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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Iraq; Nam

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 OTTAWA 000592

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CAN, WHA/PDA
WHITE HOUSE PASS NSC/WEUROPE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO KMDR OPRC CA OIIP
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: IRAQ; NAM


IRAQ
1. "Only George Bush could make Chirac look like a
dove"
Columnist Paul Knox commented in the leading Globe and
Mail (2/26): "...Mr. Bush has managed to drive the
deepest wedge in half a century between the
United States and Europe over an issue tangential to
counterterrorism, which is the central challenge of his
presidency. Every time his pal Tony Blair
digs himself out of a public-opinion hole, Mr. Bush
pushes him back in with another dose of illogic and
mendacity. The U.S. President has single-handedly
resuscitated the global antiwar movement - no mean feat
in a post-9/11 world. And he's accomplished something
Bill Clinton could only dream of: He's actually made
people feel good about being liberals once again. That,
of course, is not such a bad thing. But there is a
great tragedy about Mr. Bush's meltdown in the arena of
international public opinion. His obsession with
military action has made it easy for others to avoid
addressing the plight of civilians in Iraq, and their
claim on a brighter future.... The humanitarian plight
of Iraqis has been trotted out
so belatedly by Mr. Bush and his allies that it lacks
all credibility as a pretext for war. In any case,
their overwhelming focus continues to be WMD.... If the
current crisis is defused, there is no reason why the
focus of United Nations involvement can't be broadened
from weapons of mass destruction to include a mechanism
to address the civil, political, social
and economic rights of Iraqis. Those who would be
peacemongers should make that their overriding goal."

2. Saddam's Missiles
Editorialist Serge Truffaut wrote in the liberal Le
Devoir (2/26): "If not for the interview granted by
Saddam Hussein to Dan Rather, the chances the memo
written by Paris and Berlin - and endorsed by Moscow
and Beijing - had of being adopted by the Security
Council would have been much greater. But Saddam caught
everybody by surprise and gave the Bush-Blair
duo...everything it wanted, namely a reason to send
armies to Baghdad. Indeed, Saddam's clear refusal
during this interview not to destroy the missiles
constitutes the motive the war side was waiting for....
If Hussein sticks to his guns, it is likely neither
Bush nor Blair will be forced to demand a vote at the
Security Council on their new resolution. More exactly,
if Hussein decides to keep arms prohibited by the UN,
he will reduce to ashes the position defended by
Germany, France, China and Russia."

NAM
3. "No friends, only enemies"
Under the sub-heading, "Paranoid North Koreans shun
even sympathetic leaders," columnist Jonathan Manthorpe
observed in the conservative tabloid
Vancouver Sun (2/26): "...The efforts of the NAM summit
have been models of moderation beside the sometimes
charged language in the meeting hall. NAM members
include the three countries of Bush's axis of evil as
well as five temporary members of the 15-member UN
Security Council that will soon turn thumbs up or down
on military action against Iraq. Their resolution on
Iraq, for example, supports the disarming of Saddam
Hussein's regime, but only by
the UN and not by the U.S. acting independently with
allies. The resolution does not preclude military
action under a UN mandate if all else fails....
NAM delegates wanted to take a similar stance over
North Korea. A draft resolution negotiated in corridors
and back-rooms over the past few days
would have called on Pyongyang to reverse its decision
late last year to withdraw from the nuclear Non-
Proliferation Treaty.... The problem for everyone -
North Korea's neighbours at least as much as the U.S. -
is that Pyongyang does have weapons of mass destruction
and a highly competent and motivated million-man army.
Saddam, in contrast, probably has only the remnants of
his dreams to acquire a mass killing machine. Erratic
North Korea is such a dangerous proposition it has to
be handled delicately while Iraq does not."

CELLUCCI

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