International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

June 24, 2003

June 24, 2003





**  Saddam's unknown whereabouts a key reason the war in Iraq "is not yet over."


**  A "difficult" occupation is proving that "peace is harder to manage than war."


**  The Coalition must stay the course or Iraq may turn into "another Afghanistan."




The 'Saddam factor' is impeding Coalition attempts to stabilize Iraq--  British dailies argued that the uncertain status of Saddam Hussein was at "the core of almost all the difficulties" facing the U.S. in Iraq.  "Senior figures who have been captured will not talk" if there is "the slightest chance" Saddam will come back, said the conservative Times.  Many ordinary Iraqis, "out of terror, will hedge their bets as well."  The center-left Independent agreed that "the failure to find Saddam...provides a focus for anti-American sentiment throughout the Middle East."  While the Times argued there was "no alternative to a relentless campaign" to track down Hussein, the left-of-center Guardian--scoffing that Saddam "has now been killed three times by U.S. forces"--contended that U.S. willingness to "obliterate" rather than arrest him was "a policy of vengeance, not of justice."  An Austrian writer concluded the fighting will end only when Saddam's "most fanatical followers finally understand that he won't be coming back."


Critics tie 'unpopular occupation' to U.S. 'negligence' and insufficient forces--  Facing "a shadow war," the U.S. was in "an increasingly difficult situation" that put occupation forces in a dilemma.  "By taking excessively tough measures" to deal with continuing attacks, they "risk a further loss of support" among Iraqis.  Thus, Germany's left-of-center Berliner Zeitung contended, "the Iraqis see an occupying regime that...fails when it comes to reconstructing civilian structures and, on the other hand, acts with an iron fist."  Papers in Europe and Southeast Asia judged that too few forces had been committed to Iraq.  Those who advocated "deploying a larger force" were wrong as far as the war goes, said a Singapore outlet, but "their arguments are looking persuasive" regarding the occupation.  Indian papers were mixed on deploying peacekeepers to Iraq, some holding that it was "a very dubious venture" but others maintaining India would "advance its best interests" by sending troops.


'The Americans must succeed' in Iraq--  Editorialists agreed that "urgent and focused action" was necessary to prevent discontent from turning into "widespread and active opposition" in coming months.  A British writer opined that success would require "a sincere commitment" from the U.S. and going "with the grain of local culture," while a Norwegian observer contended that "Europe must not hesitate to support" civil reconstruction.  Yet the independent Philippine Star questioned "whether the American forces...will have the staying power" to combat Fedayeen guerrillas.  Though "devilishly expensive" to remain in Iraq, the daily said, "It would be even more expensive" for the U.S. to depart prematurely.  A German daily warned that the mullahs in Iran, Assad in Syria, the Palestinians and Hezbollah were hoping that the U.S. "will lose interest in the region and be driven out of Iraq by guerrilla fighters."   

EDITOR:  Steven Wangsness

EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 64 reports from 23 countries, June 19-June 24, 2003.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "Bush's Fate In The Hands Of The Ayatollahs"


Patrick Cockburn wrote in the center-left Independent (6/24):  "The success or failure of the U.S. occupation is still on a knife edge.  With the capture of Baghdad on 9 April, the U.S. won an easy military victory but it has been unable to turn this into a political victory in the following 10 weeks....  This is the real problem for the U.S.  It promised democracy for Iraq but it is frightened of the Shia representatives winning.  It is therefore trying to delay elections until it thinks that people acceptable to Washington will get elected....  Even if the U.S. allows, prior to an Iraqi national election, a genuinely representative Iraqi political council with real power, it will not be dealing with people it does not like.  But if it does not do so, it will have increasing difficulties in ruling Iraq by military force alone.  In either case the White House is discovering that the occupation of Iraq...which appeared to be a sure election winner in the U.S. a few weeks ago has added some dangerously unpredictable wild cards to American politics."


"Justice For Saddam"


A leading article in the left-of-center Guardian argued (6/24): "Saddam Hussein has now been killed three times by U.S. forces in Iraq--unless they missed him and he is still alive....  What is clear is that the U.S. feels entitled to launch a Hellfire missile whenever it sees some unidentified vehicles heading for Syria.  What seems lost in Washington's post-strike inquiry is any scruple as to whether the U.S. is justified in behaving this way....  The aim of the war, Mr Bush reiterated time and again...was to 'bring to justice' the Iraqi leader and his associates....  Of course there may be reasons why the U.S. would find it inexpedient to put Saddam on trial--for a start he might say something about the support he enjoyed from Washington in the Iraq-Iran war.  But to obliterate him with an anti-tank weapon is a policy of vengeance, not of justice....  Military resistance to the U.S. is continuing, but this does not entitle the kill indiscriminately.  Washington's shift to the offensive against Saddam's remnants has an air of desperation, as public opinion begins to chafe at mounting casualties.  Yet whether it is Saddam or smugglers, the U.S. does not have the right to blast them from the air."


"Where Is Saddam? And Evidence That He Was A Threat?"


The center-left Independent commented (6/23):  "It ought to be embarrassing for a president who relies on gunslinger rhetoric that he has not been able to haul in the bodies of any of his very public enemies.  Practically, of course, it does not matter much whether or not any of them is caught and paraded before the world....  Yet the failure to find Saddam does matter.  It matters symbolically.  It provides a focus for anti-American sentiment throughout the Middle East.  It demonstrates that there are limits to U.S. power....  In the U.S. the doubts about the war--and the price of keeping the peace--are creeping in.  It matters more for what it says about U.S. intelligence-gathering.  The failure to find evidence of chemical and biological weapons, which has so scarred Tony Blair over here, is beginning to bother Mr Bush over there.  It seems that not only did Mr Blair and Mr Bush misjudge--on the basis of faulty intelligence--the threat posed by Saddam's regime, but they miscalculated the extent to which the Iraqi people would be hostile to the U.S., even if it got rid of their hated dictator.  They did not realize that even those who disliked Saddam would be reluctant to help the external enemy find him.  The former Iraqi dictator was not a threat to the U.S. any more, [Mr Bush] said.  But that only draws attention to the bigger, unanswered question: how much of a threat was he in the first place?" 


"Iraqi Debt, Like War, Divides The West"


David Mulford and Michael Monderer argued in the independent Financial Times (6/23):  "A new conflict has begun among western nations over Iraq's future, this time over its foreign debt, estimated at more than $100bn.  Like the pre-invasion skirmishes, the battle lines reflect divisions between France, Germany and Russia, and the U.S.  Senior U.S. officials initially called for debt forgiveness in the light of Saddam Hussein's evil regime.  More recently they have backed off, employing the term 'debt relief.' which covers anything from short-term deferral to forgiveness.  The U.S. should resume its original position on forgiveness but for a different reason: assisting Iraq's recovery.  Many Iraqi creditors--including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, the Gulf States, Turkey, Bulgaria--are not members of the Paris Club [of creditor nations] and are owed more than half the debt.  They should not be forced to accept a solution made in Paris.  There are precedents for giving Iraq special treatment, including the debt agreements with Germany in 1953 and Indonesia in 1970....  Such a plan for Iraq, implemented without delay, would not hinder political and economic recovery and would help a stable Iraq to join the international economy."


