- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 2, 2002

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

El Pais
The pope and divorce
MADRID The Church is free to defend, with the full liberty guaranteed by the democratic state, its position in favor of the insolubility of marriage and against divorce. It can even do so with arguments that don't take into account the profound social evolution that has taken place in this area. It is also within its right to demand of the faithful that marriage be observed in accordance with church doctrine. But if the church appeals to basic powers of the state, such as judges, to apply or not to apply divorce laws in a certain way, it abandons its territory that of God and invades that of Caesar the state. This is no laughing matter. Any other organization doing the same would be considered subversive.

Le Figaro
Bush's ties to Enron
PARIS The message from the State of the Union address rang out like a bugle call. George W. Bush celebrated the American victory in the war against terrorism and promised success in the battle against the economic crisis.
Yet the Enron affair is there as a reminder that in the history of the White House, there are often glitches that mar even the most brilliant presidencies.
Five months after the September 11 terrorist attacks, the polls give the president an approval rating of around 80 percent
But to invoke executive privilege to refuse the legislature's questions is a bad omen. Yet that's what Vice President Dick Cheney has just done
Every time that the White House tries to hide behind executive privilege, it's only stalling Richard Nixon in Watergate; Ronald Reagan who sold arms to Iran to get U.S. hostages out of Libya; Bill Clinton in his sexual scandal with Monica Lewinsky
All of them wound up submitting to questioning before congressional commissions

The Citizen
Caged at Guantanamo
JOHANNESBURG Despite its overwhelming military victory against the Taliban in Afghanistan, the U.S. risks losing a propaganda war over its treatment of 158 captives from that conflict.
No one expects the detainees to be treated with kid gloves at Camp X-Ray at the U.S. Naval Base, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Indeed there will be considerable public support, especially in America, for them to be given a hard time. We too have no sympathy for them. They're probably being better looked after than they deserve.
However, the U.S. is courting international criticism by labeling them "illegal combatants" a newly invented category. It seems a transparently deliberate ploy to avoid according them any rights under the Geneva Convention as prisoners of war.
The world's only superpower, now playing supercop, doesn't need to tarnish its image with these word games.

Yediot Ahronot
Overthrow Arafat?
TEL AVIV The United States and Israel sometimes forget that this is not a popularity contest and one cannot always choose one's partner. Anyone who is taking steps, direct or indirect, to overthrow [Palestinian leader Yasser] Arafat must answer the question: What will happen on the morning after. If the fall of Arafat throws this region into a tailspin of violence, it will not be Bush who pays the price.

The Egyptian Gazette
The U.S. and the Palestinians
CAIRO The odds are increasingly stacked against Palestinian President Yasser Arafat. Confined to his headquarters in the West Bank town of Ramallah, he is now the target of a vociferous American campaign which unfairly and harshly blames him for the deterioration in the Middle East.
Washington, supposedly an honest broker in the now stalled peace process, has blatantly sided with [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon, who for the past three months has been intensifying his military and economic clampdown on the Palestinians.
The Israeli premier is himself a dyed-in-the-wool terrorist, and faces the prospect of standing trial at a Belgian court for his involvement in the 1982 massacres at Sabra and Chatilla, which claimed the lives of hundreds of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

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