International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

March 19, 2003

March 19, 2003





** Critics overseas fear that Iraq might be the test case for U.S.' doctrine of "preventive war."

** A chorus of Bush proponents defend the possible war as "necessary" to defeat terrorism.

** European papers predict a U.S. success on the battlefield, but are less certain that a military victory would vindicate the Bush administration and restore its "moral authority."

** Many continue to charge the U.S with "contempt" for the UN and the "rest of the world."




EUROPE:  Split between a 'wrong war' and a 'necessary war'; Brits praise Blair's 'conviction'--  Most dailies in France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Norway, Spain and Russia still held that the U.S. advocated a "wrong war," with a number declaring it "illegal" and "aggressive."  Madrid's independent El Mundo contended "the perverse doctrine of preventive attack...introduces a strong component of insecurity for the future."  French and German dailies denounced the U.S.' sidestepping the UNSC as a "completely unilateral gesture" and a "patent diplomatic defeat" for the Bush administration, putting U.S. "credibility and leadership at risk."  Some outlets questioned whether a military victory would vindicate Bush.  Munich's center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung claimed that "even if Bush is successful in will not be enough to regain...the U.S.' authority." 


While critics carped that President Bush had failed to convince the world, British dailies extolled PM Blair for "presenting the most persuasive case yet against Saddam" in his speech before Parliament.  "He made the speech he should have made months ago," declared the conservative Daily Telegraph "marshaling all his arguments for action--moral, legal, geopolitical and humanitarian."  A number of Finnish, Polish and Portuguese outlets likewise supported a "necessary war."  One Helsinki daily asserted that "the tentacles of Saddam's machine of tyranny reach so far and so deep" that U.S. intervention is necessary.  Turkish papers, meanwhile, worried that their government's "belated action will not be good enough to heal the mistrust" from the U.S. and feared that Turkey "will not benefit from Iraqi reconstruction."


ISLAMIC WORLD:  Ultimatum was 'a declaration of war' full of 'falsifications'--  Outlets criticized Bush's Monday speech for failing to "leave any peaceful or honorable choice for Iraq," adding it displayed "mocking, almost lampoonish contempt" towards the world.  Some papers said the speech inaugurated "a new colonial and imperial era" that values "naked military might over diplomacy and reason."  Saudi dailies noted that Saddam "has only himself to blame" and that "few would weep over his epitaph," but recoiled at the "methodology involved" in his ouster.  Qatar's semi-independent Al-Raya concluded, "Iraq is trapped between Saddam's tyranny and Bush's war machine."


ASIA/AFRICA:  Concern over 'mortal wounds' to the UN--  Most despaired over "a fractured international community."  India's nationalist Hindu waxed nostalgic for a world "drawn up through multilateral agreement and not by the imprimatur of the hyperpower."  Some alleged that Bush's ultimatum was aimed not just at Iraq, but at "the UN and the entire international community."  Others predicted the imminent "unjust war" will only "sow more hatred in the Middle East."  Several Japanese and Australian papers backed the U.S., with the conservative Australian supporting the "sacrifices required to rid the world of...tyranny."  African dailies agreed Iraq is no "innocent party" but attacked the U.S. for "sweeping away the UN Charter and the principle of national sovereignty." 


WEST. HEMISPHERE:  Amid disdain for administration's 'messianistic' approach, some say 'time to put an end to terror'--  Most were troubled by what a Jamaican daily described as the "emergence of this dangerous doctrine of regime change and pre-emptive strike" adopted by the U.S.  Further criticizing Washington's strategy, Lima's center-right Expreso called it "a kind of political extortion."  Writing in leading Clarin, a former Argentine president denounced  the Bush administration's approach as "pathological," typifying the U.S.' "worst nationalistic tradition."  Others shared a Chilean paper's skepticism that "it is unlikely that the western invader will be seen as the 'liberator' or that it will easily administer the conflictive relationships" or "resolve the region's social and economic problems."  Challenging the anti-war camp, dailies in Panama, Guatemala and Paraguay countered that the "eradication" of terrorism required the "overthrow" of totalitarian regimes that "protect and finance it."


EDITORS:  Irene Marr, Ben Goldberg


EDITORS' NOTE: This report is based on 100 editorials from 56 countries, March 18-19. Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.





BRITAIN:  "The Blair Paradox"


The conservative Times opined (3/19):  "The debate on the government's strategy towards Iraq had at its heart an extraordinary paradox.  Tony Blair sat down at the conclusion of his speech knowing that he would face a revolt of unprecedented scale and on an issue of national importance.  While the scale of rebellion last night, involving 139 Labor MPs, was not on the scale that ministers feared only a week ago, it remains of stunning size.  Yet, despite the numbers among his own ranks whom he had failed to convince, the Prime Minister was in complete command of the chamber.  Mr. Blair might emerge stronger than before precisely because he had the courage to proceed despite extraordinary dissent in his own party.  Even those who oposed him last night had to concede that the PM and his motives were honorable."


"Blair Has Shown Himself To Be A Leader For Troubled Times"


The Internet version of London's center-left Independent observed (3/19):  "Even those who most disagree with war on Iraq have to salute the leadership qualities of the man who is about to commit British forces to it.  If there was one occasion in his premiership to which Tony Blair needed to rise, it was yesterday's critical Commons debate.  He did so.  Tony Blair's capacities as a performer and an advocate have never been in doubt.  But this was something much more....  This was the most persuasive case yet made by the man who has emerged as the most formidable persuader for war on either side of the Atlantic.  The case against President Saddam's 12-year history of obstructing the UN's attempts at disarmament has never been better made.  Despite all of the recent fuss over perceived confusion about the war's objectives, Mr. Blair made a coherent case yesterday that while disarmament and not regime change is the legal basis for the war, the prospect of the latter makes it possible to pursue the former with a 'clear conscience and a strong heart.'...  Especially powerful was his lament that Europe had not, with a united voice, told the U.S. from the start that it would help it to disarm President Saddam, by the collective use of force if necessary."


"Master Of The House"


The conservative Daily Telegraph held (3/19): "It  was not only the vote that Tony Blair won in the House of Commons last night.  It was the argument, too.  By no means do the two things always go hand in hand.... But it was not only because the Prime Minister had all the best cards that he won the argument. It was also because he played them brilliantly, giving the country a rare reminder of what a first-class parliamentary performer he is. He made the speech he should have made months ago, marshalling all his arguments for action--moral, legal, geopolitical and humanitarian--and putting them with such patent conviction and force that his performance deserves to be remembered as one of the finest in recent history. The rights and wrongs of the campaign to oust Saddam will now be for the historians to argue about...  The most important thing now is that we should win the war."


"History's Verdict"


The left-of-center Guardian judged (3/19): "Historians will look back at yesterday's parliamentary debate on Iraq for a range of good reasons.... They will look back to read an impassioned and impressive speech by the prime minister which may give future generations some inkling of how, when so many of his own party opposed his policy so vehemently, Tony Blair nevertheless managed to retain their respect and support. But the historians will also look at yesterday's debate because it marks a really important moment in constitutional history. Over the centuries, the decision to go to war has rested, first, with kings alone, then with monarchs in privy council, more recently with the council acting on the advice of the prime minister, sometimes largely with the cabinet.... By allowing yesterday's debate and vote, the government delivered on a promise....  When and if Britain again stands on the brink of war, it will be parliament that decides.  It is hard, even on such a day as this, not to regard that as a kind of consolation prize."


FRANCE: "American Defeat"


Left-of-center Le Monde asserted (3/19):  "More than the UN, it is Washington's political prestige that is tarnished; perhaps also America's moral authority. In spite of the pressure exercised, the U.S. was unable to acquire the political, if not the legal majority at the UNSC.  Such a majority, even with a French veto would have had its impact. While not would have proven that a majority within the UNSC shared the U.S. approach.  From the start the U.S. has been unable to prove either the reality or the imminence of the Iraqi threat...  Washington wrongly assessed France's determination; it wrongly assessed Turkey's reactions; it wrongly assessed public opinion, including in the U.S.; it wrongly assessed its ability to influence the 'little' UN member nations... The result is rather more negative than positive, confirming a patent diplomatic and political defeat, however this unfortunate adventure turns out."


"The War And Then What?"


