International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

April 16, 2003

April 16, 2003





** U.S. and partners need to find Iraqi WMD "soon" to convince "world opinion."


** Arab, developing world outlets say disarming Iraq was only a "pretext" for war and claim Syria is the victim of the same "false" charge.


** Skeptics call for UN inspectors to verify any "magical" WMD discoveries made now.




The question on everyone's mind:  Where are the WMD?--  While Denmark's centrist Weekendavisen averred: "WMDs will no doubt turn up sooner or later" in Iraq, commentators worldwide found it "curious" that no WMD had been uncovered and stated U.S. "credibility" was on the line.  "Since these weapons were the main reason for going to war," a Norwegian daily contended, "it is important to find them quickly, or President Bush will have a serious explanation problem."  Other papers noted that the "over-eager claims" made by Coalition officials whenever a possible WMD site was found, reveals "how much is at stake."  India's Economic Times, however, stressed that the discovery of WMD "would legitimize the war in the eyes of many people." 


Saddam didn't use them, so he must not have had them--  France's left-of-center Liberation judged it "too early to say" if the U.S. "knowingly lied" about Iraq's WMD.  Yet other leftist and developing-country papers concluded that "the biochemical scare was simply a pretense to justify" military action.  A common argument was that Saddam's failure to employ WMD in his own defense proved he didn't have them.  "It is hardly believable" that Hussein would "go to such absurd lengths to produce" WMD but not use them "when they were most needed."


Tarring Syria with the same brush--  Arab and Muslim papers saw the "dark hints" about Saddam's having moved his WMD into Syria as an indication that "Bush administration spin doctors" were looking for "a fallback excuse" in case no WMD turn up in Iraq.  A Pakistani paper said the U.S. was "setting up Syria to take a fall" while another held there is "nothing unusual if Washington perceives the presence of WMDs only in Muslim countries." 


'No one will believe' any WMD unearthed now, so 'impartial' UN inspectors needed again--  Writers called for "qualified inspectors under the auspices of the UN" to be brought in to verify any WMD discovery in Iraq.  Only an "impartial authority" like the UN can overcome the "legitimacy gap" caused by U.S. "hyperbole" and suspicions that whatever WMD that appear will be a "plant" or "fabrication."  "It would not be very convincing for the Americans to turn around and allege they have discovered terrible weapons hidden in a hole," stated Portugal's center-left Diario de Noticias.  A Colombian writer said "the whole world" will think that any "sudden" uncovering of WMD is "just like the DEA" planting drugs "inside the luggage of the people they want to ruin." 


EDITOR:  Steven Wangsness

EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 46 reports from 32 countries, April 6-16, 2003.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:   "When Saddam Is Ousted, UN Inspectors Should Be Sent Back"


The left-of-center Independent argued (4/8):  "Almost three weeks into the military campaign, the...U.S. administration's objective of 'regime change' appears close to being realised.  The chief purpose of the military operation, however, and the one that gave it even the dubious legitimacy it had, has remained stubbornly elusive.  Despite regular reports attributed to military officers and released at key points through political channels, there is still no confirmed find of any chemical or biological weapons....  Each day that passes without evidence that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction adds to the doubts we harboured about using force.  It also augments the political damage this war could ultimately inflict on Tony Blair....    Military force was invoked only after Iraq had flouted successive UN Security Council resolutions.  The objective was to rid Iraq and the world of its lethal and illegal weapons....  For the time being, military successes are obscuring this awkward fact.  If no weapons can be found, however, it will undermine the whole rationale for sending this country's troops into battle.  How much is at stake is apparent from the over-eager claims made by U.S. and British officials as soon as some chemical weapons-related equipment or unidentified substance is uncovered....  After kitting out the troops in protection suits, gas masks, antidotes and special ointments, Allied commanders are allowing their forces to fight in normal battle-gear. The inference is that if Saddam had these weapons, he would have used them by now.  Perhaps they were out of his reach, or he chose not to use them, or they did not exist in any useable form.  When the fighting is over, the U.S. and Britain will have unrestricted access not only to Iraqi territory, but also to the weapons scientists who will no longer have any reason to conceal what they know.  We may have to wait until then for the truth.  Given the record of allegation, hyperbole and straight lies that surrounds the question of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, any finds must be verified by qualified inspectors under the auspices of the UN.  This is the only way that they will carry conviction and demonstrate the legitimacy of the war beyond doubt."


