October 7, 2003
CRITICS CONTEND KAY'S WMD REPORT SHOWS THREAT WAS HYPED
** Writers say WMD report
shows Iraq had been "disarmed" and war was "tilting at
** Pro-war UK papers retort
that WMD were not "the be-all and end-all" of the threat.
** The "Iraqi
precedent" will complicate future WMD and terrorism challenges.
WMD claims were 'fairy tales'--
commentators said the Iraq Survey Group's (ISG) interim report "has failed
to supply evidence for the vast majority" of pre-war claims about Iraqi
WMD. "Hans Blix deserves an
apology," declared the UK's tabloid Daily Mirror. India's nationalist Hindustan Times
agreed: "If the U.S. had the
patience to wait for the UN weapons inspectors led by Hans Blix to complete
their investigation, there would have been no war." Writers criticized the report as "an
insult to the intelligence of anybody capable of reading," stating David
Kay had rejected objectivity in favor of an "ideological interpretation of
the facts." The U.S. and UK need to uncover "chemical,
biological and nuclear weapons and factories for making them and not
paperwork," according to an African broadsheet.
'An ironic outcome' for Blair-- Though the tabloid Sun, citing the
"frightening reading" in the Kay report, declared that "no one
can now doubt that Saddam was a menace that had to be taken out," the
reaction of most pro-war British dailies was more subdued. While stating that the case for war was still
valid because of Saddam's totalitarianism and the persistent violation of UNSC
resolutions by Iraq's "masters of deception," they argued that
"possession of WMD alone was a dangerously narrow basis" on which to
advocate war. The Daily Telegraph
asserted the ISG's report "has made a powerful case" for the position
Prime Minister Tony Blair wanted to make, "that UN resolutions...had been
broken systematically and this could not be tolerated." Had Blair "couched the matter in broader
terms than those set by the UN, he might be in less political difficulty
now." The Kay report, said The
Times, "demonstrates that the Security Council should have
provided" a mandate for military action based on Iraq's violation of UNSC
A belief the war was 'a big swindle' will hurt
future efforts to deal with WMD-- The Kay report makes it
"increasingly apparent" that the arguments for war were "at
best, misleading, and at worst, outright dishonest." In the future, "the world will remember
the case of Iraq" the next time the U.S. argues that rogue nations pose a
danger. The "flimsiness" of
some of the WMD claims "has helped to make a legitimate conflict seem
otherwise," said Britain's independent Economist. It also risks making the danger posed by WMD
seem "less real than it is, and may jeopardize future efforts to deal with
that danger, especially...preemptively."
Arguments that toppling a brutal dictator justified going to war are
dangerous, Mexico's independent Reforma averred: "The legal and moral consequences of
maintaining that great powers have the right to overthrow bad leaders are
EDITOR: Steven Wangsness
EDITOR'S NOTE: This
analysis is based on 33 reports from 16 countries, October 1-7, 2003. Editorial excerpts from each country are
listed from the most recent date.
"A Tribute To Weapons Inspectors"
Isabel Hilton wrote in the left-of-center Guardian
(Internet version, 10/7): "Even
before Robin Cook's revelations that Tony Blair went to war without believing
in the threat from Saddam's phantom arsenal, the air had been leaking out of
the inflated official claims.... Seven
months on from the attack on Iraq, it is time to stop and pay tribute to the
system that the U.S. administration so energetically derided, determined as it
was to apply military solutions to a political problem: the UN weapons
inspections process. Nothing has been
discovered in Iraq that was not known to exist as a result of the
inspections. With breathtaking
disingenuousness, Blair and Bush now deny that they ever gave the impression
that Iraq was close to possessing nuclear weapons or the means of delivering
them. The weapons for which we went to
war, in the most recent versions, were chemical and biological. Now, even they have dematerialized--from
actual weapons to a sinister but insubstantial potential. But Iraq's potential to make chemical weapons
was known to the UN as a result of its Unscom inspections in the
mid-90s.... Neither Bush nor Blair have
produced evidence that turns these unpleasant but familiar facts into a
'current' threat against the U.S., the UK or even Iraq's immediate
neighbors. The question, as the UN inspectors
knew, was not whether Iraq maintained a capacity to resume production of such
weapons, but whether that potential had been activated after British and U.S.
bombing ended the inspections in 1998.
The resumption of UN inspections--under the U.S. administration's
credible threat of the use of force--would have answered that question.
