- The Washington Times - Friday, March 28, 2003

BEIRUT, Lebanon, March 28 (UPI) — Under the headline "Reaping the Fiascos of Ideological Wild Men," the Beirut Daily Star editorialized Friday, "One would have thought that the current global power in Washington and the former power in London that set out to change the world would know more about how the world feels and works than seems to be the actual case today."

Reflecting dozens of Arab and other foreign editorials and op-ed articles, from Morocco to Malaysia, and from Spain to South Africa, collected by the CIA's Foreign Broadcast Information Service, the Daily Star's frontpage editorial added, "It is slightly disingenuous of the attacking forces who have launched an unprovoked and internationally unsanctioned war against an already battered, embargoed and inspected country to point out how some Iraqis are not playing by the rules of war. The first and most serious rule of law that the Anglo-Americans have broken is that you do not launch a preemptive war for 'regime change'… when your rationale for war is deemed by virtually all of humanity to be unproven, non-credible, unacceptable, and slightly mythical."

The American presence in Iraq, it added, "is certain to generate guerrilla-type resistance that will be reminiscent of the Americans in Vietnam, the Russians in Afghanistan, and the Israelis in south Lebanon — three of the greatest military fiascos in living memory."

All editorials, without exception, also reflect what government officials all over the region are saying, when it writes that the "real fiasco is about a violent, flailing American foreign policy promoted by a small group of ideological hawks and intellectual wild men who have promised a fast, neat, surgical war and have reaped instead — in just one week — a blinding sandstorm of swirling new uncertainties, vulnerabilities, and threats in the night."

The influential Arabic daily Al-Dustour used language that is now common throughout the Middle East, including normally pro-American countries: "The U.S. and Britain escalated their brutal aggression against brotherly Iraq and the war operations launched by these two allies took a serious and destructive and bloody turn (when their aerial bombardment) started to target civilian areas and civilian infrastructure that claimed the lives of many."

Richard Perle, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, who resigned this week as chairman of the Defense Policy Board, is usually credited with being the architect of U.S.-Israeli policies in the Middle East. "Perle," said Bater Warman in Al-Dustour, "is one of those in the small circle of oil traders and American owners of military industries, who is a supporter of the Likud party and of those who stand for Israeli interests in the White House and who control American decisions…Shame on us, as an Arab nation, to allow a group of Zionists in the White House to determine the future of the Arab world at breakfast tables in Washington."

The editor-in-chief of the mass-appeal Arabic daily Al-Arab Al-Yawm wrote: "The Bush-Blair war can be called anything but a liberation of the Iraqis…What freedom is this that carries within it unspeakable atrocities, and what freedom is this where more than $74 billion are going to be spent on weapons to kill Iraqis and destroy their cities? A good description of this war is a war of lies…It is also illegitimate, criminal, colonialist, brutal, but not as a war for freedom, unless the freedom is to kill Iraqis."

Columnist Mohammad Amayreh wrote in the influential, semi-official Saudi daily Al-Rai, "If the Americans and the British came to liberate the people of Iraq and thought that they would be received with welcoming cheers and flowers, then look at the first eight days of war, which prove otherwise."

Another columnist, Fahd Fanek, in the same paper, said, "Bush's problem lies in his failure to convince the Americans and the world because the justifications given were either not true or true but not new…This pushed many to look for the real reasons for the war, finding only the desire to control Iraq's oil and to serve Israel …. Spreading democracy in the Arab world? Ridiculous because democracy cannot be imposed from outside."

Most dailies the world over predicted the United States "will ultimately win the war," but, as the Pakistan Observer said, it will be "a long, drawn-out war" or a "quagmire." Both Algerian and Australian newspapers warned that the coalition will have to choose either high coalition casualties of extended street fighting or committing "a crime against humanity, the bombing of civilian areas to make Baghdad a certitude."

Qatar is headquarters for the war and its government is pro-American, but it is also headquarters for Al Jazeera, the immensely popular, anti-American TV satellite network, and its newspapers denounced what Al-Raya called America's "haphazard attack" that was "nothing compared to the huge number of Iraqis killed which TV cameras could not reach."

Media in Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Pakistan and Muslim countries in sub-Sahara Africa denounced the war "as conquest and colonization" and published accounts of "hideous massacres" and "carnage."

Belgium's Het Laatste Nieuws said Bush "never mentioned that the Euphrates River would be colored red by American blood …. A war in the field appears to be something totally different from the strategic plans designed by the ultra-conservative institutions that appear to have Bush in their grip."

Turkey's mass appeal Hurriyet wrote about "the collapse of the American strategy and of a United States "on the cusp of a process of internal change."

Meron Benvenisti, in Ha'aretz, wrote, "Those who initiated the war against Iraq assumed with typical arrogance that there is no such thing as Iraqi patriotism …. All of the electronic devices and smart bombs cannot conceal the character of this war – it is a colonial war whose conceptual outlook is drawn straight from the early 20th century. Those who wage an anachronistic war should not be surprised by its outcome."

Egypt's pro-government Al Akhbar said, "Iraq has seven million strong fighters who are ready to continue the fighting for thirteen years continuously. God be with them."

Al Gomhouriya, also pro-government in Egypt, under the byline of its editor in chief, asked, "What is the difference between Israel's lowly and treacherous crimes against Palestinians and what the American masters are now doing to Iraqis?" What is happening in Baghdad, he continued, "refutes all allegations that the invading troops came to liberate Iraqis."

Taiwan's conservative United Daily News observed that "those Iraqi children who have managed to survive in the besieged Iraqi cities today may possibly turn out to be the 'little bin Ladens,' who will swear to retaliate against U.S. hegemony in the future. Will the U.S. still feel safe while these orphans of the war are bent on terrorist retaliation against the U.S.?"

Thailand's pro-opposition Naew Na said, "Cowboy Bush must now be thinking that snatching of oil wells from Iraq is not a piece of cake as he was led to believe. Rather, he is sending his white-skinned children to hell like when a former U.S. leader sent countless GIs to die in Vietnam …. The longer this war protracts, the more likely it will be curtains for Bush and Blair."

There was not one pro-American editorial in Friday's pickups from the world's leading newspapers outside the United States.

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