Jean de Belot in right-of-center Le Figaro (3/19): "The war is no longer avoidable...George Bush knows the risks.  His bet is a simple one: a quick war and democracy for the people of Baghdad....  His is not an absurd vision.  If America wins the war, its diplomatic defeat will soon be forgotten....  And Europe's division is not something that Washington will cry over.  Still, will a quick war, with a strong media impact, guarantee a political victory...?  Nothing is certain about the aftermath of the war....  Afghanistan...and Serbia have proved it....  Iraq as a preamble to a new equilibrium in the Middle East carries its own load of difficulties and President Bush knows it.  Including the risk of a clash between civilizations....  He has already warned about the aftermath of the war, treating Berlin, Moscow and Beijing differently than he treats Paris....  A short-term victory is no guarantee for the future. Further down the road we will need to remember Chirac's position."


"The Break"


Patrick Sabatier in left-of-center Liberation (3/19): "The U.S. President, out of frustration, and the British PM, out of a pathetic need to justify himself, are stirring up their electorate's latent feelings of Franco-phobia.  By turning France into the scapegoat for their own failures, they hope to elude compromising questions on the eve of the war.  In so doing they run the risk of a deep and long-lasting break in the western camp.  While the attacks on France aim Chirac's policy...they affect the French people and what is commonly known as their national character.  These attacks are like an echo of the 'Bushblair' diplomatic myopia....  In their simplistic universe, one is either for or against....  France must resist this dangerous sliding.  At the same time it must avoid the same pitfall and stay clear of anti-Americanism and Anglo-phobia.  Because the Americans and the British, beyond the 'Bushblair', are two people France needs to build Europe and world equilibrium, and to reconstruct Iraq."


GERMANY:  "Wanting War"


Stefan Kornelius judged in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (3/19):  "The authority of the U.S. president is not the result of domestic opinion polls or a vote by the U.S. Congress.  The U.S. owes its global power to its status as a role model with a great democratic tradition; a role model that must apply the rules of the international community more strictly than any other nation.  The U.S. strength grows out of its ability to convince others by sticking to principles that can maintain alliances and foster friendships. President Bush ignored all of these fundamental realities; he put the U.S.'s credibility and its leadership role at risk, and he has lost.  Even if Bush is successful in Iraq, even if Baghdad surrenders quickly and Saddam disappears, it will not be enough to regain the president's legitimacy and the U.S.'s authority.  Nobody forced this war to topple Saddam on the U.S.  The great game of creating global security and stability does not call for an invasion on the Arab peninsula  in fact, it prohibits such a move.  As much as one wants Saddam to disappear, this will be George Bush's war."


"Bush's First War"


Wolfgang Storz noted in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (3/19):  "The events of the past few days and the ever-accelerating pace of U.S. actions reveal what the U.S. administration thinks of diplomacy in the end: little to nothing.  They also reveal what Washington thinks of the UNSC: much if it agrees with U.S. positions, nothing if it doesn't.  With the Iraq conflict, Bush is letting go of the opportunity to prove himself a statesman who can act prudently as well as decisively.  Much indicates that the war will be swift and successful.  As in Afghanistan, it will take weeks if not months until it becomes obvious once again that war is not the right tool for pacifying a region undermining terrorist structures, and building up democracy."


"Bush Alone At War"


Hubert Wetzel maintained in business Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg (3/19):  "The U.S. government has good reasons for a military strike.  After September 11, one cannot pretend that the potential link between terrorists and weapons of mass destruction is not a threat.  It is also perfectly reasonable to doubt the efficiency of inspections after twelve years of unsuccessfully trying to disarm Iraq.  Nevertheless, starting a war now is a mistake.  The U.S. administration needs more than good arguments for a military campaign that applies a revolutionary new security doctrine and has such high risks; it needs the backing of its people and allies.  Bush can count on neither.  By making bad diplomatic decisions, he has turned this war into a U.S. adventure.  If anything goes wrong, the United States will find itself alone, having to deal with problems that only the international community can deal with€.  France has contributed a lot to making a UNSC compromise impossible, but this war still belongs to Bush and the main responsibility for preparing it well both militarily and politically belonged to Washington."


ITALY: "Powell: '30 Countries With Us'"


Left-leaning, influential La Repubblica opined (3/19):  "Thirty countries, Italy among them, will officially form the coalition of the 'willing' who will support the U.S. military intervention against Saddam....  Italy, which still has to confirm if it will allow the use of its bases with a vote in Parliament, was added to the list of the 'official' European allies along with Great Britain, Spain and Portugal....  The State Department spokesman, Richard Boucher, added that the coalition that will support the U.S. in the war against Baghdad may still grow.  The United States, in fact, is still recruiting additional allies."


"Bush's Wrong War"


Ezio Mauro, managing editor wrote on the front page of left-leaning influential La Repubblica (3/19):  "It is a wrong war.  With an impending ultimatum, while armies are deploying, it's the right time to clearly say--even if...Iraq's liberation from Saddam's tyranny is achieved--and I strongly wish this will be achieved--that this war will still remain a mistake.  In fact, fortunately, not only the final goals count in a democracy, but also the means used to reach those objectives are important, as well.  In this case the only means is the strength of the U.S. unilateral approach, presented as being both the judge and the avenger, in the name of the entire international community.  This is something we had never seen in the old century.  And especially this is something that, through a war, might change the world order, international law, all reliable institutions, and those alliances that we have been familiar with until now."


RUSSIA: "U.S. Needs No Multipolar UN"


Georgiy Bovt stated on page one of reformist Izvestiya (3/19):  "For Bush to threaten Iraq for so long and not to strike would be a disaster.  This is fully consistent with his 'preemptive strike' concept.   'Slick Willie' Clinton would have thought up something.  Bush, a Texan, is forthright....  America has made it plain that, with a new world order, it does not need a multipolar UN....  History knows of no instances of reforming the world peacefully.  Bush insists on his, to use Putin's word, mistake.  Regrettably, it is inevitable.  Being part of it would be crazy, to say the least.  Resisting it diplomatically has proved ineffective.  Breaking up with America over Saddam would be stupid."


"Terrorist Act In Defense Of Peace"


Mikhail Zygar commented in reformist business-oriented Kommersant (3/19):  "The ultimatum essentially differs from anything that came before it.  In fact, it is more like a declaration of war.  Overall, it is a landmark speech in as much as it sets new rules of the game.  George Bush, in effect, has explained that there are no longer checks and balances around, and you may just as well forget the notion of 'collective security' and replace it with 'national security.'"


"Unlawful War"


Vadim Markushin wrote in centrist army-run Krasnaya Zvezda (3/19): "The ultimatum has caused no shock.  Leaking information about war plans has helped let off steam.  Washington has moved heaven and earth to prepare the public.  It has worked.  The international community has accepted the upcoming intervention as a given.  Here's a new world order for you."


BELGIUM: "From An Ethical Example To An Electoral Blunder"


Martine Dubuisson held in left-of-center Le Soir (3/19):  "By presenting the refusal to allow the transit of U.S. equipment in Belgium as the Government's position, the Defense and Foreign Ministers Flahaut and Michel have gone a bit too far, something that Berlin and Paris did not do.  The limit beyond which Flahaut and Michel went is that which separates political disagreement with an ally from the respect of agreements concluded with that ally, the limit that avoids to give the impression that one is choosing between that ally and a dictator, or that even unilaterally breaks the alliance....  Of course, the electoral context facilitated this faux-pas.  Belgians will vote in two months....  The result is that they presented as being the Government's position something that the Government had not even discussed....  The Government is no longer united and has harmed its international credibility. On the eve of a world war, it exposes itself to discredit. After having set an example, it now reflects diplomatic amateurism."




Edin Krehic observed in oldest Sarajevo daily Oslobodjenje (3/19): "Only  a true miracle--such as withdrawal of Sadam Hussein from power--can stop [war] now.  However, the  Baghdad dictator is not even considering leaving his palace, regardless of all the suffering his people could face and endure.... Military analysts say that this action will be nothing like 1991 'Desert Storm'....  This time, the U.S. will attack without important allies backing them.  Twelve years ago, those allies were with them.  In the long run, this will completely change the world political scene.  Time will tell what will be consequences of all this."


