- The Washington Times - Friday, March 5, 2004

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:


Massacre of pilgrims

PARIS — The Ashura carnage, the bloodiest day that Iraq has known in the past year — confirms that war did not end with the fall of Saddam Hussein. It only changed shape. …

In Iraq, international Islamic terrorism has found itself an ideal battleground. It can aim for easy victories by simply increasing chaos, it can bog down Western coalitions or push them to leave. …

The attacks were, intentionally or not, a response to talks on the constitution finished the night before by Shi’ites, Sunnis, Kurds and secular Iraqis. To push back a possible return to order, terrorists have placed their bets on civil war.

The massacre of Shi’ite pilgrims on their holiest day at their places of worship can only mean that Allah’s extremists hope to light the fuse of a time bomb in Iraq, thereby destabilizing the entire Middle East.

Le Temps

Bush antiterrorism policy

GENEVA — Your mission is to make the world safer after the terrible shock of September 11? Here’s one way:

Take a terrorist organization — al Qaeda. Bomb its training camps in Afghanistan, because it’s in the folds of the Hindu Kush that the attacks that terrorize the civilized world are brewed. It takes a few weeks, but your bombers are stronger than their aging peashooters.

You are told that the chief, a certain bin Laden, has disappeared into thin air. Call a press conference and deny it. Then let some time pass. The public has a short memory and will forget.

A year later, invade a Middle Eastern country — Iraq — because your mission is still to make the world safer. It’s important that you find a pretext for it. Declare victory when the fighting is over. And if, some months later, the war still hasn’t finished, call a press conference and deny it.

A year later, talk about elections and a return to democracy. You may have invaded the country for other reasons, but you have to save face. You only have a few months to get the Iraqis smiling. Hurry up, the election is coming. No, not the Iraqi one — yours.

What? You’ve done everything you can in Baghdad and it’s getting less and less secure? You’re not in control and you don’t understand why the country is on the verge of sectarian conflict? You have the impression that international terrorists are crossing the borders every night? Call a press conference and blame al Qaeda. The public won’t understand: Like you, it’s confused about geography.

Unless, for once, you were right. … By talking about a menace, you have created one. You have opened Pandora’s box.


U.S. military forces in Haiti

LONDON — Whether [President Jean-Bertrand] Aristide was kidnapped or whether he left voluntarily hardly matters. What counts is that the U.S. Marines are back on the streets as they were 10 years ago, when Bill Clinton launched Operation Support Democracy to reinstall Mr. Aristide. Washington is scrambling to create a council of elders, to disarm rebels and organize fresh elections, but this sounds optimistic. It is only sending 1,000 Marines. At least Napoleon sent 22,000 troops.

Haitian patois has another word for what many think will happen once the media spotlight turns away. It is called “dechoukaj,” which is what you do to uproot a tree. The machetes are once again being sharpened in what will become a witch hunt against pro-Aristide militias. Colin Powell, the U.S. secretary of state, is right to doubt the good intentions of the rebels. Many of them supported Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier and some led his death squads. To cap it all, Mr. Duvalier himself wants to return from exile in Miami, too. The international community offers sound bites of hand-wringing sympathy for Haiti but it is all too happy to leave the nation-building to someone else.

What should happen is clear: Haiti should be considered a stain on the conscience of its former colonial masters America and France, which spent much of the last two centuries invading it, punishing it or isolating it.

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