International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

March 24, 2003

March 24, 2003





** Sunday's fighting, which revealed the "real face of war" and Iraq's "unexpected resistance," dashed overseas media's hopes for and predictions of a swift resolution to the conflict.

** Rather than the decisive U.S. military victory most expected, many analysts agreed that U.S. "prestige and pride" had suffered a blow, with critics warning of a "bitter Pyrrhic victory" ahead.

** Media images of "disturbing scenes " and "human suffering" produced mixed feelings; reminding some about the "awful reality of war" and others that Saddam is the "real villain."




EUROPE:  'Bloody Sunday' reveals 'reality of war'; 'Stalingrad strategy' poses 'dilemma'-- With "the real war erupting into everyone's living room" on Sunday, dailies decided the conflict will be no "cakewalk."  Many observers saw the U.S. caught in a "daunting dilemma" of wanting "to avoid street fights and minimize civilian casualties" while seeking a "quick" and "clean" victory.  Outlets in France, Germany, Russia and Turkey asserted that Iraqi resistance "seems to prove that rejection of Saddam's tyranny" had not led Iraqis to welcome "foreign troops as saviors."  Capturing the typical pessimism, Serbia's pro-government Politika predicted that "the images of horror will ignite anger among Arabs and Muslims."


Many recognized that Saddam may be using the media as a weapon, but at the same time raised concerns about Washington's "channels of propaganda."  Calling the video of POW's "Saddam's bomb on Washington," Rome's left-leaning, influential La Repubblica claimed "political calculation" explained why U.S. networks just showed a few "censored" images of captured U.S. soldiers.  Belgium's conservative Het Laatste News feared that "each day of war is a victory for (Saddam) and a day of defeat for Bush." A number of others, however, treated the "parading of U.S. prisoners" as proving "the cruelty of the regime" and "the kind of despot Saddam is."


ISLAMIC WORLD:  'Unanticipated resistance' proves war 'is not a picnic'--  Washington can no longer claim its war will be "only a fireworks display" asserted many papers.  Several claimed Iraq's "heroic resistance" has forced the U.S. "to change its military plans" in its "colonialist, Zionist, oil-related war."  Certain papers in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE said the "Iraqi regime bears total responsibility" for this "tragic aggression," but cynically observed that the U.S. seeks "to gain full control of the world," not "help the local people."  Notably, the UAE's semi-official Al Ittihad criticized Baghdad for "broadcasting pictures of dead, torn bodies" and "prisoners of war...terrified of the brutality of their captors."  Others assailed the U.S.' "barbaric aggression" against civilians as a "war of cowards."  Even while conceding that the coalition is "trying hard" to avoid striking civilians, Jordan's center-left Al Dustour held that such care "does not stem from any compassion," but rather from fear of "Arab and international public opinion."  


ASIA:  Quick war would silence critics; distaste for U.S. 'arrogance'--  Most papers stressed the U.S.' need for a "quick victory" so that "Bush's critics...will fall silent."  India's centrist Gujarat Samachar agreed the U.S. "wants to finish the war at the earliest possible moment" so that its military will suffer "minimum casualties."  China's official Beijing Youth Daily warned "the U.S. might escalate the war to an even crueler phase" in order to win quickly.  Some editorials cited the "motivational power of nationalism" in warning that it may prove "a long, bitter" war.  Critical outlets blasted the U.S.' "clearly visible" arrogance as it "turns a sovereign state into flames" solely to "spread imperialism."  Many joined Bombay's centrist Samakaleen in pitying the Iraqi people, simultaneously "being crushed by an aggressor and a tyrant."  Typical was the moderately conservative Bangkok Post, which regretted Saddam's "bloody-mindedness" in "polluting Baghdad with oil fires and promising a fight to the end."


AFRICA:  Disturbed by 'propaganda from both sides of the conflict'--  Mindful that the Baghdad regime was the "real villain," several writers in South Africa, Tanzania and Ghana backed a "swift and smart" U.S.-UK effort to target the Iraqi regime.  A Christian paper in Tanzania added the U.S. "is not going to war because of hatred...but to save the world" from WMD.  Prevailing sub-Saharan sentiment, however, remained skeptical of U.S. intentions.  Pained by the "shocking images" of the U.S. and UK forces "heartlessly obliterating Iraqi forces," dailies in Malawi, Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe dismissed U.S. promises to "minimize civilian casualties and rebuild Iraq" as "bunkum."  They echoed government-owned Times of Zambia's consternation that as the U.S.-led war "is growing uglier every minute," even with the "powerful media" coverage "perhaps the real number of casualties will never be known."


LATIN AMERICA:  Bombing attacks play as 'disregard for human life'-- Dailies in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and the Dominican Republic were concerned about the "undetermined" number of civilians suffering "Bush's disproportionate revenge."  A number held that "democracies are not built with bombs and death."  While columnists acknowledged Saddam as a "bloody tyrant who deserves the worst possible fate," they agreed with liberal Folha de Sao Paulo that "this does not mean that the U.S. has the right to risk the lives of depose the dictator."  Particularly outraged by the TV footage, a Chilean daily predicted that the images of "aggressors holding arms, but lacking moral and political legitimacy" will "brand the Bush administration and deepen its international discredit." 


EDITORS: Irene Marr, Ben Goldberg, Steven Wangsness



EDITORS' NOTE:  This analysis is based on 95 reports from 59 countries, March 23-24. Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.



















BRITAIN:  "Human Error"


The conservative Times took this view (3/24):  "The shooting-down of a British Tornado fighter by an American Patriot  missile is an appalling military blunder, a tragedy for the families of the two-man crew...and an unwelcome complication in the close co-ordination of the British and U.S. forces fighting in Iraq....  Discipline and morale demand that an urgent inquiry is held not only to prevent this happening again but to clarify accountability.  There is a fear at the Pentagon that highlighting these relatively rare cases and admitting errors undermines morale.  But an apology given grudgingly or an attempt to cover up the facts is hugely damaging to overall allied morale."


"Pictures And Purposes"


The conservative Times editorialized (3/24):  "The parading of U.S. prisoners of war in violation of the Geneva Convention is also an indication of the brutality of the Iraqi regime.  Saddam Hussein...has long worked on the assumption that the U.S. would rapidly become tired of awkward combat.  This is very unlikely.  Americans' energies will be redoubled, but their ambition to be liberators, not conquerers, will not be diminished....  The tactics of the Iraqi leadership will be greeted with resolution as well as revulsion."


"The Post-War Settlement"


The center-left Independent argued (3/24):  "The commitment of British forces gives the PM greater moral  authority with the U.S. President than any other world leader.  There are two demands he should...continue to make.  One is to press the U.S. to have as little to do with the administration of postwar Iraq as possible.  The more the rebuilding of the country is seen around the world as a UN operation rather than a U.S. one, the better the chances of curbing anti-Western Muslim zealotry.  The other is to continue to use the leverage he has gained to push the Israeli-Palestinian peace process."


FRANCE:  "Neither Shock Nor Awe"


Jean-Paul Mulot argued in right-of-center Le Figaro (3/24):  “On the ground the need for a 'clean' war without errors is, media-wise, essential....  The Americans have opted for a strategy of bypassing main cities....  Threatened by urban guerrillas, the Americans have opted for caution… Psychological war has taken over the media war, maybe because the Americans have become aware that the aftermath of war will be even more difficult than the war.  In order to win tomorrow, it is not enough to be on Baghdad’s doorstep today.  International public opinion needs to be tended....  Last but not least, the Iraqi people must also be convinced.  To win, George W. Bush needs a war without shock or awe.”


"The Real War"


Patrick Sabatier commented in left-of-center Liberation (3/24):  “Via the media, the real war has erupted into everyone’s living-room....  While the Anglo-American offensive is far from a military walk in the park, this is not the catastrophic scenario some are silently wishing for....  Baghdad may fall, but the truth, for the time being, is that the Iraqi army is resisting.  And Saddam is still in place....  The U.S. is caught in a daunting dilemma: Washington wants to avoid street fights and minimize civilian casualties to be able to convince the world at large that its war is a war of liberation....  Conversely the U.S. wants to finish the war quickly: President Bush knows that time is not on his side....  But the Americans and the British are discovering that the price to pay will be higher than what their leaders and the media had predicted.”