BULGARIA: "Insecurity Harbors More Losses Than a Quick Strike"


Moderate Novinar (3/19) held: "If things go according to US plans, the profit will go to the countries that follow a clear and unambiguous line.  Bulgaria is one of them.  The losers will be the countries that insisted on long negotiations, delays and double- talk....  Of, course if it hadn't come to a conflict in Iraq because of Saddam Hussein's actions, the world would have been a better place to live....  The choice right now is not between war and peace, because it is obvious that peace is better than war, but between an immediate war and a war which would take place in an unknown future point in time, for an unknown amount of time and an with unknown manner of conducting a war."


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "Risks Of Bush's War"


Adam Cerny wrote in the business Hospodarske noviny (3/19): "President Bush has an ambitious aim of introducing democracy in Iraq and gradually in the whole region. Many believe it cannot be achieved, but the U.S. is strong enough to make and implement its own decision. The U.S. has an important target since 9-11, and that is to punish the terrorists and to destroy hostile regimes before they obtain weapons of mass destruction. However, the question is whether the attack will inspire such regimes to obtain the weapons, or discourage them from doing so."


"To Iraq Neither By Walking Nor By Car"


Radko Kubicko wrote in the centre-right Lidove noviny (3/19):   "The Czech Republic will probably not make a clear statement now. Despite that its political representation is stepping on thin ice, if its statements must make sense both to the public and its American allies as well. The country is lucky in this sense - nobody wants a clear position from it. Moreover so, that its involvement in the war on Iraq can be considered as merely symbolic."


FINLAND: "A Necessary War"


Finland's leading,centrist Helsingin Sanomat argued (3/19):  "The war against Iraq is necessary.  Looking at the situation from an average Iraqi's, and may also from the neighbors' perspective, the war which seeks to destroy Saddam Hussein is inevitable.  The tentacles of Saddam's machine of tyranny reach so far and so deep that his ousting without outside help is not possible.  The opponents of the war should be asked how long can the outside world allow Saddam to torture Iraqis."   


NORWAY: “The US To War Without The UN”


The independent VG commented (3/19): “The U.S. and UK might easily win the war in Iraq, but it will be much more difficult to win the peace afterwards. For that cooperation from many countries is needed, not least from Russia and France.”


“USA’s War Is Illegal”


The social democratic Dagsavisen (3/19) commented: ”Iraq has never attacked the U.S. and has never threatened to do so. Such a war is a breach of the international law. Even though it is clamed that the war is preventive, in reality it is about a war of aggression.… Iraqi children, who already have been betrayed by long-lasting financial sanctions, risk being the ones paying the highest price. The United States’ desire for a change of regime and strategic control does not justify that Iraqi civilians have to give such a contribution.”


“In Conflict With The UN”


The newspaper of record Aftenposten (03/19) commented: “…It is a mistake by the U.S. to go to war alone. It places an enormous responsibility on the Bush administration to avoid the impression of the war as a fight between civilizations - and religions. If this happens, both the US and the rest of the world might quickly lose what has been won by removing Saddam Hussein from the power that he never should have had.”


ROMANIA:  "Even Strongest Opponents Of War Will Rationally Wish For U.S. Victory"


Editor in chief Ioana Lupea commented in independent, centrist Cotidianul (3/19):  “War is only a matter of hours away.  I think that this morning a few presidents and heads of governments are still meditating over whether it was a good decision or not to be in favor or against military intervention in Iraq, given the internal and international political, economic, and security consequences.  Tony Blair is facing a huge government crisis.  Jacques Chirac has fallen into his own trap, announcing too early the intention to use his right to veto any British-American resolution.  Vladimir Putin missed the great partnership with the United States, by playing along with the French president.  The Turkish PM Erdogan is hurrying to discuss the Iraqi issue in Parliament, in order not to lose the promised dollars…  Tomorrow all will depend on how the conflict ends and less on how it began.  Even the strongest opponents of war will rationally wish for the victory of the United States, even though inside, they would enjoy a failure.  Paradoxically, the fate of international political and economic stability still relies on the United States.  


SPAIN: “Justifying The Unjustifiable”


Leading left-of-center El Pais editorialized (3/19):  "The discussions of Bush, Blair and Aznar in the Azores have left clear that they all agreed not only on war, but also on blaming France for the paralysis in the Security Council....  Powell announced that the international 'coalition' against Iraq counted on the support of more than 30 countries, but the reality is that the U.S., with all its military power, has been left practically alone.”


“A Danger For The World, A Disgrace For Spain”


Independent El Mundo declared (3/19):  "It is hard to understand why a campaign is going to be so short if Saddam is so dangerous and possesses an arsenal as lethal as Bush says.… The perverse doctrine of preventive attack that Bush maintains to justify an intervention against Saddam not only violates international law and breaks old alliances, but also introduces a strong component of insecurity for the future.  Will North Korea be next?  Maybe Iran?  Will the U.S. return to the UN or do it by itself?”  


“The Great Dictator”


Javier Otiz wrote in independent El Mundo (3/19):  "To compare this compromised satrap [Saddam] to Hitler in 1938 is simply ridiculous....  But is there another in the world today with extremely powerful armed forces that is backed by an industrial complex, particularly in the field of armaments, that feels the superiority of its nation and its social model, that doesn’t hide its intent to control and rule the entire world, whose arrogance seems to have no limits....  If no name comes to mind, look again.”


“The Arrogance of the Tyrant”


Jaime Campmany commented in conservative ABC (3/19):  "It is difficult to believe, but it has been France--the clear beneficiary of the intervention of the U.S. in a war in which the predominance of democracy over dictatorship was in play in Europe--who was the nation that has undertaken this diplomatic war against the great American power, [France's] ever generous ally....  With this attitude France not only broke the tradition of good relations with the U.S., but divided the Security Council, and left it practically useless for its function....  The arrogance of the tyrant is met here in France.  Oh, the grandeur.”


PORTUGAL: "Solitude And Conviction"


Editor-in-chief José Manuel Fernandes argued in influential moderate-left Público (3/19):  "We have the duty to admit that leaders who do the opposite of what surveys tell them, who run enormous political risks, who cannot be accused of having oil interests or ambitions of inheriting one of Saddam's palaces, act by looking at what they judge (rightly or wrongly) to be the national interest, and decide on the basis of their convictions.  In this case, Bush, Blair, Aznar and Barroso--with very different levels of responsibility--share the conviction that in the post-September 11 world, the greatest risk is that posed by the potential link between terrorist networks and pariah states with the capability of manufacturing WMD....  The only way for us to avoid this risk is not just to disarm the pariah states, but to extirpate the evil at its root: the fundamentalist fanaticism that has the Middle East as its epicenter.  The only way to do that is to fulfill the dream of most of the Arab 'street': to live in a democracy, to take advantage of the progress for which they envy the West.  This is the idealism that feeds the conviction that has led this group of democratic leaders to decide on war.  They believe the world will be better afterwards.  At this moment we can only hope that they succeed, and succeed rapidly."


"A War for Europe"


Respected historian José Freire Antunes noted in leading financial daily Diário Económico (3/19): "The Letter of Eight and the Azores Summit have shown that many Europeans want to be more than Algerians to the French.  So who is, after all, the enemy?....  The New York Times is wrong.  The emerging second superpower to confront America is not public opinion--naturally averse to wars, especially if by suffrage.  The emerging second superpower, with invisible headquarters and supply depots, is terrorism.  In fighting Iraq, Blair is also fighting for freedom in Europe."


TURKEY: "Things We Are About To Lose"


Zeynep Gurcanli analyzed Turkey's possible losses in tabloid Star (3/19):  "There are three major issues that Turkey is about to lose, besides the money part, in the event of Turkey decides not to actively engage in the Iraq war with the U.S....  Reshaping Iraq: Turkey will not have any say at all about the future of Iraq.  The first AKP government took its time with the 'if Turkey nods there will be no war' idea.  And that was the worst political analysis in Turkey's recent history....  Terrorism threat: Parliament declines the upcoming resolution for a second time, Turkish army presence in northern Iraq will not be in question, and Turkey will have to face with a serious humanitarian issues as well as terrorism risk at the same time....  U.S.-Turkey relations: Iraq is not the sole problem that Turkey is going to deal with.  Once it is over, Ankara will have to deal with Cyprus and the EU membership attached to it.  When this happens, Turkey will not see a reliable and powerful ally, the U.S., on its side.... The members of the Turkish parliament who voted 'against' the first time under internal political considerations and 'we can prevent the war' dreaming, better think this time about what Turkey is about to lose."




