International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

July 2, 2003

July 2, 2003





**  Observers see "fraud and deception" behind claims about Iraq's WMD.


**  The WMD question "cannot be forgotten nor ignored."


**  Blair's reputation suffers from the "dodgy dossier" but Bush's popular support is "undented."




'Everything seems to indicate that Washington and London lied'--  Scattered dailies cautioned that "it is too early to draw conclusions" about Iraq's WMD or referred to "growing suspicion" about pre-war WMD intelligence.  Far more editorialists, though, concluded that the Bush and Blair administrations "deliberately and cynically" built support for war through "forgery, falsification and distortion of truth."  French and Finnish papers said the unsuccessful hunt for WMD showed that UN chief inspector Hans Blix "was right" and that "most probably" Bush and Blair knew before the war that Iraq "no longer represented an imminent threat."  Egypt's opposition Wafd called WMD claims a "huge lie."  China's official China Daily held that the U.S. and UK "owe the whole world an explanation" and said the U.S.' "arrogantly crafted script is unraveling."  A German paper contended that "the search for WMD is turning into a farce."


The credibility of Bush and Blair is being 'held hostage' by the WMD issue--  Analysts worldwide judged that "the Bush government must address" the issue of "much-hyped" intelligence and the failure to find WMD or "its credibility will deteriorate even further."  Pakistan's independent Dawn scoffed at the "obvious lack of logic" in suggestions that Iraq might have destroyed its WMD just before the war and said London and Canberra should stop treating "the received wisdom from Washington as the gospel truth."  A Portuguese writer who had supported action against Iraq held in influential, moderate-left Publico that it "is the duty of those who supported the coalition to demand full clarification of the situation."  Conservative papers in Colombia and Canada--and op-eds in Britain's strongly anti-war Independent and Guardian--argued in contrast that complaints about WMD were "legalistic harping" and the war was "justified because it put an end to Saddam Hussein's perverse regime."


'Two political careers' are at stake--  British papers focused on the "great battle" between Blair's communications director Alastair Campbell and the BBC over allegations that the so-called "dodgy dossier" on WMD was "sexed up."  The conservative Daily Telegraph called them "both wrong" but said it "cannot excuse the fact that the Prime Minister quite clearly portrayed" the dossier to MPs "as something that it was not."  Papers in Europe, Japan, India and Latin America speculated on the political fallout of the WMD controversy for both Bush and Blair, terming Blair's political situation "tricky" and opining that he "seems to be more vulnerable" than Bush.  "Only time will tell what political costs each one will pay," stated Mexico's left-of-center Jornada, while Colombia's top national daily El Tiempo argued that the WMD controversy has had "no effect on Bush's popularity."  

EDITOR:  Steven Wangsness

EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 44 reports from 24 countries, June 14-July 2, 2003.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "Two Wrongs"


The conservative Daily Telegraph editorialized (7/1):  "Many of our readers, we suspect, will be perplexed about which side to take in the great battle between Alastair Campbell, the Director of Communications at Number 10, and the BBC.  As a guiding principle, it may help to remember Henry Kissinger's reaction to the outbreak of the Iran/Iraq war in the 1980s: 'Pity they can't both lose.'...  No one else involved seems to support the claim of the BBC's unnamed 'British official involved in the preparation of the dossier' that the document...was 'sexed up' by Downing Street....  The BBC's defense--that it had a bona fide source--does not cover it completely....  However talented the journalists, it is simply wrong for a taxpayer-funded broadcaster to abandon impartiality as the BBC did during the Iraq war.  Equally, though, it is wrong for Mr. Campbell to be leading the charge....  His purpose in his present bullying of the BBC and the Foreign Affairs Committee is to distract attention from the main accusations against him--and his master....  These concern the second dossier [which]...was not approved by senior intelligence sources, but that Mr. Campbell and Mr. Blair effectively as such....  In essence, the problem with the BBC and Mr. Campbell is the same.  Both are in positions of trust, but neither can be trusted.  This causes real anguish for a public that seeks nothing more than true reporting and good government.  The solution is that Mr. Campbell should go and that the television license fee should be abolished."


"We Are In A Mess Both At Home And Abroad"


Former Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam wrote in the center-left Independent (Internet version) (6/27):  "As members of Tony Blair's inner circle are being questioned by MPs about how Britain found itself at war with Iraq, British soldiers are still dying there trying to impose a peace.  It seems there is a mess both at home and abroad.   Watching Alastair Campbell trying to justify his actions...I was reminded of his skill in using one argument, such as attacking the BBC, to avoid another, such as the real evidence of the Iraqi threat.  I was also reminded of his extraordinary ability to make an obvious truth sound wrong....  This would appear to be the approach to the dodgy dossiers, and the even dodgier decision to go to war."