"We Stayed To Rule.  They Want To Conquer and Go"


Veteran war correspondent and historian Max Hastings commented in the conservative Sunday Telegraph (Internet version) (6/22):  "One of the gravest mistakes of American foreign policy is to suppose that intervening in places without a lasting commitment somehow makes it all okay.  Unfortunately, it does not--as we saw in Somalia, as we see in Afghanistan, and as we are likely to see in Iraq....  Afghanistan...has been allowed to lapse into warlordism since the United States finished punishing the Taliban to its own satisfaction.  It has often asserted that Iraq has a better chance of making the grade, because it possesses an educated middle class.  This seems true up to a point....  The most important requirement is that those Americans who are sent to aid Iraq should possess a sincere commitment to its people and an understanding that one must work with the grain of local culture, rather than seek to supplant it....  By their behaviour over the next few months, we shall discover whether the Americans really care a straw about the Iraqis, or whether they launched their crusade merely as an act of retaliation for September 11, with the strategic objective of shifting the balance of power in the Middle East....  The Americans will only succeed if they engage with the Iraqi people other than through the periscope of a Bradley fighting vehicle.....  If the U.S. continues to believe that the role of superpower can be fulfilled solely through the exercise of military might, then it will rouse even greater global animosity than it faces today.  Gunboats are the easy, and least important part, of overseas power projection.  The job is mostly about good sewage engineers."


"Iraq's Summer War"


Katy Cronin and Joost Hilterman argued in the center-left Sunday Observer (Internet version) (6/22):  "The U.S. rulers of Baghdad are still banking on military muscle rather than on administrative talent or political persuasion in Iraq.  On those terms, they run a higher risk of losing the most important battle....  This is a dangerous time.  The United States and Britain will have to work much more quickly--and with more than sheer force of arms--if they are to keep the Iraqis on their side.  The coalition has barely begun to address the Iraqis' most basic needs--personal safety, steady electricity, clean water, health care, a modicum of job security and the prompt payment of salaries.  As the blistering summer heat sets in, there is a real risk of widespread and serious trouble.  The collapse of the hated regime of Saddam Hussein has of course brought positive changes and new freedoms to Iraq--including the right to object and protest, and the rudimentary beginnings of an electoral process. But there is a grave risk that U.S. military actions and the relative invisibility of reconstruction efforts by the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) are pushing Iraqis to extremes that will make the task all the more difficult....  Washington and London are now scrambling to bring tangible improvements in the situation.  They could do worse than enable the UN to play a more meaningful role.  The UN's exclusion from anything but a humanitarian and advisory role has set the Iraq crisis apart from virtually all previous internationally managed transitions....  The Iraqis' faith in their new rulers is being undermined by ad hoc decision making, lack of cultural sensitivity and apparent neglect of the problems that rile them most.  Urgent and focused action is needed if this discontent is not to be transformed into widespread and active opposition in the coming months."


"Shadow Of Saddam"


A leading article in the conservative Times argued (6/20):  " The 'Saddam factor' is at the core of almost all the difficulties that U.S. officials have encountered.  The large number of senior figures who have been captured will not talk while there is the slightest chance that he will come back, nor will the scientists suspected of intimate involvement in the pursuit of biological and chemical weapons....  Many Iraqis, out of terror, will hedge their bets as well.  There is, nonetheless, no alternative to a relentless campaign to track down the ex-dictator and his sons, if they are with him....  The Pentagon has to reconsider whether it has enough troops on the ground for this task.  It would also, distasteful as this is, be rational for America to provide, as Whitehall has suggested, inducements to some of those behind bars to be helpful.  Donald Rumsfeld, the U.S. Defense Secretary, has begun to move in the right direction on this issue.  Others need to follow."


FRANCE:  "The Third War"


Bruno Frappat maintained in Catholic La Croix (6/24):  “The war in Iraq continues on two fronts.  On the ground more than fifty American soldiers have died at the hands of Iraqi saboteurs....  As cruel as this battle is, it is not the most dangerous for the future of the U.S....  The harshest war under way is the one waged over public opinion about lies and truths.  The question is not so much whether the U.S. will be able to hold together a crumbling Iraq but whether America’s moral credit is not losing that other battle.  Immediately after the war and the coalition’s victory, it was unthinkable to criticize the legitimacy of the intervention.  France was politely asked to acknowledge the victory.  Two months later the question of Iraq’s WMD is returning to the forefront of the international scene.  The question today is whether Tony Blair, George Bush and his advisors knowingly lied to the world.  Doubt is growing daily.  As is the idea that a state lie may have served as a ‘pretext’ for war.  It would not be a first.  But any number of precedents would not make this cynicism anymore acceptable.”


"Strange America"


Bernard Guetta held on government-run France Inter radio (6/24):  “The U.S. is indeed strange.  Behind its will to topple Saddam Hussein no matter what, there was a strategy.  It was not to get its hands on Iraqi oil.  The more sophisticated goal was to create ‘a contagious democracy’ in the Middle East....  The idea was to eradicate evil at the root....  No warning could have deterred President Bush and his administration from this goal.  But at least one imagined that the U.S. would give itself the means to reach its goals and that it would be aware of the difficulty of the task.  With a proper budget and clear policies, the strategy might have succeeded.  But reality is proving right the most pessimistic among America’s critics.  It is not only that the U.S. did not predict the chaos and the looting or how to deal with it; it is that the U.S. administrators have no money to deal with the Iraqi population’s direst needs....  It is as if the U.S. believed that Iraqi oil would suffice to finance the transition....  Far from moving towards democratic elections, the U.S. is settling into a most unpopular occupation with increasing loss of life among its forces.  The only ones to profit from the situation are the Islamists and the thieves.  Strange America indeed!  It needs to urgently revise its Iraqi policy.  But nothing proves it is on its way to doing so.”


"President Bush’s Quest in Iraq"


Right-of-center Les Echos editorialized (6/23):  “On Saturday President Bush reiterated his determination to delve into Saddam Hussein’s WMD program, no matter how long it takes.  But since the end of the war, the U.S. army has found no prohibited weapons....  The U.S. and British governments are the targets of a number of accusations....  What this all proves is the Bush administration’s hasty decision to launch a war, not the fact that Saddam Hussein may or may not have tried to rearm....  Paul Wolfowitz’s ‘bureaucratic pretext’ is a case in point....  The situation in Iraq and the difficulties which the U.S. Army is facing do not help.  Nor do the rumors of Saddam Hussein having survived and the fact that he may still be in Iraq.  But the question of Iraq’s WMD remains crucial.  Not only for President Bush’s America but especially for the international community.  Tension with Iran or North Korea can at any moment lead to major international crises.  More than ever credibility is essential.”


"United States Needs Others!"