"The cost of this adventure can be counted
in many ways: there is the damage to future potential for international action
against rogue states; the risk of terrorism is heightened; and the possibility
of disaffected personnel from Iraq's weapons programs throwing in their lot
with some kind of jihad is higher than before.
Equally dangerous is the manner in which a system of internationally
sanctioned monitoring and control has been sacrificed in favor of unilateral
action. If we have learned anything from
this adventure, it is that weapons inspection--slow, unglamorous and
difficult--is effective, even in a regime intent on concealment.... By the beginning of this year, U.S. pressure
through the UN had succeeded in forcing the resumption of inspections. We will probably never know what they might
have found. But the next dictator who
tries to transform himself from a local thug into an international menace by
acquiring WMD will have less to fear from the difficult, patient and methodical
inspections that the UN inspections teams pursued. Bush and Blair have seen to that."
"Bush Must Apologize To Hans Blix"
The center-left tabloid Daily Mirror editorialized (10/6): "President Bush wanted to get on with
his war, so he sneered at the UN team, implying they were too useless to find
them. Yet now 1,400 searchers with the
freedom to look where they want have also found nothing.... It said the only threat was in Saddam's head
and he couldn't have organized anything for 10 years. That is not the basis for going to war. Hans Blix deserves an apology from President
"No Uranium, No Munitions, No Missiles, No
Dr. Glen Rangwala wrote in the center-left Independent
on Sunday (10/5): "Last week's
progress report by American and British weapons inspectors in Iraq has failed
to supply evidence for the vast majority of the claims made on Iraqi weapons of
mass destruction by their governments before the war.... The ISG even casts serious doubt on President
Bush's much-trumpeted claim that U.S. forces had found three mobile biological
laboratories after the war: 'technical
limitations' would prevent the trailers from being ideally suited to biological
weapons production, it records. In other words, they were for something
else.... One sentence within the report
has been much quoted: Iraq had 'a clandestine network of laboratories and safe
houses within the Iraqi intelligence service that contained equipment subject
to UN monitoring and suitable for continuing CBW research..' Note what that sentence does not say: these
facilities were suitable for chemical and biological weapons research (as
almost any modern lab would be), not that they had engaged in such research. The reference to UN monitoring is also
spurious: under the terms of UN resolutions, all of Iraq's chemical and
biological facilities are subject to monitoring. So all this tells us is that Iraq had modern
"A Wilderness Of Mirrors"
Phillip Knightley commented in the center-left Independent
on Sunday (10/5): "Poor old
James Bond has had a terrible thrashing this week. First the former British ambassador Sir Peter
Heap accused Bond and his colleagues in the British Secret Intelligence Service
(SIS) of being useless spies who frequently made things up. Then the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) reported
that it could find no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, thus underlining a
fundamental failure of intelligence and removing at a stroke Britain's
justification for going to war.... Iraq,
far from being unusual, is merely another item in a long list of intelligence
failures, not just British ones but American and Soviet ones as well.... The problem is a flaw at the heart of
intelligence gathering which is difficult to eliminate.... Agents selling information are not the most
reliable sources. Money tempts them to
exaggerate, inflate the importance of their contacts, copy information from
obscure journals that their controller is unlikely to have seen, and even make
things up.... British spymasters are
well aware that an agent's information could be dodgy and there are procedures
to catch it before it makes its way too far up the consumer chain.... But then spymasters are human and attuned to
the mood of the politicians who pay their salaries. If SIS and the JIC were
aware that the Government was determined to invade Iraq but needed to make a
case for war to get the British public on side, then wishful thinking may have
led them to believe the 45-minute claim and the existence of weapons of mass
destruction. So if it were a case of:
decision to go to war and then intelligence to support that decision--and it
certainly looks that way--the British intelligence community is dangerously
compromised, in the pocket of the Government, politicized and no longer
"Wielders Of Mass Deception?"
The weekly Economist editorialized
(10/4): "The road to war with Iraq
was paved with arguments, good and bad....
George Bush and Tony Blair, it now appears, exaggerated the threat posed
by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
This is not just a negligible footnote in the history of Iraq's conquest
and reconstruction.... In the eyes of
the world, especially the Arab world, the flimsiness of some of the claims made
about Mr. Hussein's arsenal has helped to make a legitimate conflict seem
otherwise. It also risks making the
danger posed by WMD seem more rhetorical and less real than it is, and may
jeopardize future efforts to deal with that danger, especially any that involve
acting preemptively. Ultimately,
weaknesses in the Anglo-American case risk damaging the limited trust that
Britons and Americans place in their leaders.... Even if some WMD are found, many of the
specific Anglo-American claims seem unlikely to be vindicated.... The war, we still think, was justified. But in making the case for it, Mr. Bush and
Mr. Blair did not play straight with their people."
