responsibility.
Public opinion has the right to know that these acts will not be let go
with impunity and citizens of Islamic countries should know that in Western
societies the guilty will be punished.
"The Truth Will Out"
Lluis Foix wrote in centrist La Vanguardia (5/4): "Bush and his allies have convoked the
perversity of the Saddam Hussein regime to justify the war. There is no doubt about the barbarity
committed by the fallen regime.... But
there is no photographic evidence of [Saddam's] brutalities, or television
images. With the atrocities committed by
the soldiers of the coalition troops, yes, we have these horrible images. One can accept that this is the work of a
very small number of soldiers and that they will be punished. But the damage is done and the cause of the
resistance has won another justification to keep fighting and it is being
broadcast by all the media."
Centrist La Vanguardia contended (5/2): "It's clear that these incidents are a
serious violation of international agreements about the treatment of prisoners,
as well as a blow to the most basic human rights. The George Bush administration...should know
this, but the timid statements of the U.S. president in which he says that he
'doesn't like these things at all', are too mild. In Guantanamo hundreds of Islamic citizens
[sic] are being held outside of any international legal control. If now Washington and London want to clean up
their image, their only resort is a policy of complete open doors and
transparency and without limits to information.
But this won't happen."
"The West Has Been Humiliated"
Conservative La Razon concluded (5/2): "The authors of these despicable acts
have not only degraded Iraqi prisoners; the humiliation has been suffered by
the values of freedom and democracy that, theoretically, the forces of the West
represent and defend. The Iraqis that
were treated as if they weren't part of the human race haven't had their honor
stained. On the contrary, we, as members
of a community that believes in freedom and universal rights, are the ones
"Crimes Without Excuse"
Conservative ABC noted (5/2): "Only a forceful response from London
and Washington can limit the effects (of the tortures).... Only justice will effectively combat the
demagogy that these abuses of power is feeding.... But it is necessary that these sentiments
result in sentences for the authors of these crimes. This is the only possible result. If not, Bush and Blair's moral authority will
be put seriously in question."
"When The Tortures Are Not Committed By Saddam"
Independt El Mundo commented (5/1): "Bush and Blair will have many problems
to mitigate the impact of the images on their own public opinions, all the time
more critical of the management of the post war. This is not to mention the reaction of the
Iraqis themselves, for whom the photos are confirmation that the real objective
of the occupation wasn't to free them from Saddam's yoke, but to subjugate them
to the allies'.
TURKEY: "Looking For
Oktay Eksi opined in mass-appeal Hurriyet (5/4): “Let’s be honest first of all: there is no way to interpret the awful
pictures from Iraq as isolated incidents.
Thanks to George W. Bush, the U.S. has lost its sense of values on human
rights and the supremacy of law. Thus
the current picture is only a reflection of current American values. If George Bush is sincere enough, the
solution to this problem is simple: he
should follow the example of General Patton, who was discharged from the U.S.
army [sic] for slapping an American soldier....
Turkey has taken its share of U.S. abuse, as we still remember how
Turkish soldiers were treated during a raid in northern Iraq on July 4, 2003. Americans are very wrong if they believe that
such memories can be forgotten. Neither
Turks nor Iraqis can forget such humiliation.”
"Sadists Are Marketing Democracy And Human Rights"
Davut Dursun argued in the Islamist-opinion maker Yeni Safak
(5/4): “There is no country in the world
where democracy can be imported. To
begin with, it was impossible to expect or believe that occupation forces would
bring democracy to Iraq. However, the
need for restructuring the Middle East region is real. Historically, it was a region shaped by UK
and French interests, where the peoples of the region had no input. Today the U.S. is following the same path by
trying to reshape the Middle East based on its own interests.... It seems that the U.S. and the Western world
treat the Iraqi people and Muslims in general in a way that suggests they are
taking revenge for the 9/11 attacks. The
humiliation, rape, abuse and torture of Iraqis are giving them a feeling of
satisfaction in having achieved a kind of revenge. The sad part of the story is that these
criminals and sadists bill themselves as defenders of civilization, democracy
and human rights throughout the world.”
"A Clean War"
Okay Gonensin commented in the mass appeal Vatan
(5/4): “The photos of the mistreatment by
coalition forces of Iraqi POWs have shocked the world. Apparently, the coalition forces were
torturing prisoners in the name of fighting for a just cause. I am not surprised that the international
public has been shocked by the photos....
The world had been convinced that the U.S. military was fighting a clean
war after the horror of September 11.
People covered their ears before those who were screaming that this war
was anything but clean. Moreover, they
blamed those who claimed such things as being anti-American. Remember how the U.S. treated Japanese and
Chinese [sic] Americans who were gathered in camps after the U.S. was attacked
by Japan. Of course, these two cases are
not the same. But it is not shocking to
see today’s photos once we remember the treatment meted out to innocent U.S.
citizens just because of their color or ethnic origin.... There cannot be a clean war. People who believe otherwise can only be called
naive. When there is a war, the more
powerful side will torture, rape, kill and steal (who robbed the museums in
Iraq--Saddam’s men or the Americans?).
But thank God there is such a thing as the photograph. Photos showed us that what happened in Nazi
concentration camps and in Vietnam. And
now, they are showing us what is happening in Iraq”.
"And This Is Called Civilization!"
Ergun Babahan declared in mass-appeal Sabah (5/3): “The U.S. occupation in Iraq has turned into
a war of insanity. The pictures about
how U.S. soldiers were treating Iraqi prisoners of war is beyond shame. These Iraqis were being tortured and
humiliated only because of their country of origin. The irony is that such treatment comes from
the occupying force itself. Looking at
these pictures is enough to stand up in opposition to the war in Iraq. It seems that the U.S. has started repeating
what it did in Vietnam in the name of ‘democracy and civilization.’... It will be very interesting to see how the
current U.S. administration can bring charges against Saddam Hussein for its
crimes against humanity. What we have
been seeing in Iraq is a manifestation of hypocrisy in the American democracy
project. Events in Iraq mark a black
spot in the history of humanity.”
"Nobody Is Innocent"
Fehmi Koru observed in the Islamist-opinion maker Yeni Safak
(5/3): “These pictures are clearly
undermining Bush and Blair’s arguments justifying the war. The world was given two main reasons for the
war: weapons of mass destruction, and
Saddam’s support for the events of 9/11.
One year after the war began, these two arguments have been proven
completely baseless. Failing to find any
evidence to prove these two pretexts, both the British and American
administrations have come up with a third one:
Saddam’s brutality against his own people. After seeing these pictures in the papers, it
seems that Saddam’s brutality is amateurish compared with the brutality of the
occupation forces, which claimed to be bringing democracy and civilization to
Iraq.... American and British soldiers
are not only guilty of abuse and torture, but they have also eliminated the
third argument--Saddam’s brutality--as a justification for the war. Instead, Bush and Blair have been turned into
potential war criminals by the actions of British and American soldiers.”
"War Crimes In Iraq"
Derya Sazak opined in mass-appeal Milliyet (5/3): “The Bush administration is going through an
awful test in Iraq.... It is more clear
now why Saddam Hussein resisted the U.S. for years. Contrary to the first Gulf War, the wider
world did not approve of the occupation this time. The Saddam regime was nicknamed by the
Europeans as ‘The Baghdad Monster’ and ‘the terrorist empire,’ and was
portrayed by the Western world as an enemy....
Moreover, the media had presented Saddam as a symbol of evil in order to
render more acceptable the ‘shock and awe’ campaign. In the end, Saddam was only a mirror. Those who have gotten rid of his regime today
were the same people who had created him yesterday. This was a project based on violence and
interests. Saddam wasn’t a foreign
monster who opposed modernization, but rather a monster created by
modernization. Saddam has now left the
stage. The U.S. and British occupying
forces are unable to defeat the resistance....
Is it possible to maintain peace through torture, blood, and tears? One British soldier said, correctly, that he
was ‘fighting a lost war.’ Isn’t the
image exhibited by Bush and Blair in Iraq even more scary than the monster in
WEST BANK: "Torture
Of Israeli Prisoners: Doses Of American
Ashraf Ajrami commented in independent Al-Ayyam (5/3): "No human being with the least sense of
humanity can tolerate the photographs shown by American and world media on the
American methods of abuse that included electric shocks, rape, and humiliating
harassment.... Of course, there were
also shots of British soldiers practicing torture techniques similar to those
of the Americans.... It is unreasonable
to try to convince Iraqis, who woke up to the horrific deeds of the American
occupation, that 'democratic' Washington wants to teach them a lesson in
democracy and respect for human rights, for this dose of 'democracy' was much
bigger than the Iraqi people could handle....