Pierre Beylau commented in right-of-center weekly Le Point (Internet version) (6/20):  "'Welcome to the Real World.'  This headline in the weekly Newsweek is revealing.  Doubts are beginning to gain a serious hold on many U.S. observers.  Whether with regard to Iraq, Afghanistan, or the Israeli-Palestinian question, the neoconservatives' strategy is in the dock.  Ideological approaches are being challenged, and pragmatism seems likely to make a discreet comeback.  In Iraq, peace is proving harder to manage than war.  There are almost daily attacks on U.S. troops.  The establishment of a new administration is like some Chinese puzzle.  George Bush's troops will obviously have to remain under Mesopotamian skies for longer than expected....  And Andrew Higgins [observed] in his Wall Street Journal column: though the United States can win wars all on its own, it cannot, however, do without its allies and the international community when it comes to stabilizing, rebuilding, and establishing long-term action.  The example provided by the Balkans is revealing in this connection."


GERMANY:  "Lessons Of Power"


Clemens Wergin argued in an editorial in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (6/24):  "When the Bush administration came to power, it had planned to restructure societies.  It wanted to cut the ground from under the terrorists' feet...but the opposite happened:  the rejection of the United States is greater than ever.  Even in Iraq, the United States is forfeiting its reputation as liberator, because they push the establishment of a civil society with a lack of ability that is in a strange contrast to the professionalism with which they won the war.  The conflict in Palestine, also demonstrates the limits of the superpower:  If the extremists do not want progress, there will be no progress.... 


"The balance sheet of the U.S. policy toward the Mideast remains ambiguous....  It is true that the regimes in the region orient to the United States and its undisputed power.  But the majority of them only wait for better times and for the failure of the United States.  The Mullahs in Iran, Bashir al Assad in Syria, the Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Yasser Arafat in Ramallah:  they all hope that the Americans will lose interest in the region and be driven out of Iraq by guerrilla fighters.  They will be part of a new Middle East only if the United States passes the decisive test:  to pacify Iraq and leave it to a better future."


"Negligent Occupiers"


Rolf Paasch judged in an editorial in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (6/24):  "The Bush administration plans to establish the first division of an Iraqi army....  So far, so good....  But the method the Americans employ to restructure the Iraqi army shows why the U.S. occupiers even under their new chief administrator Bremer are getting more unpopular day by day.  There is not only the objective problem to build up a country...but there is also the notoriously bad propaganda of the Bush administration.  In the country of commercials, politicians have not understood how to advertise nation-building.  There is no communication with the Iraqi people.  How can we explain that Bremer's first action in office was to dissolve the Iraqi army without considering the consequences.  No preparation for the move, no explanation, no details, no word about social implications.  For weeks, Saddam's soldiers feared of their jobs and their existence.  In such an atmosphere, the impression of being fooled just had to develop...even among the greatest sympathizers with the United States.  The belated information on generous interim payments for draftees and professional soldiers comes too late.  Beyond the unavoidable resentments, it is the lack of a plan and the U.S. negligence when it comes to nation building that makes life for the Iraqis even more difficult--and that of the GIs increasingly dangerous."


"Mission Not Accomplished"


Washington correspondent Dietmar Osterman filed the following editorial for left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (6/21) and center-right Neue Ruhr/Neue Rhein-Zeitung of Essen (6/23):  "Thus far, Washington has reacted to the invisible enemy as this enemy has hoped for: with large-scale raids where mainly innocent people are arrested and with more violence and mounting distrust.  The more than 50 U.S. soldiers [killed] compare with many times the amount of civilian casualties.  This is creating a dilemma for the occupiers.  By taking excessively tough measures, they either risk a further loss of support among the Iraqis, or their authority will be considerably damaged if they do not quickly succeed in preventing attacks....  Thus far, the U.S. government has been trying to get the control over growing problems in Iraq without questioning its overall strategy.  The White House is pinning its hopes on the situation calming down and on reconstruction being set in motion once the first oil is exported.  If this calculation does not come true, Bush will have difficulty to gain the support of Americans for a long-term expensive and possibly bloody engagement in a country that refuses to show the expected gratitude to the 'liberators.'  The first victim could be an Iraq sliding into chaos.  But the political future of the U.S. president is also at stake."


"Prevention Failed"


Washington correspondent Malte Lehming argued in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (6/23):  "Whatever they say, the embarrassment is getting only greater.  Each explanation looks like an excuse....  In his latest attempt, President Bush said that 'documents and suspicious weapons sites were looted and burnt down,' and much evidence was 'destroyed.'   We listen and are astonished.  The U.S. army was able to oust a dictator in a record time, but obviously it caused exactly the things it wanted to prevent.  It may be possible that the documents for the production of weapons of mass destruction are in the hands of looters.  Al Qaida is certainly grateful for this.  And the U.S. government should prefer to remain silent until it reveals the full truth.  Otherwise, the entire world is getting nervous."


"Bush's Contaminated Truth"


Rainer Poertner editorialized in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung (6/23):  "British scientists, who examined the alleged mobile chemical laboratories have now come to the conclusion that the containers contained exactly what the Iraqis claimed: facilities for the production of hydrogen to fill balloons....This means that the U.S. government continues to deceive and play tricks to give its war at least in retrospect a tinge of legitimacy.  To what extent should be believe President Bush who is now claiming that WMD cannot be discovered in Iraq because the depots were looted in the course of the war?  Let us keep Bush at his word: the attack on Iraq led to the fact that chemical and biological weapons are now vagabonding across the world.  But has the United States not argued that it had begun this war to ban exactly this danger?"


"Increasingly Uncertain Bush"


Center-right Thueringer Allgemeine of Erfurt (6/23) noted:  "It remains vague why it should take another one and a half years before the pre-war state can be reached again.  It depends on the revenue from the oil exports when normalcy returns to Iraq.  It is highly dangerous that Saddam's soldiers have gone underground with a great deal of their guns and have been living without an income since then.  Only next month does the U.S. government begin with the recruitment of a new army.  George W. Bush, who is used to use strong words, sounds increasingly uncertain.  It does not show any kind of self-confidence to claim that it was impossible to find arsenals of chemical and biological weapons, since they were looted before.  But how should a new beginning in Iraq be possible if it cannot even be ruled out that Saddam will, in the end, play the role of a martyr?"


"Bush Is Twisting The Truth"


Center-right Rhein-Zeitung of Koblenz (6/23):  "U.S. President Bush told a surprised world that Iraqi WMD were burnt or looted during the last days of the war.  Aha, and who owns them now?  Do fired intelligence officials run around Baghdad with bio-injections in their pockets?  Have leading cadres of the Baath Party hidden poisonous gas shells in their book shelves?  If research facilities and depots have really been looted as Bush claims, all U.S. and British forces should patrol Iraq in their full ABC gear, since a clearly targeted attack of a single Saddam supporter could otherwise kill hundreds of allied soldiers.  But nothing of this kind has happened.  The reason is simple and frightening: Bush is twisting the truth."