Hadi Uluengin wrote in mass appeal Hurriyet (3/19): "The Turkish government finally realized the urgency of the authorization permission and it seems that it is going to pass from the Parliament in an extremely speedy fashion.  Yet this belated action will not be good enough to heal the mistrust, which occurred on the U.S. side toward Turkey due to refusal of the resolution (on March 1).  The superpower will not treat Turkey as it used to and Turkey will not benefit from the Iraqi reconstruction.  Considering the Bush letter to Erdogan as well as Secretary Powell's call to Gul, we can also draw a conclusion that the U.S. is not going to approve Turkish strategy for Iraqi Kurds....  Foreign policy requires fair analysis, rationality and objectivity as opposed to dreams, sentimentalism and subjectivity.  We have seen the latter, and now we are paying the price.  Even taking the action right now will not solve anything because it is too late already."




ISRAEL:  "The Seventh Shoe Falls"


Gideon Samet wrote in independent Ha'aretz (3/19):  "Even the war's critics would have lined up behind the administration if Washington had given them something to latch on to: clear evidence of nuclear arms or chemical and biological weapons.  Missing was that 'extra something,' besides the victim's testimony, that the law calls for in rape cases.  America's guilt is weighty because, lacking that evidence, Bush's diplomacy created a grave crisis in the ranks of the same West it is trying to defend.  America, therefore, goes into a war of choice after creating conditions of no choice.  To Israeli eyes and ears it seems familiar....  This isn't Israel's war.  But the America that initiated it is our principal international supporter.  If it were only for that reason alone, we should now keep for her sake our fingers crossed."


"Means and Ends"


Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (3/19):  "There can be no doubt that in pursuit of America's national aims, the choice of means matters.  There is nothing to crow about in the fact that the U.S. now goes to war with only a single real ally, and in the teeth of broad European opposition.  Yet one wonders what America could have done differently....  The historical record will show that the Bush administration sedulously and patiently pursued everything practicable to achieve its goal while avoiding war." 


WEST BANK:  “American Warning Leaves Iraq Without Choices”


Independent Al-Quds declared (3/19):  "President George Bush’s warning yesterday does not leave any peaceful or honorable choice for Iraq. The warning, which most countries, especially France, Russia and Germany described as illegal, puts the Iraqi leadership in the position of either surrendering to the American legion and voluntarily dismantling the regime and its cadres and accepting the invaders...or facing massive American military forces that are capable of invading countries more powerful than Iraq....  In fact, the American warning is intended to [change] the current international order, threatening the sovereignty and independence of the world’s countries.  Thus, it is the beginning of a new colonial and imperial era.”


EGYPT:  “Egyptian Worries”


Opposition Al Wafd opined (3/19):  “This is a personal war....  It is a sin to tie a country’s fate with a single man, even if it is its president.  It is a sin to push an entire nation, with history and civilization, to return to the middle ages, with an American decision....  Bush has forgotten his country’s history in the defense of human rights...and role in the formation of the UN....  History will record that this American President killed the world order and announced the death of the international organization.  It is a Bush-Saddam war for which the Iraqi people, the region, and the entire world, will pay a high price. Certainly America also will pay a high price."


SAUDI ARABIA:  "Final Hours"


The pro-government English-language Riyadh Daily editorialized (3/19):  "The simple fact on the table is that Saddam Hussein has only himself to blame for his imminent political debacle.  Even before President Bush had given him the 48-hour ultimatum to quit, some Arab leaders have themselves asked him to relinquish power.  Much has been written and spoken of his tyrannical ways, including gassing his own people, his war with Iran, his invasion of Kuwait...but he has escaped unscathed, so far, for every crime he has committed....  The end of the road appears to have finally come for Saddam.  And few would weep over his epitaph.  But the methodology involved in his possible ouster, where a president of one country asks another to step down, is what would be questioned."


ALGERIA:  "U.S.-Iraq Duel"


French-language independent La Nouvelle Republique declared (3/19):  "U.S. armed forces will wage war against Iraq in few hours. The whole world is holding its breath. We will watch on real-time TV the collapse of Baghdad but not that of the ‘tyrant.’ Will the disarmed and humiliated UN watch this new US crusade helplessly? Shall we also denounce the complicity of the media?....  Two armies are about to confront each other because of their stubbornness and Machiavellism. One is targeting oil and is ready to march over the corpses of an entire people despite all calls for peace including those of its own people, and the other is ready to sacrifice its own people for a throne. In each case it is the same people, the Iraqis, who are caught in the center of this vortex."


"Is it War Or Aggression?"


Government-run Arabic-language El Massa editorialized (3/19):  “The military operation that has been prepared against Iraq looks more like aggression than a war because Iraq has complied with UNSC resolution 1441....  Iraq no longer possesses the WMD that would justify military intervention....  Therefore it is not capable of facing the U.S. arsenal....  The U.S. will have control over one of the most important oil stocks in the world. This is the main aim of this military operation, through which the U.S. is defying the UN and international community. The religious side of this war is that it is a political alliance between Catholicism and Judaism to impose their supremacy in the region."


JORDAN:  “The Imminent Iraqi Attack”


Fahd Fanek remarked in semi-official, influential Arabic-language Al-Rai (3/19):  “The world has not witnessed such a blatant aggression since the days of the Moguls.  In the name of eliminating alleged WMD, America is going to use WMD; and on the pretext of implementing Security Council resolutions, America bypasses the Security Council, which does not want war.  And on the pretext of protecting Iraq’s neighbors, America threatens those same neighbors if they fail to provide facilities for the aggression; and under the pretext of saving the Iraqi people, three thousand bombs will fall on Iraqi cities in the first few hours of the war.  The president of the most democratic country in the world allowed himself to deliver a fiery speech asking the president of another sovereign country to abandon his country within 48 hours....  Why has America become a country that undermines international law, ignores world public opinion and wages a destructive war without provocation?  U.S. President Bush’s address will go down in history along with speeches by Hitler, Stalin and all other dictators who love war and understand nothing but the language of force, threats, invasions and destruction.”


LEBANON:  "America Launches A War On Iraq...And Its Eyes Are On Syria And Lebanon"


Nasir Al-Asaad stated in Arab nationalist As-Safir (3/19):  "Political sources disclosed that Secretary Powell's latest position on the issue of Syrian presence in Lebanon...lead to the belief that Syria could be the next target following Iraq....  Some believe that following the war, the U.S. will start to evaluate each country's position on the U.S. dominance over the region and the U.S. road map to peace.  Syria has been rejecting the American pressure on Arabs and Islam and was the main obstacle for may of the U.S. designs for the region. It may have to pay the price."


MOROCCO:  "War Against Iraq Is A War Against The Law"


Pro-government Al Ittihad Al Ishtiraki stated (3/19):  "President Bush's speech...was a declaration of war and represents a perilous turning out in international relations....  No one finds an excuse for aggression against Iraq except the unilateral desire by America to achieve its goals and special interests....  Peace-lovers consider themselves soldiers against any new world order based on a unilateral stand."


QATAR:  "All For One, But The One Is Not For All!"


Abdelkarim Hashish stated in semi-independent Al-Raya (3/19):  "Waiting for the disaster is much more painful than the disaster itself.  Those who urge Saddam to fight and remain in power actually are more dangerous than the hard-liners in Washington simply because they are stupid.  Saddam is a tyrant....  We all want Iraq to be safe and we are all against the U.S. plans to attack Iraq, but we all should be with the Iraqi people who have suffered and still suffer from Saddam's regime and will suffer in the future from the consequences of the war.  Iraq is trapped between Saddam's tyranny and Bush's war machine.  Iraq must not pay the price and die for one person."


SYRIA:  "A War Speech"


Government-owned Al-Ba'th remarked (3/19):  "Bush's speech, which was more like a declaration of war, has carried nothing new to Americans who are split about war....  It is noteworthy the speech contained an implicit acknowledgement of isolation that Washington faced at the UNSC.  The Council, which Washington sought to be a tool in its hand, is no more capable of shouldering responsibilities, which President Bush pledged to assume on its behalf....  President Bush considered war a mission of peace that require 'free nations' to participate with his armed forces....  Falsifications in President Bush's speech exceeded the limits of marketing war; they were even like myths to fool all people including Americans."


