International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

December 20, 2002

December 20, 2002





** Critics charged that the U.S.--by "legitimizing" even the "pre-emptive" use of nuclear weapons to meet the WMD threat and by granting CIA authority to use lethal force against suspected terrorists--was on an "increasingly dangerous path" in its war on terrorism.

** A number warned that a reported Pentagon's "covert propaganda" plan would "undermine" Islam, "obstruct" freedom of expression and breed anti-American sentiment in the Islamic world.




Nuclear-use policy taken as 'aggressive,' 'unilateral' hubris-- A number of writers were skeptical of the need for the U.S. to "rattle its nuclear sabers," concluding that the "bellicose messages" from the White House were both a warning for Baghdad and an alert to the world that it is "serious" about preparing for war in Iraq.  Many regarded the policy as "reversing" the principles of the past and shoring up what a conservative Italian outlet dubbed a strategy of "pre-emptive war...the third pillar of the Bush doctrine" against both the "axis of evil" and terrorist networks.  A right-of-center German paper suggested that the U.S. was pressuring Iraq "to annoy the arch enemy and provoke it to rebel."  Capturing the indignation in Muslim outlets, the UAE's business-oriented Al Bayan charged that the U.S. "makes us live in an atmosphere of a...fabricated nuclear war."  The paper insisted that the "pioneer" of nuclear weaponry and "the only power now threatening to use it" is "endeavoring to destroy the Arab world."


Presidential directive for wider CIA covert authority sparks moral indignation-- A few conservative voices in Britain, Italy and Canada agreed that expanded authority for the CIA to "take out" terrorists was "perfectly logical" given the nature and atomization of the target.  Most writers, however, found the "license to kill" "alarming" and "disturbing."  Many raised moral as well as legal concerns.  Madrid's conservative La Razon lamented that the leaders of the world's "most powerful nation," were so "blinded" by 9/11,  that they would see "a crime of the state" as "good" and consider "the execution" as "legal."  Pakistan's center-right Nation admonished: "Terrorism cannot be eliminated through terrorist methods."  The disclosure also reinforced familiar grievances that the U.S. government was, in the words of a Zagreb daily, "imposing itself both as the interpreter and mediator in the implementation of international law."


Pentagon's 'propaganda plan' seen as attempt to 'bribe' journalists, 'undermine' Islam--  Some writers took offense at the Pentagon's reported plan to conduct "covert" opinion influencing.  In addition to viewing it as another "ingredient" of U.S. pre-emptive strategy, they warned that it would backfire.  Indonesia's Muslim-intellectual Republika insisted  it was an attempt to "jeopardize and undermine Islam."  Agreeing that the policy "ignores" the "simple fact" that most Muslims are peace-loving, a Hong Kong daily held that "the more the U.S. tramples on fundamental rights and freedoms, the greater the likelihood of a backlash."

EDITOR: Irene Marr


EDITOR'S NOTE:  This report is based on 50 reports from 25 countries, Dec. 12-19.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "Limits Of Assassination"


London's conservative Daily Telegraph opined (12/16):  "The Bush administration has a list of terrorists that the CIA is authorized to kill.  Is this a return to murder as a political weapon?  No.  Washington is not authorizing a policy of state assassination, and would be wrong to do so.  Rather, it is clarifying the post-Vietnam position....  The problem is simply stated.  Most people would agree that it is legitimate for governments to kill someone who poses a clear and identifiable threat to their citizens.  But who, in the absence of judicial process, is to decide what constitutes such a threat?  Rarely will the security forces come across someone in the act of pushing the explosive plunger; so at what point does a potential terrorist become an actual one?  The CIA appears to have approached this dilemma by applying military criteria.  It has sanctioned the killing only of enemy forces that are engaged in acts of war against America.  This would cover an al-Qa'ida bomber, but not, for example, the representative of a government suspected of harbouring terrorists.  Such executions will therefore count as acts of war, not assassinations.  It seems a sensible compromise."


GERMANY:  "Those Who Have The Bomb"


Clemens Wergin judged in an editorial in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (12/13): “The [security] strategy of the Bush administration is based on the conviction that the classical policy of the containment of weapons of mass destruction has failed.... And that is why it is certainly no coincidence that the new strategy paper was published on the same day when a North Korean freighter with Scud missiles was stopped in the Arabian Sea.  North Korea’s behavior over the past few weeks demonstrated what the United States is claiming:  Even agreements do not keep away some rogue states from acquiring and passing on weapons of mass destruction.  We could have the impression that the Americans are now applying double standards.  While North Korea, with its nuclear policy, has thus far not faced serious consequences, Iraq is about to be attacked because of its weapons of mass destruction.  But such criticism ignores the decisive difference between the two systems. But it is still unclear whether the new U.S. strategy will make the world safer.  States that are about to begin the development of weapons of mass destruction may stop these programs out of fear of U.S. intervention.  Others like Iran could present a different bill.  They know that they will be protected the best from U.S. attacks when they own the things the Americans are trying to prevent them from getting.  The North Korean example also shows this:  Those who have the bomb, will be unassailable.”


"Strategy Of Helplessness"


Stefan Kornelius editorialized in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (12/12): "U.S. security policy is changing with breathtaking speed.  Following the National Security Doctrine, the Bush administration has now published a strategy paper that must be understood as an implementation guideline....  The strategy, like the doctrine, reverses several principles from past security policy times....  But the strategy was written less against terror groups but against two special guys from the terror business: the dictators in Iraq and North Korea.  The discovery of SCUD missiles on a North Korean freighter offers the welcome (the timing was also perfect) evidence that the United States has an answer to realistic scenarios of threat.  Those who spread weapons of mass destruction or produce missiles for their use, should no longer feel safe.... But North Korea's missile shipments demonstrates how insufficient the strategy is.  Yemen considers itself the legitimate owner of the missiles....  With their trade, the affected nations do not violate international agreements.  The fact that the weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists in Yemen is undisputed, but cannot be proven. Washington only has the feeling, not the right on its side.  This is not enough.  The simple strategy for the protection from weapons of mass destruction and proliferation lack a soft part.  Where is the functioning program for the reduction of uncontrollable nuclear arsenals?  Why does the ally in the anti-terror war, Yemen, not get any protection?  More question than answers to Washington."