"Under The Shadow Of The B-52s"


Jean-Paul Pierot held in communist L’Humanite (3/24):  “No need to be an expert or wait for a press conference by General Tommy Franks: we all know that under the shadow of the B-52s there are hundreds of civilian casualties....  The first phase of the operation...seems to prove that rejection of Saddam’s tyranny has not led the Iraqi people to accept America’s protectorate....  The first losses are here to prove that war is a horrendous waste, including for the American people.”


GERMANY:  "Psychological Consequences Of Bombardment"


Left-of-center Berliner Zeitung argued (3/24):  “All those who will survive this war, will leave their bunkers, houses, and shacks on the day of victory.  They will find a more or less destroyed city.  They will continue to hear the sirens and detonations in their ears for a long time....  With these people, the Americans and British will rebuild the country and set up a new system....  In this fantasy, the psychological consequences of the massive bombardments do not play any role.  It does not contain any national pride and no hatred against their liberators.  Marauding soldiers, feelings of revenge, and mourning relatives do not appear....  This explosive mixture cannot simply be covered with a UN flag like the Guernica picture in the entrance hall of the UN building.”


"No Tools For Peace"


K. Koessler commented on national radio station Deutschlandfunk of Cologne (3/22): "The United States knows how to wage war; it has proven its capability in the Middle East and the Arab world.  However, Washington has not yet proven that it is capable of moving from war to peace.  Instead, the United States simply has more bombs for Afghanistan, as shown by the latest military offensive.  The Middle East peace process has failed, which is one of the main reasons for today's disaster.  It failed because of Israeli and Palestinian stubbornness, religiously inspired fanaticism on both sides, and the United States lack of decisiveness. Now there is a threat of a second war starting within the Iraq conflict  Israelis against Palestinians, Turks against Kurds, Afghans against Afghans, civil war in Iraq.  Nobody can foresee where all this will end.  Bush is relying on his skills in war matters; he appears to lack the tools for peace."


"The Power Of The Dwarves"


Peter Muench had this to say in an editorial in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (3/24): "In these first days of the fighting, Washington is cleverly controlling all pictures of the battlefield. But beyond this closely limited theater, which the military giant is crossing with great pace, the world looks totally different.  The current fixation to the war events and the empty phrase of the coalition, which we hear again and again like a prayers wheel, cannot obscure the problems that need to be resolved after the war:  the bombs on Baghdad are only the prologue to the Iraqi post-war drama, and, in addition, they have caused enormous collateral damage  among the neighbors in the Mideast and among the allies. The first irritation has developed at the Iraqi northern border where Turkish forces have been deployed, Pandora's box has now been opened, and the Kurdish problem is virulent.  In the southern areas, the Shiites are waiting for their liberation.  But once they have been liberated, they will raise demands....


As massive the planning for the military mission, as dilettantish and short-sighted is the political preparation for the day after.  Bush has divided the world and now he is solely hoping for the power of the facts:  the dwarves will soon gather around the giant because they need it, because there is no political life with a perspective beyond the U.S. universe.  This scenario will come sooner rather than late....  After the end of the war, President Bush could be reminded of a wisdom that is even older than success:  Nothing is as bitter as Pyrrhic victory."


ITALY:   "The Days Of Horror"


Mario Giordano opined in leading center-right daily Il Giornale (3/24):  “For the first time today we have seen the real face of war....  The difficult war.  And maybe even terribly longer than anyone had more or less consciously hoped it would be....  The advance toward Baghdad continues.  But it is an advance, not a march--and certainly not a cakewalk....   A lightning war, an invisible war, a painless war is nonexistent, and if it did exist, it certainly would not be the one we’re currently fighting in Iraq."


"Rage And Shock In America"


Washington correspondent Vittorio Zucconi wrote in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (3/24):  “Saddam is done for, the plan proceeds 'slowly but safely'....  But, in the meantime, the first Sunday of war has been a 'Bloody Sunday'....  For America the war at home began yesterday.  That video is Saddam Hussein’s bomb on Washington.  That is why it is shown very little on U.S. TV networks, a few images censored and then withdrawn....  Certainly the ‘blackout’ stems from human respect, but it is much more than that.  It is the fear that, out of the disgust and the rage caused by the images of the dead and the prisoners, the American public may find again its sense of horror, and discover the cost to be paid for violating the taboo of the war….  It is human decency but it is mainly political calculation.”


RUSSIA:  "It Hasn't Quite Come Off"


Anton Bilzho and Veniamin Ginodman contended in reformist Gazeta (3/24):  "On the fourth day of the operation it became clear that the 'small victorious war' had not come off....   The video and photo pictures of human suffering spread by the world's media are a swipe at the coalition, Bush and Blair.  It may prove worse than WMD."


"U.S. Journalists Are True Patriots"


Reformist Izvestiya editorialized (3/24):  "When it comes to 'national interests,' the U.S. free press may become very disciplined and obedient.  How long can it stay that way?  The moment of truth will come very soon, as the bombing of Iraqi cities is no longer 'surgically accurate,' and the number of civilian casualties grows....  With America at war, American journalists have to choose between free speech and patriotism.  They are not the first to face such a situation.  The Russians had to do that, too, notably in the second Chechen campaign....  Secretary Rumsfeld...claimed that today's anti-Iraq coalition is stronger than the one in 1991, listing all, including Eritrea, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Rwanda, Solomon Islands and Uganda.  But nobody laughed.  Apparently, U.S. journalists respect their Defense Secretary.  They are true patriots.  Live and learn."


BELGIUM:  "Saddam's Strategy"


Chief commentator Luc Van der Kelen commented in conservative Het Laatste Nieuws (3/24):  “Saddam’s strategy is clearly a problem for the coalition.  If the coalition's troops go into cities, they will have to fight a kind of Stalingrad battle....  The alternative is the exhaustion and starvation of the population...with images of suffering people, women, and children in all Western living rooms.  Saddam simply wants to force the Americans to fight where their technological superiority and bombs cannot make the difference.  Each day of war is a day of victory for (Saddam) and a day of defeat for Bush.  No, this war is not over yet.”


"Propaganda Offensive Becomes Dirty War"


Foreign affairs writer Maarten Rabaey held in independent De Morgen (3/24):  "The Fast and Easy War does not exist - not in Iraq either.  Reality is gradually surfacing.  People will be killed, day after day, like in any war.  More than ever, TV stations will be used as channels of pure propaganda.  The images of dead Americans and prisoners illustrate that.  At the urgent request of the U.S. government the U.S. TV stations do not show them.  Iraqi TV shows them triumphantly virtually every fifteen minutes.  Whether the Americans get to see the images or not, they will know that they cannot escape from this reality anyway. There is growing suspicion that the U.S. Air Force and Navy are considering 'misleading people' as an official information job.  That is very dangerous because the American and Western TV stations are completely dependent on the military to gather information....  The war will be dirty - not only on the battlefield."


BULGARIA:  "The Iraq War"


Moderate daily Novinar editorialized (3/24):  "The use of force and war are means of last resort, which are employed only when all other options have been exhausted.  Unfortunately the majority of people do not understand this and the leftist party always manages to exploit for political purposes our natural revulsion to war.  The choice today is not between war and peace, but between a short military operation with as few casualties as possible and support for a regime which has killed thousands of people in peacetime."


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "A Different War"


Pavel Masa remarked in center-right Lidove noviny (3/22):  "Till now [in the war against Iraq], everything has gone as planned, but it will be the fight over Baghdad which will show how much moral power the Iraqi soldiers still have. If Baghdad will look like Stalingrad after the German siege or Grozny after the Russians, then that would be a failure for Operation Iraq Freedom. If on the other hand, Saddam's regime topples, that would mean an undeniable victory of President Bush."


DENMARK:  "Saddam Must Go, But Not This Way"


Left-wing Information assserted (3/24):  "The POWs shown on Iraqi TV demonstrate the kind the of despot Saddam Hussein is....  Nobody should to condone this behavior and everyone would like to see Saddam Hussein removed from power.  Unfortunately, this is not the right way to go about matters.  Far too many civilians have already suffered.  Let us hope that the campaign will go as quickly as possible."