"Where The Buck Stops"


The conservative Daily Telegraph editorialized (Internet version) (6/26):  "Why, as he sought to persuade the country of his case for going to war, did Mr. Blair not even bother to satisfy himself that the document he was relying on was sound?  On February 3, Mr. Blair told the Commons, 'We issued further intelligence over the weekend....  I hope that people have some sense of the integrity of our security services....  It is the intelligence they are receiving and we are passing it on.'  It is not true that the country went to war on a false premise: Saddam did pose a real threat, not only to his own people, but also to stability and peace in the Middle East and beyond.  But that cannot excuse the fact that the Prime Minister quite clearly portrayed the second dossier to MPs as something that it was not.  He knows as much now, of course, but he has yet to apologize for it; indeed, he has yet to show any sign that he even considers it important....  In this matter, especially, the Prime Minister is responsible for the work of his subordinate."


"The Key Issue Is Why The Allies Did Not Have A Plan"


Donald Macintyre commented in the center-left Independent (6/25):  "WMD was neither the true, nor the best, reason for taking part in a war that had already been broadly agreed with George Bush.  There has been a similarly growing debate in the U.S., of course, where the administration was franker than the UK about the objective of regime change and more cavalier still about the nature of the threat.  The success of the war needs to be judged on the extent to which security, democracy and prosperity can be brought, as promised, to the country in the wake of Saddam's fall.  The real why the Allies didn't have a better plan for what happened after what was, after all, a signal military victory....  Most Iraqis are heartily glad to see the back of Saddam but most Iraqis have been baffled, frustrated and angry that the self-proclaimed 'most powerful force on earth' didn't know how to run the peace....  Those problems may be solved.  But whether they are will in the end matter more, even, than whether weapons of mass destruction are found."


"They Should Be Ashamed"


William Shawcross penned the following in the left-of-center Guardian (Internet version) (6/17):  "Tony Blair's enemies have behaved in a shocking manner over the liberation of Iraq and its elusive weapons of mass destruction.  Opponents of the war predicted all manner of disasters....  None of these horrors happened.  Instead, it is obvious that the coalition has indeed freed Iraqis from a monster and created a new reality in the Middle East--one which just might offer the region hope.  All that is unbearable to those who preferred the Saddam status quo.  So they have used the missing weapons to turn on Mr. Blair with self-righteous fury.  They declare that the war was 'a monumental blunder' (Robin Cook) and that we have been 'duped' (Clare Short).  This is opportunistic, irresponsible and self-serving rubbish.  Such weapons in the hands of rogue states or terrorists are one of the greatest threats to the world.  Throughout the 1990s the UN weapons inspectors showed that Saddam Hussein was constantly trying to create and conceal such weapons.  And over 12 years he mocked the UN, while he tyrannized and impoverished his own people.... Sadly, Mr. Cook and Ms. Short are unable to forgive Mr. Blair for seeing through the hypocrisy of the left and for allying himself on this occasion with Saddam's only effective enemy, the United States, the great Satan of the left, as well as of Islamist terrorists.  I believe that the record and subsequent investigations will show that the government and the intelligence agencies acted properly in the face of a deadly, if unquantifiable, threat from Saddam.  The record will also show that Mr. Cook and Ms. Short have behaved in a manner which should shame even them."


FRANCE:  "The Noble Mr. Blix"


Left-of-center Le Monde editorialized (7/2):  “Every day that passes confirms the hellish nature of Saddam Hussein’s regime....  But what is still lacking is proof of the existence of WMD which made Iraq an ‘imminent source of danger’ for the U.S. and its allies.  According to Washington and London this threat was so pressing that it was irresponsible to give more time to the UN inspectors....  The imperatives of war, both meteorological and political, were more pressing than the inspectors’ needs.  One man was losing the game: the Swede, Hans Blix.  Hans Blix is retiring this week.  He can leave with his head held high. He did not cheat; he did not manipulate either the proof or international opinion.  He did not misinform intentionally.  Every day that passes since the fall of Baghdad seems to support the outline that he cautiously defends today.  In violation of the UN resolutions, Iraq did possess elements of WMD, in particular a chemical and biological program.  Under the joint efforts of the inspectors and the allied military operation, Baghdad is said to have destroyed the majority of this equipment.  The last reports provided by Mr. Blix before the war suggested that Iraq, at that time, no longer represented an imminent threat....  Most probably, President Bush and PM Blair knew this.  To this date, no discovery on the ground has been found to corroborate what they claimed so blatantly.  On the contrary, everything seems to indicate that Washington and London lied.  That they willfully edited the careful and non-conclusive analyses provided by their intelligence services on the status of the Iraqi threat.  They were going to war for other reasons than WMD and did not dare to say it.  Today, Tony Blair is paying the price for his actions.  President Bush does not appear to be in the same situation, at least not yet.  The credibility of both these men has been weakened.  Mr. Blix’s credibility remains intact.”