FRANCE:  "Victors Must Never Abuse their Victory"


Serge July wrote in left-of-center Liberation (4/11):  “The images of U.S. tanks in the streets of Baghdad were necessary to overcome Bin Laden’s challenge.  That has now been accomplished....  Other proof is still lacking, such as the existence of WMD or the links between Saddam and Bin Laden....  It is still too early to say whether the U.S. knowingly lied about these questions.  But it will be difficult to ignore its affirmations.”


“The Good Word”


Gerard Dupuy maintained in left-of-center Liberation (4/09):  “While the relative ease of its military victory...strengthens the U.S. administration in its attitude, some of the arguments put forth before the war have fallen short of their target: the Iraqis have not used WMD...and the coalition has found no proof of their existence....  The Franco-German-Russian trio is sure to point out these support of the non-violent strategy which they are still pursuing.”


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "What Victory In Iraq?"


Adam Cerny wrote in the centrist daily Hospodarske Noviny (4/15):  "The saying that history is written by victors suggests that the U.S. was more right in carrying out its policy than those who had criticized it.  However, the success will be ultimately measured by the degree to which George Bush accomplished his goals: first, finding WMD, second, changing the regime in Baghdad; and third, change of the political and social environment in the whole region.  Only months, maybe years to come will show what kind of victory the U.S. achieved in Iraq."


"Fights Are Over, Propaganda Is Not"


Pavel Tomasek maintained in the business daily Hospodarske noviny (4/14):  "Mistaken were those who believed that propaganda would end together with the war....  The success of the U.S.-led coalition is evident, but for the Americans it is equally important to show the happy Iraqis to the world, also because no evidence of WMD has been found in Iraq so far."


DENMARK:   "WMD Evidence Is A Matter Of Time"


Centrist Weekendavisen commented (4/16):   "WMDs will no doubt turn up sooner or later.  Last Monday, buried chemical laboratories were discovered.  It is possible that these laboratories were designed produce fertilizers, but it seems rather unlikely."


GREECE:  "A War Based On Lies"


Writing in influential pro-government daily To Vima, managing editor Yiannis Kartalis had this view (4/9):  “The U.S. is winning as expected, but loses reliability for waging war without UNSC approval, based on claims that have not been proven....  If no WMD are found to the end, this war will stay in history as a war without cause....  It now becomes clear that the biochemical scare was simply a pretense to justify a war done for other reasons.  It is no secret that the neo-conservatives now in power in the U.S. knew that Saddam had destroyed his biochemical weapons or had minimal quantities not enough to strike the U.S.  His country, on the other hand, has the biggest oil reserves, second only to those of S. Arabia, whose regime is now showing signs of instability.”


LITHUANIA:  "Bitter Taste Of Victory"


Second largest daily Respublika editorialized (4/16):  "The majority of the democratic world population does believe that Iraq's dictator was a threat, at least to his neighbors within the reach of his unconventional weapons.  But a bigger part of the world needs material, not virtual proof of evil.  Flasks with bogus bio-weapons samples and stenograms of secretly recorded Iraqi conversations presented by the U.S. Secretary of State for the UN are not enough to start a war that cost several thousand civilian lives.  The U.S. allies that followed blindly believing in American righteousness also need real proof....  Evidentiary material could reuinte the former allies divided by the Iraq crisis back into one.  But the truth might be unpleasant.  It may ruin illusions and pit the allies. But wasn't the truth declared a reason for this war?"


