- The Washington Times - Friday, June 27, 2003

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Yomiuri Shimbun

Afghan President Hamid Karzai

TOKYO — The track record of Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s administration over the past year clearly shows the difficulty in rebuilding a country that has been ravaged by war.

Although progress has been made in some areas, such as a return of refugees and the resumption of education for girls, overall the administration is still unable to function as a national government with regard to such core functions as military, finance and security matters.

The Karzai administration is a transitional government. According to the timetable agreed upon by various Afghan factions, a constitutional loya jirga, or grand council, is to be convened by the end of the year and a new constitution adopted. This is to be followed next year by a general election that will establish a new government.

Time is running out. If Afghanistan is to be reconstructed according to the agreed timetable, the Karzai administration will have to exhibit strong leadership and institute more self-help measures.

The Guardian

Getting Saddam Hussein

LONDON — Saddam Hussein has now been killed three times by U.S. forces in Iraq — unless they missed him and he is still alive. That seems to be the situation after the latest “strike” last week on a convoy of vehicles somewhere near the Syrian border. As always, it is a confused story. The Pentagon will not say whether the attack was the result of intelligence or was just launched on a hunch. It is not confirmed whether Syrian border guards were killed or wounded during the action. The convoy may or may not have included a party of smugglers. What is clear is that the U.S. feels entitled to launch a Hellfire missile whenever it sees some unidentified vehicles heading for Syria. The message is that Ba’athists, smugglers or ordinary travelers should all beware.

What seems lost in Washington’s post-strike inquiry is any scruple as to whether the U.S. is justified in behaving this way. It is not just that, once more, innocent Iraqis may lose their lives because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time, or that the desert is not a free-fire zone. The aim of the war, Mr. Bush reiterated time and again in the run-up, was to “bring to justice” the Iraqi leader and his associates. Many Iraqi civilians in recent weeks have also raised their own demand that their former rulers should be brought to account. 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.

Corriere della Sera

Genetically modified crops

MILAN, Italy — [On Tuesday], for example, while basking in applause from both managers from Monsanto and American farmers at the Biotechnology Industry Organization, Bush became serious — his small eyes fixed on the audience — and explained: “For the sake of a continent threatened by famine, I urge the European governments to end their opposition to biotechnology.” The president’s improbable concern for hunger in Africa must be taken seriously. It is a sign that we have reached the point where the U.S., as with the war in Iraq, is not looking to compromise.

Obviously, the interests of the multinationals that produce genetically modified organisms (GMOs) weigh heavily in Bush’s words. But to look only at this is a mistake. Bush also cares about American farmers whose exports are obstructed by the EU moratorium. The moratorium has already affected a number of African states, who, although impoverished, refuse to cross breed their crops for fear of losing European consumers. To the practical mind of President Bush, European caution is simply another protective measure, designed to keep our markets as closed as possible.

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