- The Washington Times - Friday, December 19, 2003

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Ilta-Sanomat

Good news from Iraq

HELSINKI — The capture of Iraqi despot Saddam Hussein is the first good news in a long time out of Iraq for the United States and Britain, whose governments have drifted into growing domestic political problems caused by the bad security in Iraq and the proven weak grounds for going to war.

The propaganda value of Saddam’s capture, however, could vanish if there is no significant improvement in the security situation in Iraq.

Osama bin Laden managed to give the Americans the slip in Afghanistan, and had Saddam done “an Osama,” it would have been an additional humiliation for the Americans. It would have led to uncomfortable questions about the relative effectiveness of the world’s most efficient war machine.

Saddam’s arrest does not change the problematic relations between the various ethnic and religious groups in Iraq.

Unless these are solved satisfactorily, there is no hope of a bright future for Iraq.

Guardian

Why capital punishment?

LONDON — Britain … has rightly abolished the death penalty; so too have all EU members. Britain has consistently lobbied against continued use of capital punishment in the United States and other countries. … Yet why is this “abolitionist” government now apparently prepared to countenance the future use of the death penalty in Iraq against Saddam and others? … It seems content to allow an inexperienced, untested panel of five Iraqi judges, set up under U.S. guidance in Baghdad, to handle what may prove to be the most internationally significant prosecutions since Nuremberg. … This is not just about making Saddam pay. It is about delivering justice to a whole nation and, indeed, a whole region, in a spirit not of vengeance, but of impeccable, exemplary legality and legitimacy. This must be seen to be done right. The last thing Iraq needs is another corpse — or a martyr.

Bergens Tidende

Collapse of EU summit

BERGEN, Norway — Reports of the European Union’s death are greatly exaggerated, but descriptions of how difficult it is to create an EU ring true. We shouldn’t be surprised. As if Americans getting together to create the United States wasn’t hard enough, a group of countries tried to get together and create the United States of Europe. …

Member countries disagree on the final product, what the EU should be. Every EU country is fighting for its place, its share of EU power. …

Big countries faced off with small ones. The proposed constitution caused conflicts in all directions.

But it may not be a disaster that the constitutional conflict continues.

The EU has proven itself a master of flexibility. … In the end, an EU constitution is to be approved in a series of referendums, and it may be better to use the time needed rather than power, yet again, being formed for Europe behind closed doors after midnight.

Dagens Nyheter

Coming elections in Iraq, U.S.

STOCKHOLM — If the situation in Iraq does not improve, if Americans are killed with frightening regularity, the recent success may be forgotten when the Americans go to the polls next year.

On top of that, the opposition’s main arguments are still there:

No weapons of mass destruction have yet been found; one could still say Osama bin Laden is a bigger threat to the United States than Saddam Hussein ever was; and one could still say that American foreign policy has created unnecessary international tensions.

What the Democrats need, among other things, to win in November is a candidate who can advance the criticism without being pulled to pieces by his party rivals.


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