What's going on in Iraq is an illustration of what the Americans want to
apply in the Arab world. This Greater
Middle East that Washington promises is not a recipe for democracy, openness,
freedom and respect for human rights; rather, it's a new formula to guarantee
U.S. control over the region and a way to keep all Arab regimes humiliated and
subjugated to the god of this world [the U.S.] with no right to argue."
Ali Khalili wrote in independent Al-Ayyam (5/3): "President Bush has said that he's
'appalled' [with pictures of abused Iraqi prisoners] and that those [who
appeared in the photographs committing the crimes] are only a 'few people' who
do not represent American morals. The
word has been said but the scene will never end. The American president lies and he knows very
well that these 'few' represent America as a whole, and so does his puppet
follower Blair and his old Britain.
Both, along with leaders of other countries, know that the word 'scandal'
is not enough. It's a war crime against
humanity. Are human rights organizations
going to remain silent or settle for cold statements only?"
Violation Of Rights"
Leading pro-government Al-Ahram editorialized (5/2): "What happened in Abu Ghraib prison was
a clear and shameful violation of the rights of Iraqi POWs and detainees. It showed total disregard for international
law and the Geneva Convention...and highlighted the violation by U.S. forces of
Iraqi human rights and the right of POWs to live in good conditions. Statements of condemnation from Western
capitals, particularly the U.S. and Britain, are not enough. There must be a
serious and decisive confrontation with this issue to prevent the repetition of
"Sharon's New Partner"
Small-circulation, pro-government Al-Jumhuriyah
stated (5/2): "The bloody Sharon
has the right to dance with joy since he has now found a partner in shameless
human aggression and war crimes against POWs and civilians."
"Inhumanity Of The West"
Abha’s moderate Al-Watan editorialized (5/4): "The images on CBS and the Daily
Mirror of the bad treatment of Iraqi POW’s reflect the failure of US and
British compliance with international agreements that protect the dignity of
civilian and military personnel in times of war. It seems that what happened in Iraq was out
of the “jurisdiction zone” for the Geneva Convention on treatment of
POW’s. What happened to the Iraqi POW’s
can only be described as barbaric and inhumane treatment by the west. This is the same west that came to the Middle
East with slogans about democracy and reforms."
Ahmad Rabhi held in pan-Arab London-based Asharq Al-Awsat
(5/2): "The torture committed by US
Brigadier General Janis Karpinski against Iraqi soldiers in the Abu Ghraib
prison near Baghdad was barbaric and odious and demonstrates her sick
mentality.... However, what matters most
is that those practices have shocked U.S. President George W. Bush, who thought
he had seen and heard everything possible about Iraq...it was reassuring to
hear Bush say that he was dismayed about the incidents in Abu Ghraib. But it should be added that those practices
run contrary to U.S. moral values and are unconstitutional to say the
least.... Given the way Western media
ran a frenzy of anti-Islam articles after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in New
York and Washington...at least there are no instances of such sadistic
practices committed by Muslims against non-Muslims.... Terrorism and sadism do not belong to any
specific sect or nationality."
"An Ugly Face Of Occupation"
Riyadh’s moderate Al-Jazirah declared (5/2): "The U.S., which justified its invasion
of Iraq on claims of protecting human rights and freeing Iraqi people from dictatorship,
is actually violating and suppressing human rights.... Those photos will strengthen resistance and
make many people around the world understand why the Iraqi people are fighting
"Iraq... The Home Of
Riyadh’s conservative Al-Riyadh editorialized (5/2): "The news indicates that the American
Department of Defense and British officials were aware of the images of the
tortured Iraqi detainees. The negative
impact and the fear of the consequences made officials stay silent about the
crime.... Official statements stated
that those who committed the crime were not aware of the law of detainees. This denial is worse than confession. Those officers are men of law and must have
enough knowledge.... The acts of America
and Britain are similar to those of Stalin, Nazism, and other war
criminals.... The world was deceived by
freedom initiatives, protection of human rights, and the Greater Middle East
Initiative. But all these principles in
reality have collapsed."
Business-oriented Al-Iqtisadiah observed (5/1): “It is normal that any regime in defending
itself against scandal will point out that it was an isolated incident and that
appropriate action will be taken against those individuals involved. Saddam will also defend his crimes by
asserting that they were [committed] without his knowledge. It is also natural that the U.S. media will
attempt to minimize it, not to publish the photos, and try to contain it by
analyzes and justifications.... It was
an irony that Tutweiler the woman in charge of improving the image of the U.S.
abroad, resigned a few hours before the scandal was made public."
"What Would Satisfy The Humiliated Iraqi Soul?"
London-based independent Iraqi daily Al-Zaman stated
(5/3): "Iraq woke up to a big
crime. The Iraqi soul and ego are being
tortured and humiliated by the same force that came to Iraq promising freedom
and respect of human rights and vowing to save the Iraqi people from Saddam's
crimes and humiliation of his foes during his long years of oppression. Iraq woke up to the images of Iraqi prisoners
being exhibited naked and their dignity and most private parts being violated
by their torturers and guards in Abu Ghraib Prison, the notorious Bastille of
Iraq.... The pictures that leaked out
must be only a small part of the whole truth about the mistreatment of
prisoners in a country that is thirsty for the freedom and that is expected to
establish human justice to become a model for other oppressed peoples in the
region.... Iraq woke up to the
humiliation that the people of this country thought had ended on the day of
Saddam's departure and the closure of the chapter of humiliation and violation
of dignity. Iraq woke up to a fresh
disastrous tragedy that surpassed the tragedy of the innocent civilians in
Fallujah. What would satisfy the Iraqis
who are tasting humiliation? The least
that should happen is the immediate release of all the prisoners whose numbers
are estimated at more than 10,000 prisoners.
They should be released unconditionally for the possible violation of
their dignity with the exception of Saddam's narrow circle that participated
with him in committing crimes against Iraqi dignity and those that committed
such crimes against Iraqi prisoners or that tortured and humiliated Iraqi
prisoners. All the criminals that committed these crimes should be immediately
referred to international and Iraqi judges so they would be a lesson to any
sinful criminal that may transgress against humanity anywhere and at any
time. They should be subjected to the
harshest and strongest punishment.
Perhaps that would heal part of the wounds inflicted on the Iraqis whose
fate has been oppression in the past and oppression in the present."
Largest circulation and most influential Arabic-language El-Khabar
declared (5/3) “Those who belong to military forces of a country (U.S.A) that
was created by slaughtering other people are certainly able to inflict the most
horrible atrocities on the Iraqi detainees.”
"In Order To Be Shocked"
Largest circulation and highly influential French-language Le
Quotidien d'Oran, commented (5/3): “The Arabs were not shocked. The images showing naked Arabs, packed up
like sexual offerings, pointed at by female American soldiers, and threatened
with electrocution, do not shock the Arabs.
The pictures of a young Iraqi sitting on the ground with a British
soldier urinating on him do not shock the Arabs as well. In order to be shocked, you have to be a westerner
and believe that the world is good, fair, liberal, and can be converted into
good intentions. In order to be shocked,
you have to be confident and ready to be manipulated like a model’s hair. You have to be convinced and happy. You have to possess a house, a car, the right
to go wherever you wish, a wife, and be happy.
The Arabs do not have all that....
Finally, the Arabs were shocked by another thing. They were shocked by the smile on the face of
certain U.S soldiers who were taking pictures next to the humiliated. The Americans do not know that the Iraqis
under their boots in these pictures were...human beings!”
"Moral Decadence Of Coalition Soldiers"
The English-language Bahrain Tribune editorialized
(5/5): “The vulgar and systematic
torture of Iraqi prisoners by coalition troops in Abu Ghraib prison has shown
the moral decadence and bankruptcy of some of the American and British
soldiers.... It seems there was an
understanding between the U.S. and UK troops as to how badly the captured
should be mistreated.... The U.S.-UK
forces are much more inhuman than previously thought. They abide by no engagement rules and would
make animals blush with their torture tactics.... Torture is a tool of the weak. It will never help bring peace in Iraq. The blood-boiling pictures will make more
people inside and outside Iraq determined to carry out attacks against the
Americans and British. Those
responsible--no matter how influential and senior they are--must be punished
for war crimes and given exemplary punishment.