"Truth And War"


Sensationalist tabloid BT jabbed (3/24):  "They say that truth is the first casualty of war, but regarding the current crisis in Iraq, the situation appears to be the opposite.  Since the war began last week, several American media have described the main objective of the war as being a regime change rather that disarmament."


GREECE:  “Adventurism”


Top-circulation pro-government Ta Nea opined (3/24):  "International public opinion watches with anger and disgust the merciless bombing of Iraq, which discloses the real intentions of Bush and his allies....  It is more than imperative for American adventurism to be condemned not only by the millions of demonstrators around the world, but also by the governments of Europe which must articulate a comprehensive political response, as the EU risks being the greatest loser of this war.”


HUNGARY:  "(Under)world Order"


Conservative Magyar Nemzet editorialized (3/24):  “The American bombs missiles are destroying the post-WWII world order (that was created with huge difficulties) much quicker than the Iraqi forces.  The aggressors destroy not only Iraqi targets but the international security order that, while it could not guarantee peace, provided some degree of protection for the weak ....  The Hungarian government has to choose, the sooner the better.  Does it accept the criteria of the European Community or will it continue to serve the interests of the U.S.?”


IRELAND:  "Painful Path To Baghdad"


The center-right populist Irish Independent editorialized (3/24):  "Obviously the allies want to avoid one of the greatest horrors, urban warfare.  But their strategy in their attack on Baghdad has been puzzling.  There has been plenty of 'shock and awe' in the shape of massive air attacks, but the damage has not been commensurate.  Most bizarrely, communications, including military communications, have been little affected.  It would be encouraging to hear that all this formed part of some plan--for example, to 'take out' Saddam Hussein and/or to negotiate peace with defectors from the Iraqi leadership. For the outcome of the war has never been in doubt. The allies will win, and it will be well if they win quickly and contain the suffering."




Centrist Algemeen Dagblad commented in its editorial (3/24): "Hope for a speedy victory and end of the war in Iraq has been dashed...  President Bush used his weekly radio address to warn that the fight could take longer than 'some' assumed.  Reports from the war area indicate that Saddam Hussein's rogue regime is not easily giving up...  while the bombings continue; the United States is also fighting a war with the Turkish government.... The world is holding its breath following the developments in this controversial war which caused major division in and outside the United States."


NORWAY:  "A War Without A Victor"


The newspaper of record Aftenposten commented (3/24):  “No war has two victors.  In the war that is now developing with full strength in Iraq, it is not sure that we will get any victors, only losers....  It should not be a surprise that Iraqi soldiers fight.  Some fight because they feel that they are forced to by the regime, while others do so out of a sense of honor, even though they don't have strong feelings for Saddam Hussein....  No one has the overall picture of how many so far are directly touched by the war.  But there will be many more losers before this war is over.”


PORTUGAL:  "War Is Not A Video Game"


Editor-in-chief José Manuel Fernandes argued in influential moderate-left Público (3/24):  "Never in the history of any conflict has there been so much concern for saving civilian lives [but] the truth is that there will always be innocent victims....  This is is important that this war ends as quickly as possible, and with the liberation of Iraq and the trial of the tyrant....  When war is the only solution to avoid greater evils, we can only salute those who risk their lives for all of us and our way of life."


ROMANIA:  "Media Differences"


Editor-in-chief Ioana Lupea stated in independent, centrist Cotidianul (3/24):  "Anyone can see that the war on CNN, with colorful explosions, filmed from a distance, with Iraqi soldiers who are surrendering without resistance to the coalition troops, with civilians who shake the hands of the American soldiers, does not look a bit like the war on the BBC or Euronews, let alone the one on Al-Jazeera.  Having access to uncontrolled and, maybe manipulative information, protest movements could radicalize and could destabilize the internal situation in the coalition member countries, or in the Middle Eastern countries.”


"Targeting Saddam"


Editor in chief Dan Cristian Turturica wrote in independent Evenimentul Zilei (3/22):  "A steel fist in a velvet glove.  This is how the offensive started on Thursday against Iraq can be described.  The coalition led by U.S. forces wants to send out as clearly as possible the following message: the huge military action targets Saddam and his elite, not the Iraqi people.”


SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO:   "War Will Be Victory, But What About Peace?"


Pro-government Politika carried a comment from Bosko Jaksic noting (3/23):  "Americans have de facto excluded themselves from the UN....  The Iraqi crisis has revealed Washington’s neo-imperialistic and neo-colonial ambitions....  Bombs and missiles with depleted uranium will fall on Iraq, will destroy roads, water infrastructure and factories, kill as many as half a million people and maybe topple Saddam.  Then the big U.S. sheriff will roll up his sleeves to obtain democracy and freedom for the Iraqi people....  It sounds cynical.  The images of horror will ignite anger among Arabs and Muslims.  Terrorism will become stronger, political ideas will become more radical.  Not one American will be safe and that will create xenophobia and isolation.  Americans will win the war, but will lose the peace."


SPAIN:  "And The Loser Is..."


Left-of-center El País argued (3/24):  "There is no doubt that, militarily, the U.S. is going to win this war.  But politically, the post-war is going to be very complicated, not only in what is now Iraq, but in the whole region, the U.S. is going to see the growing difficulties of being an empire in a world full of fear and hatred."


"Mass Destruction"


Left-of-center El País held (3/24):  "In the face of the ferocity of the U.S. attack, and despite the fact that we are in an illegal and unjust war, Saddam Hussein's regime could avoid more suffering to his people with an offer of surrender."


SWEDEN:  "Resistance Is Getting Harder"


South Sweden's independent, liberal Sydsvenskan editorialized (3/24):  "There will be no walkover despite the military superiority....  The harder the resistance the coalition forces meet, the bloodier the war will become, the stronger public opinion pressure on Bush and Minister Blair can be expected to be.  However, this does not mean a weakening of their arguments for intervening against the terror rule of Saddam Hussein.  On the contrary, the use of civilians as human shields and the degradation of POWs give evidence of the cruelty of the regime."


TURKEY:  "The 5th Day"


Social democrat-intellectual Cumhuriyet editorialized (3/24):  "Whether the war in Iraq takes longer than expected [or not]...nothing will be easy in the future.  The people of Iraq have not welcomed the foreign troops as saviors, contrary to what Bush and his aides had hoped and expected.  In this context, Turkey's position stands on a basic principle and is the right one.  Turkey cannot be part of an unjust war, and cannot subvert international law and legitimacy for the sake of our strategic ally....  The bilateral atmosphere between Ankara and Washington is cool at the moment.  Yet the fact of the matter is that the Bush administration needs Turkey's cooperation if it aims to establish U.S. sovereignty over the oil region in the Muslim world."




ISRAEL:    "A Bullet In America's Head"


Conservative columnist Avraham Tirosh wrote in popular, pluralist Maariv (3/24):  "The American public is shocked....  What took place up till Sunday far from the eye and far from the heart, penetrated with one blow into everyone's home.  The President indeed tried to prepare the people for the bloody price the war would cost.  But when you see, or will see tomorrow, several of your boys with a bullet in the head, the panicky eyes of Joseph and Edgar and Shauna, all from Texas, the President's state, with a stammering Iraqi interrogating them in front of television cameras, no preparation will be of any help.  This is a bullet in the head of every American.  The prestige and pride of America--there are those who say arrogance--suffered a grievous blow on Sunday.  Its morale as well suffered....  Really barbarian: not only those who shot to death the captives...but also those who are celebrating the close-up photos of bullet-riddled, bloodied soldiers' bodies....  These, the Arab television stations, led by Al-Jazeera, not only have not heard about the Geneva Convention, but have not heard about human dignity either.  War is no picnic, but neither should it be, for either side, a slaughterhouse."


"Becoming More Entangled"


Alex Fishman noted in popular, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (3/24):  "The Americans' stated goal is to replace the regime in Baghdad.  But the impression is that every step that they have taken until now not only has not brought them any nearer to that goal, but has even pushed its achievement off....  The picture that seems to be developing is rather troubling.  The precision shock bombardments on Baghdad...have failed to cause the regime and its supporters to collapse....  Moreover, Sunday a number of senior Iraqi officials who supposedly had been taken out with the pre-dawn attack on Wednesday morning suddenly were 'resurrected'....  The Iraqi regime has not broken."