"Manipulations Of The Blair Government"


The left-of-center Le Monde took this view (Internet version) (6/27):  "The controversy concerning the infamous 'proof' of the existence of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction...forced Alastair Campbell to emerge from the shadows....  He acknowledged publicly that this document had been written by Downing Street, and not the intelligence services....  During the parliamentary debate of 3 March, Blair had referred to this dossier in order to persuade Parliament and public opinion of the legitimacy of a war without a UN mandate.  Subsequently, the dubious report also served as a basis for the public accusations made by Secretary of State Colin Powell concerning the alleged existence of Iraqi WMD....  Above all, for the media as a whole, Blair's reputation in terms of honesty and flair has not emerged enhanced from these public hearings of ministers and senior officials.   There is a risk that the select committee's report, which is due to be published in September, might once again put on the agenda the counter-productive image of a manipulative, lying, and maneuvering government, which the prime minister is trying to undo."


GERMANY:  "Always The Others"


Center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine editorialized (6/27):  “While in Iraq partisan warfare against foreign occupation threatens to emerge, mutual recriminations are beginning in Washington concerning weapons of mass destruction.  The State Department let it be known that two trucks found some time ago in northern Iraq may not have contained mobile laboratories for biological weapons after all.  This is also directed against the CIA and the Pentagon, which had sent Secretary Powell to the UN Security Council with apparently false information on Iraqi armament activities.  General Abizaid, who will soon take over command in Iraq, said at a Senate confirmation hearing that his soldiers were not to blame.  The information about enemy positions has never been better, but unfortunately, the information about its presumed chemical weapons has been false.  American intelligence, in the meantime, is trying to repair its image by presenting success stories, though there are none.  The centrifuge just presented had been lying in the garden of an Iraqi scientist for twelve years.  Not even Saddam denied that he had pursued a nuclear program earlier.”


"WMD Hunt A Farce"


Centrist Mitteldeutsche Zeitung of Halle stated (6/25):  "The balance sheet following the Iraq war could hardly be worse....  The search for WMD is turning into a farce."


"Who Has WMD Now?"


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."


"Suspicions Grow"


Center-right Nordsee-Zeitung of Bremerhaven (6/19) argued:  "The suspicion has been strengthened that the weapons of mass destruction which the United States and Britain used as a reason to go to war will enter the history books as the biggest deceptive maneuver of the past few years.  Bush and Blair are now under increasing pressure to which they do not react in an impressive way.  Their credibility is at stake.  According to the slogan that the ends justifies the means, they refer to Saddam Hussein's ouster and think that the problem has now been settled.  But they are totally wrong."


RUSSIA:  "Bush Lies"


Vitaliy Gan held in neo-communist weekly Slovo (6/27):  "Hardly a day passes without reports from Capitol Hill tainting the seemingly untouchable image of Bush as the leader of freedom and peace, the savior of the American nation, which faced an imminent death at the hands of blood-thirsty Saddam.  The President has been a target of attacks in U.S. Congress committees, lashed out at for having deliberately and cynically lied to the people.  Never mind the missing Baghdad dictator.  Politically, it is about the Administration lying to the nation and the world."


"Putin To 'Feel Sorry' For Blair"


Andrey Kulikov had this to say in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (6/25):  "Meeting with Blair in April, Putin complained that, with WMD still not found, the (UN) inspectors were not allowed to return to Iraq. Thereby Putin suggested that the war was unjustified.  Nothing has changed in the two months that have passed since then.  As hopes for discovering WMD grow dimmer, the public becomes more critical.  It looks like a tricky situation for Tony Blair, especially now that Putin's official visit--the invitation having been extended by no one less than the Queen of England, has  coincided with committee hearings on the 'Iraqi file.'  Grin and bear it is all Blair can do under the circumstances, leaving it for Putin to 'feel sorry' for  him."


"Failure To Find WMD May Cost Bush In Popularity Ratings"


Gennadiy Sysoyev mused in reformist business-oriented Kommersant (6/18):  "If it should transpire that Saddam's deadly weapons never existed George Bush and Tony Blair would have their souring popularity ratings plummet, resulting in the Democrats winning next year's presidential election in the United States and the Conservatives regaining power in Britain.  Even worse, the opponents of the anti-Iraq coalition might demand that the outcome of the operation Shock and Awe be revised....  Relations between the political leadership and special services are unique.  Breaking those is too high a price even for intelligence about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction."