Otherwise there is no reason for us not to believe that the illegal
detainees in Afghanistan and in Guantanamo Bay are also subject to the same
"The Scandals Of American Liberty And Happy Democracy (Part
Fawziya Rasheed observed in semi-independent Akhbar Al-Khalij
(5/5): “Unlike the image that America
promoted about the goals of the war in Iraq, facts show us clearly that
everything is crumbling down on America after the crimes that its mercenary
soldiers committed there were revealed.
All that we have seen so far about the crimes and torture Americans
committed against Iraqis is actually a small amount of the barbaric crimes that
lie beneath. American and British
officials must be punished for these crimes because all of them happened with
their knowledge and blessing. Arab
lawyers and legal experts must act together to take these crimes and those who
were responsible for them to an international tribunal not only to question
these crimes but also the war and its hidden objectives.”
"Different Sets Of Rules"
Musa Keilani commented in the independent, elite English-language Jordan
Times (Internet version, 5/3):
"The U.S. behaviour since the ouster of Saddam in Iraq is as if the
Americans had been nurturing a sense of revenge against the people of Iraq for
decades and they are now doing what they had always wanted to do: suppress the people of Iraq no matter what,
even it meant gross violation of human rights and defiance of every
international convention and laws that govern foreign military occupation of a
land captured through the use of force.
No doubt, Washington had foreseen situations similar to those of Iraq
and hence its effort, from day one, to exclude American soldiers from the jurisdiction
of the newly formed International Criminal Court and thus give them protection
against trial on war crimes or crimes against humanity. It has been reported that U.S. commanders had
authorised the use of torture and humiliation of prisoners in order to extract
information on Iraqi resistance. Well,
it is not exactly news, since it is clear that for most American soldiers and
officers the war against Iraq and occupation of post-Saddam Iraq has turned
personal, if only because of the daily killings of fellow Americans. For many, being put in charge of Iraqi
prisoners is an opportunity to give vent to their anger, frustration and
despair, particularly that the Americans want to be considered superior to the
people under their occupation and to be treated as liberators of the people of
Iraq. For them, the Iraqis have no
rights and privileges except those granted by the American occupiers. U.S. President George W. Bush has expressed
'deep disgust' at the treatment given to Iraqis under U.S. detention in
Iraq. His military has suspended a few
officers reported to have been involved in the torture and humiliation of Iraqi
prisoners. However, the U.S. president
could not escape from the moral responsibility for what his officers and
soldiers did in Iraq, are doing in Iraq and will do in Iraq. Indeed, as Bush said, the way the U.S.
military treated Iraqis is 'not the way we do things in America'. Most definitely, we agree. But then, let us add, Iraqis are Iraqis and
Americans are Americans and, notwithstanding the lofty founding principles of
America and American respect for human rights, different sets of rules apply
when Washington deals with Arab Palestinians or Arab Iraqis."
Center-left influential Arabic-language Al-Dustour
maintained (5/2): "The U.S.
occupation authorities in Iraq are committing war crimes and gross violations
of human rights that reflect true American intentions in Iraq.... It seems that the images transmitted by the
CBS television network that have caused large-scale condemnation throughout the
world were not aberrant and isolated acts....
The network said that it possesses scores of photos proving that Iraqi
and Arab detainees were subjected to systematic torture before the eyes of U.S.
soldiers, who enjoyed what they saw. CBS said that the images it had obtained
also contained sexual abuse.... Last
month, the US Army announced that 17 soldiers were suspended and were under
investigation for abusing prisoners.
This proves that the story of the mistreatment of prisoners is not new.
What is new is the publication of the photos of these atrocities committed by
US soldiers.... The pictures revealed
that these ugly and inhumane practices were carried out not only by US soldiers
but also by British soldiers.... In addition,
last week Amnesty International announced that it had received 20 complaints
from Iraqi civilians and soldiers that they were tortured by US and British
forces.... All this proves one fact,
namely, that this is the U.S.' real image, regardless of its attempt to
beautify itself and appear as leader of the free world."
"From Najaf To Abu Ghraib:
The Methods Are The Same"
Columnist Sultan Hattab held in semi-official, influential Al-Rai
(5/2): “To those who admire the U.S.
civilization being practiced in Iraq and to those who watch and welcome the
liberation of Iraq, we ask them what their opinion is with regards to the
crimes that summarize the ugly image of the American who exercises his hobby
and his culture in Abu Ghraib prison. Do
they agree that the perpetrators are Nazis with everything that this
description means and that their bogus merchandise of democracy and human
rights is now being exposed, revealing crimes not known even in the middle
ages? The American president, who came
on television wearing the mask of surprise, is the one who bears the
responsibility for the torture of the Iraqi people, for prolonging their
suffering and for abusing them.... What
is happening in Abu Ghraib, Basra and many other locations of the American and
British occupation forces exposes the false claim of liberation and reveals the
face of the criminal.... What is
happening in Iraqi prisons is exactly what happened and continues to happen in
Israeli prisons. The perpetrator is
one.... Torturing Iraqis is torturing
our souls and consciences. They are
Arabs just like us left to face a criminal occupation, just as the Palestinians
people had been left. How long will the
criminals continue to deal with as a wolf handles a sheep?”
"Washington’s Dilemma From Al-Jazeera To Abu Ghraib"
Daily columnist Urayb Rintawi opined in center-left, influential Al-Dustour
(5/2): “The American dilemma in Iraq is
turning into a state of general confusion that imposes itself upon the Bush
administration and eats away at what is left of Washington’s credibility, the
morality of its political system and its noble values of freedom and
democracy.... [The Americans] are
ashamed of their image in the media, but they are not ashamed of their
deplorable actions that are as good as war crimes. Their dead conscience is not disturbed as
they cause the death of hundreds and thousands of innocent people in Gaza and
Baghdad. Instead of looking at themselves
in the mirror, they go searching for justifications for their crimes, pointing
the fingers of responsibility at the escalating feelings of hatred for them in
the Arab and Muslim worlds.”
"America’s Real Image!"
Center-left, influential Al-Dustour editorialized
(5/1): “According to information
available from Western sources, the American-British occupation authorities in
Iraq are perpetrating war crimes and horrific violations of human rights on a
very wide scale, and it seems that the pictures broadcast by CBS are not
extraordinary or out of context.... All
this confirms one truth: this is
America’s real image, however it tries to beautify it and portray itself as the
leader of the free world!”
LEBANON: “The Last Stop”
Sateh Noureddine contended in Arab nationalist As-Safir
(5/4): “The scandal of Iraq prison
abuses...did not cause shock across the Arab world.... Certainly these abuses will not increase
feelings of hate or enmity against the U.S....
Many Arabs were not surprised by this scandal because the American
behavior in these prisons is something expected and no different than what
Arabs would have done...abuse is a known tradition in Arab jails. No Red Cross enters Arab prisons and many
prisoners, particularly political prisoners, leave these prisons in caskets.”
QATAR: "CBS, Thank
Taha Khalifa, deputy managing editor, remarked in semi-independent
Arabic-language Al-Raya (5/2):
“If those ugly pictures were aired by Al-Jazeera, Rumsfeld and his hawks
at the Pentagon would have doubted them, but thank god they were aired by a
very famous well-known news channel--CBS.
This channel should be praised for their ethical stance, which may put
them in a situation of confrontation with Rumsfeld and the Pentagon and maybe
the whole administration. Abu-Ghraib was
a symbol for torturing humanity during Saddam’s time. Abu-Ghraib was one of the reasons that Bush
and his aides used to justify the invasion on Iraq. Abu-Ghraib was the reason that Bush used to
free the Iraqis from Saddam’s iron fist.
And ironically, Abu-Ghraib is still being used by the new foreign iron
fist to torture the Iraqis. Abu-Ghraib
and what is going on in Fallujah proves beyond a doubt that the Iraqis, after
one year of liberation from the Baathist party, still are prisoners; this time,
under a foreign occupation. Abu-Ghraib
reflects the situation in Iraq.
Abu-Ghraib is a scandal, not only for the occupation forces, but also
for the world.”
"Miseries In The Cells"
Faisal Batout, columnist, wrote in semi-independent
Arabic-language Al-Watan (5/3): “There
is a degree of hypocrisy in the Western countries. They needed pictures to believe that
Abu-Ghraib became a center for torture in Iraq.
Two months ago a coalition solider told the press about the horrors that
his colleagues committed against the Iraqis.