"The Case For War"
The conservative Daily Telegraph
editorialized (10/3): "Opponents of
the war on Saddam Hussein are cock-a-hoop that, in the months since liberation,
the inter-allied Iraq Survey Group (ISG) has not yet discovered weapons of mass
destruction. As far as they are
concerned, this invalidates the main reason for sending troops into harm's
way. But are the ISG's findings the last
word on the matter?... As John Bolton,
the U.S. Under Secretary of State, noted in his recent congressional testimony,
there is a serious case for the contention that WMD were secreted by the
Ba'athists into the neighboring rogue state of Syria.... Above all, Iraq is a large country and the
Ba'athists...were masters of deception....
The survey confirms that Iraq was in violation of UN resolutions on its
WMD programs. Are the opponents of the
war seriously suggesting that Saddam should have been allowed to fulfill what
was, at minimum, a desire to acquire such weapons?... But what can be said is that possession of
WMD alone was a dangerously narrow basis on which to advocate the case for war.... The weapons that such regimes possessed, and
that they might have passed to suicidal sub-state forces, were mere symptoms of
their totalitarian nature. WMD added
much to their subversive muscle, but were not the be-all and end-all of the
threat posed. Had Tony Blair couched the
matter in broader terms than those set by the UN, he might be in less political
difficulty now. "
"The Disarming Facts"
The left-of-center Guardian had this view
(10/3): "The interim report of the
U.S.-British Iraq Survey Group confirms what many have come to suspect in the
months since Baghdad fell. In sum,
Saddam Hussein's regime did not possess useable biological, chemical or nuclear
weapons when the war was launched. Iraq
could not therefore accurately be said to pose a current or serious or imminent
threat to its neighbors and the west, at least in terms of WMD, as the U.S. and
Britain claimed. Less expected, perhaps,
is the strong probability, on the basis of these preliminary findings, that
such proven Iraqi WMD capability as did exist was largely destroyed in 1991, as
Saddam maintained.... The ISG report
does relate persuasive evidence that Iraq was trying clandestinely to retain
the ability to produce proscribed weapons, particularly biological
weapons.... There is also limited
confirmation that after 2000, Saddam had begun trying, without much success, to
develop longer-range missiles. But that
said, the main thrust of the report amounts to a damning, official indictment
of the principal intelligence and therefore of the political judgments upon
which the case for war, in Britain at least, was based.... There are no caches of anthrax, ricin mustard
gas, VX and the other horrors of which we were repeatedly warned; there are no
mobile laboratories, as George Bush prematurely claimed..... Here is not the familiar picture of a rogue
state bristling with offensive terror weapons, as painted by the government. Here instead is a picture of a malign regime
whose aggression and arms ambitions had in fact been very effectively
restrained, curbed and contained over the preceding years. In any dispassionate analysis, Iraq in March
2003 was not a serious threat in terms of WMD.
Iraq had already been disarmed."
"Questions To Answer For Our Intelligence
Edinburgh's conservative daily The Scotsman
commented (Internet version, 10/3):
"The failure to find concrete evidence on any scale of weapons of
mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq raises two questions. One, of course, is whether this undermines
the justification for the war. Many,
including this newspaper, saw (and still do see) the overthrow of Saddam
Hussein’s evil regime as necessary, less because of any imminent threat from
WMD and more as a prerequisite for a building a stable Middle East. Nevertheless, Saddam’s search for a WMD
capability was clearly an element in the decision to go to war. The lack of an Iraqi WMD capability therefore
raises a second and more ominous issue that is in danger of being
overlooked. Namely, the catastrophic
failure of the allied intelligence services.
This is a crucial question, because if we cannot obtain reliable
intelligence about potential security threats, then no government can make an
informed choice regarding foreign and defense policy. Worse, we are blind to any lurking dangers,
be they from terrorists or rogue states.
