- The Washington Times - Friday, August 18, 2006

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Corriere Della Sera

Torture against terror?

MILAN, Italy — It would be difficult to thwart future terror plots if one is not willing to adopt extraordinary measures, and this poses an ethical dilemma for every political system. When it comes to torture in particular, however, it is not clear if it should be one of these measures.

First, the value of the extracted information is in doubt because whoever is subjected to torture could say anything to escape the pain. …

The fight against terrorism is first an exquisitely political conflict, aimed at persuading hearts and the minds to live together peacefully, both in Islamic countries and in Islamic communities in the West. Therefore, we must seriously take into account the main cost of torture: The huge loss of face and credibility of the governments that make use of it.

For example, it is difficult to evaluate the exact political cost to the United States of the armed forces using torture, symbolized in the Abu Ghraib scandal in Iraq, but it was surely higher than the benefits gained in terms of intelligence.

Therefore, one needs to evaluate with extreme caution the prospect of using such means which, even if successful, could ruin the values we are fighting for.

Asahi Shimbun

Glorifying a war shrine

TOKYO — Since when has Aug. 15 become a day that arouses such furious, emotionally charged disputes? It was once a time for sober reflection on a disastrous war and to mourn its countless victims. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s repeated visits to Yasukuni Shrine, doubtless, contributed to the drastic change of atmosphere.

Through simplified logic, Koizumi has turned the question of whether he should be allowed to visit the shrine into whether he should bow to demands from China and South Korea.

Such words and actions by the nation’s leader have helped drum up Japanese sentiment against China and South Korea. In the process, it has created an issue that can serve as a convenient outlet among reactionaries to rebuild Japan’s pride that was so deeply injured by its defeat in war.

Countries in East Asia are becoming increasingly interdependent amid accelerating globalization. Only a moment of coolheaded thinking is needed to understand that the three Asian powers have no choice but to seek ways for peaceful and prosperous coexistence.

The Times

Airline flight security

LONDON — Slowly, Britain’s airports are beginning to clear the backlog. Fewer flights are being delayed, piles of luggage are being cleared and would-be passengers are spending less time locked out of the terminals. But the backlog of questions and complaints is not diminishing. The security regime and the regulations seem to change by the day. There is still confusion among passengers and airline staff, and an appalling lack of information. And there are growing suspicions that the emergency measures are inconsistent and ill-considered.

The inconsistencies are glaring. The new restrictions on hand luggage apply to all flights leaving from British airports. But they do not apply to passengers flying to Britain, even on British airlines, except from the U.S. Why is it deemed safe to buy water from airside shops to drink on flights to Europe but not on flights to America? Why is it now safe to carry hand luggage [14 inches high] but unsafe to carry any [18 inches] high, permissible last week?

The airport authorities say they are coping “magnificently” with the new regulations. But although there may be some easing of the time-consuming searches, many restrictions will remain in place for months, and will change the pattern of air travel. The biggest inconvenience is the limitation on hand baggage. …

Air travel is so vital to today’s economies that airports and operators will be forced to innovate. Traveling will never be the same, and that could very well be a good thing.

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