This solider said that he understood then why the Iraqis became more
tough and angry with the coalition forces, and that was because of the
torturing they have faced at the hands of the coalition soldiers. This solider
said that he wish he could go back and fight the CF. That testimony did not reach the official
ears, because it was not supported by any evidence. However, such allegations should have been
put into consideration the moment they became public. The West, as usual when things blow up in
their face, has taken a bold step that looks like a bold step and
confessed. But what does that mean? The damage is done for both--the Iraqis and
the coalition forces. The Iraqis now
feel very angry and that will cause revenge to restore the humiliated dignity,
and for the coalition forces--who did nothing even after knowing about these
miseries months ago. The Arabs also are
hypocrites. The Arab League condemned
what happened in Abu-Ghraib but it has never condemned what happened in Arab
prisons, where lots of prisoners are being tortured even without a trial. Between the Arab hypocrisy and the Western
hypocrisy prisoners are lost and wishing that a hidden camera would revel their
miseries in their cells.”
SYRIA: "The Occupation
And The Ongoing Violations!"
Ali Kassem opined in government-owned Al-Thawra
(5/2): "The scandal of the American
practices against Iraqi prisoners brings us back to the roots of the dilemma,
even if these roots go to the heart of American perceptions, and the claims
that accompanied launching the war in Iraq.
The issue is not confined to the torture that moved the American
president’s conscience, who hastened to deny the allegation [against America],
in the believe that the horrified world would believe the explanations of
American officials and their calls to hold [only] the perpetrators
accountable. No one can be convinced
that such violations are simply some individual practices carried out by a
group. Rather it arises from the essence
of the rhetoric produced by the options of force as a means to produce results,
with all its consequences. The
'democracy of missiles and the civilization of Apaches' are perfected today
with these atrocities that bring back the images of aggression that have always
been part of the occupier’s image.”
"Crime For Entertainment’s Sake"
Adham al-Tawil editorialized in government-owned
Tishreen (5/2): “The command of
the occupation forces in Iraq does not care about the nature of the inhumane
practices carried out by its soldiers against Iraqi prisoners. Torturing prisoners and violating their human
rights is a practice carried out by a number of occupation forces around the
world, including the U.S. in Vietnam, Guantanamo, Afghanistan and Iraq, to
extract information from prisoners illegally.
However, ‘occupation requirements’ do not apply to Iraqis in Abu Ghraib
prison, since the American occupation forces do not need to extract ‘strategic’
information from the prisoners who are ordinary, resisting Iraqis and there is
no single official of the old regime among them. What is worse is that these practices, by
soldiers who do not know the value of humanity since they do not possess it,
had no objective. Since they do not have
a clear cause to defend, it is not strange for them to carry out such hideous
crimes for the sheer purpose of entertainment.
The political and military leadership of the occupation was and is
responsible for the ugly practices exercised against the Iraqi people.”
"Scandal For Uncle Sam"
Editor-in-chief Noureddine Hlaoui wrote in
independent French-language Le Temps (5/3): "Disgusting scenes of horrible torture
confirm the deep hatred that America and Great Britain are nursing for the
Arab-Muslim world which they want to dominate.
Despite these overwhelming facts, American and British leaders have
contented themselves with denunciations and promises to take measures against
those responsible for the extortion, and this of course, after an
investigation.... Investigations will
surely take time. The time to let the thunder pass...which means to suppress
the scandal. If what we saw is monstrous, what to say about the torture and
ill-treatment that has not been immortalized by photos or videos?!“
“Images Of Shame”
Senior editor Assia Atrous stated in independent
Arabic-language As-Sabah (5/4):
"How can we describe the scenes of torture made by the American
soldiers, who boast about having studied in the best American schools and
universities and learned from what has been described as the most ancient
democracy in the world?.... It is no
doubt that these photos represent a part of the mentality of
colonization.... All kinds of criticism,
which both Presidents Bush and Blair hurried to declare, cannot ease the
tension of the situation or erase the humiliation for Americans and British after
the world found out about the kind of democracy and freedom that they want for
Iraqis. It is no doubt that the quick
resignation of Margaret Tutwiler, responsible for improving the image of
America in the world, after what happened recently, can’t change the situation
or erase the shame on the masters of the world, the callers of freedom, and the
supporters of democracy and Human rights....
What happened to the Iraqi prisoners can only deepen the feeling of hatred
towards the decision-makers in the White House and in London. Do Americans expect the Iraqis who were
humiliated to clap hands for them and welcome the colonization? Is it better
for Americans to review themselves and to get ready to leave Iraq before they
get more scandals and shame."
"Now, The 'Screw-All' Axis Is Here"
The pro-government, English-language Yemen
Times editorialized (Internet version, 5/3): "Not that the current Bush
administration and the Likudnik-Cheney Zionist crowd has shown any grain of
salt’s worth of credibility. But the
recent disclosure of the absolutely atrocious, inexcusable, gross treatment of
Iraqi prisoners clearly shed more light on the mischief and intentional evil
that overshadow the whole American misadventure in Iraq. The samplings of the 'coalition' atrocities
that have finally entered public domain are surely not the whole story. Even the British could not help but also
follow the footpaths of their allies in the 'liberating coalition' and so they
came out with a few tortures of their own.
Is this really how the Bushies intend to 'win the hearts and minds of
the Iraqis'?.... They have the nerve to
want to try Saddam Hussein or any other despot, when they have in fact and in
deed surpassed all the evil crimes that any tyrant has wantonly relied on to
suppress his people. One can be sure
that the gross misconduct in Abu Ghreib is not the exception but the rule in
all 'coalition' prison camps in Iraq, and this calls for an independent
international investigation, with a view towards bringing the culprits and
their masters in the Pentagon and Whitehall to justice in the International War
Crimes Tribunal.... As for our leaders,
what have they done to insure that we are protected against seeing hundreds of
Abu Ghreib and Al-Khiyam prisons in every capital of the Arab World? Make no mistake about it; the real axis of
evil intends to screw us all!"
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
"Abuse Of Power At Abu Ghraib"
The national conservative Australian
asserted (5/3): “Because of the sadism
of possibly as few as six U.S. military police serving in Iraq, the entire
coalition there has suffered a setback in the battle for the hearts and minds
of the Iraqi people. When Iraqis see
photographs of detainees being sexually humiliated and physically abused by
their U.S. captors, how could their faith in what coalition troops are trying
to do in Iraq be anything but undermined?...
The symbolism of the fact these abuses occurred at Abu Ghraib, the
prison where Saddam Hussein tortured and murdered thousands of innocent Iraqi
citizens, is like a dagger in the heart of the message that Australia and its
allies have been working to spread....
In short, these disgusting abuses of prisoners' rights have been an
assault, not just upon human decency and the international conventions of
occupation and war, but upon the resolve needed to finish the job in
Iraq.... Justice will need to be seen to
be done--not only against the torturers, but also against the higher-ups who
let it all happen.”
CHINA (HONG KONG & MACAU SARS): "A Blow To The Battle For Hearts And
The independent English-language South China Morning Post
editorialized (5/2): "The idea that
the abuse is limited to isolated acts by a rogue minority of soldiers is,
however, highly questionable. Human-rights
organizations say they have received many complaints of similar maltreatment of
prisoners. The ones that have come to
light may well be the tip of the iceberg....
The occupation of Iraq has, from the moment it began a year ago, lacked
legitimacy. These terrible abuses have
removed any remaining claim the coalition had to the moral high ground. Only by conducting a thorough, independent
and impartial investigation into the treatment of prisoners generally in Iraq
can credit and trust be restored.... And
the detention centers should now be opened up for inspection by reputable
human-rights organizations so that concerns of widespread abuse can be
tackled. These abuses have been revealed
at a highly sensitive time. The June 30
deadline for a handover of power to Iraqis is approaching. Arab nations have, understandably, reacted
with anger to the treatment of the prisoners.
Their support in helping rebuild Iraq is vital--and will now be even
harder to win. However, the U.S.
withdrawal from the troubled city of Fallujah, leaving a former Iraqi general
to take control, is a positive move.
Hopefully, it signals a new sensitivity that is required if hearts and
minds are finally going to be won."
"Abusing Prisoners Reveal U.S.' And Britain's Infringement
Upon Human Rights"
Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News said (5/2): "The U.S. television station CBS and the
British Daily Mirror recently published pictures of U.S. and British
soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners, which shocked the world. Leaders of the U.S., Britain and other
countries said the pictures were disgusting.