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "What Is There To Blame Bush And Blair For"


Pavel Tomasek opined in the business daily Hospodarske noviny (6/27):  "The American president and the British prime minister are facing tough criticism of domestic opponents.... to how [they] used intelligence reports have been launched in both countries....  War undertaken with the help of manipulation of public opinion represents a serious problem in liberal democracies....  [However,] questions pertaining to the future of Iraq should be asked with much greater urgency....  Many experts had warned long before the war that the after-strike administration would be a more demanding task for the Western powers than the strike itself....  If it proves that Bush and Blair intentionally confused the public, two political careers will come to an inglorious end.  And if the two fail in their efforts to renovate Iraq and Afghanistan, a great deal more will collapse."   


FINLAND:  "Blix Was Right"


Left-of-center Swedish-language Hufvudstadsbladet argued (Internet version) (6/29):  "Prior to the war against Iraq the United States succeeded in convincing many that Iraq had dangerous weapons of mass destruction and had to be disarmed.  The British prime minister even claimed that Iraq could launch an attack involving its doomsday weapons within 45 minutes.  Compared with George W. Bush and Tony Blair, last winter the leading UN weapons inspector, Hans Blix, came across as an extremely cautious public official.  He is to be pensioned off in a few days' time and honorably so--he has not needed to retract anything.  At the same time Bush and Blair are the targets of a growing number of questions--which require an answer--about the weapons of mass destruction....  Both Bush and Blair had hoped that the rapid victory would divert attention from the inadequate justifications for a war.  But the question has not gone away.  In the U.S. Congress a so-called 'hearing' on the matter is to be held.  And Tony Blair finds himself again having to answer questions about how information from a student essay could be cited as hard fact that justified an attack.  A new UN report shows that--contrary to what Bush has said--there was no link between al-Qa'ida and Iraq.  It therefore seems more likely that last fall the United States had already decided in favor of a war against Iraq regardless of any evidence that the United Nations and the weapons inspectors produced."


IRELAND:  "We Should Be Concerned About Unaccounted-For Weapons"


Retired army officer Dr. Tom Clonan wrote in the center-left Irish Times (6/26):  "Whilst the American public are as yet seemingly unconcerned with the failure of U.S. forces to locate weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, they are becoming increasingly uneasy about the rising death toll amongst troops based there....  Despite a current cost of approximately $3 billion per month to the U.S. and British governments, the question of the whereabouts of Saddam's WMD remains unanswered.  Despite some justifiable skepticism about the Blair administration's intelligence dossier on WMD there is no doubt that WMD remain unaccounted for in Iraq....  For the moment, the U.S., British and Iraqi people are paying the human and fiscal price for this ongoing search.  In time however, if such materials get into the wrong hands, we and some of our skeptical European neighbors may pay a much higher price.”


PORTUGAL:  "Iraq Is Also Our Responsibility"


Jose Pacheco Pereira contended in influential, moderate-left daily Publico (Internet version) (6/26): "I and other people who intervene in the public domain, defended--for different reasons which we explained--a military intervention in Iraq.  We did not all have the same reason but you do not support a war light-heartedly....  That is why I think we have a particular responsibility, in view of what is happening in Iraq today....  Now that the war is over, and some time has passed, weapons of mass destruction have still not been found.  There is only a small number of possibilities for this....  It is too early to draw conclusions, but a conclusion must surely be drawn....  Of would be far less serious if it was a crisis caused by poor information rather than a deliberate mistake.  In this case, even if it did not legitimize 'a posteriori' many of the anti-coalition positions, it would place the supporters of the USA and Britain in a position of useful idiots and their leaders in a illegitimate position in democracy.  It is the duty of those who supported the coalition to demand full clarification of the situation."




ISRAEL:  "The Common Denominator Between Sharon, Bush And Blair"


Meretz Knesset Member Yossi Sarid wrote in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (6/17):  "This time, the Israeli intelligence community didn't dictate the pace of the march to war, but even Israel's leaders and the members of Israeli intelligence...swore that Iraq was full of WMD--ready for launching 'within 45 minutes.'...  This country's nerves were wracked for many months...and at this time it is unclear why.  Only to cover up George Bush's side, so that he could thank Israel when the time was right?  This can't be."


EGYPT:  "Weapons Of Mass Deception"


Leading opposition liberal Wafd senior editor Nabil Zaki commented (6/30):  “The secrets of this huge lie [about WMD] is unfolding.  This lie was used to justify the aggressive war, and the occupation of another country.  The problem is that the same lie is being used again to justify aggression on another country unless an objective international body proves that Bush intentionally lied to pass his aggressive project.”




AUSTRALIA:  "The Weapons That Weren't"


The Australian Financial Review took this view (Internet version) (6/14):  "Perhaps the weapons of mass destruction will turn up.  They will need to, as the credibility of three governments, Australia's included, is now hostage to this issue."