And the evidence, not just from Iraq, is that the Western intelligence
services are ineffective, if not downright incompetent.... When senior intelligence officers become
more concerned with high politics and their role in government than in security
matters or calm, focused intelligence evaluation, then the way is open to
telling governments what they want to hear, rather than the truth. This seems to be a disease that affects
Britain and America as much as it ever did Saddam Hussein. The immediate lesson of the missing WMD is
that a major reform of the British intelligence services is required. Not a cosmetic change (though some heads
should certainly roll), but a quiet, long-term reform based on on-the-spot
"Seek And Hide"
An editorial in the conservative Times
held (10/3): "It is today clear
that the real message of this document is more subtle and significant. The team led by David Kay has not, it is
true, yet managed to unearth the physical manifestations of weapons of mass
destruction (WMD). What has been
established, however, is that Saddam Hussein continued to violate UN Security
Council resolutions long after inspectors were obliged to leave in 1998.... There is enough in this interim report
compiled in a matter of weeks to indicate that those suspicions were
valid.... It casts doubt on the
fashionable claim that the former dictator in Baghdad represented no threat at
all to international peace and order after the 1991 Gulf War or that he managed
to fool numerous intelligence agencies into believing that he had that arsenal
when he did not.... The wisest approach
for the Bush administration would be to intensify the resources allocated to
the Iraq Survey Group and redouble the effort to track down Saddam Hussein and
his remaining retinue. These might
appear to be different issues but they are complementary. The ironic outcome for Mr. Blair is that the
Iraq Survey Group has made a powerful case for the position against Iraq that
he originally wanted to make, namely that UN resolutions, including 1441, had
been broken systematically and this could not be tolerated. The stance taken by France, particularly, and
Russia, closed off that option. The war
thus had to be fought in the name of the UN but not with its blessing. This document demonstrates that the Security
Council should have provided such a mandate."
The right-of-center popular tabloid Sun
(10/3): "The full catalogue of
Saddam Hussein's weapons secrets makes frightening reading.... Saddam was plotting to develop horrific
chemical and biological weapons, the inspection team's report shows. He was lying to the United Nations right up
to the day the war started.... No one
can now doubt that Saddam was a menace that had to be taken out. We don't expect the far Left or the French
will apologize for casting doubts on the perfectly legitimate action taken by
Britain and America. But at least they
should all now shut up."
"The Lack Of Weapons Of Mass Destruction Is
Evidence Of Historic Failure"
The center-left Independent took this
view (10/3): "Every now and then,
something happens that lights up the big picture. The tableau of history is usually shrouded in
gloom, with only a few square inches at a time illuminated by the fizzing
sparklers of daily journalism.... The
key word here is 'deceitful'. For
despite the best efforts of so many experts, who had free rein to probe
wherever and whatever they chose after the fall of Saddam Hussein, the ISG's
central message is that they have actually found no weapons of mass destruction
and precious little of anything else....
In the absence of real weapons, Saddam's 'deceit' is now the most
heinous crime that can be laid against him.
So deceitful was he, we are invited to conclude, that he tricked the
best and brightest of the West's intelligence agencies and the politicians who
relied on their assessments.... The
single most shameful truth to have emerged from post-war Iraq...is the failure
of intelligence on a most remarkable scale and the failure of our political
leaders, starting with Mr. Blair, to exercise the judgment that was needed
before they took us to war."
"The Weapons Of Mass Deception"
Sir Timothy Garden, visiting professor at the
Centre for Defence Studies, King's College London, and a former air marshal,
wrote in the centrist tabloid Evening Standard (10/2): "Why would Saddam Hussein let the world
believe he still had a hidden arsenal of weapons of mass destruction if they
were all long gone? This is the question
repeated by those in the British and American governments who are finding the
absence of any evidence of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons in Iraq
increasingly embarrassing.... Certainly
the difficulties that he made for the UN inspectors in the years which followed
showed that he wanted to maintain his WMD capabilities. Now it appears he was unsuccessful in this
quest. A combination of persistence by
the inspection teams and the years of sanctions appears to have left him with
little or no usable capability. Why then
would he not welcome the opportunity to show the world that he was
clean?... Perhaps we should all have
taken more notice of page 36 of the WMD dossier. There is a short essay on 'Iraq's policy of
deception.' Deception can be done in
many ways. In Kosovo, much of the
British and U.S. bombing was later found to be against decoys rather than
tanks. In Iraq, it looks as though we
may have been tilting at windmills."