NORWAY:  "New Hope In The Hunt For Banned Weapons"


Morten Fyhn commented in the evening edition of Aftenposten (4/14):  "Now the U.S. has found two central Iraqis, who better than most others should know where the weapons [of mass destruction] are being hidden, if such weapons really exist.  But whether they will tell the truth, is of course an open question....  In meetings with among others Hans Blix both al Jafar and Saadi claimed that Saddam’s government long ago had destroyed all banned weapons.  But they said that before the war while Saddam still led.  Now the regime is fallen, and Saddam is gone.  Perhaps he is dead.  Perhaps the two will now tell another story.  In order to make them more talkative, the U.S. can for example offer them amnesty.  In order to convince a still skeptical world opinion, a find of banned Iraqi weapons would be good for the U.S.  It would also be good to find Saddam, dead or alive.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

"The U.S. Shows Muscles"


The social democratic Dagsavisen argued (4/15):  "For the U.S. it is important to show that the campaign against Iraq was worth the price. The hunt for weapons of mass destruction is fully in progress.  Since these weapons were the main reason for going to war, it is important to find them quickly, or President Bush will have a serious explanation problem."


PORTUGAL:  "Searching for Political Victory In Iraq"


Influential center-right analyst Prof. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa observed in his weekly column in leading financial daily Diário Económico (4/15):  "What is important is not that a democracy in Iraq comes into being from one day to the next....  Now it is important that it happens, just like the discovery of those weapons of mass destruction....  Not that there weren't other reasons for this American invasion...but in terms of public legitimacy, this-- long with support for international terrorism--was presented as fundamental."


"And The Weapons?"


Former Social Democratic finance minister Francisco Sarsfield Cabral opined in respected center-left daily Diário de Notícias, (4/15):  "It is hardly believable that, attacked in the devastating way that the Iraqi regime was, it didn't do everything it could to defend itself--at least in the last resort....  It would not be very convincing for the Americans to turn around and allege they have discovered terrible weapons hidden in some hole.  So then why didn't Saddam and his generals use them?  It will always be suspected that those weapons were planted there by hands friendly to the coalition....  Maybe Saddam's link to terrorism will be proven, but this absence of transparency is not helping the U.S. win the peace.  The problem is political, not military....  It's a question of confidence in the Americans and the U.S.' credibility before the world."


ROMANIA:  "The Hunt For WMD"


Political analyst Octavian Andronic commented in the pro-government daily, Azi (4/15):  "The crusade against Saddam Hussein was justified by the lack of confidence in Saddam’s repeated statements that he had destroyed all WMDs....  The Americans and the British were almost convinced that, when push comes to shove, Saddam would not use bacteriological or chemical weapons, at any risk....  The question which is most difficult to answer and is related to these WMDs--whether Saddam hid them so well, or he had destroyed them:  why did this war start in the first place?  Democracy and the freedom of the Iraqi people were always second place motivations.  The first one has always been the danger of using chemical or bacteriological weapons for terrorist purposes.  Faced with such a risk, there is only one solution: the respective weapons must be found!  There is also a saying, which goes: 'he who seeks, will find.' Almost everything he wants to!"


SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO:  "The Conquerors Or The Liberators"


Pro-government daily Politika  commented (4/11):  “The joy of being liberated from a cruel regime and the joy that Americans have arrived are not the same thing.  The whole Arab world is in a state of shock....  The ties with Al Qaeda have not been proved, WMD have not been found and it remains to be seen if the Iraqis will become owners of their natural resource, the oil."


TURKEY:  "Is Syria The Next Target?"


Fehmi Koru argued in Islamic-intellectual Yeni Safak (4/15):  “Even before the restructuring of Iraq, hawks in the U.S. have launched another campaign for the implementation of the U.S. global empire plan....   Being threatened by the U.S. does not necessarily happen because a country possesses weapons of mass destruction.  Saddam, for instance, did not have WMD, and would not have been able to use them even if he had.  But the U.S., despite the fact that the pretext for the Iraq war has proven false, continues to threaten Syria and Palestine.”




SAUDI ARABIA:  "Democracy In The Lab"


Jeddah's moderate, Al-Madina editorialized (4/14):  "Saddam Hussein's whereabouts and the defeated Iraqi armies no longer present a challenge to the U.S.  Washington has much more difficult tasks ahead of it.  Most importantly, it (Washington) has to find the WMD allegedly hidden in Iraq.  Iraq is now under its control, its land (Iraq), seas and scientists, who supposedly would not testify earlier because of their fear from the brutal regime. The U.S. has to find these weapons to prove to everyone that launching war against the world's consensus was justifiable."


