International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

May 5, 2004

May 5, 2004





** 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' 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 outside invasions.”


'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 CIA. 


'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 project." 


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 Place"


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 East."


"Coalition Comrades Will Pay In Blood For This Barbaric Idiocy"


Former SAS officer Andy McNab commented in the conservative Daily Telegraph (Internet version, 5/2):  "In a properly run 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, Torture"


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 Control"


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."


"The Lawless"


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 Iraq."


"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."


"Key Stimulus"


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 further investigations."


"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."


"Systematic Humiliation"


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."


"Lower Instincts"


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."


"Shameful Pictures"


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 one case."


"Human Right"


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 subhuman being.”


"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 colonial power.”


"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 incident.”


"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 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.”


RUSSIA:  "Usual Sadism"


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."


AUSTRIA:  "Torture 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."


"Gigantic Damage"


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."


BELGIUM:  "Vietnam-Iraq:  Same Images, Same Damage"


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.”


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "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 Excuse"


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 War"


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 professed decency.”


NORWAY:  "Torture 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 U.S."


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)."


ROMANIA:  "Torture Scandal"


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 before 9/11." 


"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’.”


SPAIN:  "Terrifying Images"


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.  Never protected."


"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."


"Military Tortures"


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 dishonored."


"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 America"


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 the mirror?”




WEST BANK:   "Torture Of Israeli Prisoners:  Doses Of American Democracy"


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."


"America Naked"


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?" 


EGYPT:  "Shameful 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 such acts."


"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."


SAUDI ARABIA:  "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."


"Sick Mentality"


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 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 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 the occupation."    


"Iraq...  The Home Of The Tortured"


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."


"Isolated Incident?"


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."


IRAQ:  "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."



ALGERIA:  "Atrocities"


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!”


BAHRAIN:  "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 affront.” 


"The Scandals Of American Liberty And Happy Democracy (Part II)"


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.”


JORDAN:  "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."


"War Crimes"


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 You!"


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.”


TUNISIA:  "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."


YEMEN:  "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!"  




AUSTRALIA:  "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 Minds"


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."


SOUTH KOREA:  "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 Iraq.”


“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.”


INDONESIA:  "Human 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 occupiers.”


"Cruel As It Might Be, War Has Its Rules"


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.”


MALAYSIA:  "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."


NEW ZEALAND:  "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."


PHILIPPINES:  "Global Dominatrix"


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 dominatrix?”




INDIA:  "Abuse Most Foul"


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."


"For Shame"


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 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 in protest?"


"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."


"Screaming Pictures"


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 evil."


"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 election." 


BANGLADESH:  "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."


IRAN:  "Painful Realities"


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."


"Torture Operations"


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 ago."




SOUTH AFRICA:  "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.”


"Iraqi Prisoners"


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 fight.”


"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."


ZIMBABWE:  "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."




ARGENTINA:  "Iraqi Prisoners Abuse"


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.?"


BRAZIL:  "Horror, 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 Cuban proposal."


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 our country?"



Commentary from ...
Middle East
East Asia
South Asia
Western Hemisphere

This site is produced and maintained by the U.S. Department of State. Links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views contained therein.

Back To Top

blue rule
IIP Home  |  Issue Focus Home