"Doctrine Thunder"


Rolf Paasch opined in an editorial in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (12/12): "Tough inspections that will end with the destruction of Iraq's ABC potential are indispensable.  But it is a different question whether the United States must build up a new scenery for the UN mission by threatening the use of nuclear weapons.  The 'doctrine thunder' cannot obscure the fact that the United States should better preach than practice its policy on the non-proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons....  If the analyses of scenarios reveal one thing today than it is that it will be of little use to eliminate only Saddam Hussein as one customer in the nuclear trade.  It would be more useful to buy [nuclear] goods from criminals who got their products from the Russian nuclear program.  The annual 1.1 billion dollars in the U.S. budget provided for this are by far not enough.  And those who are serious about Iraq should not excuse Pakistan's nuclear assistance for North Korea by saying that General Musharraf is necessary in the war against Al Qaida.  A convincing non-proliferation policy requires less military scenarios of threat but investments and greater consistence."


"Is It Ethically Acceptable To Pursue A Policy Of Deterrence With Nuclear Weapons"


Center-right Koelnische/Bonner Rundschau of Cologne (12/12) argued:  "We can certainly now enter into a critical and controversial discussion, like during the hey day of the peace movement in the 80s, how far it is ethically acceptable to pursue a policy of deterrence with nuclear weapons.  As far as politics is concerned, this was an extremely effective means during the times of the ideological division of the world and preserved peace because of its perverse logic.  Following a similar U.S. warning during the Gulf war, Saddam Hussein did not dare to equip SCUD missiles with chemical warheads in the Gulf war in 1991.  But nowadays when chemical, but also biological and nuclear weapons are widespread, each government should know:  When these weapons are used, nothing can be won but everything be lost."




Center-right Nordsee-Zeitung of Bremerhaven (12/12) noted:  "U.S. foreign policy is full of contradictions.  The government is trying to put the allies on when it emphasizes on the one hand not to take unilateral steps, but, when it, on the other hand, unmistakable makes clear that it will strike against Iraq on its own without any authorization of the UN Security Council if Baghdad only slightly violates the UN resolution. And it goes without saying that the United States will evaluate such a case all by itself and does not want to allow anybody to tell it what it has to do.  If Security Advisor Rice claims that her president believes in the U.S. allies, than this is true as long as Bush expects them to unconditionally support Washington."


"U.S. Loudly Rattling Its Use Of Nuclear Sabers"


Right-of-center Neue Presse of Coburg argued (12/12): "'There are days when we become nostalgic.  When we were still entrapped in the Cold War, the risk of a nuclear strike in the world was calculable - and almost zero.  And today?  Today, the United States is loudly and credibly rattling its nuclear sabers without any need to do so.  It is appropriate to speculate that the United States is exerting pressure [on Iraq] to annoy the arch enemy and provoke it to rebel.  By doing so, it creates reasons to act. George W. Bush seems to be determined to bring to end what his father had begun."


ITALY:  "Bush: 'Kill Al-Qaida Leaders'"


Washington correspondent Vittorio Zucconi writes in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (12/16): "Bush's present to the CIA for Christmas--the Christmas of the imminent war--is the license to kill, the authorization to attack a larger, updated number of human targets that it will have a right to kill, from now on, wherever they may be, without asking questions or waiting for authorizations....  The president has issued the 'National Security Presidential Directive Number 18,' with the 'license to kill' 25 people, according to The New York Times....  'Obviously we would prefer to arrest Usama or Zawahiri alive and to interrogate them, but in war this is a luxury that is not always possible,' says one of the few anonymous sources in the Bush Administration. And nobody, in Congress or in the media, would protest or ask for too many explanations if Usama bin Laden's body were to show up in a morgue, like Ernesto Che Guevara.  But the fact that the Presidential Directive with an expanded list of CIA legitimate targets has become public and that the White House is the only possible source of this intentional leak won't change at all the debate over the legality and the morality of the agent with 'a license to kill' who, without fanfare or decrees, has always killed in the past.  This is just another act of the daily psychological preparation of the American public for a war that is imminent."


"Bush Gives The CIA More Power To Kill"


Pro-government, leading center-right Il Giornale commented in a report by Washington correspondent Alberto Pasolini Zanelli  (12/16):  "The White House gave a Christmas present to the CIA: a list of Usama's collaborators whom intelligence agents are authorized to kill 'when capturing them is impractical.'  The names and numbers, of course, remain secret for unauthorized people....  The only certain thing is that the list of top-level targets begins with the usual name, bin Laden, and his right-hand man, Ayman al-Zawahiri.  The 'license to kill' these kinds of people is not new....  The two new elements are the fact that the CIA, from now on, will no longer need to ask for the White House's written permission to kill a given terrorist...and that the license to kill will be valid not only in Afghanistan but all over the world--something which is perfectly logical since al-Qaida, like all other international terrorist organizations, has chapters all over the world."


"Bush Warns Saddam: 'Ready To Use Nuclear Weapons'"


A report in LaNazione/Il Resto del Carlino/Il Giorno conservative newspaper syndicate (12/12):  "If Saddam uses his 'dirty bombs' we will use our nuclear weapons.... The Americans' threat is loud and clear....  The White House has made public President Bush's 'doctrine' on the use of nuclear weapons and has warned that the use of 'biological, chemical, radioactive or nuclear weapons against America, U.S. forces abroad and our allies' would prompt an 'overwhelming response' by Washington, including the use of nuclear weapons. The document released by the White House does not mention Iraq directly, but the time chosen for the announcement...does not leave many doubts about its meaning.  The coincidence with the seizure in the Indian Ocean of the 'pirate' ship full of Scud missiles confirmed also the second axiom of the Bush doctrine: the Evil Axis that includes, in fact, North Korea, Iraq and Iran....  Against the evil axis and the risk of terrorist attacks, the strategy is preemptive war--the third pillar of the Bush doctrine.  Beginning today, the use of the nuclear weapon is an essential part of that strategy."