"Elusive WMDs"


The English Language Arab-News editorialized (Internet version) (4/6):  "The rumor from Israel that perhaps Iraq had shipped its WMD stockpile to Syria for safe keeping is not simply outrageous.  It also smacks of the Bush administration spin doctors desperately setting up a fallback excuse in case no WMDs are ever found inside Iraq....  If the coalition cannot produce any WMDs, they will have lost their main reason for attacking Saddam in the first place.  This could prove a crucial turning point for world opinion, because Washington will discover more and more people dubious of the U.S.-UK claim that they have acted disinterestedly."


SYRIA:  "An Aggravating U.S. Impasse"


Ahmad Dawa, a commentator in government-owned Al-Thawra, contended (4/9):  "With the U.S. failure to control Baghdad within a short time, the possibility that U.S. forces will fake announcement of finding WMD in Iraq becomes more likely, as many analysts and international observers maintain, even saying the U.S. forces might import WMD into Iraq [for that purpose]....  America, which has violated international legitimacy and was the first use WMD, is likely to take this step very soon.....  The U.S. will use WMD against the Iraqi people whose fierce resistance might deepen the coalition's impasse so dangerously that America might find itself under pressure, and, under its illusion of hegemony, might find itself forced to use these WMD."




AUSTRALIA:  "Mass Distraction"


Marianne Hanson wrote in the Brisbane Courier Mail (4/8):  "Curiously little is being heard these days of that phrase 'weapons of mass destruction,' despite the fact that it was Iraq's alleged possession of these weapons that was the prime motivation for U.S. President George W. Bush to launch his war against Iraq....  This is very embarrassing for the prosecutors of the war, but it seems likely they are willing to gloss over this irritation....  Mr. Bush is speaking more and more about liberation of the Iraqi people and less and less about weapons of mass destruction.  The problem with this is that any legal grounds for war against Iraq, if they existed at all, rested on the WMD issue, and not on the nature of the Iraqi regime."


JAPAN:  "A New Era Of Wars"


Liberal Mainichi stated (4/11):  "The start of U.S./UK action against Iraq and U.S. troops' demonstration of overwhelming power in their seizure of Baghdad marked the start of new wars in a world dominated by the 'democratic empire' of the United States.  Although the original purpose of the U.S. use of force was to disarm Hussein of WMD, no such weapons have so far been found in Iraq.  Instead, the U.S. appears to be publicizing 'democratization' as the purpose of war in Iraq.  Now, the U.S. can opt for the purpose of war at its own will."


INDONESIA:  "The U.S. Now Pressing On Syria"


Christian-oriented afternoon daily Sinar Harapan (4/15) commented:  “The allegations that Syria possesses weapons of mass destruction and harbors Saddam’s regime leaders constitute a form of pressure that could justify Washington to attack Syria if it refuses to comply with the will of Bush and his friends.  We find the allegations unfair.  But such allegations and pressure are only directed to non-U.S. allies.  Israel, Egypt, Pakistan, India and Taiwan all have chemical and biological and even nuclear weapons, but the U.S has never meddled with them."


"Where Is The Evidence Of Iraq’s Possession Of WMD?"


Leading independent daily Kompas noted (4/7):  “For the past 19 days of battle, Iraq has not shown any possession, let alone use, of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.  Indeed, the U.S. and Britain have used the issue of weapons of mass destruction as their reason to strike Iraq.  The war is indeed not over yet.  There is still suspicion that will use them as its ultimate weapons....  For the sake of justice and truth, the U.S. has to prove to the world about the veracity of its accusation.  Moreover, the accusation has brought about a major disaster among the Iraqi people....  The U.S. and Britain have to be accountable for the death and destruction in Iraq if the reason for the attack cannot be proved.  And the world indeed has to file a charge.”


