U.S. deals with more madness in the Mideast

Posted: Thursday, August 21, 2003

So on Tuesday we were all reminded of the madness that dwells in the Middle East.

First some maniac drove his car to a hotel full of United Nations workers and set off a mammoth bomb that killed as many as 17 people including the head of the U.N. in Iraq, the beloved and respected Brazilian Sergio Vieira de Mello. ...

Then, later in the day, came the carnage in Jerusalem when another mindless, heartless person full of hatred bombed a city bus taking with him at least 20 people including some children, and wounding about 100. ...

So what else is there to say? Well, in terms of Iraq, not much except that a bunch of idiots won't keep the United States and the rest of the coalition forces from finishing the job that we so unwisely started. The worst, absolute worst thing we could do right now is disengage from Iraq. That, of course, would mean the worst kind of chaos, and that would mean a cozy place for terrorists that could really be a threat to us, unlike Saddam.

There is more the president could say, however. So far he seems to be feeding the American public what it wants to hear. ...

And Donald Rumsfeld should have more to say. Perhaps for once he could drop his combative style and shoot straight with the American people who have watched a slow trickle of body bags come back from the desert.

The Anniston (Ala.) Star

Aug. 20

If the attack on the U.N. building carries Saddam's signature it could be a calculated warning to the United Nations, a body that has now recognized the Anglo-American occupation and is becoming more involved in it.

But there's another possible explanation. Hitting the U.N. representatives was intended to show that the Americans are inept occupiers, that they can't guarantee security, water and electric power. They are not even able protect their guests. It was a bloody insult from an invisible Saddam to George W. Bush.

The fact that a suicide bomber may have carried out the attack on the U.N. is alarming. It is not typical of the Iraqi regime, which never counted among its ranks religious fanatics ready to sacrifice themselves. The Baath was traditionally a lay party, rabidly anti-clerical.

Even if in the last few years Saddam was seen in mosques proclaiming jihad, he never became a fundamentalist.

But in recent weeks, Iraq has been a target for those who want to hit America. And among those are Islamic terrorists. For them this is a unique opportunity: America is no longer a remote object, it's now within their grasp.

La Repubblica, Rome

Aug. 20

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