Patrick Sabatier editorialized in left-of-center
Liberation (10/3): "Leaving
aside the pacifists in principle and the die-hard anti-Americans, the anti-war
proponents did not deny the bloody nature of Saddam's dictatorship. However, they did reject the notion of
urgency in doing away with Saddam's arsenal at the expense of a war, the
political and human cost of which was impossible to predict. Saddam's untraceable arsenal shows the extent
to which Bush's 'preventive war' is dangerous and unacceptable.... In the Iraqi affair, the truth is that Bush
and Blair either deliberately lied to justify the war by exaggerating the
threat, or they committed an enormous error in judgment based on partial,
biased or complete false information.
Either of these explanations makes one shudder. The world is faced with other dictatorships
whose threats to use weapons of mass destruction are much more real than
Saddam's arsenal ever was. The Iraqi
precedent will make it much more difficult to face these strategic
"An Avalanche Of Doubt Is Heading Towards Bush"
Stefan Kornelius commented in an editorial in center-left Sueddeutsche
Zeitung of Munich (10/5): “On the
other hand, the Kay report contains an important lesson: each piece of
information by intelligence services must be interpreted politically. This is what happened in America, but with
manipulative intentions.... Another
alarming hidden fact, which the report has not explicitly spelled out, is: if
material is forged and manipulated in such a way, why does no one protest? Why have the checks not worked? Why don’t the intelligence agencies object
more? Where is the opposition? The alarmist tones of the Bush faction, the
shrill invocation of mostly intangible dangers, the complete denial of
complicated problems (like the post-war order in Iraq)--all this has nurtured
doubts whether the U.S. still has an emergency brake usually built into
sensible political systems.”
"U.S. Weapons Report Confirms The War
Roland Heine observed in the left-of-center Berliner
Zeitung (10/4): "The fruitless
search for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction...is increasingly creating
difficulties for the Bush government in the approaching American election
campaign. Internationally, the report by
U.S. chief inspector David Kay strengthens the position of those countries that
demand that Washington change its course and call for a central role for the UN
in Iraq.... With the Kay report,
American weapons searchers now confirm what war opponents had repeatedly
stated: possible threats by the Saddam regime could have continued to be
averted using UN weapons inspectors.
Obviously, the UN inspections of the past were successful and could in
fact have guaranteed Iraq's disarmament.
Naturally it cannot be expected that the Bush government will ever
concede this fact. But it is important
for the future role of the United Nations in Iraq if UN Secretary General Kofi
Annan can refer to it. It is clear that
the ongoing confrontation in the Security Council is a key moment for the world
organization.... A change of position by
Washington must also be demanded in view of the planned international donors'
conference. There is no doubt that the
Iraqi people need international assistance.
It would also be wrong for the war opponents to merely refer to the
United States and its responsibility as the occupation power. But before assistance is promised in larger
amounts than so far, it must be guaranteed that this aid does not serve
primarily to economically support the American occupation. So far, there is no indication that
Washington is willing to give up control over the Iraq assistance fund. The United States justified the war against
Iraq with the lie of weapons of mass destruction. The world community must not support the
occupation regime that resulted from this war."
Jochen Bittner wrote in Hamburg' centrist weekly
Die Zeit (10/2): "The White
House has done something unusual. It has
played down reports on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Even before David Kay, the chief of the 1,400
men who are looking for weapons, presented his interim report to the U.S.
Congress, the CIA had dampened the expectations.... What Kay brings home is circumstantial
evidence that at best indicates Saddam Hussein's ill will: documents, files,
and pictures that could permit the conclusion that the regime might have
planned to...possibly and in case of need....
You know. What has actually
become of all the Iraqi defectors, dissidents, ex-generals, and other opponents
of Saddam Hussein with whose frightening insider information the CIA and the
MI-6 filled their Iraq dossiers before the beginning of the war? They all have been strangely silent since the
overthrow of the dictator.... The most
likely explanation is that...they sold rumors as dangers before the war, rumors
that Washington and London offered later as certainties to the rest of the
world. Even though George Bush rightly
points out that the world is a nicer place without Saddam Hussein; even though
Tony Blair therefore believes that Britain 'as a country' does 'not have to
apologize for anything'--both started a war with such poor evidence that would
not be enough for an ordinary court to only sentence a parking offender. It is certain that in the case of Saddam
Hussein it was never a matter of whether he had owned weapons of mass
destruction, but of whether and when he had destroyed them. That may have been a long time ago. Meanwhile, one can almost hope that the
search parties will not find anything now.