"Shadow War From The Underground"


Washington correspondent Wolfgang Koydl filed the following editorial for center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (6/20):  "The New York Times is meticulously and concisely registering the names of all U.S. soldiers who have fallen in Iraq...and they can become an even greater danger for the Bush administration than Saddam Hussein's disappeared WMD....  These soldiers have all become victims of a shadow war that is waged in the underground, a war that is being waged by loyalists of the ousted dictator....  The guerrilla force pursues three goals: They want to wear down the U.S. forces in Iraq and provoke them to carry out inconsiderate actions against the civilian population; in the United States they want to sow the seeds of doubt....  And in addition, they want to keep alive the fear of Saddam and his revenge among the Iraqis....  The U.S. administration is taking this problem seriously...and even Donald Rumsfeld admitted that 'it will take some time' before the underground fighters will be defeated.  But even the Pentagon leader did not know an answer to the question of how high the tolerance level of the Americans for this kind of toll of lives is.  He only said:  'The Americans stand with both legs firm on the ground.'  And they 'are realizing that this is an precious task in Iraq which reflects the American spirit, and they are realizing how difficult the task is.'  Rumsfeld only rarely uses such vague words."


"The War In Iraq Is Not Yet Over"


Holger Schmale noted in an editorial in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung (6/20):  "It is surprising to hear that there is an opinion poll institute in Baghdad that has just concluded its first opinion poll.  And the Iraqis have given the Americans a devastatingly bad rating for their performance since the end of the war.  End of the war?  The daily reports on ambushes and gun battles, about dead Iraqis and Americans speak a different language.  Since the end of the fighting, which President Bush proclaimed on May 1, more than 50 U.S. soldiers have lost their lives....  The Bush administration is getting into an increasingly difficult situation.  Of course, soldiers must attack marauding gangs, snipers, and attackers.  But this will also result in innocent victims, and it does not correspond with the picture of liberators who want to bring peace and democracy to the country.  Thus the Iraqis see an occupying regime that, on the one hand, fails when it comes to reconstructing civilian structures, and, on the other hand, acts with an iron fist.  But a U.S. president shows himself to an increasingly critical American public, whose soldiers expelled, but did not capture the dictator, a president whose allegations against WMD were wrong, and a president who, in a kind of show, declared the end of a war, in which U.S. soldiers still die on an almost daily basis.  This is not the basis that can prepare the ground for his re-election."


ITALY:  "The Three Pillars Of Stabilization"


New York correspondent Maurizio Molinari wrote in centrist, influential La Stampa (6/24):  “The Baathist guerrillas have chosen the pipelines to sabotage the reconstruction plans of the military administration....  The plan of the American administration, which was presented by Paul Bremer at the World Economic Forum in Amman, is to speed up the reactivation of the energy industry in order to set up a mechanism of distribution of dividends to the citizens, along the lines of what is already taking place in Alaska and in Norway....  And the prospect that the oil might become the pillar of the post-Saddam stabilization is at the origin of these sabotage actions, that hit the refineries in Basra as well, and that have been carried out by ‘very expert’ people.”


"The Smoking Gun Is Now Aimed At Bush And Blair"


Special correspondent Gianni Riotta wrote from New York in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (6/20):  “If you go back and examine thoroughly last winter’s fierce disputes, you will see that the propaganda machine did, indeed, spread confusion on weapons of mass destruction, but also that the forecasts of the enemies of the war were exaggerated in that they predicted millions of refugees and tens of thousands of dead....  President Bush and his ally Tony Blair, however, bet the credibility of the Western coalition on the threat posed to the world by illegal weapons and must now respond to that one way or another.”


RUSSIA:  "There'll Be No Return To Past"


Aleksandr Kapralov said in reformist Vremya MN (6/24):  "There will be no return to the past on the Tigris and Euphrates.  No doubt about that.  But there has been no progress either, with the Americans in charge and there being no mechanisms to do the job more effectively.  As no new government is expected to be formed in Iraq until next month, the Coalition forces have concentrated on maintaining at least a semblance of order in the country."


"U.S.' Allies To Bear Brunt"


Youth-oriented Moskovskiy Komsomolets asserted in its "Rumors From Over The Hump" column (6/23):  "There is every reason to suggest that the allies--the British, Poles, Danes and others--will have to shoulder the burden of serving in Iraq unless the Americans do something radical about the Iraqi guerrillas.  The growing number of U.S. casualties may result in the bulk of the U.S. troops leaving Iraq before the year is out."


"Was It Saddam?"


Vladimir Dunayev argued in reformist Izvestiya (6/23):  "The Americans will have a hard time trying to convince the world that the man they killed was Saddam Hussein, even if DNA analyses bear that out.  The international community has yet to see a single piece of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction that Washington has been talking about for years, trying to scare everybody around.  So it is not certain that the story of Saddam's death is not just another falsehood."


"Vicious Circle"


Aleksandr Samokhotkin commented in reformist Vremya Novostey (6/20):  "The Americans tarry about turning over power to the Iraqis for fear of chaos, but irritation over the flagrantly occupation character of the U.S.-imposed 'democracy' leads to more unrest.  This is a vicious circle since intensified resistance causes the Americans to delay the power hand-over indefinitely."


AUSTRIA:  "Gloomy Situation In Iraq"


Foreign affairs editor Gudrun Harrer judged in liberal daily Der Standard (6/20):  "The Americans are sentenced to be successful in Iraq, but the current situation is gloomy.  Attacks on U.S. institutions and soldiers have long lost their spontaneous character---they might not be coordinated yet, but they are certainly organized.  All the more important in this scenario is the arrest of Saddam Hussein's personal secretary, Abid Hamid, the moustache-wearing shadow who can be seen on so many photos right behind the Iraqi dictator.  He was the one who administrated the access to Saddam--if he doesn’t know what became of him, nobody does.  Faced with the Osama story, the Americans have always played down the importance of catching Saddam or finding out where he is.  However, one thing remains certain: The whole thing will only be over when even his most fanatical followers finally understand that he won’t be coming back.  But if the attacks on the Americans are already coming from a different corner, that is a disaster."


NORWAY:  "Now The Iraqis Must Be Supported"


Former Prime Minister Thorbjorn Jagland commented in newspaper of record Aftenposten (6/23):  “It is also right to say that if one should succeed in building a democratic Iraq, it will get an enormous positive result for the whole Middle East.  That is why Europe must not hesitate to support the building of political parties, trade unions and civil institutions that are necessary in a democracy.  The U.S. has used its ‘hard power’ to get rid of a regime.  If this is combined with Europe’s ‘soft power’ the result might be rather successful....  There is no doubt that the Iraqis thank the U.S. and UK for liberating them from Saddam Hussein.  But they feel that they also have carried heavy burdens as a consequence of what they believe is the West’s and UN’s policy."


POLAND:  "Flies In The Ointment"


Lukasz Warzecha wrote in centrist Rzeczpospolita (6/24):  “The Bush administration used the WMD argument as a convenient pretext to attack....  The advocates of the notion that the U.S. is the ‘empire of good’ ousting tyrants out of the goodness of its heart do not want to admit that the U.S., like other countries worldwide, acts for selfish reasons; that the U.S. realizes its own interests in a ruthless and sometimes brutal way.  As a realist, I do not condemn America for this.  This is the normal course of events.  Pro-American not want to acknowledge this because it ruins their vision of the world with America being its ‘moral vector.’  Accordingly, they are ready to eagerly accept even the most controversial decisions of the current U.S. administration.  This is not the right way to go.”