They all denounced the abuses and demanded that the abusers be brought
to justice. Are these abuses the illegal
acts of a few soldiers or is this just the tip of the iceberg? The situation arouses people's
suspicions.... The root of problem is
the unreasonable invasion of Iraq by U.S. and British troops. In order to tackle the Iraqi people's
resistance, British and U.S. troops use excessive force to take revenge. However, the dead and injured are mainly
unarmed civilians.... In order to take
revenge for the killing of several U.S. soldiers, troops bombed a city. They ignored the lives of innocent
civilians. From this angle, the abuse of
captives is not a big deal. At least
they did not kill them."
"Barbarous Abuse Of Prisoners In Iraq"
The moderate Hankook Ilbo stated (5/4): “When invading Iraq, the Bush administration
argued that its doing so was to topple the autocratic regime of Saddam Hussein,
which had threatened the world by developing weapons of mass destruction and
had oppressed the Iraqi people. However,
the U.S. has failed to find any evidence of Iraq developing weapons of mass
destruction and is now becoming a subject of global anger as an aggressor that
tortures Iraqis. With the loss of moral
cause, the U.S. seems likely to face more resistance by the Iraqis, far from
winning their support for its policy on the country.”
"Iraq Prisoner Abuses Are War Crimes"
The conservative Chosun Ilbo
editorialized (5/4): “President Bush
declared March of last year that Iraqi forces failing to treat U.S. prisoners
humanely would be tried as war criminals.
Now it is Mr. Bush’s turn to strictly apply this principle to those
involved in torturing Iraqi prisoners.
In addition, Mr. Bush must ascertain the truth behind the claims that
the egregious acts of prisoner abuse by U.S. soldiers were reported to the U.S.
military command, and must punish those responsible. The current predicament Washington is facing
in Iraq is neither because the U.S. lacks military strength nor because Iraqis
are not afraid of the U.S. As long as
the U.S. fails to win the hearts and minds of Iraqis, even if it pours enormous
amounts of military power and resources into Iraq, the Gulf country may become
a mire of conflict into which the U.S. is doomed to sink increasingly deeper.”
"Prisoner Abuse In Iraq Unforgivable"
The independent Dong-a Ilbo commented
(5/4): “The abuse of prisoners by
American and British soldiers are grave criminal acts that cannot be forgiven
under any circumstances.... The U.S. and
Britain must face up to the world’s indignation at their acts of trampling on
human dignity.... In particular, noting
that Washington publishes every year a report on other countries’ human rights
and urges them to improve their human rights situation, the world is closely
watching whether the U.S. will continue to criticize the others’ human rights
while turning a blind eye to its own violation of human rights.”
"Sexual Abuse Of Prisoners In Iraq"
Nationalist, left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun stated
(5/3): “Images of barbarous ‘sexual
abuse’ of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers, aired on the American TV
network CBS, vividly demonstrate how violent and cruel people can be on the
battlefield.... This incident must not
be shrugged off as an abnormal deviation by a handful of soldiers, especially
since allegations of widespread prisoner abuse in Iraq are successively
emerging after the shocking images were aired.... This situation must be quite an embarrassment
for the USG, which is already in a real fix, faced with persistent attacks by
Iraqi resistance forces and mounting international criticism that its war on
Iraq is an ‘unjustified act of aggression.’ Adding to the U.S.’ embarrassment
is the fact that it used Iraq’s human rights situation to justify the removal
of Saddam Hussein from power. A thorough
investigation of Iraq’s prisoner abuse situation is needed to punish those
responsible. However, the fundamental way to prevent such an inhumane situation
from reoccurring is by having the U.S. immediately end its unjustified war in
“A War That Is Losing Support”
Jang Myung-soo commented in moderate Hankook Ilbo
(5/3): “The U.S. proclaimed that the war
against Iraq was not a war aimed at obtaining more territory but at winning the
people’s hearts. However, due to a number of photographs portraying U.S. and UK
soldiers barbarously torturing Iraqi prisoners, the hearts of the people, not
only of Iraqis but also of people all around the world, seem to be turning away
from the U.S.... Wasn’t eradicating WMD
and terrorism as well as saving the Iraqi people from the tyrannical rule of
Saddam Hussein the cause of the U.S.' war?....
Next year will mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of Saigon. Vietnam
was the first war in which the U.S. failed to claim victory over the enemy and
one that taught Americans the lesson that only those who win the hearts of the
people can become the winner....
However, we cannot help but ask if the U.S. has learned anything at all
from its experience three decades ago....
The U.S. is the sole superpower of the 21st century. Does the U.S. and
its people have a sense of responsibility that befits its world status? Do
American soldiers, who are a part of the strongest military force in the world,
have the right mindset and spirit expected from them? Never forget that it was
the Roman Empire itself that caused its doom, not outside invasions.”
Rights In Iraq"
Muslim intellectual Republika concluded (5/5): “Human Rights? Ask this question to American, British or
allied soldiers in Iraq! To them, human
rights are only for the victors and occupying forces, not for the losers and
oppressed. To the occupying forces and
all the troops from different countries in Iraq, not only to American or
British soldiers, human rights include the right to be protected from any
potential abuse by anyone, including by the people being oppressed. The act of self-defense by the people of the
land being occupied is regarded as a violation of human rights by the
"Cruel As It Might Be, War Has Its
Leading independent daily Kompas opined
(5/4): “The brutality of the U.S. and British
forces against Iraqi prisoners of war is out of proportion and
disgusting.... The international
community has expressed its anger and protested the brutality shown at an Iraq
jail.... The strongest protests have
come from members of the Arab League, where the angry world community has also
questioned again the U.S. double standard on human rights, including in
Guantanamo camps. The U.S. is seen as
violating the human rights of the supporters of the Taliban and al-Qaida from
Afghanistan being detained in Guantanamo....
The Guantanamo case and the torture of detainees in Iraq demonstrate a
naked violation of human rights principles.”
"War Crimes In Iraq"
Government-influenced English-language New Straits Times
took this view (5/4): "President
George W. Bush and senior American military officers insist that the
humiliation and torture of Iraqi prisoners were atypical and the work of a
few. The world is supposed to be
reassured that the guilty few will be punished and that with the appointment of
the former Guantanamo Bay 'expert,' ill-treatment will end. The world is supposed to believe that the
detention center in Guantanamo Bay is a model prison camp and the tales of
abuse, for example by the five British detainees who were released in March,
were just lies. But the graphic images
coming out from Iraq do not lie. The
pictures from Abu Ghraib prison and footages of the dead and wounded women and
children in Fallujah show that torture and the indiscriminate killing of
civilians are not aberrations. Despite
its desperate attempts to sanitize the war in Iraq, Washington can no longer
hide these gruesome sights. Bush says,
'That’s not the way we do things in America,' but that’s very much the way the
U.S. has fought its 'wars of liberation' from the Philippines to Vietnam. The real war criminals are in the White
House, but like the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, it will be the small fry who
will become the fall guys for Abu Ghraib."
"Setting An Example"
The moderate Press of Christchurch
editorialized (Internet version, 5/3):
"The pictures of Iraqi prisoners being mistreated and humiliated at
the hands of American and British soldiers are a blow to coalition leaders
trying to keep and build support for their mission in Iraq.... The pictures, broadcast throughout the Arab
world by al-Jazeera, will help inflame a consensus already inclined to think
badly of American and British forces.
Similarly, all those in the West who are ill disposed towards Bush and
Blair anyway will be confirmed in their opinions. It is no comfort to dismiss the incidents as
isolated and the kind of thing that occurs in combat. The mission in Iraq has been underpinned from
the beginning by a moral foundation. The
idea was to rid the world of a brutal, threatening tyrant who had terrorized
his people, and to bring enlightened government to the region. That foundation will be eroded if the
occupiers behave, even on rare occasions, like the overthrown despot. This kind of incident must not just be detected
and punished. Sufficient discipline must
be imposed to ensure they never occur."
The moderate Today remarked (5/4): “There is a benign way of looking at the
humiliation being inflicted on Iraqi patriots.
Instead of just humiliating them, troops of the Coalition of the Peeing
could be killing them instead.... If the
prisoners were American, they would have been treated royally, pretty much as
the wounded U.S. soldier Pvt. Jessica Lynch was treated by Iraqi authorities,
who gave her the kind of medical treatment they were already denying Iraqi
troops, while extending every courtesy befitting her status as a POW under the
Geneva Convention.... The fact that
photos were allowed would support the notion that this was just a case of boys
being boys, letting off steam, getting their rocks off, so to speak, in the
tense, not to say nerve-wracking, ‘peace’ that U.S. President Bush assured the
American people would follow the defeat of Iraq.... [A] disturbing aspect [of the type of abuse]
is what all this reveals about the real aim of the last superpower: is it to be a global dominator or
INDIA: "Abuse Most
An editorial in the pro-BJP right-of-center Pioneer read
(5/4): "It is hardly surprising
that reports and photographs of torture and sexual abuse of Iraqi prisoners in
the custody of American troops have sent shock waves round the world. What was
inflicted on them would outrage any civilized person.... All this makes a mockery of the American and
British claim that they invaded Iraq to liberate its people from Saddam
Hussein's tyranny. It is not good enough for President Bush to say that he was
deeply disgusted by the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by US troops and that those
responsible would be 'taken care of.'