WEST BANK:  "American-British War Against Iraq:  Signs Of The Beginning"


Talal Okal opined in independent, pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Aayym (3/24):  "The American administration was surprised by the dangers and duration of the battle.  It thought that it could win the battle shortly after the shock of the initial strike....  However, the American administration started to change its speech.  Its spokespersons appeared furious and confused, and it was forced to change its military plans and tactics three times in the first three days of the war.”


EGYPT:   “Egyptian Concerns”


Abas El Tarabily judged in pro-opposition Wafd (3/24):  “The war in Iraq is not a picnic.  The Americans said that it would be a picnic.  Yet, that did not happen.  These troops should not be called the alliance forces because they are not allies.  They are the allies of the devil.  They are aggression forces.  They depend on their air force and missiles.  The Iraqi leaders are saving their troops for the major ground battle.  If the foreign troops enter the cities they will face a grave in every street.”


"My Heart Goes With The Iraqi People”


Galal Dowidar observed in aggressive pro-government Al Akhbar (3/23):  “I could not speak while watching the missiles of the American monster shattering innocent Iraqis, except to pray that God may break the back of this tragic aggression that can be launched on any other nation which refuses to surrender.  Arab and international public opinion could have accepted this antagonistic, arrogant and inhuman American position, had not it been unfair and violating international legitimacy, and had not it been collaborating with the flagrant Israeli Nazi-like aggression on the Palestinian people....  Definitely the tools of the battle are inequitable...and the American tyrant will win....  Certainly, all this is for the sake of American monopoly of oil and well as for international Zionism and Likudish Israel, against the interests of international peace and security.”


“We Can Get Angry, Not Commit Suicide”


Salah Montasser commented in leading pro-government Al Ahram (3/23):  “How can one fail to be angry seeing those images of hitting the heart of Baghdad, and all our human hearts?  Anger is natural in such circumstances. However, the real test is to maintain this anger without burning ourselves and our properties....  No one can claim that the U.S. and Britain went to war through an easy path.  The world spared no sincere effort to prevent this war.  However, the arrogance of American rulers pushed Washington to sacrifice its allies for an evil desire that possessed it....  Saddam also was arrogant over all Arabs when he refused to respond to pleas of withdrawal from Kuwait and...rejected the recent visit of the Arab summit delegation....  We would like to stress that we are not sorry for Saddam or his murderous gang which tortured the Iraqi people, but we feel very sorry for the victimized Iraqi people who are paying the price.”


SAUDI ARABIA:  "Civilian Safety"


Pro-government English-language Riyadh Daily editorialized (3/24):  "It may be too early in the day to speak of the onward march to Baghdad.  But it is never too early to echo the pre-war plea of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to ensure that civilian life and property are safeguarded.  The Iraqi army is only expected to use whatever it can to ensure a tough fight.  The civilian is the obvious weapon of choice.  Bearing the unsound militaristic mindset of the Iraqi regime, it is the responsibility of the allied forces to prevent the war from taking such an ugly turn."


"An Evil War With Smart Weapons"


Riyadh's moderate Al-Jazirah opined (3/24):  "The talk about smart weapons, while we see bloodshed caused by them covering every place, is a deliberate provocation to victims and their families and the whole world....  This smartness, which is a human nature in the first place, from the beginning should have been used in saving humanity another war instead of relishing testing lethal missiles on an unarmed people including children, women and elders."


"War And Its Ramifications"


Mecca's conservative Al-Nadwa editorialized (3/23):  "It is apparent throughout the war events, that the Iraqi people are the unilateral and major losers from the military operations.  No one totally supports a war, however this war could have been averted, if Iraq handled the UNSC resolutions with serious consideration, and thus might have saved all those opportunities that are wasting today if they really recognized the danger.  Therefore, the Iraqi regime bears total responsibility for...the warnow taking it place in its territories."


"Vagaries Of War"


The pro-government English-language Riyadh Daily opined (3/23):  "Even if the Iraqis hate Saddam, they are not likely to love those who have rained missiles and bombs on them, causing mammoth destruction....  Those who believe that the experiences of Hezbollah and the Palestinian Intifada may not be repeated in Iraq do not understand the psychology of the Iraqi people.  The threats of the Kurds to stage suicidal attacks against the Turkish army in Northern Iraq can be applied to Southern Iraq....  Therefore, the war is still prone to all possibilities, particularly considering that some neighboring countries have spiritual and territorial ambitions in Iraq."


ALGERIA:  Dangers Of War


French-language independent Liberte editorialized (3/24):  “This is not a surgical war.  The U.S.-British strikes have already killed fifty persons.  Saddam Hussein, against whom this conflict was started, is still in place even if some Iraqi soldiers have surrendered.  The Americans recognize that it is not happening as expected.  So there are some legitimate questions such as how long will this last?  How many men, women and children have to be sacrificed until America controls the world’s second-largest oil reserves?  What will Saddam do if the hostilities last?  Will he leave power to save his people or will he persist in his logic and risk putting his country to fire and sword?....  Washington and London are trapped in a conflict they have created themselves and risk that one day it will ‘blow up in their faces'....  Once the war is over and Saddam’s regime beheaded, how will the Americans manage the Kurds and Shiites....  There is also the problem of religious extremism and terrorism.  The increase of anti-Western feelings will reinforce fundamentalist movements operating in the Gulf and Middle East.”


JORDAN:  “Iraq Steadfastness And American Confusion”


Yaser Za’atreh opined in center-left, influential Arabic-language Al-Dustour (3/24):  “It is a sure thing that the American and British forces are trying hard to avoid striking against civilians and are striving to be accurate in selecting their military targets, despite the fact that a large number of civilians have fallen victims.  This concern does not stem from any compassion for the Iraqi people, but rather from fear of the repercussions of the Arab and international public opinion....  It is also safe to say that the Iraqi resistance was a surprise, not only for the Americans but also for all observers.  The silliness of remarks about the Iraqi desire to embrace and receive the invaders with open arms is proven.  This is in addition to the presence of rejection that is enough to stir a confrontation that, in turn, would not give the Americans an easy victory....  The invaders are confused, and their confusion is making them make more mistakes.  It might not stop the course of occupation, but it will make it difficult.  History will write that Iraq did not surrender, but resisted with all its might at a time when regimes were watching with folded arms or opening their lands for the invaders.”


“Brutal American Raids”


Fahd Fanek wrote in semi-official, influential Arabic-language Al-Rai (3/24):  “They [Americans] say that they are not targeting the Iraqi people but Saddam Hussein.  If this true, then why are they dropping thousands of bombs on Iraq?  If they knew where Saddam Hussein was, they would only need a single bomb, but the dropping thousands of bombs is meant against the Iraqi people.  The point is that they [the Iraqi people] become shocked and awed by the brutality of the American bombing, a brutality never before witnessed by the world.  This war is not a secret one.  The world is following it live on their television screens....  This public coverage has exposed the level of brutality and blood-thirsty nature for shedding Arab blood and has produced great anger in not only Arabs and Muslims but also in every honorable human being with a sense for what is going on in the world.  America has come to disarm the weapons of mass destruction, but instead became the biggest user of those weapons.  It has come to implement Security Council resolutions, but instead ended up bypassing the Council, ignoring its will and acted unilaterally.  This is not the third Gulf war.  It is rather the second American-Arab war.  Does Bush now know that his actions make up the answer to his question:  'Why do they hate us?'”


KUWAIT:  “Mixed Feelings”


Salah Al-Fadli declared in independent Al-Rai Al-Aam (3/23):  “I experience mixed feelings when I watch the war on television.  I feel uncomfortable watching foreign forces entering an Islamic country and for seeing an Arab capital being bombarded.  This is especially true when one realizes that the American to gain full control of the world and not to help the Iraqi people....  On the other hand, when one realizes that this war is the only means of toppling this criminal regime, this is a source of joy.  It is true that we will be joyful to see Saddam’s regime toppled, but we would have been more pleased to see the Iraqi people take on this task to prevent us the turmoil of being part of frightening American plans.”