This would confirm every day the image of Saddam Hussein as a great
braggart who did not dare to disclose that in reality he no longer had any
poison gas and virus bombs hidden."
"Silence Of Iraqi Defectors"
Jochen Bittner opined in an editorial in center-left, weekly Die
Zeit of Hamburg (10/1): "What
has happened to all the Iraqi defectors, dissidents, ex-generals, and Saddam
opponents, whose frightening insider information filled CIA and MI6 dossiers
before the war? Since the dictator's
ouster, they have become conspicuously silent, even though they...could now
reveal everything they know.... The most
likely explanation is that they do not do this, because they sold rumors as
dangers before the war, rumors that the governments in London and Washington
later presented to the rest of the world as certainties.... But even if President Bush rightfully points
to the fact that the world is a nicer place without Saddam Hussein, even if
Tony Blair thinks that Great Britain does not have to apologize for anything,
both leaders began a war with flimsy evidence.... It is certainly true that in the case of
Saddam Hussein the question has never been whether he owned WMD, but only
whether and when he destroyed them."
RUSSIA: "Iraq Didn't
Nikolai Paklin filed from Paris for official government Rossiyskaya
Gazeta (10/2): "U.S.
intelligence has had to admit that by the time the United States and Britain
started armed action, there were no weapons of mass destruction in
Iraq.... The real reason for the war
was to overthrow an unwanted regime that was in the way and take control over
that region and its oil resources."
AUSTRIA: "Insult To
Foreign affairs editor Gudrun Harrer commented in liberal daily Der
Standard (10/4): “The report on WMD
in Iraq by David Kay is an insult the intelligence of anybody capable of
reading. After having spent three months
looking for weapons, instead of presenting his findings in a scientifically
sober, clear style, he continues the ideological interpretation of facts, which
the world had to suffer ad nauseam for months before the war in Iraq. He reiterates platitudes, wildly combines
dangerous-sounding keywords with 'could,' 'maybe,' and 'suitable for,' and thus
gives his Lord and Master, President George Bush, the chance of quoting those
selected tidbits out of context, which will support his own position.... The long-term international consequences of
all this are also dangerous. Even though
a reasonable person must admit that something to do with WMD might still turn
up in Iraq--although, whatever it will be, it probably will be irrelevant from
a military point of view, but this question was never permitted, anyway--for a
large part of the world’s population...the war in Iraq today must look like a
big swindle. In future, if the U.S. make
statements against countries that do not toe its political line, the world will
remember the case of Iraq.”
The lead editorial in large circulation,
left-of-center pro-GoG, Ta Nea stated (10/3): “The USG and the CIA are now promoting the
incredible excuse that the war on Iraq that...plunged the country into chaos
and multiplied Muslim-Western hatred was made because Saddam Hussein pretended
to have WMD!… Attempting to calm
reactions caused by the war even inside the U.S., the USG is fabricating
excuses about so-called Saddam Hussein bluffs.
This fairy tale simply confirms that the war was not meant to save
humanity from Iraq’s WMD; it was mandated by U.S. political and economic
"Bush Must Face Reality"
The center-left Irish Independent took
this view (10/4): “What is so depressing
is that it was Mr. Bush's own team led by CIA adviser David Kay that reported
that it had found no biological or chemical weapons in Iraq. When presented with the inconvenient facts
Mr. Bush fell back on the old political stunt of answering the one question he
wasn't asked: ‘I can't think of any people who think that the world would be a
safe place with Saddam Hussein in power,’ Mr. Bush said lamely. Of course it is good that a barbarous
dictator was dethroned; but the postwar country is in turmoil, and who could
argue that the world is any safer? The
price of America's unilateral war has undermined the integrity of the UN and
fractured cherished international alliances.
The Bush presidency brazenly refuses to acknowledge the huge cost of its
historic failure and the folly of giving the Pentagon free rein. But the American people are beginning to see
through the charade.”
"Iraq Might Have Been Hiding Its Weakness, Not Its Strength"
Defense specialist Arnout Brouwers held in
influential liberal De Volkskrant (10/3): "The fact that no weapons of mass
destruction have been found might indicate that Saddam was fooling
everybody. The fact that no WMD have
been found feeds suspicion that Iraq was hiding its weakness and not its
strength.... It is well possible that
Saddam Hussein came to the conclusion that he could only remain a leader by pretending
he had such weapons. But even that is
speculation. However, one thing is
certain and that is that under Saddam's regime, Iraq did develop and use
weapons of mass destruction and did ignore UN resolutions until the end.... In retrospect one would almost forget that
there were good arguments NOT to give Saddam Hussein the benefit of the
doubt. Given UN resolution 1441, we can
say that all parties agreed on this before the war."