"More Controls In Baghdad, Inspectors In The Bunkers"


New York correspondent Arturo Zampaglione wrote in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (12/12):  "The bellicose messages, some of them public, some of them intentionally leaked, have a dual goal: on one hand, Washington wants to let the world, and Baghdad in particular, know that it is serious, that it is getting ready for war (because it is skeptical about Saddam Hussein's repentance) and that it won't let itself be intimidated by the brags of the Iraqi dictator.  On the other hand, the messages are meant to dissuade the Baghdad generals from making risky moves or obeying crazy orders.  Such a strategy was adopted successfully in 1991, when then Secretary of State Baker warned Iraq that the use of chemical weapons would have caused a 'terrible' response by the Pentagon....  Theoretically, Bush has not decided yet whether to attack Iraq or not: Defense Secretary Rumsfeld reiterated that yesterday during a visit to Qatar to follow the military exercises of General Tommy Franks and to sign the agreement on the Al Udeid maxi-base, which will become the operational center of U.S. forces in the Gulf.  In reality, however, all indications and the opinions of experts go in the direction of a war between January and February."


AUSTRIA:  "The Threat of War"


Senior foreign editor Anneliese Rohrer opined in centrist Die Presse (12/12): "To the world's mounting concern, the U.S. has presented a new security doctrine that includes the option of nuclear retaliation.... Given the recent incident involving Scud missiles on a vessel bound for Yemen and the rumors that Washington grabbed the Iraqi weapons dossier in order to be able to manipulate it, this will only add to the fears of those who accuse the U.S. of warmongering....  However, these events might be interpreted in a slightly different way.  The best-case scenario reads: This is nothing but a message for Iraq not to underestimate Washington's determination....  So the real calamity in the current turn of events is not so much the Bush Administration's actual or alleged strategy, but the world's distrust for the United States' true motives."


CROATIA:  "License To Kill"


Zagreb-based Government-owned Vjesnik carried a commentary by military correspondent Fran Visnar declaring (12/17):  “The current American administration’s style is to shoot openly.   By publicly acknowledging that 20 Al Qaida members will be killed, a total war on the Islamic terrorist elite is being proclaimed, not just for revenge for the crime committed on September 11 of last year.   Such intimidation is also useful, because the terrorist organization’s big shots will in the future pay more attention to their own security rather than to planning larger terrorist actions on American territory or elsewhere against U.S. interests.   Pitiless actions in this case should also serve as preventive discouragement of other anti-American terrorist groups.   Because, it’s one thing when Americans talk about revenge in general, and it’s something different when their intelligence agents get a license to kill.”


"Increase Of CIA Authority Is Turning Allies Away From Bush"


Sanja Simic wrote in Zagreb-based mass-circulation Jutarnji list (12/17):  "Even though the increased authority of the American security services has not until now significantly undermined the balance of political interests within America, it is causing more and more problems in international relations.  That is because the American government is imposing itself both as the interpreter and the mediator in implementation of international law....  On the one hand, Bush is grouping security services under the authority of only one part of government administration, while on the other hand, he is withdrawing government administration ever further from the chosen agencies’ control.   Such maneuvering is pushing a large part of the American anti-terrorism war outside of the political and even the legal sphere, which maybe Bush can justify at home by the need to fight the genuine terrorist threat.   However, outside of America he could soon be forced to undertake a frenetic political and diplomatic campaign.  Therefore, a global activity whose continuity he stopped a year ago, without in the meantime significantly damaging the continuity of his enemy’s global activities.”


FINLAND: "No Need For James Bond"


Liberal Hufvudstadsbladet editorialized (12/18):  "Agents 'licensed to kill' should not be allowed to exist in reality. Countries with capital punishment weed out such agents in courts of law, but in Finland we do not approve the death penalty or freelance killers.  The U.S. administration has provided the CIA with a list of 25 terrorists who can be killed.  One can only hope that other countries will not follow suit.  Life will get dangerous, if all governments authorize their agents to murder those whom the incumbent government considers the most dangerous."


HUNGARY:  "State Liquidators"


Left-wing Hungarian Nepszava carries the following editorial (12/19): " The United States of America, the symbol of freedom, has become impertinent.  More precisely it's President Bush, who has unlimited power, but has less sense of human rights. He has authorized the CIA to assassinate twenty five terrorists without liability.   There are many problems with the President's decision.   The most important is this: a state does not have the right to take away human lives.   Actually, President Bush noted quite cynically that the recent act does not infringe the law that bans political assassinations (enacted under President Gerard Ford) because 'the terrorists are not politicians....  The way Osama bin Laden and the fundamentalist Arab terrorist conduct their own politics is disgusting, brutal and inhuman. But it still does not entitle President Bush to make an inhuman decision.  His decision is against the Western civilization's legal practices.   It is not good if the President of a superpower state gives authorization to his people to take away lives."


"Murderous Inclinations"


 Military writer Gabor Zord judged in conservative Magyar Nemzet (12/18):  “The president has reauthorized the CIA to carry out assassinations.  His act is viewed as a step to make the anti-terrorism fight more effective on the other side of the Atlantic. But to the rest of the word it raises the question: what is the underlying and real message of the President’s decision?  Washington is giving a warning to not only the potential (to be) targets, (and it is the worst tactics to give a warning to them), but to the whole world.   Washington wants the world to know who ‘wears the trouser in the house’.  The only question is whether such a maneuver can be successful when the anti-American rhetoric is becoming strong almost everywhere, even in the traditional ally countries.  One thing is certain: the recent presidential approval is a clear indication that Washington tends to easily lose sound judgment these days.  Instead of making piece with the adversaries and critics Washington aims to intimidate them.”