LEBANON:  "The Last Stop"


Sateh Noureddine commented in Arab nationalist As-Safir (3/24):  "The decision to launch a war on Iraq is the strangest and the most obtuse decision taken by Washington, which can no longer claim that its war against the Iraqi regime will only be a fireworks display.  The political alphabet indicated and continues to indicate, that the war on Iraq will not be similar to the war on Afghanistan....  Military facts suggest that America is exaggerating when it talks about its power and ability to penetrate Iraqi territory....  Yes, the war is still in its beginning, but the element of surprise has already been removed and military operations can go on for years....  Washington looks today like a capital of a third war country and is marching behind the religious President who is tasked by God to remove evil from the world.  A comparison between Washington and Baghdad at this point in time will not serve Washington especially since Baghdad has not changed...and is still sending signs that it is ready to continue fighting until it topples Bush's regime."


MOROCCO:   "Dirty War"


Pro-government Arabic-language Al Alam editorialized (3/23):  "Dirty because it is a war of cowards. They have sought to destroy Iraqi weapons before starting the war.  They have fooled--like cowards--the international community....  Days will pass and if they (the U.S. and British) will win, then will come a wave of vengeance both covert and apparent for Iraq and Palestine. All wars are dirty especially the one being waged by Americans and British against Iraqis."


"Getting Stuck"


French-language pro-government Al Bayane declared (3/23):  ”The invasion makes more and more victims among also the invaders."


OMAN:  "The New Lion In The Jungle"


Masoud Al Hamadani stated in government-run Oman (3/23):  "There is no need for bravery these days.  The soldier will be hiding at a distance and attack the enemy without distinguishing civilians from military.  The war is not between two super powers; yet it is between the 'new lion of the jungle,' America, and weak victims such as Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq.  Victory will be measured by goals and achievements after the battle.  Did America achieve its goals in Somalia or Afghanistan?  The situation is difficult and complicated. America, which is trying to uproot terrorism, is working to establish a new focal point of terror within the Muslim world. Weare fed up with the new 'Cowboy' policy." 


QATAR:  "It is 'Vietnam' Again!"


Semi-independent Al-Sharq stated (3/24):  "U.S. POW TV footage...shows without a doubt that Iraqi forces managed to stop the coalition forces from progressing in southern Iraq.  It seems that the coalition forces' calculations were not accurate.  And the 'swift, fast war' theory which the U.S. and Britain were promoting, proved to be wrong.  The footage yesterday reminds us of the scenes from Vietnam in the 1960's.  These pictures, even though they were disturbing, will no doubt boost the morale of the Iraqi troops and negatively affect the morale of the coalition forces.  This Anglo-American war will not finish in days, or weeks, or even months."


SYRIA:  “Responsibility Of Stopping Aggression”


Government-owned Tishreen stated (3/23):  “Scenes of the brutal shelling of Baghdad and other Iraqi cities around the clock, targeting human beings, buildings, and (Arab) heritage; these scenes clearly depict the world after the U.S. shattered international legitimacy and torpedoed UN principles and resolutions.  They also reflect the real U.S. goals in Iraq and all Arab countries, starting with terrorizing and robbing wealth, and ending with direct occupation; goals that converge with the huge and deadly Zionist scheme....  What is being said about smart bombs that hit their targets precisely is just a big lie....  The UN should stop this aggressive war on Iraq.”


TUNISIA:  "An 'Outlaw' Country"


Tahar Selmi commented in independent French-language weekly Tunis-Hebdo (3/24):  "The incredible U.S. force of destruction used in this barbarian aggression has caused collateral damages of dozens of deaths. The White House Leader pretends to undertake it in the name of freedom and right and security against a 'dictator', Saddam Hussein.  Arguments that have been rejected by the Security Council because the war that he is leading today is considered legally unjust, illegal and immoral and places Bush in an outlaw situation.  The surge of those human waves throughout the continents, calling Bush by all names....  The Chief of the American administration has perpatrated a henious crime on a country exhausted by 12 years of serious, inhuman, fierce embargo....  Washington has always been unscrupulous in support of its own  interests....  In the face to all these American arbitrariousness, even the American allies have finished by rebelling."


"A Failing American War"


Mohamed Tawir contended in independent, Arabic-language As-Sabah (3/22):  "Whatever President Bush administration and its British ally Blair present as reasons and alibis that have made them declare war against Iraq, they could not convince the world of the justice of the reasons that made them take this step, that is being rejected internationally.  It is not only because it violates the UN legality, but because it is against the principles and objectives of the UN convention....  Despite all the bombs dropped without a concrete reason on the Iraqi people, there is still hope that the Iraqis will overcome this endurance with their heroic resistance in the defense of their territory and independence. This has been proved by the first confrontations in South Iraq....  The escalation of this resistance along with the escalation of the international decision to reject legitimizing the American-British war could possibly lead to the reverse of the current situation...and force everybody to comply with international law."


UAE:  "Surprising Duration And Intensity"


Abu Dhabi's pan-Arab Akhbar Al Arab editorialized (3/23):  "American officials confessed that this is going to be a hard and long war.  This was only after the third day of war, when Americans were faced with a number of surprises, such as unanticipated resistance in some areas.  This indicates that this war will be longer and losses will exceed Washington's expectations."


"Offending All Human Values"


Abu Dhabi-based semi-official Al Ittihad judged (3/24):  "Broadcasting pictures of dead, torn bodies and floods of blood, in addition to pictures of prisoners of war who are terrified of the brutality of their captors, is something which offends all international regulations and all human values.  This will never give the effect desired by the broadcaster; on the contrary, it will create an atmosphere of hatred and revenge, not only among the people involved in the war, but also among people who are thousands of miles away."




AUSTRALIA:  “Death Buries Cynicism Over Baghdad Links To al-Qa’ida”


Greg Sheridan observed in the conservative Australian (3/24):  “So now an Australian cameraman has been killed by people most Australian commentators and many politicians said did not exist--members of Iraq's al-Qa'ida connection....  The Australian debate has been infused by such irresponsible cynicism, and such an ill-informed but pervasive assumption that all these threats are exaggerated or even invented, that Ansar al-Islam--one of the most obvious connections between Iraq, terrorism and al-Qa'ida--has been almost totally ignored in the debate. “


CHINA:  “An Even Crueler War Could Follow”


Pang Zhongying commented in official popular Beijing Youth Daily (Beijing Qingnianbao) (3/24):  “To fight a quick battle, the U.S. might escalate the war to an even crueler phase.  Some so-called ‘decisive weapons’ could be adopted.”


“U.S. Case Does Not Hold Water”


Yan Xizao stated in the official English-language China Daily (3/24):  "Mr. Negroponte's attempt to transplant the veiled threat of use of force in Resolution 678 to the current situation does not hold water....  No whitewashing can change the fact that the U.S. is waging a war, both illegitimate and unjust.  And it should not evade the responsibilities that war incurs.”


CHINA (MACAU SAR):  "Will The Iraqi War Be A Quick One?"


Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News maintained (3/22):  "There is no doubt that there is a great disparity of strength in this war.  Some people said that the war's outcome was decided long ago, given the high-tech weapons possessed by the U.S. and Britain versus Iraq's conventional fighting capacity....  Saddam, however, is determined to fight a bloody battle.  The war has thus become a wrestling match between advanced technology and sheer willpower.  The U.S. and British must rely on high-tech weapons to seize Baghdad and finish the war as quickly as possible.  Iraq must put up a desperate struggle and bolster the determination of all Iraqis to fight together.  Such a war may be a long, bitter one....  This is precisely Saddam's plan.  If the war turns into a tug-of-war, antiwar sentiment will run high.  At that time, the public may again demand a political, rather than a military solution."