TUNISIA:  "Last Hopes Have Evaporated" 


Chokri Baccouche observed in independent Le Quotidien (3/19):  "The last hopes for peacefully solving the Iraqi crisis have evaporated.  Even without UN approval, the war will take place. The deadline given by Bush to Iraq leaves no room for doubt on this issue.  We have only to count the strikes, the deaths and the devastating consequences of this imminent catastrophe for the world, where nothing will ever be the same....  Meanwhile, the new genocide begins to take shape."


UAE:  "Will He Do Anything?"


Abu Dhabi-based semi-official Al Ittihad editorialized (3/18):  "Will Saddam do it?  Will he be concerned about the interests of his people and not his own?  Will he listen to the voices of wisdom and reason in order to save his people who have been suffering for years now, and who are still dreaming that this war could be avoided?  Will Saddam, as his habit in the last ten years, back off at the last minute and grant millions of Iraqis the hope they have been awaiting so long?"


"A Model For The Future"


Sharjah-based pan-Arab Al Khaleej wrote (3/19):  "During this crucial time, from the elimination of the international system initiated sixty years ago after World War II, something that fell with the U.S. Administration decision in for a war on Iraq, to a new American system, something Washington would like to impose on the world.  What is going to face Iraq during this war will be the 'ideal' model that will be imposed on all opponents, nay-sayers, and all people rejecting British-American policies."




AUSTRALIA:  “Time Has Now Arrived For Disarming Iraq”


The national conservative Australian editorialized (3/19): “The Australian has argued that if there comes a time when the U.S. and Britain are left with no realistic option but to disarm Iraq by force, Australia should consider joining them. That time has now arrived....  In committing Australian troops to a U.S.-led coalition, the Howard Government has made the right decision, both in terms of morality and in terms of Australia's national interest....  Yesterday will not be seen historically as a "black day" for Australia. It will be seen as a solemn day, on which this country reaffirmed a long tradition in which it has not been prepared to stand by while others make the sacrifices required to rid the world of the threat posed by tyranny.”


CHINA:  “The World Is Deeply Worried”


Gu Ping commented in the official People’s Daily (Renmin Ribao) (3/19):  "The speech made by Bush shows that a war without UN authorization is on the verge of breaking out. The moment when the Iraq issue will be resolved through military force is coming.  The people all over the world and the international community are looking forward to peace, but not war.  The UN Security Council is making every effort to promote a peaceful resolution to the Iraqi crisis, and UN weapons inspectors are making progress in Iraq.  However, under such circumstances, the danger of war has reached an unprecedentedly high level, which deeply worries the world.”


CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):  "Bush's Unjust War Will Upset Peace And Order"


Independent Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Times commented (3/19):  "U.S. President Bush yesterday morning issued an ultimatum to Hussein to leave Iraq within 48 hours....  Hussein, however, has already rejected Bush's demand, and the U.S. is on the brink of war.  In bypassing the UN to attack Iraq unilaterally, the U.S. is trying to fight an unjust war, in flagrant disregard of international law.  The harm done to the world is much more serious.  President Bush's speech refers to three crimes committed by Iraq:  First, the Hussein regime has designs on controlling the Middle East.  Second, Hussein has always hated the U.S. and its allies.  Third, Hussein has always helped, trained and sheltered terrorists, including bin Laden's al Qaeda.  It is farfetched for the U.S. and Britain to use the above as justification for military action....  The U.S. is taking a 'pre-emptive' move to send troops and launch an unjust war, setting a bad precedent....  Waging war demonstrates U.S. hegemony.  It will only sow more hatred in the Middle East and the Islamic world." 


TAIWAN:  "The War Nobody Really Wants"


Pro-independence, English-language Taipei Times observed (3/19):  "In a matter of hours, the world situation will change.  Even if U.S. and British troops successfully oust Saddam, the war may also stoke hostility between Christian and Muslim nations.  A clash of civilizations centered around religious conflict may become a reality in the 21st century, bringing endless conflict and disaster.  To avoid this looming war, we can only call on Bush to rein in his horse on the edge of the precipice, and to give the UN weapons inspectors more time to do their jobs, and ease concerns about Iraq's concealed weapons of mass destruction.  Otherwise, unless Saddam accepts exile, humanity must bear the consequences of this war with a heavy heart."


JAPAN:  "Concern Over Iraq War"


Liberal Asahi editorialized (3/19):  "Despite its failure to persuade the world community to join in a war against Iraq, the U.S. is likely to go it alone....  The U.S. action would inflict mortal wounds on the authority and prestige of the UN that has created a major framework of post-World War II international order. Although the U.S. hopefully predicts that fighting will come to an early and, it may develop into a land war to 'conquer' Baghdad, victimizing many innocent noncombatants and bringing the world into confusion.  We again urge Saddam Hussein to leave Iraq to avert war and save the lives of the Iraqi people. This does not mean we support President Bush's ultimatum for Hussein to leave or face action."


"We Support PM Koizumi's Decision"


Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri opined (3/19):  "The final deadline is set....   Time is running out. Although there is a very little likelihood that Saddam Hussein will go into exile, we are still hopeful that he will surrender power to avoid war.  We support the prime minister's unambiguous declaration of support.  PM Koizumi stressed the importance of dealing with world issues in cooperation with the world community, well aware of the significance of the U.S.-Japan alliance. He said the ruining of confidence in the alliance would run counter to Japan's national interests. It is only natural that the prime minister put top priority on the bilateral alliance from the standpoint of national interests. The U.S.-Japan alliance contributes not only to Japan's security but also to peace and security in East Asia."


INDONESIA:  “As If Hopeless, The World Astounded By U.S. Ultimatum”


Leading independent Kompas contended (3/19):  "The U.S. ultimatum raises much concern because it suggests that diplomatic efforts are no longer useful.  In fact, many parties have worked hard for the past several months to reject the war and call for a peaceful solution. Movements to reject the war are still prevailing all over the world....  Although the protest movements might not be effective in stopping U.S. intentions to attack Iraq, those protesting voices are very important in reminding the U.S. that the war is very dangerous to humanity.”


MALAYSIA:  "Lock And Load The New World Order"


Government-influenced English-language New Straits Times observed (3/19):  "The mocking, almost lampoonish contempt of the United States’ final ultimatum to Iraq--that President Saddam Hussein and sons leave town by sundown tomorrow or be bombed out--is the last nail in the coffin of the notion that there could have been any other resolution to this ghastly farce of a conflict.  The first major world crisis of the 21st century has been a triumph of naked military might over diplomacy and reason.  This has been a tragic failure of civilisation.  The febrile militarism of the past century has reached out to infect this one; cursing the world with conflict eternal.  Who will be next?....  What of those who have not aligned themselves with the US in this crusade?  Are they, too, condemned to choose between being outcasts or invaded?  America will of course 'win' its grotesque little war on Iraq....  The cost to the U.S. and its military allies, too, need be minimal in personnel and material.  But it will be politically stupendous."


SOUTH KOREA:  "Power-based U.S. Ultimatum"


Independent Joong-Ang Ilbo observed (3/19):  "Washington's declaration of war on Iraq without UN approval demonstrates a fractured international community and U.S. unilateralism.  This is undeniably a challenge to the role of the UN as the mediator in international disputes....  Considering that global order is still ruled by power, not international laws or morality, the ROK must carefully calculate how to act to maximize its national interests." 


VIETNAM:  "At The Brink Of War"


Quang Loi wrote in Vietnam People's Army-run official Quan Doi Nhan Dan (3/19):  "U.S. President Bush has just issued an ultimatum to Iraqi President Hussein and his sons....  Everyone understands that if Iraq is attacked with unconvincing reasons, then any other country could be the next target....  The war in Iraq is a war with clearly identified strategic targets for the U.S., which are: (1) to affirm the world leader position, (2) to re-arrange the order in the region that possesses the world's major oil reserves, and (3) to send a warning signal to any country that dares to resist orders....  The ultimatum from the U.S. president is not only directed to Iraq, but also to the UN and the entire international community.  Not only Iraq, but also the UN has been made by the U.S. a hostage of war....  This may be the beginning of the collapse of the current world order."