"...But He Knows More"
Sahar Baasiri remarked in moderate, anti-Syrian An-Nahar
(10/4): “Following the report by chief
weapons inspector David Kay which asserted that there are no WMD in Iraq, we
ask: how did President Bush conclude from the same report that Saddam was
considered dangerous to the world? There
is no doubt that Saddam was dangerous; however, to conclude that he was
dangerous after reading the Kay report is really ridiculous. Kay went to Iraq as the head a team of 1400
inspectors on a clear mission, i.e., to find the reason for the war on Iraq
that was launched by President Bush and Prime Minister Blair. However, instead of finding WMD, the report
added to the scandals that are already surrounding the Bush administration and
Blair’s government. Other than saying
that he did not find weapons of mass destruction, the report...reinforces the
theory believing that Bush, Blair and their teams made up justifications and
reasons in order to launch a war on Iraq.”
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
"Saddam The First Of Several Challenges Facing World"
Tony Parkinson, international editor for the liberal Age,
wrote (10/4): “The war in Iraq has sent
a blunt message to other nations known to play fast and loose with the
protocols governing weapons proliferation. But the coming weeks will be just as
critical in signaling whether, and how, the international system can find ways
other than direct military intervention to stop the spread of WMD.... The invasion of Iraq cannot be, and should
not be, the template for all future action.
Yet doing little or nothing, for fear of inflaming a crisis, also
carries incalculable risks. The likes of
Syria and Libya will be watching to see who blinks first. If North Korea and Iran prevail in this
stand-off, non-proliferation will be officially dead as an instrument of global
SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA
INDIA: "A False
An editorial in the nationalist Hindustan
Times read (10/4): "It's now
official: there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.... It follows, therefore, that the scary
scenario presented by Washington and London about the Saddam Hussein regime
being an imminent threat to the world was a false one.... The corollary to these questions is whether
the intelligence agencies wrote what their masters wanted to read or whether
they misread the signals emanating from Iraq.... If the U.S. had the patience to wait for the
UN weapons inspectors led by Hans Blix to complete their investigation, there
would have been no war.... The U.S.
would have been able to concentrate more on eliminating al-Qaida and the
Taliban from Afghanistan and Pakistan, and help Hamid Karzai to move towards
establishing democracy in Afghanistan with greater speed.... Instead, what the war has achieved is to
arouse anti-American sentiments to fever pitch all over the Muslim world,
enabling al-Qaida to recruit more terrorists.
Nor has the war led to improved conditions in Iraq, where Hussein still
has the capacity to persist with resisting the American 'occupation'. Launched under false premises, the war cannot
even be said to have been won."
"No WMD Found In Iraq"
The independent English-language Daily Star editorialized
(10/6): "The initial report of U.S.
chief weapons inspector, David Key, that his team has to date found no weapons
of mass destruction in Iraq is bad news for President Bush. It is bad news because it is becoming
increasingly apparent that his arguments justifying a rush to war were, at
best, misleading, and at worst, outright dishonest. In any case, the issue here is not whether or
not Saddam had a history of developing and using WMD or whether the Iraqi
people are better off without him. The
issue is whether it is acceptable to mislead the public into war. It is possible that Bush did believe that
Saddam should be removed from power due to his appalling human rights record
and due to his history of developing and using WMD, but that is not what he
told the world and that is not why he went to war. The justification he gave to the world for
war was that Saddam possessed active WMD programs that posed an imminent threat
to world security. Mr. Kay’s initial
report strongly suggests that Saddam’s WMD capability posed no imminent threat
to world security and that President Bush is thus guilty of seriously
misrepresenting the case for war."
"Where Are WMD?"
Pro-opposition Bangla language newspaper Bhorer Kagoj
judged (10/6): "The CIA
report...found some evidence regarding Iraq’s attempt for building weapons of
mass destruction, but this evidence has nothing to do with the claims made by
Bush and Blair.... In fact, the
popularity and credibility of both Bush and Blair have undergone a landslide. After the CIA report, the situation may
become more dramatic. The people of the
world will keep a watch how Bush and Blair save their faces."
"There Are No WMD!"