Nor is it sufficient for Prime Minister Blair to say that the abuses
portrayed by the photographs, if the latter were genuine, were "completely
and totally unacceptable". Nor can these be dismissed as the actions of a
few rogue elements which, Blair pleaded, should not detract from the good work
being done by British armed forces in Iraq. The facts that the abuses were
reported by the US military itself, that the commanding officer at the
notorious Abu Ghraib prison where these took place, has been suspended, and
that six American soldiers are facing court martial, do not go far
enough.... What is needed is a thorough
probe into the role not only of the mercenaries but also of US military
intelligence and the CIA.... Adequate
action against the guilty must follow. That alone can mitigate the intense
anger sweeping the Arabs following the appearance of the reports."
The pro-economic-reforms Economic Times maintained
(5/4): "The evidence of the torture
of prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad delivers another blow to the
already battered the U.S. case for the war on Iraq. Strategic reasons for the war, like the
existence of weapons of mass destruction or the link between Saddam Hussein and
terrorists, have already lost their credibility. If President Bush's Iraq
policy still retained some measure of support among ordinary Americans, it was
only because they believed there was a moral case for the removal of Saddam's
brutal regime. But the torture of the prisoners now suggests that the
difference between the present dispensation in Iraq and Saddam may only be a
matter of degree. And with the evidence
of torture coinciding with the US handing over the rebel city of Fallujah to
one of Saddam's own generals, Washington will find it difficult to rebuild the
moral case for regime change in Baghdad. The Bush administration would like to
brush aside the evidence of torture as no more than the acts of a small group
of unbalanced individuals. But there is little doubt that conditions created by
the US in Iraq make it more difficult to prevent atrocities. The US army is
functioning in an environment that is distinctly unfriendly. In order to keep
its own casualties down, it desperately needs information. The inherent
frustration of this situation could easily push American soldiers well beyond
accepted moral boundaries.... The US has
created a cauldron of brutality in Iraq. And it cannot even be sure that the
forces it has created, whether in Fallujah or elsewhere, will not at some point
turn against Washington."
"Not Liberating Conduct"
The pro-economic-reforms Business Standard declared
(5/4): "War degrades and
de-sensitizes...how much depends on how the armies view each other and how
strongly discipline is enforced. Viewed in this perspective, the awful pictures
of US and British soldiers torturing Iraqis suggest, first, that the occupying
armies have scant regard for the prisoners (and for Iraqis in general?) and,
second, that the senior commanders have not been able to enforce the kind of
discipline that they would like to claim.
The result, regardless of the damage limitation actions that the two
countries take, is bound to be hugely embarrassing for both. Their credibility
was already low because the original justification for invading Iraq - to rid
the country of weapons of mass destruction--turned out to be spurious. The
subsidiary justification (links with al Qaeda) has also not been established.... The Arab world is reported to be seething
with anger, and no one should be surprised. The rest of the world is shocked.
The going, already heavy, is going to get even worse for the occupation forces
because more will be persuaded to join the resistance in Iraq. The monthly toll of dead bodies may therefore
climb further; and now, thanks to these revelations, woe betide any coalition
soldier who has the misfortune to be captured.
U.S. officials and commentators say this was an aberration.... There are unconfirmed reports of deaths in
custody. One thing seems clear: Iraqi prisoners are not being treated as they
should be.... Sad comment on the
evolving nature of the 'war on terror' and how it is changing America."
"Torture Tells A Tale"
The centrist Indian Express opined (5/4): "Graphic images out of Abu Gharaib
prison are fast becoming emblematic of America's occupation of Iraq. First, in
the array of torture methods employed, they hint at the darker side of Bush's
war on terror.... Second, in the
unrelenting follow-up by the American media to keep the story moving, to
maintain an unwavering focus on their military's most shameful hour, can be
found welcome evidence that at least the superpower's institutions are in fine
health. The rush of exposes--on a bizarre outsourcing of interrogation work,
and on possible complicity of senior personnel--provides reason to believe that
the guilty will be duly punished, and the occupation force's policing methods
in Iraq kept in check. As they must be....
Remember, the US launched its invasion of Iraq by broadcasting examples
of Hussein's barbaric rule.... And that
the human rights abuse was effected by soldiers of an army that would play
policeman to the world, of a country that would be its moral custodian, is
further irony.... Iraq has perhaps been
a crash course for the US in the complexities of balancing the responsibility
to civilians and the need to crack down on mischievous elements out to disturb
the peace. As the US emerges out of its isolationist universe, Abu Ghraib
serves as dual interrogation. It must rescue any shred of legitimacy by
cracking down on all officials and processes that led to Iraqi torture
chambers. Until it does that, its lectures on human rights to countries engaged
in anti-terror operations will be listened to-hardly heard."
"Democracy's Journey Toward Hell"
Independent Calcutta-based Bengali-language Ananda Bazar
Patrika observed (5/4): "It has
been proved time and again that western democracy is not that tolerant on many
occasions as compared to oriental, Asiatic or Arabic autocracy. Does Iraq show
anew that it is the latest place of export of the lofty principles and
viewpoint of the British-American democracy? This question is bound to be
raised as the US media have alleged that American forces have sadistically
abused Iraqi convicts in the Abu Gharib prison.... It is quite certain that at least a major
section of Iraqis do not care when the western-style democracy under
British-American care will be installed in the place of Saddam's 'autocratic'
regime.... This desperate effort of
imposing a liberal and tolerant westernized democracy on an ethnic group
habituated to the Arabic or Asian dictatorship, has been creating the dramatic
background of this diabolical ruthlessness in Abu Gharib. There is little scope
for complacency by terming this incident an aberration. The entire history of
colonialism is marked by a long list of such shameful bloody episodes. If this
becomes an exception then what would be the rule?"
"This Is Called Civilization"
Assistant Editor Rongon Chakrabarty stated in independent
Calcutta-based Bengali-language Ananda Bazar Patrika (5/4): "How civil is this civilization? Is the
picture of the Iraqi prison new to the Vietnamese people? Did they not hang
women's mutilated bodies in army barracks? Did they not torture people with
bayonets? Did they not pulverize scores of villages with napalm bombs? Is this
picture new to Cambodia? Or to Indonesia, to Chile or to Afghanistan? The story
of civilization is that of killing....
The photo of a US soldier standing behind the pyramid of slain Iraqi
convicts bears a perfect image of this civilization. The White soldiers in this
picture are true inheritors of erstwhile feudal lords, standing before the
hanged Black people. It is our civilization that has given them the right to
mount unbridled tortures on the 'uncivilized' people. It amounts to giving
indulgence to the lie of 'civilization' if one identifies them as
offenders.... However, it is easy to
rebuke America and provide oneself a sort of self-satisfaction. But what is
happening daily in Kashmir? What is happening along our border with Bangladesh?
What is regularly happening in the prisons in Midnapore? When would we stand up
"America's Cycle Of Vengeance"
An editorial in Mumbai-based left-of-center Marathi-language Loksatta
read (5/4): "America's President
George W Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair make for the world's most
violent, shameless, dangerous and perverted pair of rulers.... The inhuman degradation of Iraqi prisoners by
the coalition forces in Iraq has infuriated the entire world. Since Bush has expressed regret over the
excesses and Blair has sought forgiveness...the rush of exposes on the Iraqi
torture chambers has been corroborated beyond doubt. It is rather shocking that
the NEW YORKER in the U.S. and THE DAILY MIRROR tabloid in the U.K. took the
lead in cataloguing the torment afflicted on the Iraqis. Respectable dailies like THE NEW YORK TIMES
and THE WASHIGTON POST chose to remain silent on the human rights abuse
effected by soldiers of an army that would play policeman to the world. It is only when the vileness of the episode
was condemned worldwide that these newspapers followed up the story, and that
was only to find out the element of exaggeration in the account. The American media has recently flashed the
news of Saddam Hussein writing a novel in captivity. This news only speaks of
the media's mischievous attempts to take away the world's spotlight from their
military's most shameful hour.... While
the Bush-Blair duo have at least feigned extreme concern about the developments
in Iraq, UN Secretary Kofi Anaan has not reacted at all. Of course he has no other alternative than
keeping mum on a mission in which the UN was absolutely disregarded."
