The Latin American and Canadian Press on the War in Iraq

President Bush addresses soldiers in Florida
U.S. President George Bush addresses troops at the U.S. Central Command Headquarters in Florida (Photo: Luke Frazza/AFP).

Toronto National Post (conservative), March 21: Much of the United Nations' dysfunctionality is rooted in its anti-U.S. bias....We realize, of course, there is little chance the United Nations will actually be formally dismantled any time soon. Internationalism has become a secular religion among Western elites, particularly in Canada and Europe....But at least until the Bush administration is replaced, Americans are likely to ignore the United Nations; and the body’s Security Council and General Assembly may drift into irrelevance. Few ordinary people would be inconvenienced by this—certainly not the soon-to-be-liberated citizens of Iraq.

São Paulo Fôlha de São Paulo (liberal), March 21: If every war bears the stigma of brutality, the current conflict in Iraq is in addition marked by arrogance....For some private reason, Bush seems to believe in the extravagant idea that by dropping a huge number of bombs that will certainly kill innocent civilians, he will help to establish a democratic Iraq. And in order to have the opportunity to demonstrate such an absurd theory, he did not hesitate to fake pretexts for the war and the break with most of the international community....War is not an ordinary tactic that can be used against any dictator who has differences with Washington. A systematic application of the “Bush Doctrine” would launch the world into a permanent state of war at least as harmful as the tyrannies it has promised to eliminate.

Santiago El Mercurio (conservative), March 27: Demagoguery has always been the gravedigger of democracy. The imperial pretensions of democratic regimes such as Great Britain, not to mention the Napoleonic wars in the name of "liberty, equality, and fraternity," have always been incompatible with democracy and republicanism. Rome had to give up its republican institutions in the face of the rigors of the accumulation of power which resulted from the formation of the Roman Empire....The Athenians killed all the adults of Melos and reduced their women and children to slavery in order to infuse awe among their real and potential rivals in the Pelopponese and guarantee their unchecked dominion. In the long run, the logic of this bloody and prolonged war put an end both to democracy and the empire. Although extreme, simplistic parallels with the current war by Bush in Iraq are to be the final analysis, the logic is the same.
—Ignacio Walker

Kingston The Jamaica Gleaner (independent), March 20: America has...argued that the removal of Saddam Hussein will usher in democracy and a new order in the Middle East. We are not clear, though, if this democratization will apply to its allies in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Emirates and how it will manage this process. And with anti-Americanism swelling in the Middle East, President Bush will have to do more than talk about a new road map for peace in the region and an independent Palestinian state. That road map has to be credible. In other words, it has to develop a policy that is even-handed, without the lopsided support for Israel.

Rio de Janeiro O Globo (conservative), March 21: The tragic American adventure in Iraq forces the West to re-think the Islamic question....Would the United States be hitting the heart of the Islamic world by attacking Saddam Hussein? The most correct answer is “no.” Saddam Hussein comes from a line that wanted to put an end to Islamic theocracies....One must think about these facts when a George Bush talks about taking Western values—especially democracy—to the Prophet’s lands. Nothing could be more representative of the Bush administration’s incompetence, once again, in treating the Islamic question. Saddam Hussein, as Israelis like to remind us, is just another tyrant who hides behind the Quran. But the last thing that could work in Iraq is a “democratic project” brought from the West in a box. The Islamic world has nothing to do with our political history. It’s undergoing a strong moment of its religious cycle....But if the West (one should read Bush) has the illusion that it can give the Arabs a formula for their progress, it will only provoke the demons of an ancient resentment, and cause new disasters like that of the Pahlevi dynasty, imposed on Iran by the United States and England.

Mexico City Reforma (independent), March 20: Because it cannot dissuade terrorists, the United States is wiling to intervene in any part of the world, at any moment, to destroy anticipated threats. With the commencement of a war in Iraq, neo-imperialism has been put into practice and will be put to the test. This new war transcends Iraq. We are facing the emergence of a new era of global U.S. hegemony and an unknown stage of in the history of the international order.
—Rafael Fernandez de Castro

Santiago La Tercera (conservative), March 21: The war against Iraq should have had only one legitimate and internationally shared goal: to disarm a regime that has failed to comply with 17 U.N. resolutions through force applied as a last resort. Had this been Washington’s argument, perhaps the United Nations and the international community would not have opposed it. But the Bush government...extended its mission to a questionable goal involving the principle of preventive attacks as part of the war against terrorism—a goal that was clear in Afghanistan, but is not in Iraq. The policy of anticipating threats before it is too late to fight them might seem legitimate to the United States in the context of Sept. 11, 2001, but this is not the case for the rest of the world....There is no doubt that the world would be safer without Saddam Hussein’s regime and other similar governments, but who decides if a leader must stay in power? What happened to the legitimate right to self-determination? The opposition the U.S has partly due to its own mistakes about how to persuade the world....The world, or a large portion of it, would have joined the United States in its goal to disarm Iraq by force had Washington not strayed from U.N. guidelines.

Panama City La Estrella (pro-government), March 20: War is an instrument that always generates protest because of the fear of its consequences.…George Bush is facing what his country considers a serious threat to not only security, but also to humanity. Once Saddam Hussein’s long night of terror ends, the Iraqis can make use of their liberty to elect democratic leaders committed to human rights.

Lima Correo (independent), March 20: Sept. 11, 2001,…awakened the expansionist goals of the United States. It has...taken off its diplomatic disguise and imposed the political and geographical hegemony it holds as a result of the Soviet collapse....Today it is the Islamic fundamentalists’ turn. Tomorrow it could be the “Andean narcoterrorists, who are responsible for the moral destruction of the U.S. youth and for the appearance of potential enemies of the free world.…” Peru and Latin America must not ignore they plan their future. Certainly, it would be a mistake to revive anti-imperialist formulas that only led us to the worst populist and authoritarian [regimes]. Our political leaders must be aware of the need to be cautious and intelligent.

Caracas Diario 2001 (conservative), March 21: Wars are costly and excessively painful. Nonetheless, there are times when they can't be avoided....While one cannot doubt the sincerity of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, what is debatable is the position of some countries that spare nothing in talking in the name of peace, echoing the arguments of the fossilized far-left to defend a tyranny....We wish that the war should have the least possible human cost, particularly among innocent civilians, and be brief. Its objective is to rid humanity of one of the bloodiest tyrants in history, and to obtain security and peace for the whole world.