JAPAN:  "The Iraq War:  Don't Forget About Arab People's Will"


Liberal Asahi warned (3/24):  "For several days now, high-tech bombs have fallen on Baghdad, named the 'city of peace' in the beginnings of Islamic civilization.  Faster than predicted, the U.S.-British advance is trying to follow up on the example of 'infidel conquerors' set by the British...and the Mongols....  The Arab media are increasingly relating the theory...popular among their people that 'we are always being bullied' wherever they look...from Iraq to Israel....  'We hate Saddam Hussein's tyranny.  And we do not support Islamic fundamenatliast terrorism.  But we cannot permit an arrogant America to control the Arab world.'  That type of anti-American consciousness is spreading in many Arab countries, spreading anti-war sentiment and trying the nerves of Arab administrations....  Not just American leaders, but we all should also heed the complicated voices belonging to the Arab people.  That is a first step towards true democratization."           


INDONESIA:  “How Far Will the Iraq War Disturb”


Leading independent Kompas contended (3/22):  “Judging from the military analyses, the Iraq war will not likely be over in a short period of time.  The war might run for a long time because the U.S. and its allies will not launch large-scale or indiscriminate strikes....  We oppose the war, not merely because it has no use and harms those who have to bear it.  More than those who must die for the war, we should also pay more attention to those who have no job, no future.”


MALAYSIA:  "Iraq Attack Proves That Bush Has No Morals And Is A War Criminal."


Government-influenced, Malay-language Berita Harian editorialized (3/22):  "In training its guided missiles at Saddam and his senior officials, the war strategy of the Bush Administration is shallow and ignorant.  How can this strategy makes heroes of American troops when in reality it destroys many Iraqi innocents?....  The real war won't begin until the ground troops enter Baghdad, and then they will finally be battle-tested against Iraqi troops and civilians who are defending themselves.  Washington surely doesn't want to be humiliated as they were in Mogadishu.  War in the cities will prove who has the better soldier.  Bush accused Saddam of being immoral when he declared war on Iraq.  In reality Bush has not abided by the conventions of war and is truly a war criminal himself."


PHILIPPINES:  "Nationalism"


The liberal Today opined (3/24):  "After proclamations that the war would be swift, they are backpedaling and saying it may not turn out that way....  Of course, they will win--but as we have asked all along, will their victory be pyrrhic?  For they are gradually having to adjust to the realization that the only people who think America is liberating Iraq are themselves and not the Iraqis....   The Iraqis begin to feel the sense of satisfaction the Afghans felt when they realized the strength of a foreign army can be sapped by little pinpricks of resistance....  Americans never seem to understand the motivational power of nationalism.  They failed to do so in Vietnam.  They are failing to do so in Iraq."


SOUTH KOREA:  "U.S. Calls A Living Hell 'Liberation'"


Pro-government Hankyoreh Shinmun thundered (3/23):  "U.S. arrogance is clearly visible as the U.S. turns a sovereign state into a sea of flames, declaring its act 'a war to liberate Iraqis.' U.S. arrogance gives impetus to the growing anti-war movement around the world.  It is regrettable that a bill to dispatch our young people to this barbarous war was approved at a recent Cabinet meeting.  It is not too late to change the current course of action.  We urge the both to listen solemnly to domestic anti-war opinion before dealing with the bill in the National Assembly."


THAILAND:  “Bloody Minded To The Very End”


Top-circulation, moderately conservative, English-language Bangkok Post remarked (3/24):  “The terrible fact of this unwanted invasion of Iraq is that it never needed to happen.  It is a scandal that world statesmen and international leaders allowed it.  There is more than enough blame to go around.  But the final reason for war in Iraq is that Saddam Hussein consistently turned aside pleas, retracted his own promises, ignored conditions and refused to acknowledge deadlines to bring his regime into the council of civilized nations of the world....  Now he is setting oil wells afire, polluting Baghdad with oil fires and promising a fight to the end.  There are great fears he will strike out with terrible weapons as his regime crumbles and then falls.  Bloody minded to the end." 




INDIA:  "Iraqi People Being Crushed Simultaneously By A Tyrant And An Aggressor"


Himmat Zaveri held in Mumbai-based centrist Gujarati-language Samakaleen (3/24):  "The world has become neither war-free nor terrorism-free--in spite of the UN and its Security Council....  The non-violent force of the people can fight the violent power of any administration with non-cooperation and civil disobedience.  This has been proved once again by the worldwide opposition to US President George Bush's invasion of Iraq--a country already traumatized by a dictator named Saddam Hussain.  The Iraqi people are being crushed now by an aggressor and a tyrant simultaneously.  The current situation in the Middle East demonstrates that though the non-violent power of the people is greater, it is the coercive power of the state that holds sway in the short run."


"Baghdad In Ruins"  


Right-of-center Gujarati-language Gujarat Samachar claimed (3/24):  "America has surprised many by ordering its troops to march towards Baghdad only a short time after it invaded Iraq.  The generally prevalent belief was that it would first devastate places of strategic importance and the first row of the Iraqi army by aerial sorties and land its troops on the soil of Iraq only after accomplishing this objective.  However, it seems that it has adopted a three-pronged strategy by which the Iraqi army is compelled to surrender and not wage a war against American soldiers.  There have been reports that hundreds of Iraqi soldiers have surrendered only within two days of the beginning of the war.  It is also believed that the U.S. wants to finish the war at the earliest possible moment and with minimum casualties in its own army.  After its bombardment of Saddam Hussain's palace, it has also become evident that it is targeting Saddam personally.  It is also significant that there have been no reports of a battle between Iraqi and the American soldiers so far.  Experts believed that there would be a fierce battle near Baghdad....  To what extent the American army destroys the Iraqi capital will be known only in the coming days.  America wants to end this war as soon as possible also because of the growing world opinion against its military action.  Both Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair will have to answer to their own people and the citizens of the world after the war is over.  And in case they are unable to produce evidence of weapons of mass destruction in the possession of Saddam, there will definitely be big question marks about their integrity and reliability."


"Victory Changes Everything"


Swaminathan S. Ankesaria Aiyar wrote in the centrist Times of India (3/23):  "Many Indians (including me) are outraged that the USA is ignoring the UN and world opinion on Iraq.  Yet do not be surprised if the same Indians (including me) lose that sense of outraged morality if, the U.S. wins a quick victory in Iraq.  History is written by the victors, and global morality adjusts with astounding flexibility....  If the U.S. achieves a quick victory, Bush's critics will, after some expostulations, fall silent.  A victory will doubtless unearth evidence of Iraqi biological or chemical weapons, and ridicule will be heaped on Hans Blix, France, Germany and the UNSC.  The new regime in Iraq will condemn Saddam as a mass murderer, and the world will nod agreement.  But if the war goes badly for Bush, moral attitudes will be very different."


PAKISTAN:  "Flames Of Fury"


The centrist national News editorialized (3/24):  "The shameful face of American military might should be enough to stir the world conscience.  The more sensible and civil governments of the world in general and Muslim countries in particular need to create viable alliances to stop American expansionism that may annihilate their sovereignty one after the other, on one pretext or the other.  While global pressure is needed to halt the war immediately, an international initiative is also essential to protect the territorial integrity of Iraq and to ensure the instant departure of 'outsiders' from the Arab state.  The flames of fury ignited by Baghdad fires must ensure that the U.S. is not able to repeat its displays of 'shock and awe' in the future."


"Depressing Scenes For U.S., Britain"


Karachi's right-wing pro-Islamic unity Jasarat crowed (3/24):  "The resistance being offered by Iraq is a lesson for the coward leaders of the Muslim world.  Iraq's collective power is no comparison with that of Pakistan or other Muslim countries.  Even if three of four Muslim countries resist the U.S., then the face of history could change."




SOUTH AFRICA:  "This Horrible War"


Afrikaans-language, centrist Die Burger declared (3/24):  "The dramatic TV images during the past few days on the scenes of war in Iraq bring home the awful realities of war.... maneuvered out or neutralized at this early stage of the attack, the scenes of war will progressively turn world opinion against the war....  In these circumstances it is easy to either become more worked up against the 'enemy' (Iraq) or to feel increasingly sympathetic towards the (civilian) victims of such excessive violence.   However, one should not forget that the Baghdad regime is the real villain.  For decades now the Iraqi have been suppressed and instability have been allowed to destabilize the Middle East.  If the war will bring an end to this (state of affairs), only time will tell.  Hopefully, everything will be over soon."