INDIA:  "An Unjustifiable War"


The nationalist Hindu opined (3/19):  "None of Bush's justifications stands up to scrutiny but the manner in which the US President has been economical with the truth in respect of the relevant UN resolutions symbolizes the weakest part of the case he sought to make....  The U.S. and its handful of allies withdrew the draft resolution which they were trying to get passed...because it was not just unsupported but actively opposed by an overwhelming majority of international opinion....  The U.S. is on the verge of destroying the hopes of a future in which the global community will be governed by institutions and rules drawn up through multilateral agreement and not by the imprimatur of the hyperpower."


"Beyond Iraq"


The left-of-center Times Of India commented (3/19):  "The die is cast. The U.S. is going to war...with no sanction or justification other than self-righteousness....  But one thing is certain.  The world will never be the same again.  For not only has the US acted with total disregard of the international community by bypassing the UN Security Council, but has abrogated the right to continue to do so in the future....  The purportedly benevolent global autocracy of Pax Americana could turn out to be its own worst enemy by sowing the seeds of terrorist reprisal.  Which in turn would make the US even more aggressively paranoid and thus escalate the spiral of retaliation."


PAKISTAN:  "Waiting For War"


The centrist national News stated (3/18):  "The very language of the Bush ultimatum, however, makes it clear that the U.S. leader does not suffer any hurdles like the UNSC's inability to pass the desired resolution, the failure of the weapons inspectors to find the 'smoking gun evidence' or the reluctance of allies to support the war. The Bush administration made up its mind on the basis of what it considered was correct, not what was legitimate according to a universal moral yardstick. The ultimatum too was dripping with the same arrogance for what was just and right. It was not issued by the UN as what was the norm but by a member state without authority....  It was a recipe for other aggressive nations to adopt." 


NEPAL:  "U.S. Crazy For War"


Centrist Kantipur held (3/19):  "The U.S. President, who is going to war without an international support, has tried to present him as a true friend of the Iraqi people and defender of their democracy.  It is the business of the Iraqi people to keep or remove Saddam.  The number of people that agree to Saddam's accusation that the U.S. wants to have total control over Iraq's oil is not too few....  American people are against the war.  They are on the side of the world opinion.  The war may destroy Iraq, but it will also damage the U.S. economy."




CAMEROON:  "A Defining Moment"


Ekinneh Agbaw-Ebai wrote in the Yaounde-based government-owned bilingual Cameroon Tribune (3/19):  "With the clock ticking down on the 48-hour deadline for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his sons to leave the country, the United states and the world are bracing for war, and the possibility of terrorist attacks....  This war is the biggest gamble of Mr. Bush’s already eventful presidency....  Domestically, success against Iraq would almost certainly ensure his re-election to the White House and domination of U.S. politics for years to come. But failure would surely mean the end of his political career....  Internationally, the stakes are, if anything, higher."


GHANA:  "War:  What Happens To The U.S. During And After?"


Urban pro-governmetn Accra Mail stated (3/19):  "The current playground for the superpowers is Iraq....  The government of Iraq cannot be a role model....  It attacked Iran and...struck again, this time against tiny Kuwait....  Iraq cannot therefore be described as an innocent party. But having said that, what would such a war mean to the distressed economies of Africa? A lot. For starters, if the war should drag, and the price of oil soars, Africa's fragile economies would be hardest hit."


NIGERIA:  "The Iraq War And A Weakened UN?"


Abuja-based independent Daily Trust opined (3/19):  "Things would have gone differently in the era of the Cold War, and America would certainly have thought twice before daring the whole world to follow or give way....  The world had better be careful however because there could arise an issue that it cared more about than Iraq and neither the United Nations nor its Security Council would be there if they are allowed to be emasculated by America now.  The world should tell America unequivocally that the United Nations and its Security Council still represent the best hopes of all."


TANZANIA: "History Will Condemn America"


Kiswahilli-language pro-government Mwananchi declared (3/19):  "From the very beginning, America has been trying to bulldoze the Council to endorse its own plans. Indeed America has behaved like a bully....  America now perceives itself as the most powerful country in the world. But, by snubbing the U.N., America is making a very big mistake. Why is it refusing to respect the opinions and wisdom of other countries? America should not think that, just because it is now the most powerful country in the world, it will always be able to whatever it wants. It should learn from history."


"Pressure Saddam In A Peaceful Manner"


Kiswahili-language independent Nipashe commented (3/18):  "The whole world is nervous about the war that is about to break out....  Since it looks like the war can't be stopped at this stage, we hope that it will not last long so as to minimize its effects.  As for us in developing countries, we can only remind ourselves that: When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.  We are already feeling the effects of soaring oil prices.  Despite our anxiety about this war, we are still praying that a peaceful solution for this conflict is found."


ZAMBIA:  "Dangerous Bush"


The leftist Independent Post contended (3/19):  "It is sad that the United States, a country that is prepared to punish others for not abiding by the United Nations decision, is prepared to act in a lawless manner and attack Iraq. We say this because United States President George W. Bush weeks or months ago made it very clear that if the United Nations failed to abide by his wishes to attack Iraq, Washington would act on its own. And yet this is the same man who is insisting that Iraq's refusal to abide by the previous resolutions threatened the authority of the United Nations....  But there is no country in the world that surpasses the United States in not abiding by the wishes of the world's majority....  What we are seeing today is nothing but the development of a whole philosophy aimed at sweeping away the United Nations Charter and the principle of national sovereignty."


ZIMBABWE:  “End Of The Road For UN System”


The pro-government Daily Mirror alleged (3/19):  "The past one month has clearly shown the world how the power of the UN has eroded....  It is sad that, after so much hard work of inspections and weapons destruction, the inspectors led by Hans Blix were not given a chance to complete their work.  There was so much hope that Blix and his team were going to accomplish the disarmament of Iraq without a single shot being fired.  Now, it appears as if the U.S. President was using the inspectors to point out whatever weapons Iraq possesses, and neutralize them to allow American forces to invade Iraq with minimum resistance.  It is now clear that the U. S. President was never really serious about UN diplomacy.  It is also ironic that in his war speech, Bush asks the UN to continue with its work and provide humanitarian assistance to Iraq....  But the UN system will never be the same again after the U.S. and Britain openly disregarded not only the majority of UNSC but the voices of all those people who demonstrated against war all over the world.” 




CANADA:  "A Dangerous War"


Michel C. Auger held in mass-market Le Journal de Montréal (3/19):  "While most observers agree victory will be quickly achieved, all indications point to a very long occupation of a country where all infrastructure will need to be rebuilt, including the government of a country which has known nothing but one form or another of dictatorship.  We should remember that the armed forces of NATO are still stationed in the former Yugoslavia ten years after the end of the civil war and we still don't know when they will return.  The occupation of Iraq would be certainly be just as long and would risk generating new waves of terrorist attacks against the U.S. and the other countries occupying Iraq."


"Canada's Iraq Policy:  Inconsistency Ho!"


The leading Globe and Mail commented (3/19): "Canada's real choice may not have been force now or later, but force now or never.  And by requiring a second resolution, Canada effectively gave France authority over whether Canadian troops could invade Iraq.  Remarkable.  In rejecting U.S. unilateralism, Canada has acquiesced in French unilateralism.  Canada will now sit out, at least officially, the war that could begin as early as tonight. Having made this unfortunate decision through pretzel logic, Mr. Chrétien should be especially willing in the months ahead to commit Canada to the reconstruction effort. This country has great capabilities in building infrastructure, peacekeeping, law-enforcement training and development of federal institutions. Canada can't remain aloof indefinitely, and this postwar involvement would at least fit the Chrétien mould and be politically popular."


"The Defeat Of Law"


Columnist Michel Venne commented in the liberal Le Devoir (3/19): "International law and multilateral institutions are the only protection medium-size and small countries have...against the hegemonic temptations of the large ones.  The rule of law creates justice between non-equals.  The American attack in Iraq will be illegal and must be condemned.  At the very least, the international community must deny it any legitimacy.  Americans coined the expression rogue states.  They are the ones behaving like rogues today.  To remain outlaws would mean condoning the illegal acts of barbaric regimes."