The nationalist Hindustan Times editorialized (5/4): "In Vietnam, it was the image of a naked
and terror-stricken child running down the road with outstretched arms.... Thirty-odd years down the line, the images of
Iraqi prisoners inside the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad being tortured and
humiliated by U.S. soldiers have made Americans see their 'evil-ridding'
mission in a different light.... It's
difficult for civilians to realize that war is a grisly and dehumanizing
business. But when exposés of such
brutalities come out into the public domain, there can be no comfort found in
the argument: 'It's unfortunate, but
these things happen.'... The U.S. and
British forces in Iraq will now have to do serious damage control if they don't
want to drive angry Iraqis into the arms of the Maqawama (resistance). In any case, America may have just lost its
moral high ground in the much-touted fight between the forces of good and
"Occupying Troops Perpetrating Shameful Atrocities"
Calcutta-based nationalist Urdu-language Akhbar-e-Mashriq
commented (5/3): "At the time when
the popularity of U.S. President George Bush has been continuously falling and
his victory in the coming general election in November seems to be doubtful,
the atrocities that the US forces perpetrated against the Iraqi prisoners in
Abu Gharib prison outside Baghdad have not only scandalized and debased the US
universally but have also made it certain that Bush will face defeat in the
Torture Of Iraqi Prisoners"
Independent Bangla-language Jugantor contended (5/3): "Those countries of the West which claim
to be the abode of civilization and democracy must realize that the launching
of a systematic genocide and barbaric treatment of the prisoners will not
suppress the Iraqi struggle for freedom.
The people of the world demand the immediate withdrawal of the coalition
forces from Iraq. Public opinion in the
U.S. and Britain is also in favor of the withdrawal."
"Barbaric Torture By The Americans"
Pro-Saddam Bangla-language Inqilab editorialized
(5/3): "It is a fact that U.S.
troops do not consider their captives as human beings and think that it is
their duty to torture them. Humanity,
civility and civilization are not safe at their hands."
"What Is Happening In Iraq?"
Independent Bangla-language Manabzamin had this view
(5/3): "It is ironic that these
nations (the U.S. and UK) become very agitated when thinking about violations
of human rights in other nations. The
torture of Iraqi prisoners should be tried in an international court."
"The Trampling Of Human Rights"
Independent English-language News Today observed
(5/3): "A massive damage control
operation has already been launched.
Investigations have been ordered and some people have already been
suspended. But the thrust of this
operation is more on preventing future leaks than on ensuring fair treatment of
the prisoners. In the U.S. itself, the
9/11 commission is conducting an investigation.
After the infamous Lord Hutton inquiry in Britain, it is easier to think
that in the end this commission would also give a clean bill of health to the
Bush administration. Those expecting the
truth may be in for a disappointment.
The picture that emerges from this trampling of human rights by the
so-called torchbearers of human civilization makes us sad."
Javan stated (5/2):
"America's dangerous position in Iraq is causing extreme concern to
many American politicians, even to some conservatives. It seems that these painful and horrific
realities have been uncovered as a result of the opposition to Bush's government."
Al-Vefagh commented (5/2): "The torture operations in Iraqi jails
highlight the possibility that there are a large number of people who may have
been killed as result of mistreatment without any media coverage. Perhaps this is a small example of the U.S.
democracy we were led to expect in Iraq and the region by President Bush a year
"All-American Torture Chambers"
The liberal This Day observed (5/4): “It’s not simply a case of a few bad apples...but
the way occupation troops see themselves:
as conquerors, justified in their actions against lesser beings--who
coincidentally happen to be Arabs....
That U.S. soldiers felt ‘no need to hide’ their action speaks
volumes.... The latest allegations are
also not surprising in the context of human rights abuses conducted under
American authority at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.... If White House officials ever stop to wonder
why the U.S. government is so unappreciated in the Arab world, the latest photographs
should suffice.... It is hard to see how
Washington can extricate itself from the mess without further diminishing its
reputation. But the bottom line remains
this: there can be no democratic
solution for Iraq under military occupation.”
The liberal Witness editorialized (5/4): “The Geneva Conventions…incorporate...strict
rules for the treatment of prisoners of war.
It is for this reason...that the reports...of the abuse of prisoners by
U.S. and UK troops...are so disturbing....
The unpredictability of the violent and terrifying situation in Iraq
cannot excuse brutal behavior. A year
later, moral high ground has been well and truly eroded.... The Americans are now floundering in a morass
in Iraq, which realizes the direst pre-war predictions of critics of the Bush
administration. How they escape from it
is unclear. What is clear, however, is
that for their mission to retain any possible shred of credibility in the Arab
world, the perpetrators of the abuse against prisoners much be brought speedily
and publicly to account.”
"More Lies And Dishonor?"
Balanced Business Day noted (5/4): “Just more than a month before the U.S.
deadline to hand the country over to an Iraqi government, there is no way that
Americans, or the Iraqis to whom they propose handing over, can be said to be
in control of the country.... Bush
and...Blair both face being dragged into an increasingly violent and unstable
situation that could severely damage their countries and the rest of the world.
And that was before last
week.... The Americans and the British
first lied about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction in order to justify the
invasion. Why should they be believed,
now, as they protest that these acts of barbarism against Iraqi prisoners are
the work of just a few bad apples?...
Worse...may be the end of the assumption that the great democracies of
the west are run by men and women of honor, bound by rules as old and trusted
as the ages. Being taken prisoners by
the British or the Americans used to be a guarantee of safety. No longer.”
"World Needs Regime Change In U.S."
Political analyst and freelance journalist Allister Sparks
commented in the liberal Star (5/4):
“The global implications of the way this ill-considered conflict is
threatening to destabilize the whole Arab-Islamic world while fuelling a wave
of wrath against America and its allies throughout the...Muslim world exceed
anything Vietnam threatened to do....
Iraq has become a quagmire....
And now, adding fuel to the blazing hatred, come pictures of American
and British troops torturing and humiliating Iraqi prisoners.... All this is taking place less than two months
before the deadline for handing over the civil administration of the
country.... Any such handover will
clearly be a charade. The U.S. cannot
withdraw its armed forces.... If they
were to pull out they would leave a power vacuum which could see Iraq collapse
into a three-way civil war between Shi’ite and Sunni Muslims and the
Kurds--perhaps with Iran, Syria and Turkish Kurds intervening to support their
respective kith and kin.... What makes
the blunder all the more damning is that this is a war Bush did not have to
"So Much For Liberation"
The liberal Star editorialized (5/3): “Pictures of American soldiers torturing,
taunting and humiliating Iraqi captives in a prison near Baghdad with a
notorious history of cruelty were shocking.
Here was the self-proclaimed liberator making itself guilty of
atrocities against the very people it tells the world it is freeing.... None should be angrier at these images from
the Abu Ghraib prison, where Saddam Hussein's henchmen perpetrated the worst
imaginable acts, than the U.S. commander-in-chief, George Bush. Whether he realizes it or not, his
administration's treatment of prisoners at the Guantanamo lock-up in Cuba had
already damaged the U.S.'s claim to be a champion of human rights. Now this....
Although the scale and intensity of goings-on at Abu Ghraib cannot be
compared with what happened under Saddam, the idea was never to replace one
depravity with another.... Bush must
realize that the world will see what happened at the prison with a great deal
of revulsion. His generals, rightly, are
exhibiting outrage. But where was the
American chain of command before one good soldier decided to blow the
whistle? The horrific incidents indict
the generals as well. It pours fuel on
an already incendiary situation in Iraq, lending further substance to America's
many critics who continue to wonder how a great democracy could be duped into
war, as it was, on a lie.”
"Let’s Have More, Not Less, Of These Pictures"
Pro-government, Afro-centric Sowetan commented (5/3): "Bush...and..Blair...have expressed
horror at these images and have promised full investigations (and no
justice). It is hardly surprising that
both men seem incapable of promising justice.
The word and the concept do not seem to feature in their vocabulary of
the misguided war against terror....