CHINA:  "Truth And Credibility Blown Apart"


Chong Zi commented in the official English-language newspaper China Daily (7/2):  “The White House and 10 Downing Street owe their countries and the whole world an explanation on where Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) are.  The U.S. administration’s arrogantly crafted script is unraveling.  The international credibility of American assertions based on military intelligence are now of zero value.”


JAPAN:  "Iraq WMD Impasse Tests Legitimacy Of Tokyo's Stand"


Yasuhiro Tase penned this for business-oriented Nihon Keizai Shimbun (6/30):  "U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the victorious duo of the Iraq War, and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who supported them, all came to power with little experience in diplomacy and played crucial roles at a turning point in history as they concerned themselves with the war.  Now they are busy striving to win their respective domestic policy games.  To the immense discomfiture of Blair, none of the weapons of mass destruction [WMD] Iraq was believed to be hoarding have turned up....  Moreover...the government is embroiled in suspicions that it manipulated a report to parliament to bolster the case for invading Iraq.  Charges of similar intelligence rigging are rampant in the United States as well, but without sufficient force to make a dent in popular support for Bush.  Japan, like the United Kingdom, backed the war on the grounds that Iraq possessed WMD, so the failure thus far to find the weaponry is putting the Koizumi government in an awkward position....  That Koizumi survived unscathed is due in part to his high approval rating but also to the sense among the Japanese public that by supporting the war Japan gained in terms of its relationship with the United States....  Japan is aligning itself with the United States to shore up its fading presence in the international community."


INDONESIA:  "British Leader Also Strongly Criticized On Iraq Issue"


Leading independent Kompas contended (6/28):  “From afar we get the message that regardless of the political objective of any government, honestly telling the reasons for making any decision will reduce the risk in the future.  What is developing in London and Washington D.C. today regarding the verification of Saddam Hussein’s WMD serves as a blunt example.”


"U.S. Government Credibility Being Tested"


Leading independent Kompas contended (6/25):  "The Bush government must address the challenges to prove the existence of WMD.  Otherwise, its credibility will deteriorate even further....  We can imagine what other kinds of criticism the Democratic presidential candidates would launch if the issue were not to be addressed soon."


MALAYSIA:  "Bush, Friends Are Unwilling To Admit Having Lied"


A. Ghani Nasir maintained in government-influenced Berita Harian (Internet version) (6/27):  "Where are Iraq's weapons of mass destruction [WMD] hidden?...  The U.S. forces will continue with efforts to locate the WMD for as long as it takes, said [Defense Secretary Donald] Rumsfeld, who is President George W. Bush's right hand man.  Rumsfeld has been repeating these words over and over, so that he is backed by Bush, who now forecasts that perhaps Iraq must have hidden or transferred the chemical and biological weapons, and barrels containing toxic gas to another country.  But the strange thing is that Bush still refuses to admit that he has been twisting facts and lied about Iraq's WMD.  The unfounded accusations about Saddam keeping WMD was Bush's main topic in his national addresses....  However, after occupying Iraq for three months, the United States and Britain have still failed to locate any kind of WMD.  Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair are facing escalating criticism for having lied to their respective citizens and the world with fabricated pretexts to attack Iraq....  Actually, Saddam's son-in-law, Hussein Kamel revealed all the materials on chemical weapons and toxins possessed by Iraq.  But Bush did not mention the part where Hussein Kamel confessed that all of them were destroyed at the beginning of the 1990's."




Columnist Conrado de Quiros held in the widely read Philippine Daily Inquirer (6/30):  "Watergate, which brought a president of the United States into utter disgrace, arose because of one thing: the president lied.  And so brought the nation to shame.  George W. Bush has done even worse.  He has lied.  And so brought the nation to war.  Nixon was impeached because he did.  Bush continues to enjoy public support notwithstanding that he did.  Then the American public thought a president who lies cannot be counted upon to do anything right.  Today the public believes that a president who lies can be counted upon to bring democracy to another country."




INDIA:  "U.S. Intransigence Grows"


The Guwahati English left-of-center Sentinel held (6/30):  "The Bush administration and the Blair Government in Britain are today caught pants down in Iraq over the much-hyped WMD issue, as the U.S. Senate, the Pentagon, the CIA, the Intelligence department and all other wings of the U.S. administration which matter, are mired in a nasty blame game over the issue."


"Where Are Those Weapons?"


The independent Nadeem Urdu daily editorialized (6/18):  "The intensified public questioning in both the U.S. and the UK of the very rationale of imposing war on Iraq, has thoroughly exposed the lie, fraud and deception that formed the basis of Bush-Blair campaign.  President Bush was saying again and again that the U.S. would ultimately unearth the truth about the WMD in Iraq.  Given the fact that no such weapons have been found during the inspection conducted under UN supervision and even after U.S. occupation, one can easily understand what the American President really means.  The U.S. can very well 'import' its own biological weapons and then 'unearth' it in Iraq to silence the global objection to the aggression.  The leadership that is unashamed of speaking lies to its own people and fraudulently distorting facts to mislead the world, can go to any extent in its immoral pursuit of selfish interests."