"Peace Against Freedom"


Barbara Labuda, social affairs minister in the Presidential Chancellery, said in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza (6/24):  “I cannot agree with [France’s] criticism of Poland’s involvement on the side of Americans in Iraq.  For me, this war meant a removal of a tyrant and liberation of an exhausted nation....  Perhaps there are other, better ways to help an enslaved nation and stop tyranny.  But one can hardly accept inaction as one of the options....  I cannot understand why France, which I love so much, the country of freedom, remained indifferent on such a fundamental issue as the freedom of another nation.  In the struggle between dictatorship and democracy we cannot turn our back.”


TURKEY:  "Lies And Mistakes"


Zafer Atay judged in the economic-political Dunya (6/24):  “Things are becoming a mess for the Bush administration because of the way it seems the hawks have built their Iraq policy on lies and mistakes....  It seems very unlikely that the American forces in Iraq will be able to find any weapons of mass destruction.  All over the indications lead us to the fact that the Saddam regime actually destroyed its WMD prior to the UN inspections....  The U.S. administration has made another mistake by convincing itself that it is seen as the savior of Iraq.  And the ongoing instability as well as social disorder seems to be creating a very painful period for the U.S. administration.  It remains to be seen what other consequences will occur after carrying out a policy filled with lies and mistakes.”




SAUDI ARABIA:  "The Jews Are Sneaking In Iraq"


Riyadh's conservative, Al-Riyadh editorialized (6/24):  "Israel is Iraq, it is purchasing properties and buildings, pushing the Americans to operate the Haifa-Mosul fuel pipeline, has a share in Iraq's reconstruction, and assisting the occupants in suppressing the Iraqi outlaws and resistance as well.  If this all turns out to be true, then the U.S.A. either it does not have a rational policy, or does not recognize the reality of the Iraqi Muslim, who dislikes Israel.  The U.S.A. must realize that taking these steps, might generate hostility among the Iraqis....  Iraq is not a commodity to be offered in public sale, since its affairs are fully administered by the Americans.  Rejection of the nation's right might jeopardize the occupants to danger with the up-coming days and months."


"The U.S. Success That Will Please The Iraqis"


Abd-al-Karim Abu-al-Nasr judged in Abha Al-Watan (Internet version) (6/22):  "It is not in the interest of the Americans for their relationship with the Iraqis to become similar to the relationship between the Israelis and Palestinians....  However, the killing of innocent Iraqis by U.S. soldiers, the numerous erroneous acts and practices by the U.S. governor, and the mutual fear between the two sides--all these issues, if left unresolved, will make the Iraqis gradually forget who liberated them from the nightmarish Saddam Hussein regime....  The current U.S. military presence in Iraq is necessary even if for a short period to preserve the unity of this country and to prevent the breakout of a civil war and a bloody power struggle among the various sects, forces, and factions....  However, what has made the Iraqis angry and feel spiteful toward the Americans is that the Americans have committed many mistakes against this country since its liberation....  They have not been able to restore life to normal in many domains....  They have not been able to impose law and order....  They have no clear and integral plan prepared in advance to govern this country....  The important thing is that the Americans must succeed in Iraq...because their failure or inability to provide stability and establish a new legal regime around which the Iraqis will rally will threaten the unity of Iraq.  It will also threaten the security and stability of the Gulf region and beyond."


"Resistance in Iraq"


London-based pan-Arab Al-Hayah held (6/20):  "The emergence of resistance in Iraq against the U.S. occupation is not ruled out.  What we are witnessing now cannot be considered resistance but is probably a mixture of two phenomena.  The first is the presence of the former regime's remnants whose elements were able to retreat and are trying to regroup and organize their actions.  The second reflects the protest of sectors that were harmed directly by decisions taken by the occupation authority within the framework of rebuilding the government, army, and institutions from scratch....  It is obvious that the presence of U.S. forces on Iraq's territory is giving the situation some cohesiveness.  But the wisdom and effectiveness of the U.S. political mind that is seeking to reengineer the country remain doubtful....   There is much experimentation and haste in the occupation authority's choices.  This means that it is thinking of a long stay in which it must rely on might and might alone to manage its affairs.  As to reaching the magical formula for the government that absorbs all the powers within its framework, it appears to be a matter that keeps postponing itself and it will not be born from a bright idea in Paul Bremer's mind but from a national dialogue, which the occupation authority must encourage if it is thinking of an early departure."


ALGERIA:  Post-War Iraq: The Great Emptiness"


French-language independent daily, El Watan reported (6/23):  "Since they launched their war against Iraq, Americans have shown no relevant evidence to support their accusations and allegations.  Since the end of the war on May 1, neither WMD nor Saddam Hussein have been found in Iraq and considerably less treasure than the former leader had supposedly misappropriated has been uncovered....  In any case, nothing indicates that the manipulation has ceased.  Such an acknowledgment leads one to speculate over the reasons which compelled the United States government to recognize--even unofficially--that it knows nothing about Saddam's fate and, more importantly, that it has not totally handled the situation.  Is this a way to justify its refusal to at least temporarily transfer power to the former Iraqi opposition?  Or may be it does not have a sustainable policy, leader, or consensus group to propose?"


LEBANON:  "The American Conscience"


Yihya Ahmad Al-Kaaki opined in pro-Syria Ash-Sharq (6/21):  “There is no doubt that the closed session that will be held by the Congress to study the information offered by the American administration about the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction will bring this issue to the limelight despite the fact that...newspapers like the Washington Post and New York Times started a month ago to question the legitimacy of the war on Iraq....  This congressional closed similar to a wake-up call that is supposed to re-evaluate the war and the so-called victory in Iraq....  The question is:  Will this closed session become a victory for democracy and freedom?....  In any case, the increasing criticisms against the war in Iraq proved that the American society is open for struggles and has a conscience that wakes up sometimes and goes to sleep some other times....  We, as Arabs should know how to deal with this American conscience, not only at the presidential level but on all levels of the American society.”


"The Last Stop"


Sateh Noureddine held in Arab nationalist As-Safir (6/20):  “If the news reports from the U.S. are correct, and they probably are, Iraq is regaining its normal life in the shadow of the American occupation which is not really facing any serious challenges....  The Americans are saying that Baghdad and most of the major Iraqi cities...are regaining the normal rhythm of life:  Schools are opened, supermarkets are working, institutions went back to work, even the daily demonstrations reflect social movement in Iraq that was never seen in Iraq’s modern history....  Perhaps the scenes that are being painted by the Americans are better than the reality, but nevertheless there is a measure of truth to what the Americans are saying....  We hope, though, that the Iraqis realize that they should not be content that they are regaining the momentum of their normal life, but they should be negotiating their future with the Americans before it is too late.”




