- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 24, 2001

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

The Times
On the killing of journalists
LONDON The death of four journalists in Afghanistan, confirmed late yesterday, highlights the deadly risks that war reporters routinely take as part of their job. It is glibly said, on the occasion of war, that "truth is the first casualty." This is not necessarily true, but what certainly is the case is that the free flow of information, the sole means of offering an additional and independent perspective view on events, is a precious commodity and one that should be defended.
The truth is that while war reporting is often portrayed as a glamorous profession, it is, always, dangerous work conducted in the most miserable of conditions.
It is a strange war indeed where more journalists seem to have been killed than, so far, either American or British soldiers. Seven reporters have been killed inside Afghanistan so far and, unfortunately, it would be no surprise if more followed. It takes a special kind of low-key courage to look this sort of desolate death in the face. Those who have it deserve to be remembered with a special respect.

The Independent
On Colin L. Powell's proposal to restart the Middle East peace process:
LONDON There are times in diplomacy when both sides can benefit from straight talking from an honest broker, and that is what the U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, offered to the Israelis and Palestinians yesterday. He spoke of the "hard compromises" that both sides would have to take, he singled out the intractable problem of Jerusalem, and he announced the appointment of two individuals, one a State Department official and the other a former military associate of Mr. Powell, to be responsible for getting talks restarted. On the face of it, these proposals mark the first serious attempt by America to resuscitate the moribund Middle East peace process since Bill Clinton's last-ditch effort last year. Whether anything comes of Mr. Powell's initiative depends on the willingness of the Israelis and the Palestinians to accept compromises that they rejected before.

Egyptian Gazette
On President Bush's peace promises:
CAIRO In his recent address to the U.N. General Assembly, U.S. President George W. Bush reiterated his backing for the creation of the Palestinian state and mentioned the name "Palestine" nine times. This verbal support came a few days after he had snubbed Palestinian President Yasser Arafat by refusing to meet with him.
By keeping Arafat at bay, Bush continues to cast doubt on his Middle East agenda. Although such a meeting would be symbolic of the sought-after U.S. role as an honest peace broker, talks between Bush and Arafat would not be an end in themselves.
What is baffling, however, is Washington's failure to match words with deeds to make sense of its newfound backing for a state of Palestine.
Washington is not unaware of Israeli tactics. All the same, the U.S. is hesitating to show enough firmness. But the true fact about the Middle East problem is that it needs far more than sweet words if it is to be resolved.

Il Messaggero
On the price placed on Osama bin Laden's head:
ROME The decision to once again declare a price on Osama bin Laden's head, a bounty as high as $25 million for whomever takes him dead or alive, has appeared to many Europeans to be the sign of a typically American mentality, an attempt to force Texan customs on an entirely different world.
Even Tony Blair turned up his nose when Bush used the expression "dead or alive," explaining that the "prince of terror" should receive a trial similar to that of Milosevic.
But, given the traditions and reality of Afghanistan, the American approach seems more realistic, even if it is a realism as harsh as the conditions in which the Afghan people live.
The bounty offer is not aimed toward individual Afghans but toward the heads of the tribes and groups that returned to power in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban regime.
The goal is that of effectively enlisting these armed factions, even as they carry on a bloody rivalry, and offering a hefty compensation to those that may get their hands on the body of the man that hit the heart of America.


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