"Arrogant Bush"


Senior foreign affairs commentator Tibor Varkonyi pointed out in liberal Magyar Hirlap (12/17):  Le Figaro’s unusually emotional tone [calling President Bush arrogant] is also striking because, on the Iraqi issue, the conservative and unconditionally pro-American paper seems to have joined those with reservations. Many of Europe’s thinking minds are of the opinion that it is an irresponsible thing to do, and warn that considering the fight against terrorism a simple slogan, an occasional political campaign might cost the Old Continent a lot....  Consequently, there is no alternative to lining up behind President Bush and the United States in the fight against terror, because it is a question of life or death.  In spite of--or perhaps just because of--all their significant achievements, America and Europe continue to want to modernize dynamically, while the Islam fundamentalists want to go back to the Stone Age.”


ROMANIA:  "American Threat"


Senior editor Razvan Voncu wrote in the conservative Cronica Romana (12/13):  “The question is:  whom is the ferocious (and ridiculous) American message aimed at?  This is obviously a rhetorical question:  Mr. Bush thinks that in this way he is scaring Saddam Hussein and, at the same time throws new suspicions on to the Baghdad leader, although the latter does not threat anyone, and even apologized for invading Kuwait.  Iraq not only does not possess mass destruction weapons, but, with an infrastructure seriously damaged by the bombings of the last decade, with the technological handicap of any Arab country and the lack of capital resulting from the embargo, it would need at least 20 years of normality from now on, in order to develop a notable arsenal of such weapons.  The American threat must, therefore be regarded in a completely different light.  The civilized world is confronting now a serious violation of the UN Charter, of the principles regarding relationships between states, and of minimum standards of behavior.”


SPAIN:  "Imperial License To Kill"


Conservative La Razon wrote (12/16): "It is alarming to see that the fear existing after 9-11 in the most powerful nation has blinded its leaders to such an extent that they would see as good a crime of the state and to consider legal the execution, without previous trial of people accused, by a discredited security service, of terrorism....  Europe, in spite of Washington's criticisms, its sincerely on the side of the American people, but behavior such as the admission of summary executions make it more difficult everyday to remain in the same ranks as leaders like Bush Jr."


YUGOSLAVIA:  "Limits Of The Total War"


In a series of articles on various facets of the Iraq issue in Belgrade pro-governmental Politka military analyst M. Lazanski argued (12/12):  "Even if Baghdad possesses chemical and biological weapons, it is not likely that it will use them.   Strong winds, heavy rains and desert storms increase the possibility for Iraqis troops to be contaminated with its own poisonous gas.  American generals assess that even if Saddam Hussein orders the activation of the chemical weapons, it is completely uncertain whether low-ranking officials would obey because they are aware that everyone who use chemical or biological weapon will be treated as a war criminal and will be prosecuted. Whether Iraq will use chemical weapons does not depend only on Saddam Hussein but also on the precision of the U.S. air force in relation to air strikes on the communication channels of Iraq's military headquarters and troops on the ground.  It is possible that such a command will be issued but that the chain of command will be broken and the first-line units will not be able to act on it....  What kind of a conflict between America and Saddam Hussein can await American soldiers: a 'de luxe' war or the Iraqis preparing a surprising and aggressive defense. Lessons from Operation Desert Storm from 1991 are more of political than of military nature and they can be summarized in a few words: Do not mess with U.S. interests!"




ISRAEL:  "The Banalization Of Nuclear Weaponry"


Defense commentator Reuven Pedhazur opined in independent Haaretz (12/18):  "Last week the U.S. Administration took another step on the dangerous road toward turning nuclear weapons into a legitimate military instrument used for offensives even if the U.S. is not facing an existential danger.  This is a genuine revolution in attitudes toward nuclear weapons and has far-reaching implications regarding their use.  The new American concept also has an influence on Israel's own nuclear weapons policies....  One of the interesting aspects of the policy is the intent to accelerate development of 'small' nuclear weapons, to enable the activist enforcement policy to hit well-defined targets in countries and terrorist groups that do not comply with American demands.  Of course there's no operational or moral justification for this and the use of 'small bombs' is as grave as the use of strategic nuclear weapons.  However, the Bush administration is trying to give logical and rational cover to its policies....  The new legitimacy granted by the U.S. to the use of nuclear weapons against 'rogue states,' most of which are in the Middle East, has ramifications for Israeli policy. If nuclear weapons are legitimate weapons that can be used for 'preemptive' strikes, then seemingly the nuclear threshold has also been lowered for Israel's commitments....  It's worth reminding [Israeli] policymakers that they should not forget that what superpowers are allowed to do, little countries that depend on the superpowers are prohibited from doing."


"When Is 'Elimination' Legitimate?"


Ultra-Orthodox Hamodi'a editorialized (12/17):  "The U.S. Administration has reportedly prepared a list of 25 international terrorists.  President Bush has OK for their assassination.  There is considerable logic in the U.S. president's decision, because...those terrorists are personally responsible for harming people and they plan to continue to hurt as many people as possible....  The problem is that there is no logic in...the reservations of U.S. officials about 'pinpoint thwarting' by Israeli security forces....  A superpower and a small country should be able to allow themselves to act in the same way."


EGYPT:  "American Curricula"


Leading pro-government Al Ahram's senior columnist Salah Montasser observed (12/17):  "Americans know nothing of world news even though this has changed somewhat since September 11--(events) which has made them feel, for the first time, that their lives have been invaded by the people of that world.... The U.S. is not merely a superpower; it is the strongest country in the world and in history. When it emerged from World War II, it sought to extend its influence to the world but, following the collapse of the USSR, that was not enough.  The U.S. wanted to impose its control over the entire world even to the extent of asking some countries to change their school curricula and of attempting to foster powers in other countries to spread democracy....  How can a nation which ignores the simplest information about the world--such as geography and history--rule the world?....  Do we not have the right to ask America itself to change its school curricula to produce American citizens who know where Afghanistan, Egypt and Iraq are?"