Joseph Samaha contended in Arab nationalist As-Safir (6/20):  “The United States has done nothing except implement divine will!  The war (against Iraq) was written in the Old Testament, Saddam Hussein’s destiny was also written in the Old Testament, and even the description of American tanks was written in the Old Testament....  To say that the road to Jerusalem passes through Baghdad is not a geo-strategic theory by the American new-conservatism movement.  It is simply an implementation of divine will....  Now the next divine will is to prepare for Armageddon (war mentioned in the book of Revelations).  The only way to do that is to strengthen the Jews all over Palestine....  If we examine this logic, we find that the Palestinians are seen as devils who are obstructing the divine will...and that the Torah should be the roadmap....  We might find these ideas ridiculous, but millions of Americans believe in these ideas or in similar ideas...for this reason we should really take them seriously.”


TUNISIA:  "Lugubrious Accounts"


Editor Nejib Sassi commented in independent French-language daily newspaper Le Temps (6/22):  "The American secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld has asserted that 'Baghdad is a city less violent than Washington.'  He added:  'You should remember that if Washington was the size of Baghdad, you would have the equivalent of 215 dead persons per month.'  Of course, Rumsfeld does not speak of Iraqi dead persons, the number of which has exceeded by far this figure since the occupation.  To him, as well as to Sharon, Iraqi or Palestinian dead persons do not count....  In their lugubrious accounts, an American or an Israeli dead is equivalent to a thousand Arab children, women and old persons assassinated."


UAE:  "Israel Is In Iraq"


Pan-Arab Sharjah-based Al-Khaleej editorialized (6/21):  "The danger that threatens Iraq and the rest of the Arab region is not only represented by the American military occupation, but also by Israeli security and economic attempts to penetrate into the Iraqi arena through the occupation....  Iraq has become an occupied country lacking independence and sovereignty, and its people lacking freedom, while its destiny and future will be defined according to the American will.  Therefore, the mission of countering Israeli expansion into Iraq is not the responsibility of the Iraqi people alone.  The Arab countries are required to wake up from their state of unconsciousness to confront an imminent danger."




JAPAN:  "U.S. 'Power Logic' Disputed"


Jitsuro Terashima observed in the liberal Asahi (6/24):  "The U.S. appears to have revived the 'right of the strongest' after using overwhelming force to defeat Iraq's Saddam Hussein, while the UN remains dysfunctional.  But the entire world is functioning--based on rules and regulations as well as on international cooperation--without accepting such a 'right of the strongest' theory....  Japan should not be carelessly inclined to give blind support to the U.S. and its 'right of the strongest' by hastily enacting the 'Iraq reconstruction' bill (that would allow the government to send SDF troops to Iraq to give logistical support to U.S. and British peacekeepers)."


PHILIPPINES:  "War Of Attrition"


Max Soliven, publisher of the independent Philippine Star opined (6/23):  “The more important thing to consider, however, is whether the American forces now in Iraq will have the staying power to combat the ‘war of attrition’ now being waged by Fedayeen guerrillas who surround them, mounting violent anti-American demonstrations, and cutting U.S. servicemen down from ambush or by sniper fire....  The U.S. military last week launched...'Desert Scorpion' to search out and capture or kill guerrillas....  This continuing campaign won’t win ‘hearts and minds’, but what the hell--the Muslim Arabs hate America, anyway....  Aside from the pro-Saddam Sunni Muslims, the...Shiites, whipped into a frenzy of rejection by their Ayatollahs, are also demanding the Americans leave....  The Americans realize, of course, that if they depart, leaving those oil fields to a hostile Muslim group, they’ll have another Iran on their hands....  It is devilishly expensive for them to remain in Iraq, in terms of blood, sacrifice, and treasure.  It would be even more expensive for them, alas, to depart.”


"Bush Has To Keep Saddam Alive In Americans’ Minds"


Federico Pascual wrote in his column in the independent Philippine Star (6/22):  "The Bush administration is fanning supposed intelligence reports that Iraqi strong man Saddam Hussein is most probably alive somewhere....  Even assuming the man is in fact dead, White House propaganda at this point has to keep Saddam, or at least speculation over his fate, alive.  Reelectionist President George W. Bush needs that convenient hate-object more than the $2,000 hamburgers served recently to raise megabucks for his 2004 election campaign.  It would be fatal for Bush to allow his war on Iraq fade out of the consciousness of American voters getting increasingly worried over the bad performance of the economy under the Republicans.  With the war propping up his rating at the polls, it seems that the only hole left to be plugged in preparation for the 2004 election is the sluggish economy.  Bush knows that, so he now goes around saying that the economy will soon pick up."


"When Leaders Lie"


Jose Bayani Baylon wrote in his column in the anti-administration Malaya (6/20):  “Saddam Hussein has been overthrown, but his ghost continues to haunt George Bush and his close ally Tony Blair.  Unable to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the American and British leaders are now under attack for apparently having misled the case of a war against Iraq....  It appears that the leaders of America and Britain waged a war devoid of its pre-eminent rationale--and, worse, perhaps knew about this from the beginning.  It is, it seems, a case of when leaders lie to suit certain political purposes....  The question now is, how harsh will be the fallout?... Whether the fact that no WMD can be found in Iraq will similarly begin the erosion for Bush...will depend on how much Americans truly cared about the existence of weapons of mass destruction as a justification for overthrowing Saddam, and whether the Democrats can come up with a second Bill Clinton to pose a serious challenge to Bush the younger.  My guess is that as far as Americans as concerned they are happy to have Saddam gone for whatever reason, but there will be an erosion in the support for...President Bush....  That erosion will stem from the question that will now linger in the minds and maybe even hearts of Americans: on what other matters may the President be lying to us?  A simple question, but one that weakens the basic foundation for effective leadership, credibility."


SINGAPORE:  "Rigours Of Peace"


The pro-government Straits Times maintained (6/23):  "The allied occupation of Iraq is getting to be far messier than the Bush administration had expected....  Critics who had accused the administration of cocksureness in not deploying a larger force for the invasion, turned out to be wrong about the war itself, but their arguments are looking increasingly persuasive as applied to the peace.  As is evident now, one reason why U.S. and British forces still find themselves putting out brush fires more than two months after Baghdad fell is that they did not have sufficient forces in the theatre to begin with....  Cutting forces now before Saddam loyalists are flushed out, before law and order is established, and before an Iraqi police force is trained and equipped, will send the wrong signal. Washington cannot let Iraq slip into another Afghanistan."




INDIA:  "Dying For Dubya"


Siddharth Varadarajan wrote in the centrist Times of India (6/24):  "One wonders what kind of epitaph will be penned for the Indian soldiers who will lay down their lives helping the U.S. occupiers in Iraq if Advani has his way.  'For the brave Indians who sacrificed their lives for King George Bush II and his viceroy, L Paul Bremmer III'?  The call for troops from India is an act of desperation by the Bush administration...  With the body bag count slowly mounting, the U.S. wants to cut its 150,000 soldier-strong presence to about 30,000, replacing the conquering heroes with dupes from around the world whose leaders aspire to nothing more noble than a chance to wait on the high table....  The U.S. aim is not to restore stability--it has not even managed to restore electricity and water--but to impose political arrangements aimed at protecting its own interests.  If that means aggressively wading into civilian areas (as in Fallujah, Tikrit and elsewhere) and making mass arrests, or closing down a TV station (as in Mosul), it is the Indian soldiers and other peace-keepers who will have to deal with the fall-out."


