Cablegate: Media Reaction: Iraq; Turkey

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




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. "How to lose the war of public opinion"
Under the sub-heading, "The Bush administration might
think it has enough evidence to attack Saddam Hussein,
but the polls show otherwise," Calgary Herald columnist
Danielle Smith wrote in the nationalist Ottawa Citizen
(3/7): "Had Saddam Hussein been responsible for the
Sept. 11 terrorist attacks; had he harboured Osama bin
Laden and his henchmen in the fallout of the Taliban
regime collapse; had the United States revealed Saddam
has provided weapons of mass destruction to militant
Islamic groups; had he recently invaded foreign
territory, lobbed missiles at one of his neighbours,
discharged chemical weapons or attacked the U.S.
directly - any of these would have been sufficient
grounds for an immediate attack. But
there aren't clear grounds, which is why U.S.
President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister
Tony Blair should not invade Iraq.... What has Iraq
done to the West, or even to its neighbours lately? The
U.S. argues Iraq may supply terrorist organizations
with weapons of mass destruction. That may be true, but
so could a lot of other nations, and the U.S. can't
wage war on them all.... There is no question that Iraq
is a tragic case. Iraqis need
liberation, to free them from the abuse they suffer at
Saddam's hands, and to stop thousands of politically
motivated executions. Saddam is an evil man, but so are
many other despots and dictators, and the U.S. can't
topple them all. The responsibility for regime change
in Iraq ultimately lies with Iraqi citizens, not the
U.S. And, in any event, the question before the UN is
disarmament, not regime change. There is no question
which nation is the strong horse now. Crushing Saddam
Hussein to drive the point home just isn't necessary."

2. "First Iraq, then UN"
The conservative tabloid Winnipeg Sun opined (3/7):
"People keep talking about the looming irrelevancy of
the United Nations if the U.S. unilaterally invades
Iraq as if this was a bad thing. Why? The destruction
of the UN in its present form is almost as desirable as
ridding the world of Saddam Hussein. The UN's fatal
flaw is that it treats every member state the same,
regardless of its human rights record. Because its
dictatorships so often act in concert, the UN has run
amok for years.... Post 9/11, America has every
justification for war. Not only is Saddam a cruel
tyrant to his own people who has attacked three
neighbours, he has vigorously pursued weapons of mass
destruction and financially supported terrorism.... We
don't share George Bush's view that toppling Saddam
will inspire a wave of democracy in the Mideast's
thuggish dictators. But it will warn them, effectively,
that from now on there will be a price to pay for
following Iraq's lead. As for the UN, its few
worthwhile aid and humanitarian programs can be revived
under a new global organization in which democracies,
not dictatorships, must play the dominant role."

3. "The day the Turks came out'
Columnist Jeffrey Simpson commented in the leading
Globe and Mail (3/7): "...The Turkish government could
scarcely believe it lost the vote. Washington was
stunned. After all, Turkey has been a strong U.S. ally
and a NATO member, and had been a front-line state
during the 1991 Persian Gulf war.... Recep Tayyip
Erdogan's government had all kinds of political
capital. It had received an overwhelming mandate in
November to clean up Turkish politics. Although
nominally an Islamist party, Mr. Erdogan's team
said and did everything to convince Western countries
that Turkey would remain a faithful ally. Now this. The
Turks, who know Iraq, understand that, despite today's
sweet pronouncements about respecting borders, there
are Kurds in eastern Turkey and Kurds in northern Iraq
(and in Syria and Iran), and that blood often runs
thicker than the water of political declarations of
intent. They know that, after the Americans leave Iraq,
the Turks will be left to cope with its ethnic
rivalries. The hint of Turkish troops entering northern
Iraq with the Americans inflamed Iraqi Kurds; the idea
of a quasi-autonomous Kurdish territory inside Iraq
frightened the Turks. The
Turks don't like Saddam Hussein, but they don't fear
him, either, and they are a lot closer to his regime
than the U.S. is. The Turkish military prizes
its relationship with the U.S. military. Maybe the
generals and better parliamentary tactics can reverse
what happened in parliament. Even so, the first vote
reflected well on Turkish democracy and sent a signal -
which will undoubtedly be ignored in Washington - that
the people of yet another friendly country have
deserted the United States." CELLUCCI

© Scoop Media

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