LEBANON: "The Philosophy Of Force With Bush"


An editorial by Awni Kaaki in pro-Syria As-Sharq noted (12/17):  "The world has not seen a leadership so drowned in recklessness and so in love with the philosophy of force as in the current phase.  There could be no phase similar to this era other than that of Nero who burned Rome while playing his harp.  The President of the American Administration George Bush embodies that reality and has outdone Nero in his behavior....  Just like that, with all simplicity, the American President announces that he had given his orders to the CIA and the FBI to assassinate twenty personalities in the world, whom he accuses of terrorism...  And the weirdest paradox is that his Secretary of State Colin Powell announced a plan, which he called the Middle East Partnership Initiative to change the political, social and economic patterns in Arab societies.  The U.S. has placed twenty nine million dollars for that, while the supposed war against Iraq will be costing it one hundred billion dollars...this is what falls within the frame of subduing the Arab world and controlling its capabilities to force it into accepting a new Middle East order."


MOROCCO:  "Bush Has Given Green Light To The CIA To Kill 24 Terrorists"


Government coalition, USFP party, French-language Liberation commented (12/17):  "This is the Far West way. The "New York Times" has written  that President Bush has given the green light to kill 24 terrorists mentioned on the black list including UBL.  The CIA was given the green light to kill them in case it cannot arrest them or at least capture them live or dead....  If this is not new in the world of secret services, it is indeed the fact of publicizing the news openly that is really surprising!"


"The U.S. Is The Biggest Criminal State"


Independent, Arabic-language politicaly weekly Assahifa Hebdomadaire carried a letter-to-the-editor stating (12/16):  "U.S. history is full of crime and blood....  The U.S. is behind criminal actions that have killed thousands of children and women in Iraq, Vietnam, and most recently in Afghanistan.  We all remember President Bush's statement that 'You are with us or against us' and this means that there is no choice but to support America in its war on terrorism....  Everybody is aware of U.S. transparent support to the Zionist state, and this is what Ambassador Margaret Tutwiler said in response to the question of financial support to the Zionist entity....  Up to now, the U.S. could not put an end to Al- Qaeda that defends Muslims issues and retaliates for the free killing of the people in Palestine, Chechnya and Kashmir."


UNITED ARAB EMIRATES:  "Appointment With The Nuclear Hell"


Dubai-based business-oriented Al Bayan editorialized (12/13):  "The nuclear American threats mean that the American atomic weapon is approaching Arab borders.  It is possible that U.S. fleets are carrying nuclear warheads.  Thus, the U.S. makes us live in an atmosphere of a likely and fabricated nuclear war.  Being the pioneer of nuclear weaponry, the first to use it, and the only power now threatening to use it, the U.S. is endeavoring to destroy the Arab world."




CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):  "Wrong Strategy"


The independent English-language South China Morning Post commented in an editorial (12/17):  "U.S. President George W. Bush's right-leaning administration is walking an increasingly dangerous path in its war on terrorism.  While it says the fight is not against Islam, recent comments by senior officials point clearly in that direction.  Such naive views are guaranteed to breed even more anti-American sentiment in Arab and Muslim communities.  Dissent is already rife over Washington's insistence that Iraq's President Saddam Hussein be militarily toppled and its inaction to resolve the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis....  Rather than dissuading Islamists, Washington's actions are causing a rise in the number of people joining extremist groups.  Last week, Secretary of State Colin Powell announced a program of education and development in poor Middle East countries.  Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is considering a proposal for the U.S. military to conduct covert operations to influence public opinion among allied and neutral nations. This would include attempts to undermine the influence of mosques and religious schools....  To adopt such a policy ignores a simple fact--that Muslims are peace-loving and only a small percentage are extremist in their views.  The more the U.S. tramples on these fundamental rights and freedoms, though, the greater the likelihood of a backlash.  Mr. Bush and his advisers would do well to formulate a global, multilateral approach with other governments to fight terrorism, rather than one based on their own narrow views."


INDONESIA:  "Another Danger Of CIA Authority To Kill Terrorists"


Leading independent Kompas commented (12/17):  “The authority that the U.S. government granted to the CIA to directly kill terrorists has prompted protest for it shows more arrogance and tyranny....  The demands and the strong protests from the world community will certainly harm the global war against terrorism...[leading to] antipathy against the U.S.  The U.S. decision, which essentially promotes unilateral actions, constituted one of the worst decisions.  Rather than strengthening global coalition, the option precisely weakens it....  Anti-American sentiment would emerge, which would become a factor to prompt radicalism and militancy and in turn would end up with a terrorist movement.  The long-term effect of granting license to the CIA to kill terrorists would become very terrible.”  


"U.S. Policy"


Muslim-intellectual Republika observed (12/17):  “The Pentagon’s plan [to launch covert propaganda] is still debatable but it adds to the suspicion among Muslims that the U.S. has thus far not only waged war against terrorism, but also carried out a systematic effort to jeopardize and undermine Islam, both through the opinions they have built and influences in Muslim countries....  The U.S. should understand that their main enemy is not Islam or Muslim countries whose people are anti-American, but the U.S. itself.  The U.S. is not the ‘legitimate owner’ of the world civilization, but is part of the pluralistic world....  They do not have the slightest right to determine and force its desire, but to work together at the same level [with other countries].”




INDIA: "World Peace Threatened By Use Of Nuclear Weapons"


Mumbai-based, right-of -center Gujarati newspaper Mumbai Samachar vituperated (12/13):  "America is showing its obstinacy on the Iraq issue and with it more and more evidence establishing the arrogance of the American rulers is coming to the surface.  The UN weapons inspectors have not submitted their report yet but the United States has already determined that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction in its possession.  America has also warned about the use of nuclear weapons.  The UN acts as if it were a slave of the U.S. All these developments are detrimental to world peace.  One must never forget that it was America that used the atom bomb against Japan and it was also the same America that started the campaigns of nuclear non-proliferation and banning the production of nuclear weapons....  If terrorist groups do not accept the rule of law and the United States does not care for the opinion of the masses, then what is the difference between the two?"  


