- The Washington Times - Friday, June 23, 2006

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Corriere della Sera

The quality of mercy

MILAN, Italy — Iraq knows little of the culture of mercy.

In the prosecution of Saddam Hussein, it would have been better … to entrust his fate to an international tribunal and to postpone the Iraqis’ ability to administer justice until better times. …

The execution of Saddam would automatically turn him into a martyr and a point of reference in social, ethnic and religious sectors … which would be driven to think: “It was better when it was worse.”

Would executing Saddam reopen wounds that won’t heal? Would it not rain accusations of little independence of the court? … Would one not risk fueling the paradoxical myth of Saddam as a “victim,” one who created thousands of real victims?

If the death penalty is handed down by the court … to execute him would be an error, because an imprisoned Saddam is much less dangerous than a dead one.

Yomiuri Shimbun

Pullout from Iraq

TOKYO — The government’s decision to withdraw Ground Self-Defense Force personnel from Iraq signifies only the end of an early chapter in Japan’s assistance to that country’s reconstruction.

Success in rebuilding Iraq is vitally important for Japan, which relies on the Middle East for close to 90 percent of its crude-oil imports. In response to a request from U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan for Japan to assist in United Nations transport activities, the government intends to continue and expand Air Self-Defense Force support.

It also will be necessary for Japan to increase aid to Iraq through its official development assistance. The government has already said it will extend a total of $5 billion in aid to Iraq, including $1.5 billion in grants-in-aid.

It is essential that Japan continue international peace cooperation activities by the SDF for the purpose of ensuring the peace and stability of the international community.

Daily Telegraph

Maverick North Korea

LONDON — North Korea, a small, maverick nation that cannot even feed its own people, has the disconcerting ability to alter the balance of power in East Asia. It showed this in 1998, when it fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile over the main island of Japan. And it appears to be on the brink of doing so again, with the launch of a long-range version of that rocket.

The first test shook Japanese complacency about its pacifist constitution and the American nuclear umbrella. Tokyo has since increased cooperation with Washington over theater missile defense, deployed troops in Iraq, sent naval vessels to the Indian Ocean in support of American operations in Afghanistan, and declared that the future of Taiwan is a national security concern. Last year, the prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi, proposed amending the constitution, with the aim of increasing the Self Defense Forces’ overseas role.

A test firing of the long-range Taepodong-2 would push Japan’s military profile even higher. It would further stimulate the development of missile defense and strengthen the hand of those who want to change Article 9 of the 1947 constitution, which confirms Japan’s commitment to peace.

The Hindu

Mobile phones

MADRAS, India — Getting from zero to 100 million customers in 10 years is a speed few products or services have attained. What the mobile telephone sector has recorded is even more commendable, considering that the telecommunications arena has not seen things move with such dispatch in 150 years.

After a pioneering engineer, William O’Shaughnessey, demonstrated his experimental telegraph system near Calcutta in 1839 (two years after Samuel Morse did in the United States), it took 12 years for the British Raj to let him set up the first commercial telegraph line. It took over a hundred years for the number of telephone lines to reach 10 million. Even in the 1980s, an applicant had to wait years to get his wired telephone connection.

Now it takes barely a day to get a mobile connection. And that is one significant reason why more than 4 million new mobiles log on each month.

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