GHANA:  “The U.S. And British Invasion Of Iraq”


The independent weekly Ghanaian Voice stated (3/24-31):  “What is taking place in Iraq is a clear demonstration of the arrogance of American imperialism backed by a country which still confers the title OBE on people even though the British Empire is DEAD and cannot be revived even on the resurrection day....  We wish to advise the government to be cautious when dealing with the developed countries....  Our salvation lies in our ability to fight hard for the African Union to become a reality and not to make our country an appendage of these two countries or any other."


It’s Time To Disarm Saddam!”


Eric Bawah opined in the urban Daily Guide (3/24):  "The genuine fear of George Bush is that since Saddam had used weapons of mass destruction on two occasions, the possibility is that he could release these poisonous ammunition on mankind is speaking for the whole world in this respect....  He will continue to lie, deceive and taunt the world because he knows what he has in stock, as far as these weapons are concerned. No one in this world is safe as long as Saddam is still in the saddle. Seriously, there must be a regime change in Iraq and I believe the people of Iraq are fed up with this man who has kept them under bondage for so long a time. Britain and the U.S. should go it all alone the war must be swift and smart. The target must be Saddam and his lieutenants.”


MALAWI:  "The Repercussions Of War: Can War Against A Helpless State Be Justified?"


Rob Jamieson wrote in the pro-opposition weekly Chronicle (3/24):  "It is not my intention to discuss whether Saddam Hussein is a good leader or not....  What I wish to discuss is impact of the invasion...the decision to go to war has far-reaching consequences on peace, on terrorism, on religious tolerance (or intolerance) and on the world economy....  Last week, President Muluzu stood in solidarity with 80% of the world to declare that Malawi is against this invasion on Iraq's inegrity as a soveriegn state.  War, he said, was bad as it kills people and causes extensive destruction.  Although he did not comment on the merits of demerits of the war he was very clear in expressing his reservation on a war against Iraq....  The Muslim world has started to declare that this war is nothing but an attempt by the British and Americans to eliminate Islam from the world.  The fact that the USA and UK are seen to be flouting international law and working outside the United Nations mandate seems to strengthn this position.  After all, it is reasoned--why does the USA not deal with their own weapons of mass destruction and those of Britain.  Why do they shrik from resolving the issue of the terrorist state of Israel....  Double standards are in place that seem to suggest that might is right....  We have to remember all the lost causes that the USA have fought, and lost and try to understand their need to dominate the world.  The question being asked is, who is next?....  Will we survive a possible USA onslaught against the developing world?"


MOZAMBIQUE:  "American Colonialism"


Weekly pro-goverment Domingo editorialized (3/23):  "According to international law, an armed intervention into a country is legitimate only when sanctioned by the UN.  In this case the UN voted against armed intervention.  George Bush, however...when he realized that the votes of the UNSC would not be favorable to his hegemonistic designs...decided to wage war with Iraq whether the Security Council authorized it or not....  The law is with whoever has strength...thus the spectacular demonstration of U.S. force in Iraq is sufficient to convince the rest of the world...and perhaps also one of the final consequences of such a demonstration, that when America decides, the rest of the world must go to its knees....  But perhaps the arrogance of the U.S. has gone too far.  They have suceeded in pushing world dislike of America to a point that until today has never been seen.  Wanting to combat terrorism, they have instead encouraged it."


NIGERIA:  "Let The Iraqis Decide"


Lanre Adewole commented in Ibadan's independent Nigerian Tribune (3/22):  "I regard America's talks of trying to minimize the civilian causalities and rebuild Iraq after the exit of the Saddam as bunkum.  Which one is easier, preserving or rebuilding?  Must America first destroy and later rebuild for the Iraqis to know that the global watchdog loves them more than Saddam and his sons?  If we may ask, which interest is America protecting?  Global peace or Iraqi interest?  If the former, then the body charged with it should be left to do the job and if the latter, the (Iraqi) people should be given the benefit of the doubt to know when they are tired of seeing the face of their idolized leader.   After all, the Saddam clan is not greater and militarily powerful than the Iraqi nation."


"Divided Britain At War With Iraq"


Ikhenemho Okomilo wrote in the Lagos-based independent Daily Independent (3/24):  "Now that Prime Minister Tony Blair has dragged  a reluctant country into a pre-emptive military action against President Saddam Hussein, the British are candidly hoping the war will be prosecuted speedily if only to minimize civilian casualties.  Indeed, this war commands less popular support than almost any military conflict that has taken place, and the British people have come out in their millions to prove that Blair has lost the moral argument with this gambit.  Meanwhile, as the sole super power, the U.S. is doing as it likes.  That the war against Iraq is taking place without UN approval and in the face of massive disapproval by an unprecedented coalition of opinions across the globe, only illustrates too well Uncle Sam's reluctance to play by the rules, which bolsters the easy portrayal of America being led by an arrogant, ignorant and bullying President.  And the division within the British government is largely the consequence of the unflinching support for the U.S. line by Blair."


TANZANIA:  “Diplomacy Couldn’t Have Disarmed Saddam From WMD" 


Weekly Christian tabloid Msemakweli commented (3/23):  “At last the argument between America and Iraq has taken direction after America and its greatest ally, Britain, decided to go to war with Iraq without the consent of the UN....  The issue of Iraq owning WMD has been in the UN’s agenda for nearly 12 years now, and it seemed that diplomatic efforts had already failed....  Even if Saddam had destroyed his WMD, it wouldn’t have been a trustworthy proof of a change of heart....  From the Christian perspective, Israel is the most hated nation among Arabs and Muslims, and it is a nation, which Saddam Hussein could have destroyed one day with his WMD....  America and Britain’s plan of disarming Saddam has a Godly viewpoint, and America is not going to war because of hatred against the Iraqis, but to save the world from being destroyed.  President Bush and his allies have prayed for God’s help in this war, and we hope that God will listen to these prayers, and prevent innocent civilians from being killed.”


 "This War Should Stop Immediately"


Kiswahili-language tabloid independent Nipashe urged (3/24):  "The war has now been going on for a couple of days.  Despite being condemned worldwide, including by American citizens themselves, America and Britain have continued to rain bombs on Iraq.  It is unfortunate that these countries are destroying Iraq with the purpose of removing its leader from power.  It is possible Saddam is a bad ruler and may even seem to be a fascist.  But is it right that hundreds of innocent people should perish just because the leaders of these two powerful nations don't like him?  The very leaders who defied the UN and went to war against Iraq are now making plans for a reconstruction of the country under the auspices of the UN.  How comes all of a sudden they are realizing the importance of this organization?  Iraqis have already suffered long under the sanctions imposed by the UN.  We think it is high time that this war came to an end.  Today it is Iraq, who is next?"


UGANDA:  "World Is Less Safe"


The pro-government Monitor observed (3/23):  "The world is pained by the shocking images of American and British Forces heartlessly obliterating Iraqi cities....  Obviously the Iraqi regime will fall in a matter of days, if not hours. The Americans always made it clear they would accept nothing short of 'victory.'  They can claim that victory once the fighting is over.  But in their unilateral and arrogant decision that completely ignored the UNSC and global public opinion, the Americans have only succeeded in fanning the flames of anger and hatred against their country....  Every other country now feels threatened by America's cynical use of her unrivalled military power.  The irony is that neither can the U.S. feel safe considering the growing hatred against Americans worldwide."


ZAMBIA:  "Growing Ugly"


Government-owned Times of Zambia editorialized (3/24):  "The U.S.-led war against Iraq is growing uglier every minute.  Despite the pockets of resistance the coalition forces are encountering on the surge, they are pressing ahead towards Baghdad.  Figures of casualties keep going up too.  Though not specific the numbers should be alarmingly high. To contend with in this hitherto unjustified and brutal war is the amount of propaganda from both sides of the conflict. Even the powerful media covering this unfortunate saga has not helped much....  As the world watches television pictures roll every day as fighting escalates, perhaps the real number of casualties will never be known. But from the amount of bombing and pounding of Iraq and any form of counter-pounding, there is a lot of trauma and human suffering....  If they believe in what they preach and whether they observe human rights at all, it is time that the U.S. and Britain pulled out of Iraq. Apart from heavy human losses, the infrastructure has been destroyed, oil fields have been torched....  The war has been devastating in all aspects and indications are that it may take longer than what was expected especially if the pockets of resistance from Iraq is anything to go by. So the best solution is to end the fighting and give dialogue a chance. Enough of the brutality in Iraq."