"U.S. Warning To Iraq"


An editorial in nationalist, Urdu Rashtriya Sahara intoned (12/13):  "Although Iraq is cooperating fully with the UN inspectors...and in its earnest effort to satisfy the UN and the world community by providing documented details of its arms program in addition to making it clear that it had neither the facilities nor the intention to develop weapons of mass destruction, the United States is single-mindedly pursuing its plan of waging war against Baghdad.  The way American diplomats at the UN grabbed the documents submitted by Iraq, overriding the world body's right to inspect them and denying other members of the Security Council to get the 'undoctored' version of the Iraqi declaration also makes it clear how the United States was trying to impose its own decision on the world community.  Apart from demonstrating the U.S. disdain toward the UN, the incident leaves no doubt about its aggressive designs against Iraq, which is also reaffirmed by the warning by the Bush administration to use nuclear weapons against Baghdad."


PAKISTAN:  "License To Kill"


The center-right national Nation opined (12/17):  "The Bush Administration has handed over to the CIA a list of individuals considered to be terrorists, along with authorization to eliminate them physically. The list contains the names of about two dozen supposed Al-Qaeda leaders and operatives.  The written authorization will relieve the CIA of the bother  to seek approval to kill in each individual case....  Terrorism cannot be eliminated through terrorist methods. To end the phenomenon permanently, the grievances must be removed that force people to resort to suicidal acts. Similarly, unless governments strictly abide by the rule of law they cannot win over the public to their side in the war against terrorism." 


"Preventing Or Combating Terrorism?"


Dr. Moonis Ahmar wrote an op-ed in the centrist national News declaring (12/17):  "In its essence, if combating terrorism is the priority for the United States and its allies, at the same time, it should not undermine the importance of preventing terrorism.  The reason why the positive results for combating terrorism are not coming has much to do with the failure of the so-called anti-terrorist alliance to figure out a policy to address those issues which give rise to terrorism and require subsequent prevention."


"American Threat Of Nuclear Bomb Use"


An editorial in the second largest Urdu Nawa-e-Waqt stated (12/13):  “The government of its choice having been established in Afghanistan, the U.S. is yet to achieve the goals of its mission in that country....  And then President Bush opened up another front with Iraq and has been looking for a pretext to attack the country.  Basically the drive is a part of the Crusade that Bush senior had begun to occupy the oil reserves of the Islamic world, which is being accomplished by Bush junior.  The U.S. President unwittingly uttered the word 'crusade' after 9/11.  However, the events later on, including his explanation of the axis of evil, proved that the hint at crusade was a conscious utterance....  The new U.S. warning demonstrates President Bush's shortsightedness towards the world affairs and how fast the U.S. is moving towards the destruction of humanity.”


"U.S. Threat To Use Nuclear Bomb"


An editorial in the Karachi-based right-wing pro Islamic unity Urdu Jasarat (12/13):  “The U.S. threat of using the atomic bomb in case it is attacked by weapons of mass destruction is not a mere threat.  The U.S. has used the nuclear option in the past.  After this announcement, all the U.S. allies should cease all sorts of cooperation with the United States.  This threat once again reveals that the Bush administration is in fact the name of the gang of warmongers. Most of the people of the Bush administrations were part of the U.S. administration or military during the Gulf war in the nineties, and the same gang is again imposed on the U.S. and could take any severe step for the fulfillment of its designs.  Today, the United States is not only involved in terrorism, but is the biggest patron of terrorism in the world."




CANADA:  "When Diplomacy Fails"


Under the sub-heading, "We have a right to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction," the nationalist Ottawa Citizen opined (12/13):  "The scud seizure represented counterproliferation: what you do if prevention won't work.   In a paper this week, the White House spelled out some details of the its counterproliferation strategy.  While the term is new, the concept has been around for some time.... The U.S. says it won't abandon nonproliferation, but the emphasis on counterproliferation suggests a movement away from talk and toward action.  Many people will find this disquieting: we prefer to believe that all conflict is amenable to diplomacy.  The problem, however, is that signed agreements are often worthless, as Jimmy Carter learned from North Korea....  Do we really want the U.S. inspecting every shipment that seems out of place?  Once you've exhausted the efforts of a Jimmy Carter, there is little choice. Counterproliferation looks pretty good when the alternative is another Sept. 11, or an Armageddon."


"American Voices Counselling Peace"


The liberal Toronto Star opined (12/12):  “Suddenly, America is questioning its rush to war....  While a majority of Americans support Washington's incessant drumbeat for war, nearly 2 in 5 are now opposed, and their numbers are growing. Bush's readiness to brandish the nuclear threat has rattled the American public....  Increasingly, Americans are also nagged by a sense that Bush is becoming distracted from tracking down Al Qaeda, as the military prepares to invade and occupy Iraq. That distraction could prove costly.  While Iraq does pose a threat, U.N. sanctions have hobbled the regime. Al Qaeda currently poses the greater danger, and deserves priority attention.  A war on Iraq, absent strong U.N. backing, will hurt ordinary Iraqis while leaving Al Qaeda freer to plot outrages.  It will undermine America's moral stature, sap the economy and increase the prospects of terror attacks.  That was the message in Washington and a hundred other communities.  It was patriotic, forward-looking and spirited. It's okay again, to dissent."