The independent English language New Age commented
(10/4): "The difficulties, now that
the Kay findings are out, can only grow for President Bush and Prime Minister
Blair. But do not expect that there is
any possibility of the two men saying any time soon that they were wrong about
Iraq and its WMD and that therefore they were wrong to go to war against Iraq
on the issue. What the Americans and the
British have systematically been doing since the conquest of Iraq has been to
move the goal posts in order to suit their requirements.... Far bigger issues are now likely to be raised
by the global community. Now that it is
clear that the whole Iraqi adventure was based on the duplicity of politicians
and bureaucrats operating in London and Washington, the question of the extent
to which international law and human rights were violated through the invasion
and occupation of Iraq needs to be looked into.
It is not enough for Bush and Blair to keep harping on the tune of
Saddam being a vile man who needed to be put out of power (there are other vile
men nearly everywhere). It is for them
to deal with the question of the degree to which their actions have created
some very real difficulties for societies around the world."
"More Arms Than Proof"
Independent Tamil-language Thinakural
commented (10/3): "Bush and British
Premier Tony Blair, who justified Iraq's invasion [with WMD claims], have
failed to find even a single weapon to show the world, although six months have
passed.... The U.S. attacked not because
of Iraq's WMD, but because of the stockpile of weapons in U.S. possession. The world should not forget that America has
more weapons in its possession than proofs that justify their action."
KENYA: "Kenya To Clean
Up After Bush And Blair"
The independent East African Standard judged (Internet
version, 10/5): "Kenyan soldiers
have no business cleaning up the mess created by America and Britain in
Iraq.... The chaos and anarchy in Iraq
is a result of the failure of American diplomacy under Bush and of his
so-called doctrine of pre-emption....
Indeed, as was evident last week, the justification for this war by
Washington and London is still wanting.
Witness these statements from Mr. David Kay, President George Bush's
pointman in the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq by the so-called
Iraq Survey Group (ISG): One. 'At this point in time we have not found
weapons of mass destruction.' Two. 'It is clear that Saddam Hussein had the
intent to continue production at some point in future of weapons of mass
destruction.'... In other words, the ISG
has not turned up a single weapon of mass destruction, the very reason, indeed
the justification for the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq early this
year. What Kay, himself a former UN arms
inspector, and his 1,200-strong team have come up with is a litany of what may
have been, what could be and what to expect.
But the ISG has not found the smoking gun that proves Iraq possessed
weapons of mass destruction and, therefore, that Washington and London were
justified to not only invade and occupy the country, but also defy and ignore
the UN Security Council in the process....
London and Washington need to produce chemical, biological and nuclear
weapons and factories for making them and not paper work showing designs and
research into WMD.... What was the hurry
in waging war in the first place? Now
Bush wants more money and more people to search for weapons, but he was not
willing to increase the UN inspectors before the war. London and Washington may yet find WMD in
Iraq, but it will be interesting to know where they were manufactured."
Liberal Folha de S. Paulo editorialized (10/4): "At least in politics, the rendition is
more important than the fact. This
aphorism explains George W. Bush's obstinacy in seeking to negate the evidence
produced by his own officials in Iraq and in insisting on saying that Saddam
Hussein represented 'a risk to the world'....
Bush made his statement amid a string of bad news for the president. Daily ambushes in Iraq have cost the lives of
three to six U.S. troops every week, at the astronomical price of $1 billion
per week.... The result is increasing
dissatisfaction on the part of the U.S. public.... Electoral polls conducted 13 months before
the elections have only relative importance.
They serve, however, to indicate that the president is facing serious
problems and that his re-election will not be as easy as was believed in the
"Difficulties Are Cornering Bush"
Business-oriented Valor Economico commented (10/3): "Bad news coming in from everywhere has
flooded the White House in recent days....
History will show that the USG's alleged national security concerns may
be as false or exaggerated as were the accusations about WMD in the possession
of Saddam.... It is probable that
information may have been manipulated to justify decisions taken months
Sergio Sarmiento held in independent Reforma (10/6): "Time has demonstrated that the Saddam
regime did not have weapons of mass destruction. Saddam did not use them, and despite U.S.
troops’ control over Iraqi territory, they have found no trace of the
WMD.... Therefore, the U.S. and British
governments are trying to present another reason to justify their invasion of
Iraq--freeing the Iraqi people from a dictator.... But this is a dangerous path.... The legal and moral consequences of
maintaining that great powers have the right to overthrow bad leaders are