"Troops:  Attempts To Please U.S."


Former editor of The Statesman and The Indian Express S. Nihal Singh held in the independent centrist The Tribune (6/24):  "If the root cause of the government's inclination to send troops is fear of annoying America, such an ignoble emotion should be banished.  America and the world will respect India all the more for refusing to participate in a very dubious venture."


"Trooping To Iraq"


The pro-economic-reform Financial Express held (6/23):  "India is still undecided on whether to send its troops as part of the stabilization force in Iraq, but the grounds for its indecision are rapidly changing.  Time is fast running out....  Given the domestic opposition to deployment, India's political leadership has been signaling to the Americans till now that the move was possible only under UN authorization for a multinational force as in Kosovo and Afghanistan....  The fact is that we have strategic interests in Iraq which concern our future energy security....  If we play our cards well, the nation can thus be assured of supplies of cheap oil on a long-term basis.  Sending troops is an important gambit to further our interests in the region....  India must soon take a decision to send troops to Iraq to advance its best national interests.


"Constructive Engagement"


K. Subrahmanyam wrote this analysis in the centrist Times of India (6/23):  "Quite obviously, U.S. policy-makers failed to assess the nature and magnitude of governing Iraq as an occupying power....  As of now, Washington has not come out with a road map for these steps.  This is a lengthy process....  There is a good case for India helping the stabilization process by sending troops to Iraq, not merely to oblige Washington but to help the Iraqi people....  Our attitude should be similarly pragmatic, forward-looking and mindful of our national interest.  We should bear in mind that Islamabad is ready to send troops to Iraq and thereby increase U.S. dependence on itself.  It is only by agreeing to consider the proposition of sending troops to Iraq that India will be in a position to raise various issues with the U.S. on the road map for an interim administration, constitution-making, elections and total transfer of power to an Iraqi representative government....  Our stand should be to engage the U.S. on these issues and not just reject outright our participation in the stabilization process on the grounds that Washington is guilty of aggression.  It undoubtedly was, but harping on it is not going to help the Iraqis."


"Send In The Troops"


Former high commissioner to Pakistan G. Parthasarathy judged in the centrist Indian Express (6/23):  "It is obvious that India should not be an American Trojan horse in the Persian Gulf. Nor should we be seen to be supportive of the ham-handed manner in which trigger-happy Americans deal with genuine Iraqi grievances, manifested through public demonstrations....  Before taking a final decision on deployment in Iraq, there are a number of measures that New Delhi has to take.  Contacts should be established with Kurdish political leaders in Iraq....  There should be continuing consultations with Iran and Turkey....  The Americans should be told that we would not countenance any cross-border activity by Iranian opposition groups that continue to operate from northern Iraq....  The Indian stabilization force should operate in a totally autonomous manner, with mechanisms for coordination with the Americans and British.....  If handled properly, we do have an opportunity for our armed forces to do us proud in an unprecedented situation."


"Iraq Imbroglio"


The pro-BJP right-of-center The Pioneer took this view (6/23):  "The desperation of the Bush administration to secure an Indian military presence in Iraq stems from two chief reasons.  First, swift as the collapse of Saddam's outgunned military resistance to invading forces of the U.S.-led coalition may have been, the post-war operations by American forces to mop up remaining pockets of Iraqi resistance and maintaining law and order in the country have been, to put it mildly, disastrous....  Virtually every day there are American casualties and, more significantly, the U.S. interim regime has been steadily antagonizing more and more Iraqis by its arbitrary strong-arm methods....  Second, even after the decline of the non-aligned movement, India still retains at least a symbolic halo of a major neutral world power.  For the Vajpayee government, there is undoubtedly a temptation to succumb to U.S. pressure....  The real challenge before the Vajpayee government...remains in continuing a dialogue with the United States on ways and means that New Delhi could cooperate with Washington in restoring order in Iraq, without compromising itself in a manner which devalues the world's largest democracy, which also has one of the largest and best trained armies across the globe."


"Sending Of Indian Troops To Iraq Against National Interest"


The Punjabi daily Jag Bani argued (6/22):  "No consensus is likely in India on [sending troops to Iraq]....  Shall we be able to accept casualties of Indian troops?  NDA can lose the elections and any compensation by way of trade would not be enough....  The propriety of the Iraq war is still in question and people's anger is in evidence....  The U.S. troubles are increasing....  The U.S. wants to get out of Iraq as soon as possible....  Though India wants to cooperate with the USA, sending troops would be like pushing them in a war zone....  The UN should deploy troops to Iraq.''


"Circles In The Sand"


J.N. Dixit commented in the centrist Indian Express (6/20):  "While we should not send our military and paramilitary forces for maintenance of political stability in Iraq, it would be appropriate for India to send medical teams.  India can also offer training for the new Iraqi police force and armed forces which are in the process of being created.... The guiding principle for India's involvement in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Iraq should be participation in those spheres which would directly benefit the people of Iraq."


"India Is Under No Obligation"


The nationalist Urdu Rashtriya Sahara editorialized (6/20):  "After ensuring the exclusive rights to plunder Iraq, the U.S. is now looking for partners to suppress the anti-occupation resistance that has been on the rise even in the face of brutal oppressive measures undertaken by the invading forces against the Iraqi people.  A country like India, that has won its freedom after a long struggle against imperialism, is naturally seen as standing by the side of the struggling Iraqi people and not as siding with the colonialist invaders....  India is under no obligation to share the responsibility for the U.S. failure."


"Why Indian Troops For Iraq?"


Veteran columnist Adil Siddiqui argued in the pro-Congress Qaumi Awaz (6/20):  "There is no point in sending Indian troops to Iraq and risking their lives....  India did not support the U.S.-led war against Iraq.  Therefore, it makes absolutely no sense for India to send its troops to help the U.S. in consolidating its occupation."


PAKISTAN:  "Another Guantanamo Bay?"


The Karachi-based center-left independent national English daily, Dawn held (6/23):  "A recently released report by Amnesty International gives a disturbing account of the conditions in which the U.S.-led occupation forces are keeping Iraqi prisoners since the fall of Baghdad on April 9....  Other reports emanating from Baghdad speak of torture and abuse that prisoners at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison are being subjected to by the occupation authorities.  Amnesty says the Bremer administration denied it permission to meet the Iraqi prisoners....  From the details given by the AI, which has previously criticized conditions at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, it seems that in the absence of an international monitoring mechanism under the UN, America's treatment of Iraqi prisoners of war may be in contravention of the Geneva Conventions on the POWs.  This, once again, underscores the need for a greater and more active role for the UN in post-war Iraq.  It is time the EU, Russia, China and the UN rose to the occasion and tried to rein in a vindictive Washington from inhumane treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody." 