None of the two men have mustered enough decency to apologize to the
world for misleading it. Now, their
soldiers and innocent and unarmed Iraqi women and children are being
slaughtered on a daily basis.... It is
no surprise that (some in) the allied forces should have the guts to torture
their detainees. The only surprise is
that these practices have been kept away from the public for this long. When Bush rescinded a signature by his
predecessor...Clinton...endorsing the creation of the International Criminal
Court, he was in effect giving a green light to such crimes too.... The world needs more, no less, of these
horror images to stop these two men. The
media must beam them back to the comfort of our dining rooms.... The Spanish electorate did the right thing a
month ago by getting rid of liars. The
last line of defense against more tissue of deceit is the electorate.”
"Time To Reflect"
The centrist Cape Times argued (5/3): “Disturbing allegations have been made.... The allegations come from different sources
on both sides of the Atlantic, with some of the abuse recorded on film.... Amnesty International believes there has been
a ‘pattern of torture’ of Iraqi prisoners for almost a year.... If true, this obscene behavior makes a
mockery of the claim by the U.S. and its allies that they went into Iraq to
advance the interests of democracy.
There is no other way of describing what now appear to be taking place
in Iraq other than as rampant thuggery seemingly informed by ugly
prejudices.... Whatever moral or
political authority the U.S. and its allies may once have claimed for
intervening in Iraq has now been utterly and shamefully destroyed.... The claims of torture have diluted the moral
authority of the U.S. even further. It
needs to do some serious introspection on the way forward. Perhaps it is now time to defer to the UN.”
"Dictators In Liberators’ Clothing"
The centrist Sunday Times held (5/2): “The pictures have horrified the world and
shamed the U.S. and British governments....
Amnesty International said the sadism sessions shown in the pictures
were not isolated incidents....
Predictably, the respective governments have distanced themselves from
the behavior of their soldiers, stating that it violated their military and
human rights codes. But the truth is
that the makings of such a situation were always there. From the moment the Bush administration
decided to lie...about the reasons for going to war, they were on slippery
downward slope.... It is too optimistic
to believe that the U.S. administration can extricate itself from the
mess. Bush and the hard men of the
Pentagon are convinced that they are in Iraq on a God-sent mission.... The logjam can only be broken
by...Blair.... With Bush possibly being
voted out of office in November, Blair may be left carrying the can for this
bad war. It is in the interests of the
international community, and of his own legacy, that Blair step forward and
assume responsibility for dragging the world out of this mess. That way he will be able to enter his third
term without an albatross hanging around his neck. The alternative is that he can go down as one
of the world leaders who created the conditions for the human race’s regression
to the barbarism we saw this week.”
UGANDA: "Torture In
Iraq A Sign Of Failure By Occupiers"
Uganda’s conservative Muslim newspaper The Weekly Message
remarked (5/5): "Recent images of
horrendous torture by American and British soldiers against Iraqi prisoners may
increase the hatred towards the U.S and may escalate the conflict in Iraq. It is shocking to see evidence of such
torture happen to the people of Iraq when one of the cardinal reasons the U.S
gave for invading the sovereign nation was to stop the cruel dictatorship of
Saddam Hussein. The pictures depict an
administration that has failed not only to win the hearts and minds of Iraqis,
but also those of the Muslim world. So
what justification does the U.S have for its continued occupation of Iraq? Is it a sign of hatred towards Iraqis and
Muslims or a sign of a war lost?
"Let U.S., UK Act On Abuse"
State-owned The New Vision commented (5/3): "These acts coming from the leading
democracies deserve global condemnation.
This shows even the most disciplined army has individuals who can stain
its image. Rogue elements can spoil
years of a spotless record. It brings to
the fore the complexity of controlling extremists in the armed forces."
"Is The Human Rights Era Coming To An End?"
Privately-owned independent Sunday Mirror
observed (Internet Version, 5/3):
"Today the world is outraged by photographs and reports of how U.S.
soldiers in Iraq have been using the Abu Gharib prison, Saddam Hussein's former
house of torture and execution, to abuse and humiliate Iraqi prisoners.
Allegations of human rights abuses by British troops on Iraqi captives have
also emerged. These developments only serve to further antagonise the Arab
world and sow more seeds of Western resentment within the Arab world. The
abusive actions of American and British soldiers also hand Islamic extremist
terrorist groups such as Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network extra campaign
cards in their bid for more recruits and a Jihad on the West. But the exposure
of these inhumane activities, perpetrated by the self proclaimed champions of
the human rights doctrine, come as no surprise for human rights experts. Indeed
in the post September 11 period Michael Ignatieff, Harvard Professor and
arguably the most influential thinker in human rights policy circles, sounded
the alarm bells when he wrote that 'after September 11 the question is whether
or not the era of human rights has come and gone'. For since September 11 the
international human rights campaign has given way to the war on terror.... Suspected Al Qaeda fighters are still being
held without trial at the US base of Guantanamo Bay since 2001. Even there
allegations of inhumane treatment have surfaced regularly. While the goings on
at Abu Gharib deserve international condemnation they are only a small piece in
the bigger picture."
An editorial in daily-of-record La Nacion read (5/4):
"The terrible images reflecting the cruel abuse of Iraqi prisoners... are
frankly abominable. The violation of
basic rules that regulate the treatment of war prisoners at the Geneva
conventions, which the U.S. belongs to, are absolutely obvious. Moreover, if
given the characteristic of the abused prisoners these rules weren't
applicable, what took place openly violates humanitarian international
legislation anyway. The already damaged
U.S. image around the world will suffer as a consequence of this even further
-- particularly among the sensitized Arabic countries. For these reasons, the investigation
of the serious responsibilities regarding these unacceptable episodes must be
transparent, quick and deep. And the punishment to those who, out of action or
omission, are found responsible for the brutalities that may have been
committed must be exemplary. In
addition, what took place must also trigger a deep revision of military
policies and procedures that are currently enforced by the U.S. army, so that
in the future, these truly wild episodes such as the above-mentioned are not
repeated under any circumstance."
Marcelo Cantelmi, international editor of leading Clarin
opined (5/2): "The scandal and
horror unleashed by the images (of abuse) is legitimate. But there are no grounds for surprise. Anyone who has followed this war cannot be
surprised when the saucepan lid jumps out and you can see the saucepan's
content. The point is how much more is
left under the carpet. The war was
launched based on the false argument of frightful Saddam's arsenal. Now evidence has demonstrated that was not
the only or the biggest lie, and that the proclaimed liberation of Iraqis to
preserve their rights appears as a pretext from almost the borderline of
cynics. Is it now possible to believe
the White House's argument of the criminal and terrorist nature of the Iraqi
resistance? According to the Arab world,
it is a heroic deed. The problem for
Bush is that this notion will not take long to spread in the West. If so, if those are the heroes and Iraq
becomes a huge Guernica, what side did Bush end up placing the U.S.?"
Hypocrisy And Silence"
Liberal Folha de S. Paulo political columnist Clovis Rossi
wrote (5/2): "President George W.
Bush said he is 'disgusted' with images of torture inflicted by his soldiers on
Iraqi prisoners. His European partner,
Tony Blair, is 'horrified' with identical practices by British soldiers. They may be sincere, but it is hard to
believe that. Torture in Iraq is the
bastard daughter of the treatment being given for two years by the U.S. to prisoners
captured in Afghanistan and kept in Guantanamo.
The Cuban government asked the UN to condemn the U.S. for bad treatment
of prisoners in Guantanamo. Is that
Fidel Castro's hypocrisy? It may
be. But it is also U.S. hypocrisy, as
well as of all those who became silent in regards to the crimes committed in
Guantanamo. No one has supported the
VENUZUELA: "The Pot
Calling The Kettle Black"
Leading liberal daily El Nacional (5/4) editorialized:
"The photos of the American and British military officers torturing
civilians in Iraq have been seen all around the globe. The world has been appalled at these images
and has repudiated the barbaric acts.
Does the President know why this was possible? Because there is freedom of speech in the
world, because the media outlets are free, because, despite their failures, the
American media are not put under the control of a content law, like the one the
National Assembly intends to pass. If
there were a content law in the United States, the network CBS would not have
been able to disseminate those terrifying images and journalist Ted Koppel
would be processed by general García Carneiro.
President Chávez sees the mote in the other's eye and not the beam in
his own eye. It seemed like there were
two Venezuelan Presidents speaking, the one that spoke of 'minor injuries' at
Fuerte Mara as a soldier was dying as a result of serious burns, and the one
that spoke this Sunday. Infuriated,
Chávez condemned the excesses of the American and British military officers in
Iraq. As the local public opinion knows,
the Government has tried to hide the tortures against the Venezuelan
soldiers. It is O.K. to condemn what is
happening in Iraq, but is it O.K. to hide and even excuse what is happening in