MALAYSIA:  "Weapons Inspections"


Government-influenced English-language New Straits Times commented (4/15):  "If it is verified that Saddam had disarmed, under the glacial pressure of international sanctions and United Nations resolutions, the case for the U.S.-British aggression to kick him out stands to be severely undermined.  This is why weapons inspections remain no less an issue now than in the build-up to the war.  The legitimacy gap created by the American-led assault can only be bridged if they are conducted by an impartial authority such as the UN and not, as the victors currently propose, by the U.S. Army.  Every effort must be made to thwart the American military juggernaut from letting its success in Iraq get to its head."


PHILIPPINES:  "Fast Action By Iraqis Can Abort Puppet Government"


Federico Pascual wrote in his column in the independent Philippine Sta (4/15):  "What?  No WMD?  Except for Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's birthplace, the U.S. has clinched virtual control of the prostrate nation.  Americans have full access to all suspected hiding places of weapons of mass destruction.  But after more than three weeks of scouring the ground, they have not found the supposed WMD, the excuse given for the U.S. invasion of Iraq.  Having failed to prove its case, why is the U.S. not withdrawing and making amends?  Let's hope nobody is waiting for some operator to plant the weapons so they could be suddenly discovered."


"Still An Unjust War"


Columnist Rina David wrote in the widely read Philippine Daily Inquirer (4/11):  "Let's not forget that the primary reason given by the United States and its allies for the invasion of Iraq was to secure Saddam's cache of 'weapons of mass destruction.'  The invasion, U.S. President George Bush said, was a 'preemptive strike' to forestall a potential and even probable attack on the United States and the rest of the world.  But it's now Day 22 of the invasion, and so far, no WMDs have been unearthed or unleashed.  Could it be that the 'Satan' Saddam had been telling the truth after all?  Or that chief UN arms inspector Hans Blix should have been heeded when he pleaded for more time for his team to find those weapons without the attendant loss of lives and suffering?"


TAIWAIN:  "Why Is It The Iraqi People Who Have To Suffer?"


Chai Ping Shang noted in centrist Min Sheng Daily (4/16):  "The U.S. launched military actions against Iraq on the grounds that Iraq is in possession of weapons of mass destruction.  But so far, no traces of biological or chemical weapons have been located.  How is the Bush administration going to explain this to the world?  By claiming that it is a misjudgment or a lie?  The downfall of Saddam's regime is what the dictator deserves.  But the fact that the U.S. has used its military strength which is two hundred times stronger than that of Iraq's to maltreat this weak Gulf nation, and that it has shown no mercy to cherish the culture and people of Iraq, will certainly leave a stain on the history of the U.S." 




INDIA:  "Weapons Of Disruption"


The centrist Times of India took this view (4/16):  "Hans Blix's discomfort with the Anglo-American line on Iraq has been apparent for a while, and now he has come out in the open to accuse the U.S. and UK of having made up their minds in advance to attack Iraq....  Blix's words confirm what has long been suspected: That the WMD served as a pretext for the war....  Indeed, the offensive weapons have not shown up anywhere in Iraq.  Was the attack on Iraq, then, deliberately mounted on a false premise?...  The world at large would be justified in reaching that conclusion, whether or not the U.S. now finds WMD in Iraq....  There were also dark hints about Saddam having moved his WMD into Syria.  There is little Syria can do about this charge, given the way the U.S. went about establishing WMD in Iraq....  If the standards now being applied to Syria were extended further eastward, India could find itself on a sticky wicket.  India possesses WMD and it has been included by the CIA among those who helped Libya build its ballistic missile program."