"Blair In Trouble"


Pro-BJP Pratap Urdu daily argued (6/16):  "The world community is ultimately waking up to the forgery, falsification and distortion of truth committed by the two war-monger administrations in Washington and London to whip up domestic public sentiments and incite their legislatures to support the military campaign against Iraq.  More and more people both in the U.S .and the UK are questioning the credibility of their governments' claims that Iraq under Saddam Hussein posed a security threat to them and to the world....  The whole structure of allegations raised by the CIA and other American and British agencies was actually based on sheer fiction, forgery and lies.  The CIA report about Iraq's weapons program, submitted by the Bush administration to get the Congress approval for the war plan, is now said to be based on totally false and baseless information.  Various international experts have challenged the claims earlier made about discovering facilities for manufacturing biological weapons.  Both Bush and Blair may have to pay heavy political price as the evidence gathers to expose their conspiracy for misleading the world in order to wage a war on fictitious ground in pursuit of their own selfish agenda.  Especially, in Britain, Blair is facing increasingly scathing criticism for misleading the country and blindly believing the Americans."


"Deceiving The World, Bush-Blair Style"


The independent Suasat published these remarks by columnist M. T. Khan (6/16):  "The way George Bush and his tagtail Tony Blair deliberately misled the world to carry out their planned aggression against Iraq is one of the most tragic examples in human history.  Applying all kinds of fraudulent tactics, an absolutely unjustified war was imposed on Iraq, extensively destroying and murdering thousands of its people merely to implement the imperialist designs of the U.S.-UK combine.  The U.S.-imposed war on Afghanistan and then Iraq also uncovered the ugly face of prejudiced Western media.  The reporting of the two wars fully exposed the Western media as biased and unreliable, a fact now being recognized by certain political circles in the West as well."


PAKISTAN:  "The Men Who Cried Wolf"


Mahir Ali commented in the Karachi-based center-left independent national English daily, Dawn (Internet version) (6/25):  "Shock, horror!  It turns out that the unelected leader of the free world and the more obsequious of his minions lied to their people and to the rest of the world.  Saddam Hussein, they insisted, would love nothing better than to lob missiles loaded with chemical or biological compounds at London or Washington.     And rest assured, they said, that he possesses these weapons of mass destruction (WMD).  We have, they said, incontrovertible intelligence....  If there's anything surprising about the parliamentary inquiry in London and somewhat less vociferous questions being raised in Washington and Canberra about the case for war made by the British, U.S. and Australian governments, it's the fact that anyone should be surprised by the failure of the occupation forces in Iraq to discover any traces of chemical or biological weapons, let alone a nuclear program....  Donald Rumsfeld, who has lately transferred his attention from Iraq to Iran, now says that Saddam's WMD may never be found....  And apologists for the Bush administration continue to propound the theory that if no WMD are found, it can only mean that Saddam and his scientists were able to destroy them on the eve of the invasion.  They are undeterred by the obvious lack of logic in that presumption....  The next line of argument is: to hell with the weapons, isn't it enough that Saddam's regime has come to an end?  Well, it's hard to be sure that the more than 5,000 civilians and tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers killed in the conflict would agree with that assessment....   Bald-faced lies are a relatively inconsequential part of the western arsenal compared to the warheads.  Bush isn't by any means the first U.S. president to dissemble, and he won't be the last.  The problem is that the coterie surrounding him has set its sights on global domination.  Its goal must be thwarted, and it would help, for starters, if the governments in London and Canberra stopped treating the received wisdom from Washington as the gospel truth."


"Saving The World"


Ayaz Amir penned this in the Karachi-based center-left independent national English daily, Dawn (6/20):  "The Bush administration today is not simply an American problem but a threat to world peace, a far bigger threat than Al-Qaeda....  The Bushites wanted a war and the only question was against whom.  When the focus shifted to Iraq, there was no way Saddam could have avoided a war....  And as we are increasingly seeing, it was certainly not about weapons of mass destruction (WMD).  None have been found simply because there weren't any to find....  None of this is really the fault of the American people.  They were conned into this war just as they were conned into the Bush presidency by their own Supreme Court.  The vast majority of Americans are not even aware of the neo-con right-wingers who wield power in Washington and who've written this administration's agenda....  The U.S. is the most hated country in the world today, not because of the American people, but the arrogance and hubris of the guys dressed up as warriors and running the show in Washington."


"Iran And U.S."


