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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Iraq

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 000610

SIPDIS

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

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


IRAQ
1. "A volley of propaganda"
Contributing foreign editor Eric Margolis wrote in the
conservative tabloid Ottawa Sun (3/3): "...[W]hat I
dislike even more than Saddam's nasty regime are
government lies and propaganda. Since 9/11, Americans
have been subjected to the most intense propaganda
campaign from their government since World War I. Much
of the mainstream U.S. media have been intimidated
by the Bush administration into unquestioningly
amplifying its party line. Or, in the worst tradition
of yellow, jingoist journalism, they act as
cheerleaders for war.... The American public, often
wobbly about geography, history and international
affairs, has been alternatively terrified and enraged
by bare-faced lies that Iraq was about to attack
America with nuclear weapons or germs, and was a secret
ally of al-Qaida. A shocking two-thirds of Americans
mistakenly believe Iraq staged the 9/11 attacks....
It's frightening to see Bush claim with a straight face
his war against Iraq will bring democracy and peace to
the Mideast, and save Iraqis from repression. Why
didn't he begin by saving Palestinians from the
repression by his alter-ego, Israeli Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon? If Bush really cared about Mideast
democracy, he's had two years to do something about
U.S.-sponsored dictatorships like Egypt and Pakistan,
or medieval autocracies such as Morocco, Jordan, Saudi
Arabia and America's Gulf protectorates. When Bush says
he will bring democracy to benighted Iraqis, what he
really means is U.S. rule. In Bush-speak, 'democracy'
has been perverted to mean U.S. imperial hegemony....
Many Americans simply don't understand their leadership
is about to plunge the nation into an open-ended,
dangerous colonial war. All the propaganda about
democracy, human rights and regional stability is the
same kind of double-talk used by the 19th century
British and French imperialists who claimed they were
grabbing Africa and Asia to bring the benefits of
Christian civilization to the heathens.... Misery loves
company. An American-occupied Iraq looks destined to
join the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza as another
human, political and moral disaster for all concerned."

2. "Remaking the Arab world"
The conservative National Post editorialized (3/1): "In
a speech to the American Enterprise Institute on
Wednesday, U.S. President George W. Bush made the case
for war in terms that transcend weapons of mass
destruction and UN resolutions.... We hope the world
pays heed to Mr. Bush's message. While disarming Iraq,
ending the country's sponsorship of terrorism and
liberating Saddam Hussein's subjects are all war-worthy
goals, the greatest dividend to be hoped for in the
long run is the transformation of the Arab
Middle East.... In his speech on Wednesday, Mr. Bush
declared that 'we will remain in Iraq as long as
necessary,' and compared the coming reconstruction
project with the rebuilding of Japan and Germany six
decades ago.... The historical comparison is apt, and
we hope Mr. Bush follows through on these words.
Through its sustained presence in Iraq, the United
States will have a rare opportunity to transform the
Arab Middle East. It would be a tragedy if the
President turned his back on this crucial enterprise
once the immediate threat posed by Saddam is
extinguished."

3. "Peace can still prevail"
The liberal Toronto Star opined (3/3): "...American
pressure has stiffened the Security Council, which is
forcing Saddam - at last - to disarm. But Bush is now
perversely undermining the U.N. by making 'regime
change' in Baghdad a requirement, in addition to
disarmament.... Democrats in Congress may be too timid
to challenge Bush. But polls suggest a fast-growing
public preference in America for working within the
U.N. to exhaust peaceful options. Enfeebled by years of
sanctions, Iraq presents no immediate threat.
The same can't be said of a Security Council at war
with itself. Making specific demands of Saddam, instead
of reiterating the Bush mantra that
'Iraq must disarm,' would silence those who contend
that Bush can never be satisfied. Saddam's obduracy is
infuriating. And he is dangerous.... Still, Saddam has
blinked. That suggests there's a chance he can be
disarmed peacefully. That would vindicate Bush.
Reaffirm American leadership. Enhance U.S. prestige.
And strengthen the United Nations. All without firing a
shot. It's worth a try."

CELLUCCI

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