"Death Of 'Chemical Ali'"


The centrist Times of India commented (4/15):  "The 'allied' forces claim to have killed Ali Hassan al-Majid...'Chemical' Ali....  Ali died without using even an ounce of the huge quantities of chemical agents the U.S. establishment, the CIA and even private defense institutions said Iraq had in its possession....  Obviously, the chemical suits were shed because there were no chemical weapons--neither with the dreaded 'Chemical' Ali nor with the Iraqi regime.  The young marines had been stuffed into their chemical suits merely to advance the American argument that Saddam had chemical weapons and had every intention of using them.  After this, who would ever believe anything said about Iraq's WMD?...  After this, who will believe the tomes produced by powerful governments, their intelligence agencies, and indeed, private institutes, as clinching evidence against so-called rogue regimes?...  Just why would anyone go to such absurd lengths to produce prohibited WMD and not use them when they were most needed?...  There are no WMD and today we have this on the authority of UN's chief weapons inspector Hans Blix, who alleged that 'the invasion of Iraq was planned in advance.'  Further that 'the U.S. and UK were not concerned about finding any banned WMD.'  There should be no more doubts about who should claim moral victory in this war.  Not the side that went to war citing the danger of Saddam's WMD, but the side that said the WMD were a mere pretext.  There should equally be no doubts the next American stop: Syria."


"Lies Of Mass Destruction"


Pro-economic-reform The Economic Times had this to say (4/15):  "Where are the weapons of mass destruction?  The UN inspectors failed to find any in their numerous visits to Iraq....  Even when his regime was falling, Saddam Hussein did not use these weapons of mass destruction.  How do we explain Hussein's inaction?...  These weapons were the primary pretext for this war; their discovery would legitimize the war in the eyes of many people....  The desperation in implicating Iraq of possessing biological and nuclear weapons is so high that the U.S. even used forged documents to link Iraq in the purchase of uranium from Niger to build nuclear weapons.  Saddam Hussein is history now, but the saga of weapons of mass destruction goes on."


PAKISTAN:  "Beyond Syria"


The center-right national daily, The Nation editorialized (4/16):  "Originally accused of accepting Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and harboring fleeing Iraqi leaders, Mr. Powell has now charged Syria with itself seeking to develop chemical weapons....  This is a new revelation.  The original WMD accusation neatly explained why the U.S. forces have failed to find any in Iraqi itself, while setting up Syria to take a fall.  Now comes Mr. Powell's revelation, which 'establishes' Syria as a 'terrorist state' subject to U.S. sanctions."


"What About Israel?"


The Islamabad rightist English-language daily, Pakistan Observer argued (4/16):  "Ironic is, however, the fact that while Syria is being threatened on the basis of a perceived notion that it possesses chemical weapons, nothing is being said about Israel, which is an established nuclear power, has chemical and biological weapons and resorts to state terrorism against Palestinians with impunity....  The U.S. hard line against Syria just after occupying Iraq is obviously not surprising because it's quite in line with Washington's plan to wipe out the military capability of Arab nations that possibly have the potential of effective self-defense against Israel's vandalism.  There is, therefore, nothing unusual if Washington perceives the presence of WMDs only in Muslim countries."


"Targeting Syria"


An editorial in the centrist national daily, The News stated (4/15):  "U.S. President George W. Bush's allegation that Syria has chemical weapons and Secretary of State Colin Powell's warning to the country not to harbor Iraqi leaders can be recognized as the initial groundwork to mount a military offensive....  It was expected that American zeal to play the role of a conqueror will die down once it realized the mess created by destroying Iraq on a false premise of WMDs."


SRI LANKA:  "The Inside Of Iraq War"


Opposition Sinhala daily, Divaina, commented (4/5):  "UK and U.S. justifications are contradictory.  First they said that Iraq had WMDs and chemical weapons.  Then they cited biological weapons.  Now they say that Iraqis need to be freed from a dictator...and that is why they took to the offense....  It is now clear that this war is aimed at removing the obstacles to the possession of Iraqi oil."




GHANA:  "The Truth About Iraq"


Ghana Palaver, a bi-weekly with urban circulation, affiliated with the opposition party (NDC), stated (4/15):  “Iraq, after all, has no weapons of mass destruction, as claimed by the invaders, a 'charge' used as the main excuse by the aggressors for the violation of the United Nations Charter, in launching a war of aggression against a member country.  The war strategy adopted by the aggressors confirms the strongly-held view that the dispatch of UN inspectors to Iraq was only a ploy for the Americans to send their spies to that country and 'draw up' strategies and a war-plan for use later.  And now, if any 'discovery' is made or 'evidence' is found on the existence of any 'strange' weapons, it must be a plant by the Americans, themselves....  As the truth about Iraq, the non-existence of any weapons of mass destruction there, unfolds, the invaders are now becoming vociferous with their other claims of liberating the people there from a tyrannical ruler....  The war on Iraq has rather vindicated Saddam Hussein, as a truthful person.  And the liars are now known to all.”


