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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 002429

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. "U.S. mired in a mess of its own making"
Contributing foreign editor Eric Margolis commented in
the conservative tabloid Ottawa Sun (8/24): "First,
President George W. Bush, VP Dick Cheney and a coterie
of neo-conservatives led by Paul Wolfowitz and Richard
Perle misled Americans into an unprovoked, unnecessary
war by claiming Iraq was about to attack the U.S. with
nuclear and biowarfare weapons. This was a grotesque
lie.... Next, the White House gravely misread the
strategic situation by swallowing neo-con assurances
the 'liberation' of Iraq would be a cakewalk and oil
bonanza. Last week, Iraqis responded to Bush's foolish
challenge...by blowing up UN headquarters in Baghdad
and inflicting serious sabotage on Iraq's oil
infrastructure. These attacks show the U.S. has got
itself into a truly awesome mess in Iraq. Far from
easily plundering Iraq's oil wealth, U.S. occupation
troops - almost half the U.S. Army's combat forces -
are now under siege, at a cost of $1 billion US weekly.
Bush has literally stuck his head in a hornet's nest in
Iraq and is now getting royally stung. He, his
scandalously inept national security advisers, and the
media's so-called `Iraqi experts' failed to comprehend
that a U.S. occupation would be a frightful, expensive,
bloody mess - a disaster that
was totally predictable. Worse, the U.S. occupation is
clearly creating the kind of violence and car bomb
terrorism that Bush used as an excuse to invade Iraq.
Call this a terrorism perpetual motion machine. Iraqis
who resist U.S. occupation are branded 'terrorists' and
lumped into Bush's crusade against Islamic militancy.
When the U.S. finds itself unable to
crush Iraqi resistance, it will blame neighbouring Iran
and Syria for 'fueling terrorism,' and may attack them.
Tehran and Damascus thus have every reason to stir the
pot in Iraq to tie down American forces and make it
less likely the U.S. will next invade them, as neo-cons
are urging.... Worse for the U.S., Iraq may be emerging
- like Afghanistan - as a new, pan-national cause for
the Muslim world.... President Bush has conveniently
provided anti-American militants and fanatics across
the Mideast with an ideal target: the U.S. army in
Iraq.... Each passing day makes Bush's
ill-fated invasion of Iraq increasingly resemble
Lebanon's ugly civil war in the 1980s.... The U.S.
finds itself in a disturbing analogue of the long
Lebanese civil war, with confused American troops, like
Israeli soldiers in Lebanon, not knowing why they are
there or who is the enemy and venting their frustration
on civilians. Protracted guerrilla warfare eventually
turns even the best-disciplined troops into brutes, and
corrupts entire armies. The very neo-cons who fathered
this disaster are now calling for more American troops
to be sent to Iraq."

2. "Baghdad bombing puts U.S. back on the defensive"
Columnist Jonathan Manthorpe observed in the left-of-
center Vancouver Sun (8/22): "It is an unpleasant truth
to admit, but whoever launched the truck bomb attack
against the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad on
Tuesday has reason to be pleased with the initial
results of their bloody work.... However, the
purposeful targeting of the UN, whose prime commitment
now and for the past decade has been improving the
lives of ordinary Iraqis, has rewritten the equation.
The truck bomb announced that the coalition forces
may be occupying Iraq, but they do not control what
happens there. It said Iraqis should have no confidence
that America, the UN or anyone else will be
able to deliver on promises to rebuild the country on
the basis of a sound civil society.... It is no
coincidence that this escalation in the type of
violence comes amid increasingly detailed reports of
radical Islamic fighters slipping into Iraq from all
over the Middle East to join the fight against the
U.S.... An alliance of convenience is forming between
these `jehadis' (holy warriors) and the remnants of
Saddam's secularist Baath Party. A result is the
creation of a much more sophisticated command structure
among the resistance guerrillas and a more coherent
strategic objective.... In Washington, there is an
effort to grasp the truck bombing as an opportunity to
persuade allies and others who were opposed to the war
to now come on board. The administration of George W.
Bush is very keen to
make the occupation forces in Iraq more visibly
international by drafting in contingents from such
countries as India, Pakistan and even Japan. To that
end, Secretary of State Colin Powell...was on Thursday
working the corridors of the UN headquarters in New
York.... Powell was hobbled, however, by an adamant
refusal in the heart of the Bush administration to cede
any military authority in Iraq or to give the UN any
significant role in the reconstruction of the
country.... Somewhat understandably, countries such as
France and Germany which argued for international
legality before the invasion, aren't rushing to assist
Washington now.... Behind this too is the more mundane
matter of money. The way things are structured at the
minute, Washington is ensuring it will be American
companies almost exclusively that get contracts to
rebuild Iraq. But reports from Washington say the
administration is reluctantly considering giving the UN
some authority to share the contracts pie more widely.
Because the alternative for the Bush White House
probably would be increasing isolation in the midst of
an unwinnable guerrilla war, it would be worth the
money."

CELLUCCI

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