The centrist national English daily, The News (6/18):  "The IAEA's claims of Iran not honoring agreements became the basis for allegations of Iran having WMD  This time round the U.S. must allow the IAEA to complete its task of inspection--unlike Iraq, where the U.S. and Britain did not allow the UN weapons inspectors sufficient time.  The result was that after practically destroying Iraq and killing hundreds of people, both the U.S. and Britain failed to find any incriminating WMD the raison d'être that led to the war."




CANADA:  "Liberal Left Lacks Understanding Of WMD"


Lance Irvine opined in the Regina Leader Post (Internet version) (6/21):  "All the decision to remove Saddam required was (a) that he had weapons of mass destruction (WMD) technology, and (b) that he had a track record of using them.  Yes on both counts, especially since his bid to lead radical Islam depends upon WMD.  Nobody is going to find loaded WMD artillery shells or rockets lying about, because chemical and biological weapons deteriorate rapidly and have to be used at once.  Thus the mobile labs....  Having been wrong in their predictions of Vietnam and Stalingrad in Baghdad, 3.5 million dead in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and the Arab world in flames, the root-causers have no option but to fall back on a legalistic harping on the missing WMD to rescue their credibility.  If any weapons are found, the claim will be that they were planted.  The hopeless ignorance of the crisis of radical Islam within a medieval culture remains.  The challenge of beginning the evolution of Islam toward an essential modern Reformation will fall on others, and the liberal left will have missed out on the greatest opportunity to contribute to social change in over a century.  Intellectual bankruptcy doesn't advance civilization."


"Believing The Worst"


New York based columnist Richard Hétu commented on the front page of the centrist La Presse (6/15):  "The pillage of the Baghdad Museum was much less dramatic than what could have been feared, but the pillage of the Iraqi archeological sites is still going on in several areas.   And there is still the nagging matter of the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) that challenges the credibility of the Bush administration.  In fact where are those banned weapons that were used to justify the war in Iraq?  As was the case for the Baghdad Museum, the international community is ready to believe the worst.  If no banned weapon has yet been found in Iraq, it's because President Bush and his advisors exaggerated or manipulated the information provided by intelligence services.  The accusation is serious but the trial is less so.  Everything is happening as if the American president and his ally Tony Blair from Great Britain had been the only ones to worry about Saddam Hussein's weapons....  Saddam Hussein's regime acted as if had something to hide.  And the Bush administration wanted the world to believe the worst, saying Baghdad had made ties with Al Qaida and bought uranium in Africa to relaunch its nuclear program.  Is this scandal worse than Watergate as some critics of the Bush administration allege?  If there is an exaggeration or a manipulation it surely is in sync with the times."


ARGENTINA:  "Iraq And The WMD"


Daily-of-record La Nacion editorialized (6/25):  "The truth is that while the Iraqi WMD are not found...many doubts will float over this serious issue....  Inspector Hans Blix...thinks the U.S. pressured him in an unreasonable way.  Even worse, he thinks the U.S. believes the UN is a sort of foreign power that it would love 'to see disappearing at the bottom of the East River without any trace.'  If it turned out to be true that exaggeration and even falseness were used, the image of the USG will be seriously affected.  And, from now on, it will not find it easy to justify an action like the one undertaken in Iraq somewhere else--neither in North Korea nor in Iran, certainly.  Both crises, which now seem to be the focus of concerns related to international peace and security, should be handled with the largest legitimacy and transparency without any obstacle that could generate mistrust in the international community."


BRAZIL:  "Post-War Reality In Iraq Threatens Bush"


Business-oriented Valor Economico editorialized (7/2):  "The U.S. public is beginning to show signs that its goodwill toward President Bush may be eroding....  If U.S. soldier casualties continue to increase, the WMD are not found and Saddam remains free, the opposition to Bush will have more solid grounds for attacking his policy in Iraq....  Bush may have to pay the price for decisions that have clearly alienated the U.S. from the international community and bestowed privileges on the U.S. elite, to the detriment of most of the population.  Despite the fact that reelection is the White House's absolute priority, Bush may meet the same fate his father met."   


"The Abuses Of The Bush Administration"


Center-right O Estado de S. Paulo editorialized (6/18):  "For the international community, the most frightening face of the U.S today is its overwhelming power and unilateralism which, so far, has led to the war against Iraq....  This is America under Bush.  On the one hand, it fabricates evidence that says an enemy country has WMD and is connected to terrorist groups, so that it can justify invading said country in a maneuver that institutionalizes lying as a political tool.  On the other hand, it behaves as if the legal rights viewed by generations of Americans as sacrosanct had been banned."


MEXICO:  "Where Was That Little Bomb?"