"A Dangerous War"


Columnist Michel C. Auger opined in the mass-market Le Journal de Montréal (3/19): "While most observers agree victory will be quickly achieved, all indications point to a very long occupation of a country where all infrastructures will need to be rebuilt, including the government of a country which has known nothing but one form or another of dictatorship.  We should remember that the armed forces of NATO are still stationed in the former Yugoslavia ten years after the end of the civil war and we still don't know when they will return.  The occupation of Iraq would be certainly be just as long and would risk generating new waves of terrorist attacks against the U.S. and the other countries occupying Iraq."


ARGENTINA: "Senselessness And Fanaticism"


Raul Alfonsin, former Argentine President and present leader of the Radical Party, writes an op-ed page in leading Clarin that says (3/19): "The personality of the U.S. President summarizes the most prominent aspects of the U.S.' worst nationalistic tradition.... Bush, together with Rice, Cheney, Rumsfeld and many more have joined to give each other mutual strength - as is the usual case with those who share the same pathological views -- in some cases to overcome old frustrations and in others to serve their disproportionate interests. This is my only explanation in judging the attitude of a man who doesn't mind destroying the UN, placing his people and the entire Europe at risk of atrocious retaliation, leading the Islamic world to suffering the victory of Fundamentalists, dishonoring the U.S., destroying International Law, and strengthening raw globalization (promoted by neo-Conservative ideas.) Of course, it's a matter of wounded pride -- not deprived of a certain 'elections' interest --, of strengthening unilateralism, of showing that nobody can confront with the U.S. Probably, there is also an underlying economic interest, particularly in connection with oil. But we must understand that this massacre is only possible because it's been carried out by a bunch of madmen."


"U.S. Will Punish Those Countries That Fail to Support It"


Horacio Riggi, business-financial El Cronista economic columnist, stated (3/19): "Analysts in Latin America believe that Chile and Mexico's lack of support for the U.S. regarding the imminent conflict with Iraq might lead to trade retaliation from the world's leading economy against South American countries.... 'The decision by Chilean President Lagos (who refused to vote in favor of an attack against Iraq at the UNSC) - although a fair and understandable decision - no doubt tenses the diplomatic relationship between the two countries and jeopardizes the bilateral trade agreement that Chile has recently signed with the U.S.,' said a Chilean economist who requested strict anonymity.... For his part, former Mexican Ambassador to the U.S., Silva Herzog, said that the U.S. decision will deteriorate Latin America's moral authority and respect, and will negatively affect the credibility of regional institutions."


"A Tense And Anxious Vigil"


An editorial in daily-of-record La Nacion read (3/19): "The 48-hour ultimatum given by President Bush to Saddam Hussein, demanding his departure from power, has turned into a tense and anxious vigil..... Diplomacy has lost its battle and everything indicates that in the next hours, the language of weapons will prevail. Bush's words dispelled all doubts: dice have been rolled and only an extreme gesture of the Iraqi leader - hard to imagine in the present context - could avoid, at this stage, the beginning of war..... The deadline is closer.  Uncertainty grows. In the precise moment when peace is lost, it will be necessary to rebuild it, with our hopes in a future in which the dignity of individuals and the welfare of peoples are above any particular interest."


BRAZIL: "Mr. Bush Goes To War"


The lead editorial in center-right O Estado de Sao Paulo (3/19) asked: "What makes the Bush administration so sure that even if Saddam were to leave, there would be no resistance to the U.S. invasion of Iraq?  No UN resolution or norm of international law can legitimize the invasion of a nation if its leader has yielded to an ultimatum such as the one issued to Saddam. The mere possibility mentioned by Secstate Powell eliminates any doubt about the foundation on which Bush's America is based: the will of the strongest.... The rhetoric of fear has allowed Bush to neutralize multilateral institutions of collective security because they have opposed Washington's imperialist will.... What France has done, with Russia's support, is to oppose both a war that the community of nations repudiates and the 'peaceful entry,' as Powell would say, of foreign troops into Baghdad.... A quick U.S. military victory is seen as certain. Uncertain but presumably high and long-lasting will be the political costs of the war, which will involve Blair's career, the UN's destiny and the future of U.S. relations with Europe."


"Bush's War"


Independent Jornal da Tarde (3/19) maintained: "The Bush administration has shown that it gives itself the right to act the way it wants anywhere in the world to defend 'American values.' It has also put at stake the role of multilateral organizations the U.S. helped to create following WW II, and has left no doubt that the current basis of U.S. foreign policy is indeed the will of the strongest.... Military hegemony ensures a quick U.S. victory. But the political costs will be steep in terms of the future of the UN, U.S. relations with Europe and peace around the world."


"The Empire"


The lead editorial in Rio de Janeiro's right-of-center O Globo  with the boxed comment "Bush has tenaciously  constructed U.S. isolationism," stated (3/18): "On the eve of war, it worth taking advantage of the moment between the ultimatum and the first bombs to reflect on President George Bush and his way of conducting the foreign policy of a super power....  Every day it becomes more and more clear that the war-like and  arrogant Bush prefers to talk rather than hear, give orders than ask advice.  With someone like that in the White House, it was practically  inevitable that the U.S. would go into this war alone.... His contempt of multilateralism is legendary.... They abandoned the Kyoto Protocol...refused to approve the  International Crimes Tribunal...informed the Russians the 1972  Anti-Ballistic Missiles Treaty was no longer valid, and backed away from  the escalated violence in the Middle East, allowing the Oslo accords to be reduced to dust. How can one expect that such an administration would bend to the  Security Council and listen to international public opinion?"


"What's Relevant"


A byline by journalist Zuenir Ventura, in right-of-center O Globo, noted (3/19): "President Bush has repeatedly said the U.N. was running the risk of  'becoming irrelevant' if the Security Council wouldn't approve his  unilateral military actions against Iraq.... The truth is that only the superpower's force is relevant today.  The  Empire's hegemonic will.  As the U.S. President said in his ultimatum,  'the U.S. of A. has the sovereign authority to use force to guarantee its  own national security,' which means Washington will carry out the  'preventive attacks' whenever he considers his country is under threat,  thus making his dream come true to be both judge and executioner.  This is  the New World order; only his war-like fury is relevant to pit-bull Bush."


MEXICO: "Tragedy"


Froylan M. Lopez Narvaez commented in independent Reforma (3/19):  "President Fox’s speech on Monday was fair, plausible, and worthy of support, in response to the bellicose, illegal, immoral, criminal zeal of the United States, Great Britain, Spain and Bulgaria in declaring war on Saddam Hussein and the innocent people of various ethnic communities that inhabit Iraq.  Fury, as well as ambitions for political and economic power in the rich oil region fueled the goals of the refuted leaders--George Bush, Jose Maria Aznar, in spite of the open opposition of Spaniards—and Tony Blair, who faces growing citizen opposition to the war....  The GOM ratified and assumed traditional diplomatic principles.  For peace, the USG make wars.  For democracy, they violate the principles of the United Nations."


“Extensive Popular Support”


Nationalist El Universal editorialized (3/19):  "Mexico’s public opinion has unanimously supported President Fox’s stand that the Mexican people and government shares the fight against terrorism and the disarming Saddam Hussein with the U.S., but they cannot share the White House’s decision to launch a military attack on Iraq....  Nobody in Mexico or in the U.S. has any reason to complain or be disappointed.  As President Fox has shown, we can be a neighbor, a partner and a friend of the United States without having to agree on everything and for whatever reason.  Agreeing on everything would not be friendship, it would be submission or subordination.”


“The Messianism Of Bush”


Carlos Martínez García wrote in left-of-center La Jornada (3/19):  “He (Bush) believes and behaves like an illuminati that does not question his actions, but dictates sentences that others must accept without doubt.  Whoever hesitates objectively is allied of his enemies.  His thought is a mixture of the self-help literature, ideological readings of the Bible--a schema of the reality and an idea of the absolute supremacy of the American and Anglo-Saxon cultures.  All this feeds the messianism of George W. Bush.  The messianism of Bush has religious components, but also a designed geopolitical strategy in which an army of think tanks from the best American universities participate.  In this sense we are not in front of a thinker that hurls invectives against the axis of evil, but in front of an economic, a political, a scientific and a military complex that looks for redesigning the world in agreement with the interests of a power that considers many acts as a danger to its hegemony.”


