- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 20, 2003

The New York Times

After taking a hard look at the poker game being played by President Bush and Saddam Hussein, Turkey, in effect, told Mr. Bush this week to ante up $32 billion if he wants Ankara to take a seat at the table. That's serious money and the demand, which Washington is pondering, says a great deal about the tradeoffs taking place beneath all the lofty arguments about going to war with Iraq. The business of lining up reluctant governments to provide bases and support for possible military action is not exactly an exercise in Wilsonian idealism. …

Turkey is entitled to seek economic compensation. But pledging $32 billion to a single country could make this the most expensive alliance ever bought. Turkey would want financial guarantees even in a war against Iraq endorsed by the United Nations Security Council. Without such endorsement, and the change in Turkish public opinion it would likely bring, the price of Ankara's participation could prove exorbitant.

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Christian Science Monitor

The World Health Organization need look no farther than the smoke-filled cafes of its home country, Switzerland, to see the profound crisis in tobacco use affecting citizens around the globe — especially in Europe and developing nations.

Working to remove such routine use of tobacco products, delegates from 191 countries are meeting in Geneva this week and next to try to agree on more stringent tobacco controls worldwide. These include restrictions on advertising and marketing of tobacco products, improving warning labels, and cutting down on secondhand smoke.

That's a tall order, with WHO negotiators so far working four years to craft acceptable treaty language.

In that time, according to the WHO president, tobacco-related diseases have claimed 13.3 million lives worldwide. …

The WHO attributes 4.9 million deaths to tobacco worldwide each year, a total it expects to double in the next two decades. Its global effort to create antismoking public awareness campaigns, and limit tobacco use worldwide will result, let's hope, in a meaningful treaty that deserves member countries' signatures.

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Chicago Tribune

When it comes to dealing with Iraq, the Europe envisioned by the French is one in which those nations that disagree with France keep their big mouths shut.

There was no mistaking the message delivered by French President Jacques Chirac in Brussels this week. Those that agree with France may speak; those that don't should remain silent if they know what's good for them.

"We thought we were preparing for war with Saddam Hussein and not Jacques Chirac," said a perplexed Alexandr Vondra, deputy foreign minister of the Czech Republic, on the public scolding Chirac delivered to Vondra's nation and others seeking to join the European Union. …

Surely Chirac isn't suggesting that joining the EU means nations have to relinquish their rights to think for themselves? Poland, Romania and the others had their fill of that in the Cold War. What irony if France now expects these nations to submit - silently — to its domination.

People and nations disagree vehemently on how best to disarm Iraq. France has its opinion and hasn't been shy about voicing it. Others have opinions too. Let them speak.

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Houston Chronicle

President Bush says he is unswayed by the size of the massive global and domestic protests against a rush to war in Iraq, and would be deciding foreign policy based on a focus group if he gave in to it.

He has a point. We want our leaders to lead, but we also want them to listen.

At the very least, the millions of people who turned out in 300 cities worldwide over the past few days to oppose unfolding war plans have a strong message that needs to be heard. For many people around the world and, more important, for a good many Americans, the administration has yet to justify the need to go to war with Iraq. …

The other aspect the case in which the administration is disturbingly remiss or secretive — or both — is its failure to detail to Americans the complications and costs of the war's aftermath and exactly what strategies it has for dealing with them. How will we pay for the massive effort, and how will that not detract from the global war on terrorism and from our economic well-being?

On that score, the president has much yet to explain — to supporters and critics alike.

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Rocky Mountain News

Germany and the United States may be at odds over Iraq, but a German court Wednesday returned the first conviction of a suspect in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

After a 3 month trial, a five-judge panel found Mounir el Motassadeq, 28, guilty of accessory to the murder of 3,066 people in four hijackings and of membership in a terrorist cell.

El Motassadeq pleaded innocent but evidence to the contrary was convincing. …

The German authorities fear, not without reason, that el Motassadeq's imprisonment might spark terrorist attacks on Germans to get him sprung. If that proves to be a problem, here's a solution: We'll take him.

For his complicity in the deaths of over 3,000 innocent people, el Mottassadeq received the maximum penalty under German law, 15 years. The German interior minister called it a "harsh" sentence. Not by our standards. Moussaoui faces the death penalty. Still, it's a conviction. One hopes the first of many.

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(Compiled by United Press International)


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