Former Undersecretary for UN Affairs Miguel Marín Bosch argued in the left-of-center Jornada (6/26):  “The U.S. and the UK decided to go to war even without authorization from members of the UN Security Council; one of their strongest arguments was the existence of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).  With this argument, Blair convinced his Parliament.  Two months after the occupation of Iraq, the forces of the coalition, headed by the U.S. and the UK, have not found convincing evidence that Saddam Hussein had--on the eve of the attacks--WMD....  At that time, Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, said it would be easy to find such weapons and that surely more than one Iraqi scientist would confirm their existence.  After the war, we are told that perhaps Hussein destroyed them before the invasion.  Bush has suggested that perhaps the laboratories could have been looted by Iraqi citizens.  It was precisely to avoid having WMD fall into someone’s hands--such as terrorists groups--that led to the attack on Iraq.  Little by little criticism is growing of what without a doubt was a deception on the part of leaders of the coalition.  Blair seems to be more vulnerable than Bush.  Only time will tell what political costs each one will pay."


COLOMBIA:  "It’s Not Another Vietnam But..."


Top national daily El Tiempo editorialized (6/28):  “The deterioration of Iraq’s situation and the controversy over the weapons have had no effect on Bush’s popularity nor on support from the Americans for the invasion.  It was justified because it put an end to Saddam Hussein's perverse regime....  The patriotic feeling and the rejection of terrorism that empowered the United States after 9/11, overshadows all criticism or doubt over their Government's performance.”


ECUADOR:  "War, Lies, And Videotape"


Gonzalo Maldonado contended in Quito's leading centrist El Comercio (6/17):  "Some experts maintain that the size of Iraqi territory will require more than two months to be inspected and that the so-called 'smoking-gun'--the irrefutable evidence that Hussein's regime was in fact a threat to world peace--will take longer than initially expected....  Such categorical statements to justify a war of such serious repercussions for millions of innocent Iraqis must be duly investigated, cannot be forgotten, nor ignored....  That cloud of uncertainty now lurking over the legitimacy of the war against Iraq must be duly dissipated by the leaders of the countries that supported the armed incursion.  The credibility of the U.S., Great Britain, and Spain are at stake, and with them, the existence of the present world order that might fracture forever if facts demonstrate that intelligence reports about Hussein's military capacity were exaggerated and the citizens' fear was exploited to initiate a war that was not really necessary."


"Where Are The Weapons?"


Peter Schenkel opined in Quito's center-left Hoy (6/14):  "The U.S. invaded Iraq alleging it possessed chemical, biological, and even nuclear weapons that threatened world peace and could end up in the hands of terrorists....  However, until now, nothing has been found and Bush and Blair are in dire straits....  There is the possibility that (Hussein) ordered their destruction, but it not very probable.  What is more likely is that they hid them very well for the purpose of embarrassing the Americans and the British, and to have them ready for another occasion....  But there is an even more terrifying scenario.  It is possible that terrorist elements have taken advantage of the chaos, looting what remained at the end of the war and getting hold of those weapons....  This scenario has U.S. and British experts seriously worried."


JAMAICA:  "A Tangled Web"


Regular columnist Wayne Brown wrote in the centrist, business-oriented Sunday Observer (6/15):  ”Colin Powell may have disgraced himself before the Security Council by peddling the lies his boss was determined to retail about Saddam hoarding X thousand tons of poisonous this and Y thousand barrels of lethal that; but talk about a WMD program no longer has to produce the great bulk of those awkward toxins.  Hell, if two pristine trailers can be proffered to the world, by the most powerful man in the world, as 'weapons of mass destruction', then surely half-a-dozen computer files, or two notebooks with equivocal formulae scribbled in them, can--and no doubt in due course will--be held up as proof of a WMD 'program'.  QED!  Why aren't more Americans cringing in shame at being represented by such a disgrace of a man?"


TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO:  "Post-Mortems Of War"


Fr. Henry Charles observed in the business-oriented Trinidad Guardian (6/23):  "So where are the WMD?  After more than two months of searching, all that has been found are two tractor trailers, which, according to very recent statements of British researchers, were not and could not be used as weapons laboratories....  So, with pretenses paraded as reasons and popular anxiety spun into clear and present danger, a campaign was undertaken whose larger purposes are still not clear to anyone.  What's clear, for the moment anyway, is that the British are more upset than the Americans.  It's not an issue in American politics....  Domestically, the war remains a success.  But going to war was wrong for several reasons.  There was no imminent threat (which appears now even more clearly validated); there was no proper authority; and it was not a last resort.  The war had several good outcomes: political representation for the Iraqi people, an end of torture and totalitarianism, and some immediate brake on terrorism, but these desirable features do not on balance justify the morality of the war....  This is as far from the posturing of officials on either side of the Atlantic as one can imagine."


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