"Sufferings Under Occupation"


Karachi-based center-left independent national English daily, Dawn argued (6/20):  "Ten weeks after the overthrow of the Saddam regime, Iraqi babies are still dying of hunger, and because of a shortage of medicines, Iraqi cities are still without reliable water and power supply and nearly a million households without a means of livelihood.  Those that do have a job have not been paid their salaries since February/March.  Iraq's largest and once best-equipped hospital...has been without oxygen and life-saving drugs for five years.  One need only to look through the curtain of the American propaganda to see the real picture: 'liberated' Iraq is occupied by two of the world's richest nations, which are doing all they can to hide the truth.  The situation for the hapless Iraqi people is no different now from what it was under Saddam Hussein.  The only difference is that under the dictatorial Baathist regime, independent media and international aid workers were able to report the misery of the Iraqi people, which they cannot do anymore under Paul Bremer's administration."


"Grim News From Iraq"


The Lahore-based liberal English daily, Daily Times commented (6/20):  "Washington’s liberal-imperialists need to go back to the drawing board.  While President George Bush announced the end of combat operations in Iraq from the deck of USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, the war, by all indications, might just have begun....  The real war relates to Iraqi nationalism, which is more than the sum total of the parts that make for chaos in that country.  Indeed, it is the very product of the success of the American enterprise....  While it is easy to theorize about liberal imperialism even in a post-colonial world, making that agenda stick in real terms is not easy, as Washington has begun to learn.  Further, how does one tackle nationalism in a country actually made up of contending sub-national, ethno-sectarian and ethno-linguistic groups, gelled artificially by an authoritarian regime?...  What does this mean for the United States?  For one thing, it should cure Washington of its hubris that the world witnessed in the run-up to the war on Iraq....  If the United States wants peace in this world, it needs to embrace, rather than shed, multilateralism....  This is the real lesson of the Iraq war.  And it should be reason enough for the U.S. establishment to put the brakes on the misplaced grandiloquence of Washington’s neo-conservatives."




CANADA:  "Sex, Lies And American Presidents"


Political commentator Linda McQuaig remarked in the liberal Toronto Star (6/23):  "Bush's apparent lie--that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction even though his own intelligence agency could find no such evidence and his own army can find no such weapons--was made repeatedly to the American people, but not under oath.  So, does that explain it?  Lying to the American people is okay, as long as it's not done under oath?...  Some insist that Bush didn't really lie; he just exaggerated.  But his allegations about Iraq's weapons were more than exaggerations....  Another possibility is that he lied to conceal the real motives for invading Iraq.  If so, his lying is more deeply worrisome.  Under this scenario, he essentially fabricated the notion that Iraq posed a threat to the U.S. (it didn't, as we saw), in order to disguise motives that Americans might not have considered valid grounds for going to war--like ensuring U.S. companies get control of Iraqi oil, extending U.S. military control in the Middle East, having a war victory under his belt for the next election, proving to his dad that he isn't a wimp after all....  There is no graver responsibility entrusted to a president than sending his citizens to war.  Being deceitful about the reasons for war would seem to be the most fundamental betrayal of trust."


"So The U.S. And Britain Lied To The World.  So What?"


Columnist Marcus Gee observed in the leading Globe and Mail (6/20):  "When the United States, Britain and their coalition went to war this spring, they said they were doing it to remove the imminent threat posed by Saddam Hussein's weapons.  More than two months later, not a single chemical warhead or test tube of anthrax has been found.  Worse, there is evidence that both the George W. Bush administration in Washington and the Tony Blair government in London may have made exaggerated, even false, claims about those weapons....  If the governments of Britain and the United States embroidered or twisted the facts in one of the most important and contentious debates of recent times, it is no trifle.  If they hope to confront the very real threat posed by anti-Western, terrorist-supporting regimes with nuclear ambitions, they will need the support of the rest of the world.  They won't get it if other countries think they are exaggerating the danger.  Like the boy who cried wolf, they will find that no one comes when they warn of the imminent threat posed by Iran or North Korea.  For that reason, both governments should come clean about what, exactly, they knew and how that fits with what they said."


BRAZIL:  "Drama In The Desert"


Right-of-center O Globo commented (6/21):  "Hollywood scriptwriters know how to create situations of spectacular heroism for their characters and that is just half their work.  It's necessary to give the director a scene fraught with danger and emotion like that showing, with equal talent, how the hero has escaped unscathed.  Pentagon scriptwriters seem to have learned only half the lesson: with some competence they have created the moving scene in which soldier Jessica Lynch escaped from her Iraqi executioners--but her rescue has been described in an awkward manner.  And that wasn't the only work of fiction:  the Iraqi version was...equally Hollywood-like.  This confirms the saying that 'in times of war, lies sell like hot cakes.'  To complete the mess it only lacks having someone go to Baghdad in search of the real truth.  A reporter famous for making up facts.  Like the recently resigned Jayson Blair, whose talent for fiction took the New York Times years to find out and then shamefully announce it to their readers."


"The Reasons For Military Intervention In Iraq"


Retired Brazilian Ambassador Antonio Amaral de Sampaio commented in center-right O Estado de S. Paulo (6/19):  “The debate about the real reasons for the victorious American-British military intervention in Iraq is insignificant....  What is really important is that this initiative freed the civilized world from the presence of a criminal like Saddam Hussein....  Bush and Blair had three objectives in this invasion: deprive Saddam Hussein of Israel from [the threat of] a sudden WMD attack...and stop Saddam from using his huge, oil-funded resources to stir up more conflicts in the region....  Now, with the regional political environment clear, it is up to President Bush to lead a movement of the European Union and Russian Confederation to disarm persons in Tel-Aviv and through the Palestinian Authority so that peace can be negotiated.  From this would come a Palestinian state destined to live in harmony with its Israeli neighbor.”


MEXICO:  "Weapons Of Mass Destruction"


Jorge Camil argued in left-of-center Jornada (6/20):  “Today, when mass media revealed that the [U.S.] government ordered an invasion of Iraq even when it knew that there were no WMD, we can affirm that the deaths occurred there are unforgettable, that the loss of the cultural heritage is a crime...and that the amount of money used to satisfy the insatiable desire for oil of this industry smells like a political scandal in the hands of the candidates of the Democratic Party who prepare to compete for the White House next year....  In a national security seminar in Germany, Paul Wolfowitz stated that Washington chose Iraq instead of North Korea--even if the latter possesses and produces WMD--because 'Iraq is swimming in an ocean of oil.'  The mystery of the WMD has become an international scandal.”


CHILE:  "Political Tension In Washington"


Government-owned, editorially independent Santiago daily La Nacion editorialized (6/23):  "There are many doubts about the way the Bush administration proceeded to get his country to commit itself to another war....  Evidence that information has been manipulated, intelligence information has been distorted, and that the threat of what 'the enemy' represented had been exaggerated are complicating things for the Republican administration...and could seriously undermine the government's moral and political authority....  Since last September, the CIA had been reporting that the Iraqi regime lacked almost all the strengths that Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld attributed to it....  The increasing 'credibility vacuum' of the U.S. government could end by undermining the confidence of American citizens in their government and increasing international mistrust about Bush's leadership.  Inevitably, this situation reminds us of the crisis that the United States found itself in about 30 years ago when President Richard Nixon's credibility began to crumble."


Commentary from ...
Middle East
East Asia
South Asia
Western Hemisphere

This site is produced and maintained by the U.S. Department of State. Links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views contained therein.

Back To Top

blue rule
IIP Home  |  Issue Focus Home