- The Washington Times - Friday, April 14, 2006

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Daily Yomiuri

The patriotism debate

TOKYO — The discussion within the ruling coalition over whether “patriotism” should be defined as to “love” the nation or to “treasure” the nation ended Wednesday when a coalition task force agreed on the definition to be incorporated in revising the Fundamental Law of Education.

Now that the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito have settled the issue among themselves, they need to submit the bill to the Diet soon, so it can be passed into law during the current session.

The definition the task force agreed on reads: “to cultivate a mind that respects tradition and culture, loves the nation and homeland that have fostered them, and at the same time respects other countries and contributes to international peace and development.”

The current law, enacted in 1947 [during the U.S. occupation], contains many expressions that talk of respecting the dignity of the individual, but makes no reference to fostering a sense of public duty. Ever since it was enacted, critics have said it would encourage a selfish way of living and lack of consideration among members of society.

Financial Times

Bush’s Iraq leaks

LONDON — The revelation that George W. Bush approved the leak of classified information about Iraq’s chimerical nuclear program is unlikely to snowball into another Watergate. Mr. Bush’s contention that anything the president says (or leaks) is declassification by other means — and therefore legal — might just be tenable. Yet it is hardly credible.

Mr. Bush approved the selective leak in July 2003 of a portion of the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate in an attempt to discredit allegations he had misused intelligence to bolster the case for invading Iraq. The leak was exposed last week in documents submitted by the prosecution in the trial of Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, who is accused of lying about another leak in which the name of a serving CIA officer was disclosed.

The officer, Valerie Plame, is married to Joseph Wilson, who had been sent in 2002 to Niger to ascertain whether Saddam Hussein had sought to buy uranium. Mr. Wilson found no evidence of a secret Iraqi nuclear program. His decision to publicize this in July 2003 — three months after the invasion — coincided with growing awareness that the U.S. was unlikely to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Mr. Bush is hardly the first U.S. president to leak classified information for short-term political gain. So we cannot — like inspector Renault in “Casablanca” — profess to being “shocked, shocked” to learn that in the Wilson case, Mr. Bush was not motivated by the desire to further America’s national interest.

However, Mr. Bush has staked his public persona on being a plain-speaking kind of guy. “Whether you agree with me or not, you know where I stand,” he told the electorate in 2004. The public, less than half of which now describe Mr. Bush as “honest” in opinion polls, is aware of the fact the president recently launched a campaign to stop the culture of leaking in Washington. Officials in numerous departments have taken polygraphs in the hunt to find who was behind numerous leaks, including the administration’s decision to conduct wiretaps without informing the courts.

Mr. Bush will probably shrug off opposition charges of hypocrisy. But the outlook would alter drastically if the Democrats gained control of one or both houses of Congress at elections in November. Should that happen, it is a sure bet Democrats would use their subpoena powers to get officials to testify about the alleged misuse of intelligence in the buildup to war. On Sunday, Arlen Specter, a senior Republican senator, called on Mr. Bush to come clean about the leaks. One way Mr. Bush could respond while also pre-empting a Democratic backlash would be to call on the Senate to resume its inquiry into the manipulation of intelligence before the war. The inquiry was shelved in 2004 because of fears it might hinder Mr. Bush’s re-election. Now would be a good time for the Senate to resume its work.

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