- The Washington Times - Friday, November 7, 2003

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Al-Sharq Al-Awsat

Arab media coverage of Iraq

LONDON — The UAE criticized the style used by some Arab media in covering attacks in which Iraqi civilians were the victims. A report by the UAE Center for Strategic Studies and Research, which usually reflects UAE policy-makers, says that whoever follows Arab media can discern a malicious joy in the escalating terror attacks in Iraq, and that this is apparent in press headlines and television newscasts. The Center points out in its report that “the most important thing is that in recent operations, the victims were tens of innocent Iraqis who had suffered during the era of the deposed Saddam Hussein, and now they are paying the price again for the ambitions of a repressive gang that does not want stability in Iraq and is looking for a make-believe ‘Jihad arena against the U.S., its interest and soldiers.’

“The report emphasizes that ‘this oppressive gang harms Islam and its magnanimity, since it upholds the slogan “murder for the sake of murder” and makes the holy month of Ramadan a month of assassinations [and] murder of innocents who have nothing to do with settling political scores nor with the disgraceful convergence of interests between Ba’athists and fundamentalists.’”

(Translation provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute, www.memri.org)


The Chinook shootdown

LONDON — [Sundays] shooting down of a U.S. Chinook helicopter near Fallujah may have a disproportionate psychological impact on U.S. military operations in Iraq and on U.S. public opinion. … But its significance will be greatly magnified by its context.

The perception, in America itself and abroad, is that the security situation in Iraq is deteriorating, rather than improving, as President Bush claims. U.S.-led coalition forces are now being subjected to an average of over 30 attacks daily. Hardly a day passes without news of one or more U.S. fatalities. …

The U.S. military has some specific questions to answer. One is why the relatively slow-moving Chinook, carrying troops going on leave, was routed so close to Fallujah, perhaps the single biggest trouble spot since the occupation began. Another is whether the helicopter was equipped with countermeasures or deflector gear of the kind designed to protect against heat-seeking missiles. …

The Chinook disaster makes the world’s most technologically advanced military power look yet more vulnerable than it did before — and thus will the psychological impact of the attack be magnified even further, in terms of the encouragement it will afford those who physically oppose the American presence. …

Folha de Sao Paulo

Bush, Iraq and elections

SAO PAULO, Brazil — Ideally, a politician should never have to explain himself to the people. The real world is not ideal, however. This is valid for George W. Bush, the world’s most powerful man. Because of the increasing distrust of Americans themselves toward the White House’s policy regarding Iraq, Bush rushed to call a press conference to explain himself and deny he had lied to the American people. When things reach this point, it is because the politician is in serious trouble.

It is unlikely that is the case with Bush, however, whose condition as favorite in the 2004 presidential race is being strengthened every day by good economic prospects. But Iraq will remain an open flank in the presidential campaign as long as lives continue being lost. …

In his latest press conference, Bush repeated seventeen times that “Iraq is a dangerous place.” He also said that he never suggested the conflict was over, despite having proclaimed the end of “the main combat operations” six months ago. …

But to Bush’s credit, it is evident that domestic security after 9-11 has been preserved. If the economy keeps recovering and unemployment drops, this argument will be stronger. In the actual balloting, success on the economic front will count much more than eventual setbacks on the Iraqi front.

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