SOUTH AFRICA:  "At The End, A Rout"


Balanced Business Day held (4/10):  "Coalition forces must quickly unearth the weapons of mass destruction....  If these are not found then the Americans and the British have fought and died and killed for a lie.  The damage to the world order as we know it will be incalculable."


TANZANIA:  "Another War Should Be Avoided"


IPP-owned Nipashe commented (4/16):  “At last, the war in Iraq is over.  America and Britain have failed to locate any weapons of mass destruction; now they are accusing Syria of having them....  Syria agrees that there are weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East region, but these are to be found in America’s darling state, Israel.  America and Britain do not want to comment on Israel, because for them, that country deserves to possess such weapons and nobody else."




ARGENTINA:  "What To Do Afterwards?"


Luis Rosales opined in business-financial InfoBae (4/14):  "The outcome of military operations has been widely satisfactory for the U.S.-UK alliance.  It has not been the case regarding world public opinion....  The ties between Saddam and Al Qaeda have never been clear....  So far, there is no evidence of Iraqi WMD....  All these arguments are important for international public opinion....  All those arguments...have little influence on U.S. public opinion [and]...this leads us to think that...the current USG will continue with its 'war against terror,' without caring too much about world public opinion or about the consensus system claimed for by international institutions."   


BRAZIL:  "The 'Demonstration Effect' Weapon"


Center-right O Estado de Sao Paulo editorialized (4/16):  "It would be simplistic to give credence to the USG's accusations that Syria has chemical weapons, may be in possession of some of the WMDs not found in Iraq and has harbored leaders of Saddam's regime....  So far, U.S. officials have not spoken about a 'regime change' in Damascus.  [Instead, they have said] that Syria must change its behavior and cooperate. The contrast seems eloquent. The new language suggests that the U.S. believes in what Bush's advisers have called a 'demonstration effect.' Bush believes that America's overwhelming success in Iraq, coupled with strong pressure, is sufficient to persuade other nations seen as potential threats to the U.S. to get themselves off the black list."


"Many Questions"


Political columnist Boris Fausto wrote in liberal Folha de Sao Paulo (4/14):  "As the war in Iraq is surprisingly coming to an end, many unanswered questions remain:  Where are the terrible chemical and bacteriological weapons Saddam Hussein was to have kept?  What happened to the Republican Guard?  What has happened to Saddam Hussein?  Everything indicates that Saddam's weapons simply do not exist, or if they exist, they do not have the importance attributed to them, although some last-minute 'discovery' could still be made....  A great effort has been mounted by the USG to justify the invasion and keep the U.S. population in a state of fear and patriotic fervor....  Iraq is a nation exhausted by the embargo imposed on it following the Gulf War and by the madness of a cruel dictatorship....  The idea that one of the reasons for the war, although not the most important one, was the fact that Iraq was weak in comparison with the other members of the 'axis of evil,' has been confirmed....  Is Iraq a 'unique case,' as the USG says, or will the Bush administration's political and military successes lead it to attack other supposed members of the 'axis of evil,' such as Syria?"


"The Other Side Of Victory"


Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo political columnist Janio de Freitas commented (4/13):  "The absolute lack of military resistance in Baghdad was a demoralizing refutation of everything Bush and Blair had used as justification to violate the UN's principles and attack Iraq.... It is no longer a case of questioning the existence of WMDs.... After 12 years of economic embargo, Iraq was unable [to defend itself]. Didn't years of spying make this clear to the U.S. and UK governments?.... Now, not even the emergence of WMDs would change the scenario, because no one would believe [their discovery] was not another fabrication. The world is seeing that Bush and Blair are not responsible for the fall of a dictatorial regime. They are responsible for the ruin of a nation and its people."


