Cablegate: Media Reaction Report - Iraq - President Bush
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
201332Z Dec 05
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SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION REPORT - Iraq - President Bush
Speeches - Eavesdropping Controversy Bolivian Elections
PARIS - Tuesday, December 20, 2005
(A) SUBJECTS COVERED IN TODAY'S REPORT:
Iraq - President Bush Speeches - Eavesdropping Controversy
B) SUMMARY OF COVERAGE:
Most front pages are devoted to domestic economic and social
stories. Le Monde alone leads with "Bush On the Defensive Over
Iraq and Eavesdropping Charges." But many inside reports are
devoted to the President's attempt to defend his Iraq policy.
Regional Le Progres comments in its editorial: "The war
against terror justifies all, or practically all. And the only
shameful thing about listening in on U.S. citizens is
revealing it to the enemy." In regional La Montagne Dominique
Vales concludes: "Bush says that the U.S. economy is the `envy
of the world.' Not his Iraq policy for sure." (See Part C)
The Bolivian elections are widely covered. Le Figaro devotes a
full page to the election of Bolivia's "first Indian" to the
Presidency. Jean-Louis Turlin reports on Evo Morales,
"Washington's nightmare." (See Part C)
(C) SUPPORTING TEXT/BLOCK QUOTES:
"Bush On the Defensive Over Iraq and Eavesdropping"
Corine Lesnes in left-of-center Le Monde (12/20): "Interests
diverge between President Bush and Congress. for George Bush,
America's fate is linked to the fate of Iraq. and he is urging
his fellow citizens to be patient. For the Republicans in
Congress, on the contrary, time is running out. The power that
the President conferred on himself on September 11, 2001 is
being called into question by his own party. George Bush is
multiplying his confessions to the American public. In his
speech on December 18, George Bush did not put forward a new
strategy and those who were hoping that he would present a
timetable for troop withdrawal from Iraq were disappointed."
"Iraq, Terrorism, Eavesdropping: Bush Defends His Strategy"
Jacques Hubert-Rodier in right-of-center Les Echos (12/20):
"Bush is increasingly on the defensive and in a free fall in
opinion ratings. Hence his many attempts these last few days
to defend not only his decision to invade Iraq but also his
having authorized telephone surveillance without going through
the justice system. Every time, his message has been the same,
on Iraq and troop withdrawal. He was most aggressive over the
NSA eavesdropping set up."
"War Justifies All, Almost."
Francis Brochet in regional Le Progres (12/20): "The war
against terrorism justifies everything, or almost everything.
For example it justifies putting hundreds or maybe even
thousands of U.S. citizens under telephone surveillance. And
if there is anything to be ashamed of, it is of revealing this
to the enemy. `We are at war' says again and again the
American President. A bizarre war indeed, waged in the name of
democracy, but all the while denying the principles of
democracy. And authorizing torture. with the following
explanation: `We are sending a message to the world that says
we are not like the terrorists.' Bush is not like Ben Laden.
Of course, he isn't, we all know that. But it would be good if
Bush sent the message and the proof to the rest of the world."
"The U.S. Economy and Iraq."
Dominique Vales in regional La Montagne (12/20): "The torture
methods adopted by the CIA, the `secret prisons,' the
international telephone surveillance and even the renewal of
the Patriot Act are triggering growing protest. This protest
is now reaching into the ranks of Republican Congressmen, who
are worried about their own re-election next November. Bush
contends that the U.S. economy is the `envy of the world.'
This is certainly not the case for his Iraq policy."
"Evo Morales, Washington's `Nightmare'"
Jean-Louis Turlin in right-of-center Le Figaro (12/20): "Hugo
Chavez was the first foreign leader to congratulate his
`protg,' Evo Morales. Chavez never wastes an opportunity to
taunt his North American neighbor, whose reaction to the
Bolivian election was obviously slow to come and much less
enthusiastic. These elections do not occupy the front pages of
the U.S. media. They were not mentioned by the President
during his press conference yesterday. Nevertheless they could
represent the latest reversal in Washington's Latin American
backyard. Like the NY Times said, President Bush is so busy in
Iraq, that he may now be harvesting the fruits of his lack of
interest for the Latin American continent. Washington's global
concerns symbolized by the Chavez-Castro anti-imperialistic
axis may well be re-enforced with the arrival of Morales. With
a number of elections programmed in Latin America from Brazil,
to Mexico and Ecuador, Washington will try to neutralize the
likes of Chavez and Morales. Meanwhile, Morales has made his
plans clear: cordial relations with the U.S., but no
"An Indian President For Bolivia"
Jean Levallois in regional La Presse de La Manche (12/20):
"For the first time an Indian has been elected to lead
Bolivia. It could well be that while he is fighting in Iraq,
Bush is beginning to discover that he is losing ground in
Latin America. It is certain that in the near future new
tensions will arise between Bolivia and the U.S. It may be the
end of a certain type of leadership."
"The Hopes of the Bolivian People"
Patrick Apel-Muller in communist l'Humanite (12/20): "This
victory is not an accident. Progressive forces are on the move
in Latin America, fighting against the American sheriff who
continues to consider the region his backyard. Despite his
loss of popular support in his own country and abroad,
President Bush continues to have his eyes on the oil reserves
of Latin America and the Middle East." STAPLETON