 "Let The UN Process Take Its Course"


The leading Globe and Mail editorialized (12/12):  "Iraq deserves no presumption of innocence from the international community. It has gassed its citizens and invaded its neighbours.  It is a threat to Mideast stability and global security. Saddam Hussein is an outlaw leader.... The Bush administration insists Baghdad does have chemical and biological weapons.  It also suggests the dossier may already place Iraq in breach of November's United Nations Security Council resolution, which has brought arms inspectors back to Baghdad for the first time since 1998....  Some Washington officials suggest the case for war has been made.  They worry that, having agreed to a multilateral process for disarming Iraq, the administration risks tying itself indefinitely to the UN mast. Better, they suggest, to take the first off-ramp that presents itself and go to war, since war is inevitable.  The pretext might be the dossier, or it might be Baghdad's  first offensive action, such as shooting down a U.S. jet patrolling Iraq's no-fly zones. But precipitate action would be a mistake.  The threat from Iraq is not immediate. The international community, having ignored Iraq's defiance of UN resolutions for years, has rallied behind Mr. Bush's call to force Iraq to account. Washington should let the process set out in UN Resolution 1441, which is hardly open-ended, take its course....  Mr. Bush should let the UN process take its course.  If war it must be, the U.S. government will be guaranteed international support if it has exhausted all peaceful options."


ARGENTINA:  "The Return Of Global Threats"


An editorial in leading Clarin read (12/18):  "The September 11 attacks meant an abrupt change in the practices of international terrorism: no country is out of danger.  This was a turning point in the direction of security strategic concerns of world powers and other countries.... The U.S. has redefined its foreign policy claiming its right to military intervene in a unilateral way everywhere in the world in the event it considers its security is threatened.  This attitude...can be considered as the most meaningful and dramatic aspect of the USG's policy of isolation and unilateralism.  The first step of the internationally agreed action regarding Iraq is verifying whether the country has weapons of mass destruction it could use against eventual foes. But even before UN inspectors arrived in the country, the USG acted on the assumption the UN reviews would confirm the hypothesis that the Iraqi regime is an international threat....  In addition to this, North Korea, syndicated by the U.S. as one of the members of the alleged 'axis of the evil,' added itself by announcing the reactivation of its nuclear program and banning the entry of UN inspections in its nuclear plants.  On the top of everything, the confrontation between Israel and Jordan should be added, increasingly further from any possibility of reaching a peaceful deal....  In sum, an increasingly dangerous situation...that calls for reaching reasonable deals to avoid an escalation of violence that could bring serious consequences to the world."


"The Other 'Pre-emptive War'"


Leftist Pagina 12 observed (12/17):  "In February, it was the Office of Strategic Influence, with the mission to release false information while--surprisingly--announcing it would be doing so.  Now, the Pentagon takes a step further on the issue of propaganda, and is analyzing an ambitious plan which includes bribing journalists, organizing pro-Washington rallies with leaders hired for the occasion and the creation of Koran schools in the Middle East and Central Asia to teach a more 'moderate'--and closer to the U.S.--version of Islam.  The New York Times disclosed this yesterday and, although it's currently under discussion and probably its announcement will determine its ill fate (like in February), the project had to be defended yesterday by White House spokesman Ari Fleischer....  Up to now, and in the framework of 'war against terrorism,' propaganda was limited to throwing pamphlets in areas of conflict, as occurred in Afghanistan in the past, or in Iraq, now.  But the idea is now a 'more pre-emptive' action, as indicated in the Pentagon's new strategic principle.  So the project would initially include, not only traditional tactics (paid stories in favor of Washington from the areas of conflict), but also the possibility of secretly financing Koran schools which will teach moderate Islamic positions in places such as Pakistan (where Al Qaida members are recruited), or Germany (where most of 9/11 terrorists departed from), with special emphasis on the way in which this religion is practiced in the U.S. Pentagon Chief Donald Rumsfeld hasn't opined on this project yet....  In any case, according to USG officials consulted by the NYT, it's clear that Rumsfeld is deeply frustrated because the USG doesn't have a coherent plan to mold public opinion in favor of the U.S. in its global campaign against terrorism.  Many government officials are in favor of military involvement in 'information operations against enemies,' particularly before and after the war, in addition to a working routine of public relations with friendly nations such as Colombia, Philippines or Bosnia, whose governments receive U.S. troops positively."


"U.S. Plans To 'Bribe' Foreign Journalists Now"


Business-financial Ambito Financiero mused (12/17):  "The war against terrorism is permanently surprising U.S. people. Yesterday, a day after the Bush administration disclosed it had enlarged the list of terrorists that can be murdered by the CIA, it was announced that the Pentagon has prepared a propaganda plan, which includes paying foreign journalists to write stories in favor of the U.S.....  Amid growing controversy, presidential spokesman Ari Fleischer told journalists that the idea hasn't developed any further within the administration--as some declared--and Bush has said he won't give a green light to any project that implies lying.  The conduction of 'psychological operations' is usual practice in military campaigns of all nations, and includes the distribution of propaganda against the enemy and the dissemination of false information to confuse the enemy or undermine its people's determination.  But the plan prepared by the Pentagon, according to the NYT, goes beyond this because it adds covert campaigns in ally or neutral countries."


"CIA's License To Kill Expanded"


Jorge Rosales, Washington-based correspondent for daily-of-record La Nacion wrote (12/16):  "In a new turn of the U.S. policy to push the limits in its aggressive military policy, President George W. Bush signed a secret authorization to empower the CIA to kill, without any need for any other order, a number of terrorist leaders, who make up a list prepared by intelligence institutions. The presidential order is in the framework of a new US offensive in its crusade against terrorism....  But it is also a decision that places the US in the dangerous field of performing cover operations in third countries, this is to say the US will be only one step from infringing international laws and national security."