"Washington's Suburb"


Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo political columnist Eliane Cantanhede commented (4/10):  "Bush's war is coming to an end.  Where are Saddam Hussein's chemical and biological weapons?  Either the dictator did not want to use them because he is a saint, or there were no WMD.  The U.S. pretext was a lie....  Under the pretext of eliminating arms that did not exist and of 'saving' people who have different religions, beliefs and culture, [the U.S. has] turned Iraq into a suburb of Washington."




Rafael Molina Morillo expressed this view in left-of-center, independent Hoy (4/15):  “The lethal chemicals of Iraq, as well as other arms of mass destruction, never materialized.  One could almost say they never existed, because had he had them Saddam would not have kept them hidden especially when his demise was near....  Syria better get ready, because Bush has the feeling that they have chemical weapons, and this means that they also have to exterminate these people, in order to guarantee world peace.”




Mario Roberto Morales contended in conservative, business-oriented daily Siglo Veintiuno (4/15):  “After the killing, with no evidence of weapons of mass destruction, much less any ties between Saddam and Bin Laden, the authors of these two monsters and the devastation of Iraq offer the ruins of a destroyed country....  One can think it is a relief to have overthrown Saddam, but one cannot stop thinking it is not encouraging to have a worldwide dictatorship by a far-right Republican Texan...who will now go after Iran, Syria and North Korea to prepare the ground against Russia and China."


MEXICO:  "Iraq:  Theft And Uncertainty"


Alberto Aziz Nassif wrote in old-guard nationalist Universal (4/15):  "The reconstruction of Iraq will begin soon, but the myths that questioned the war remain:  mass destruction weapons have not been found; Saddam Hussein's military strength was broken; the Arab world was absent; the Iraqi welcoming of the 'gringos' was short-lived....  The United States hurt international law with this illegitimate war.  It was clear that the empire has 'permission' to take action when the rest of the international community cannot....  But the hawks are focusing their sights on Syria, and I wonder, how many preventive wars will we see during the Bush administration?"


CHILE:  "The Evidence Left by the War."


Conservative afternoon La Segunda commented (4/15):  "With the fall of Tikrit... the general goal of occupying Iraq can be considered accomplished and the war concluded....  It is now possible to confirm some facts of major effect, especially on public opinion: [One is] the evident U.S. military might....  [Another is] that there are no trustworthy traces of the weapons of mass destruction, which were invoked as a pretext to launch the war....  [Yet another is] the impact of the images of innocent victims and the pillaging....  In the past, the horror of war remained hidden or distorted for years, as in the case of Hiroshima or Dresden and the Nazi concentration camps....  But now public opinion is global in scope, and although it is exposed to disinformation, it is very sensitive to ethical aspects and to suffering, and it judges the powerful by the minute.  Perhaps this is a warning to moderate the use of violence in the world in the future."


COLOMBIA:  "Post-War For Idiots"


Antonio Caballero commented in influential weekly Semana (Internet version) (4/15):  "So where are the weapons?  The weapons of 'mass destruction' they said Saddam Hussein had, the imminent threat repeatedly given as the pretext for the massive destruction of Iraq by Bush and his Black Hawks.  They did not appear.  The UN inspectors didn't find them, neither have the occupying troops.  It's curious.  Well, neither have they found Saddam Hussein.  Nor his sons...nor his cousin 'the chemist'....  Nor any of his ministers.  Nor any of his generals....  But Donald Rumsfeld...wisely suggested that if they don't find any weapons it's because the tryant already removed them from Iraq.  Why would he have removed them if using them was his only defense?  And how did he remove them?  Did he flee with them inside his suitcase?...  Why would anyone believe them, except for the idiots.  No one will believe it, even if suddenly, the so-called 'weapons of mass destruction' magically apear in Iraq.  The whole world will think that they placed them there themselves, just like the DEA plants drugs inside the luggage of the people they want to ruin.  The only weapons of this type (biological and chemical) that Saddam had were those which Rumsfeld personally sold to him during the Reagan years to use against Iran."


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