"A Solely American War"


Emmanuel Carballo wrote in nationalist El Universal (3/18):  "The first victim of Bush's preventive war is the United Nations, as well as the fora where global problems are worked out.... The U.S. insists in the military option--not to disarm an irresponsible nation--but to overthrow a government.  This is a serious precedent in international relations.   Bush lost the public opinion battle to Chirac, because his premises and conclusion are false.  He has forgotten that convincing arguments are the key to solve any dispute in a democracy."


"(Bush) Threatens The World"


Left-of-center La Jornada declared (3/18):  "Bush delivered an ultimatum of death and destruction to the Iraqi government. He did so, not by virtue of a popular mandate, but as a result of obscure management and electoral wheeling and dealing.  Without a single argument to justify war, Bush exhibits to the international community his domination and geostrategic agenda, his intentions of taking Iraqi oil, his personal insecurities, his trying to settle accounts on behalf of his father, the first destroyer of Iraq."


CHILE: "President Bush's Speech"


Conservative afternoon Santiago La Segunda (3/18): "The central issue is what President Bush sees as the Security Council's inability to fulfill its duty to confront the Iraqi threat....  This is not a matter of authority, said the president; it's a matter of will.  In other words, the United States has declared the multilateral system of United Nations obsolete given its inefficiency, and will decide by and for itself to intervene in other parts of the planet every time it feels threatened or feels its interests are at stake....  The change from demands for an immediate disarmament to demands for Hussein to leave power in 48 hours draws our attention, though....  Many in Iraq will celebrate the eventual fall of the tyrant, but it is unlikely that the western invader will be seen as the 'liberator' or that it will easily administer the conflictive relationships...suppress fundamentalism and imperially resolve the region's social and economic problems....  From this viewpoint, the Iraqi crisis could be the beginning of an especially difficult time for international order and peace."


"U.S. Ultimatum"


Leading-circulation, popular La Tercera commented (3/19): "There is no certainty about post-war events.  The U.S. unilateral action has set a precedent of weakness for diplomacy in United Nations, an organization that functioned during the Cold War but has not adapted to the new world order....  It is a bit too far afield to decree the death of United Nations, because it has been a useful tool for international law and is the only space in which small nations can speak out.  Perhaps the reconstruction of Iraq, which the U.S. will unlikely be able to do on its own, will be the first chance for the United Nations to reform." 


ECUADOR: "The End Of Hussein"


An opinion column by Hernan Perez Loose in Guayaquil's center-right El Universo (3/18):  "At this point nothing can prevent a war.  When one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council recently said his country would 'veto anything' proposed by the U.S., the diplomatic option came to an end... To think that Hussein prefers exile to the destruction of his country is as naive as thinking that his regime could be disarmed peacefully in six months, or in thirty days, as France now hurriedly proposes.  From a legal perspective, the famous Security Council second resolution was never necessary.  For a tyrant of macabre proportions, Hussein is ending his reign in a peculiar way.  He has managed, for instance, to ensure that nobody remembers the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis he murdered over the years....  The concept of national security after the demise of Hussein has suffered its most serious setback since September 11.  The legitimate defense of a country is not based solely on defending its borders, nor on imminent aggression.  International terrorism and George Bush have laid this concept to rest.  The world will navigate through more realistic waters, but without a doubt, they will be no less uncertain."


 "After the Iraq Ultimatum"


An editorial in Quito's leading centrist El Comercio judged (3/18): "The war against Iraq has become irreversible and the alliance of the U.S., England, and Spain has assumed responsibility for carrying out this war....  In these circumstances, after the biggest world debate since the end of the Second World War in 1945, only the details of the event are left:  the magnitude of the attack, the human cost and the unconditional surrender or capitulation of the Saddam Hussein regime....  In these circumstances, we should ponder the global scenario after this war.  The Pentagon's other potential battlefronts are unknown, although former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has written an essay on the situation in North Korea, which will inevitably have to be resolved....  Finally, we shall have to wait for the final bomb to be dropped on Baghdad to learn what responses, terrorist or warlike, will happen in the West or around the world; we will also have to wait and see the impact of such an historic and violent event on other civilizations and cultures beyond the West."


GUATEMALA:  “The Fatal Deadline For An Announced War”


Leading, moderate Prensa Libre editorialized (3/19):  "The entire world sadly awaits the U.S. attack on Saddam Hussein’s regime....  Beyond the results of this conflict, the community of nations will soon face the need to rethink the UN’s role and will have to decide if it still serves the interests of peaceful cohabitation, or if its Charter has expired."


“Priority:  Eliminate Hussein”


Influential El Periodico carries a comment by Julio Cesar Godoy stating (3/19):  "Terrorist groups are a real threat, and we must not stop the fight to eradicate them at any cost....  The attack by the United States, England and Spain is not illegal because diplomatic means have been exhausted.




Conservative, business-oriented Siglo Veintiuno held in an op-ed by guest columnist Julio Rodriguez (3/18).  "We began this week in fear.  Few times since the end of World War II, has the world felt such fear...  There are two dimensions of this great fear: What if Hussein really has weapons of mass destruction and may use them some day... given his scary background?  If the U.S. attacks preventively but Hussein kills himself and turns this victory into a human and economic catastrophe?  There is no certain answer, except that those who believe should pray."


JAMAICA: "The Dangers Of War"


The editor in chief of the centrist, business-oriented Jamaica Observer argued in today's lead editorial. (3/18): "There are now two world superpowers -- the United States and world opinion.... The world, by and large, has spoken. There is no moral basis, it says, for waging war on Iraq.  America and its ally, Britain, have failed to make a credible case....   For the most part, the world respects the United States...b.What has happened over the past 18 months, though, is that an American administration, enthralled in unilateralist arrogance, and driven by a mindset of power, has squandered the goodwill of the world, and the consensus against terror, that was built after the September 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington...It has framed its response to terrorism in the context of conventional war, which requires a specific and substantive enemy....The end game, however, is more than Saddam. Rather, it is the emergence of this dangerous doctrine of Regime Change and Preemptive Strike which the United States and its junior partner, Britain, have arrogated unto themselves....  Unhindered by the moral force of a multilateral system and having dismissed the constraint of international law, the United States can at anytime dislodge a regime that it finds objectionable. It need only say that it was threatened...And, assuming that Tony Blair is still the UK's prime minister, America may take Britain along for the ride."


PANAMA: "War In 48 hours"


Tabloid Critica Libre commented (3/18):  "War is imminent.... There has been no clearer and determined message among Bush's speeches since September 11.... War is not a formula to obtain world peace, but has been a part of man's to achieve a peace that will never be obtained.... Calls and mobilizations for peace in the world have not been fully accepted.... All we can do is pray for the arms to fall silent and a peaceful end to be achieved."


"War And Peace"


Front page editorial in pro-government La Estrella de Panama asserted (3/18): "Nobody wants war, but facing a regime, a government and a dictator that threaten the tranquility of their neighbors, the stability of the world and the human rights of their own people, it is time to put an end to terror."


PARAGUAY:  "Totalitarian Regimes Drive The World To War"


Leading Asuncion daily ABC Color opined (3/19):  "The imminent war has its origins in the bloody dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein....  The only way to fight terrorism--and avoid the massacres and extortions that spring from it, that can affect whatever country in whatever place and not just the United States--is to overthrow as soon as possible the totalitarian regimes that protect and finance it, like that of Saddam Hussein, and install in their places a free and democratic rule with respect for human rights....  If it is necessary to confront barbarity with war, it's the responsibility of governments--as has decided President Bush--to take the timely decision."


PERU: "The Terrible Situation In the Middle East."


Center-right Expreso editorialized (3/18): "If Israel and the Palestinian Authority had reached a firm peace agreement in the year 2000...the imminent war on Iraq would have been unthinkable.... The U.S...believes that the world is divided between...those who support the U.S. and those who support Iraq's dictator ...It is a kind of political extortion.... The countries of the world have not been given the chance to adopt an independent position... President Bush's decision to go to war is not the result of the world consensus... but ...a decision outside the international law... Bush and his allies have not given an ultimatum to Saddam Hussein...but to the UN Security Council...  This absurd confrontation has its origins in the creation the State of Israel in 1948... Thereafter...Americans, Israelis and Palestinians have not been able to eliminate the scourge of war in the region... Islamic fundamentalism... has been exacerbated over the years... leading to it is happening in Iraq."




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