- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 19, 2002

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Daily Telegraph

Prisoners at Guantanamo

LONDON The United States is likely to find the treatment of al Qaeda and Taliban fighters captured in Afghanistan even more controversial than the military campaign itself.

Donald H. Rumsfeld, the defense secretary, says that members of neither group deserve to be designated prisoners of war because they fought without wearing military uniform. That is a slightly dubious definition in a country where many of Washington's enemies and allies prefer to do battle in civilian garb.

More persuasive is the United States' right, under the third Geneva Convention, to designate prisoners as "unlawful combatants." Whatever their status, those detained are entitled under the conventions to "basic, humane treatment."

It is now for the International Committee of the Red Cross to register the detainees and investigate the conditions under which they are being held.

In dealing with the Taliban and al Qaeda, the Americans are in uncharted legal waters. The Americans have borne the brunt of confronting a radical form of Islam. After the unprecedented horror of September 11, they are entitled to consider extraordinary countermeasures, including the execution of those found guilty.

Corriere della Sera

The Enron bankruptcy

MILAN, Italy Some have attributed President George W. Bush's fainting episode to "Enron related stress." This reasoning is unjustified. It has become clear that the Enron scandal has tainted both Republicans and Democrats. During former President Bill Clinton's administration, Enron financed the Democrats; when the company realized that the White House would pass to Mr. Bush, it embraced the Republicans. The investigation under way could implicate both parties.

Ralph Nader wonders whether the bipartisan nature of the scandal will impede justice from being done. Certainly, Enron will pay dearly for the false accounting and illegal insider trading profits. As will its auditors Arthur Andersen for destroying documents.

The White House may be called to account for any favors granted to Enron in exchange for election campaign donations. But the American public will announce the true verdict on the matter during next fall's congressional elections. In the meantime, to show some credibility, Mr. Bush should promote campaign financing reform.


A pocketful of euros

PARIS Two weeks after it was launched with fanfare, we can say without risk of being contradicted: The euro is in our pockets. The most extraordinary thing is that the collective conversion of 305 million Europeans to a single currency took place calmly. It was almost a nonevent, a huge failure for the euro-phobes who had dreamed of a monetary Titanic.

The people of the European Union have demonstrated that they are pragmatic and modern enough to no longer invest part of their identity in the bank notes and coins of their sacred national currency.

Asahi Shimbun

Italy's EU commitment

TOKYO Renato Ruggiero, Italy's pro-European Union foreign minister, has quit abruptly amid growing friction with others in Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's Cabinet over its EU policy, prompting Mr. Berlusconi to name himself interim foreign minister.

In the wake of Mr. Ruggiero's resignation, other European nations are concerned about Italy's commitment to the EU agenda.

Italy's leaders need to review the broader perspective to realize the affluence of Italians is built upon the vast common market that is Europe.

To make Italy less skeptical about the EU, other nations of Europe need to stop criticizing Italy and respond calmly to the anti-EU rhetoric. The EU needs to press organizational reform before taking in new members from 2004, as planned. That would be impossible without Italy's cooperation.

Mr. Berlusconi, by doubling as his nation's foreign minister, is bound to have more opportunities to attend EU meetings in months ahead. Other European leaders are responsible for trying harder to exchange views with Mr. Berlusconi in the forums of EU foreign ministers and heads of state to attain a common recognition of the values and advantages of European integration.

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