"Nothing Is Sure But danger"


Oscar Raul Cardoso, international analyst of leading Clarin, highlighted (12/14):  "Amid back and forth movements, Bush sent to US Congress a brief and frightening document....  Its text, entitled 'National Strategy to combat weapons of mass destruction' seems to modify the US policy established since the Cold War.  The possibility of using US nuclear, chemical and bacteriological arsenals will be from now on 'preventive', not 'deterring', as in the Cold War times.  A US nuclear attack... could happen not only as reaction to some concrete attack, but as mere suspicion that somewhere in the world is ready to use these kinds of weapons against U.S. interests.  From a formal point of view, the document does not change things too much. Since Harry Truman's days up to the present no US president has found it improper to renounce the use of these weapons in any event... But while the new 'National Strategy' does not alter the substance of the US military decision, experts believe that its new formulation is an invitation to other nuclear countries to assume the same position.  India, Pakistan and even Israel... could find in the US position an umbrella of legitimization to assume more aggressive attitudes and perhaps to pass from words to deeds."


"U.S. Threatens With Nuclear War"


Leading Clarin observed (12/12):  "Yesterday, the U.S. added a new ingredient to its antiterrorist policy: it announced it's even ready to use an atomic bomb in case of a biological, chemical, radiological or nuclear threat against its country, its troops or its allies. It's a new and more aggressive strategy against an enemy who - in Washington's opinion - may attack with weapons of mass destruction. This new defense policy, announced yesterday by the White House, foresees the use of preemptive military force: before the alleged aggressor attacks. This information is disturbing if one takes into consideration that the U.S. is convinced Iraq has weapons of mass destruction that may eventually be used against U.S. interests or its allies. A version of the draft says 'the U.S. will continue to make clear that it maintains the right to respond with full force--including all our options--to the use of weapons of mass destruction against the U.S., our forces abroad, our friends and our allies.'  This plan does away with 50 years of U.S. non-proliferation efforts by authorizing preemptive attacks against terrorist States or groups that are close to obtaining weapons of mass destruction or long range missiles capable of transporting them.... The announcement raised the temperature in the Middle East, where a ship with North Korean Scud missiles was intercepted last Monday close to Yemen..... The White House seems to have blended into a major document all the prevention, détente and defense doctrines Bush has been announcing since he took office... Each word in the document seems to be designed to show Saddam that the U.S. is serious when it demands Iraq's disarmament."


BRAZIL:  "The Risks Of U.S. Isolationism"


University of Sao Paulo Professor Gilberto Dupas wrote in center-right O Estado de Sao Paulo (12/14):  "If the U.S.'s most important task is the elimination of terrorism at any cost, multilateral norms and accords regulating the use of force become problems that the hegemonic power prefers to put on hold.  The assumption is that the asymmetry that favors the U.S. would also ensure that this unilateral attitude keeps the international order under control.  But there are risks resulting from such a choice.  A U.S. that ignores norms and institutions will generate increasing hostility and more threats to its intended goals.  If the hegemonic model sanctions intervention without evidence that legitimates the action, other nations may behave in the same way.  At the same time, the proliferation of arms of mass destruction and terrorist attacks may be seen as the only alternatives for those groups and nations opposing the hegemonic power.  And this does not help peace or the international order."


CHILE:  "Information, Not Propaganda"


Conservative, influential, newspaper-of-record, El Mercurio argued (12/19): "The Pentagon's plan to use military forces to influence public opinion and the leaders of allied nations to support U.S. foreign policy against Islamic fundamentalists puts the U.S. government in a delicate position....  It is true that the U.S. a legitimate right to defend itself from terrorism and that fundamentalists have given many examples of their disregard for life....  It is also true that the support expressed by some countries after the attack on the Twin Towers...has waned...   But the plan outlined threatens the principle of freedom of expression...  It misleads and obstructs the mass media's duty to freely and objectively inform.  The independent media offer public opinion the strength of credibility.  This credibility disappears with any attempt to manipulate it...  Making the media government policy spokesmen would crush the information with the weight of propaganda."


"U.S. Unilateralism"


Popular, independent La Tercera argued (12/17):  "President George Bush issued the CIA a written authorization to kill...about two dozen terrorists.  This decision, which is consistent with the new U.S. preventive attack policy, shows once more the unilateral inclination of U.S. foreign policy....  This new 'license to kill' far from all forms international cooperation and is guided only by U.S. interests.  The president has authorized the elimination of those he considers a 'threat' without judicial process and by trampling human rights....  Just because the fight against terrorism is still in a gray zone when it comes to international rights... does not mean the U.S. can behave in a manner contrary to those principles and values that guide international organizations."




SOUTH AFRICA:  "U.S. Pits 'Overwhelming Force'--Has Bush Gone Crazy?"


Liberal Cape Times featured an op-ed piece by political commentator Tony Weaver (12/13):  "Has the Bush administration gone completely  mad?  I pose the question in the light of George W's threat to use nuclear weapons against Iraq....  Almost as ominous as the threat of nuclear warfare is that the opposition Democrats have not objected to the White House threats....  As the steady erosion of civil  liberties in the United States....  The latest manifestation of this was the appointment...of one of the shadiest character in recent American history, vice admiral John Poindexter, as head of the 'Information  Awareness Office'....  This is all happening in the country that prides itself on being the greatest democracy on earth, a nation that has always--until now--jealously guarded the personal freedoms of its citizens.  This is chilling  staff, nay, terrifying...  The current escalation in the war of words looks dangerously as though we could soon be on the brink of a world crisis every bit as serious as the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.  Happy Christmas, Mr. Bush, and thanks for the memories."


GHANA:  "A Peace Officer And A Warrior"


Kofi Akordor wrote in the state-owned weekly Mirror (12/14):  "Global challenges must be met with an emphasis on peace, in harmony with others, with strong alliances and international consensus", former U.S. President Jimmy Carter told a cheering crowd of more than 1,000 guests while receiving his Nobel Peace Prize on Tuesday, in Oslo, Norway....  Today, the world is at the brink of war, a senseless war that would do nobody any good, a war that would further put more strain on the economies of the developing countries that are struggling for survival. It is a war that could be avoided of only the man in the White House would allow the voices of moderation, tolerance, diplomacy and negotiation to sound louder in his ears. Carter's Nobel Peace Prize is an indirect plea to President George W. Bush, to give peace a chance, since the world recognizes and wants more of those who make peace than of those who bring war."


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