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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 002174

SIPDIS

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

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

IRAQ
1. "Questions remaining about the war on Iraq"
The leading Globe and Mail opined (7/26): "...The
months since military victory have been difficult, but
hardly disastrous. U.S. soldiers have good reason to be
dismayed by extensions of their tours of duty. Indeed,
U.S. planning for postwar Iraq was stunningly
inadequate. But the recent establishment of a 25-member
Iraqi Governing Council, composed of credible
leaders representative of the country's religious and
ethnic communities and including female
representation, is a major step toward the devolution
of power. And steps are being taken to reopen schools
and hospitals, and create civil defence forces. It is
not a shambolic occupation. Furthermore, the injection
of U.S. might into the heart of the Middle East appears
to be paying dividends regionally. The road map to
Israeli-Palestinian peace has new impetus, and radical
regimes such as Iran and Syria are more receptive to
fighting international terrorism.... The Bush
administration's controversial doctrine of pre-emptive
attack requires a credible assessment of risk. Mr.
Hussein did have illegal weaponry, at least not so long
ago. Of that there is no doubt. And the world will
eventually know the truth about it. But if no live
weapons or weapons programs are found, there will be
good reason for the international community to question
Washington even more closely the next time it sounds
the alarm - about Iran, say, or North Korea.
Still, is there clear evidence that the U.S. and
British governments deliberately lied in a rush to war?
There is not, at least as yet.... But it
is wrong to damn the Bush administration's commitment
in Iraq, short of new damning revelations about its pre-
war actions. The same is true for Mr. Blair. Much
should still flow from this risky enterprise, and for
the good."

2. "Bush boys blow it again in post-war Iraq"
Editorial page editor emeritus Haroon Siddiqui
commented in the liberal Toronto Star (7/27): "If
deception and unilateralism characterized America's
war on Iraq, then navet, incompetence and,
increasingly, desperation mark its shaky occupation of
that troubled land. The killings of Saddam Hussein's
sons, the exhibition of grisly photos of their corpses
and the macabre reconstruction of their shattered
bodies for public display are only the latest indices
of the quagmire America has got itself into. It is a
sad day when the U.S. secretary of defence has to fend
off suggestions that he may have placed America in the
e
same league as the Taliban.... It is good that Uday and
Qusay are accounted for. It is bad that they won't be
around to be tried for crimes against humanity....
Besides Saddam loyalists, some Islamists and thousands
of angry laid-off soldiers and police officers, the
populace is clearly most upset with the Americans for
botching the occupation. Despite improvements in recent
days, essential services are yet to be restored to even
pre-war levels. But the real sleeper issue is
cultural: American soldiers know how to kill but not
how to make and keep peace.... But America cannot do it
all alone. It needs the United Nations, yet the Bush
administration is trying to do an end-run around the
world body, as it did in waging war. It is ready to
internationalize the Iraq operation but not U.N.-ize
it.... There is also an urgent need to restore
American credibility, at home and abroad, starting with
the narrative on weapons of mass destruction.... There
is also the little issue of widespread American bombing
of Iraq prior to the war. It was presented as continued
enforcement of the two no-fly zones. It was nothing of
the sort.... It is vital for the world that America
succeeds in Iraq. It is vital for America that the Bush
administration fails in its attempts to obfuscate the
truth."

3. "Doubting Thomases"
Editorialist Mario Roy wrote in the centrist La Presse
(7/26): "Should the pictures have been published?...
Let's turn the question around. What would have been
the reaction of the Iraqis or of the press and of
public opinion in the West if no pictures had been
showed?... Armchair quarterbacks always win the game.
Which bring s us to the question: Can we always accuse
the Americans of being both too weak and too strong at
the same time? Too interventionist and not prepared
enough to act? That is one of the questions raised by
the Congressional Report on the events of September
11.... Everybody knows that for twenty years the CIA,
once accused of ruling the planet is in fact a paper
tiger. An over-bureaucratized, comfy, under high
surveillance agency, much less efficient than the
Israeli, secret services. Or even those of the Cubans
or East Germans during the Cold War. IN short it is the
super weakness of the super power."

CELLUCCI

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