“Diplomacy Couldn’t Have Disarmed Saddam From WMD" 


Weekly Christian tabloid Msemakweli commented (3/23):  “At last the argument between America and Iraq has taken direction after America and its greatest ally, Britain, decided to go to war with Iraq without the consent of the UN....  The issue of Iraq owning WMD has been in the UN’s agenda for nearly 12 years now, and it seemed that diplomatic efforts had already failed....  Even if Saddam had destroyed his WMD, it wouldn’t have been a trustworthy proof of a change of heart....  From the Christian perspective, Israel is the most hated nation among Arabs and Muslims, and it is a nation, which Saddam Hussein could have destroyed one day with his WMD....  America and Britain’s plan of disarming Saddam has a Godly viewpoint, and America is not going to war because of hatred against the Iraqis, but to save the world from being destroyed.  President Bush and his allies have prayed for God’s help in this war, and we hope that God will listen to these prayers, and prevent innocent civilians from being killed.”


ZIMBABWE:  “Time To Curb U.S. Bully Tactics”


Munyaradzi Huni alleged in the government-controlled weekly Sunday Mail (3/23):  "My heart bleeds for the people of Iraq.  May the powerful and all-conquering God see to it that good triumphs over evil.  But, if I may ask: ‘What the hell does the U. S. think it is anyway?’  U. S.-led forces are already reducing Iraq to ashes...not only to remove Saddam Hussein from power but to spread imperialism in that region.  America knows that defeating Saddam Hussein is the first and biggest step in conquering the Muslims around the world.  All the talk about WMD is just propaganda to justify the killing of innocent lives in Iraq....  It’s all about spreading this new kind of colonialism....  Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair’s efforts to spread imperialism will continue because their madness and hunger to rule the world knows no bounds."




ARGENTINA: "The Worst Possible Scenario"


Daily-of-record La Nacion carried an opinion piece by Felix Luna, historian and writer, who asserted (3/24): "Obviously the U.S. armed power will demolish the Hussein regime... Iraqi (survivors) will likely acclaim invaders. The pro-consuls appointed by the Empire are likely to temporarily obtain certain stability in the area.... This likely victory is the worst possible scenario.  Because it would mean the victory of the pre-emptive attack as a doctrine, the UN margination, the division of the EU, the strengthening of the U.S. most reactionary sectors and the progressive liquidation of the freedom and dissent system that has been the US's most lasting and nicest feature.  Also, it would justify the view that the U S. should exercise some sort of police power over the whole world."


"A Shocking Attack, 'Never Seen Before'"


Jorge Rosales, Washington-based correspondent for daily-of-record La Nacion, wrote (3/24) "The shocking bombings launched yesterday on Baghdad and other Iraqi cities, unprecedented in recent history, had military targets and, according to US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, their impact was such that Saddam Hussein 'is starting to lose control of his country'.... The attacks, which inaugurated the 'shock & awe' phase, had as main target not only Saddam but also the Iraqi generals and their troops... Through the Operation Iraqi Freedom, the US implemented a psychological war strategy, which along with the impressive deployment of its military and technological power, has nothing to do with what it did in previous wars."


BRAZIL: "Juridical Limbo"


Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo (3/23) editorialized: "With the beginning of the war and the capture of Iraqi soldiers by the U.S. and British armies, the question now is how these prisoners will be treated.... There is no doubt that many of Iraq's higher ranking military officials and Saddam's closest supporters have committed terrible crimes and must be tried for their actions. The ideal would be to put these criminals in front of an ad hoc UN court or the ICC, although such a possibility seems quite remote due to new and old differences between Washington and the UN. The most likely outcome is that the U.S. will take these individuals to extraordinary military courts. In terms of human rights, the prospects are the worst possible. What the U.S. has been doing with the prisoners captured in Afghanistan is an affront to the law, both in times of peace and war."


"Under Bombardment"


The lead editorial in liberal Folha de Sao Paulo (3/22) said: "It is very reasonable to suppose that a still undetermined number of civilians have died as a result of the bombardments in Baghdad.... One must disregard human life to launch an attack such as that of yesterday against a city of millions of people, most of them civilians as innocent as the Americans who died on Sept. 11. Saddam is a bloody tyrant who deserves the worst possible fate. Iraq will certainly be a better place without him. But this does not mean that the U.S. and President Bush have the right to risk the lives of thousands of Iraqi citizens and coalition soldiers to begin a war to depose the dictator.  Bush and his allies have no moral justification or legal mandate to attack Iraq.... The argument that the war is aimed at establishing democracy in Iraq is outrageous.  Washington not only tolerates dictatorships but has been responsible for overthrowing several legitimate governments that did not submit to the White House's interests.  Democracies are not built with bombs and death."




Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo columnist Carlos Heitor Cony commented (3/22): "This is one of the most absurd wars in human history.... I do not believe that there is a single Iraqi soldier near any part of U.S. territory, ready to attack. This battle pits the strongest against the weakest under the pretext that the weakest could hit the strongest with arms already destroyed by the UN´s inspectors."


"Bush's War"


A byline by defense analyst, Ronaldo Leão, in right-of-center O Globo stated (3/24): "The events of the last 24 hours leave no doubt: now it's real war....  If the (Iraq) resistance continues on the same level seen yesterday, we can expect that the troops' march into Iraq's center will be a path of stones.  And it increases the possibility that taking Baghdad may become - as some feared - a slaughter."


"The Horror, The Horror"


Center-left Jornal do Brasil asserted (3/24): "With the mushrooms of fire that enter our homes via the TV, at dinner time, President Bush has managed in a few hours to awaken sympathy for the dictator Saddam Hussein, reduced now to a victim.  Where are the weapons of mass destruction that Saddam hasn't used yet....? The Bush doctrine in practice means that the American sovereignty, once unlimited, gives it the right to attack any country whose war arsenal, in its view, threatens the U.S. security as a superpower.  This applied in the context of people, would be the generalized acceptance of legitimate preventive defense.  If my neighbor has bought a gun with which he may kill me, why not to kill him first before he threatens me sometime in the future?"


MEXICO:  "The Useless War"


Editorial in business-oriented El Financiero (3/24) reads:  "As the days go by it is more and more clear that the war began by the 'coalition,' led by the United States and Great Britain against Iraq, is useless in terms of its alleged objectives of guaranteeing international peace and coexistence.  Far from this, what we have until now is an authentic martyrdom for the Iraqi people, who are suffering President George W. Bush's revenge in a disproportioned way, and an alleged humanitarian crusade which in real terms is just the opposite.  In any case, if the Iraqi government broke international law by building up a mass destruction weapons arsenal, according to Washington, Bush and its allies are doing the same by dismissing the U.N. resolutions and beginning a war by themselves.  The result is a barbaric act and the useless loss of many lives from both sides."


CHILE:  "The War The U.S. Will Lose"


Commentator Sergio Munoz opined in government-owned, editorially independent La Nacion (3/24):  "The bodies of the Iraqi children mangled by the U.S. bombs cry out to heaven.  Those images will brand the Bush administration and deepen its international discredit--aggressors holding arms, but lacking moral and political legitimacy.  They will pay dearly."


"Children And The War"


Independent, leading circulation popular Santiago La Tercera ran a by-liner by UNICEF Regional Director Egidio Crotti stating (3/24): "Half of the Iraqi population is boys and girls.  They are the ones who will suffer the major impact of the military action...  Children will die in this war.  This is a reality.  Our question at UNICEF is how many will we be able to protect?"




Establishment, leading morning tabloid, Diario Libre's main editorial noted (3/24): "[This war's] best lesson was supplied by General Richard Myers from the Pentagon who accused Iraq of violating the Geneva Convention by showing photos of captured U.S. soldiers. He forgot that the war was not sanctioned by the United Nations and that its perpetrators have set themselves apart from international laws.  A paradox, also an instructive one, U.S. news chains, despite their efficiency, use Al-Yazira's (the Arab counterpart) images."


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