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Europe

European Press Review: Fighting the Wrong War?

Friday's European editorial writers have a lot to say about the negative findings of the 9/11 commission in the United States and the Europrean Union summit.

"Bush has misled Americans on Iraq," headlined the editorial in Britain’s Financial Times. The congressional commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. has concluded that there is no evidence to support the Bush administration’s thesis that Saddam Hussein helped al Qaeda carry out the attacks. The evidence that Washington produced to make such a link was, in the paper’s opinion, at best spurious, at worst, fabricated. Yet, the paper noted

that U.S. vice-president Dick Cheney continues to assert that the link does exist. It added that in this case it’s no wonder that until recently polls showed that more than half of Americans believed Iraq was behind the attacks on the Twin Towers.

Le Monde in Paris was worried about the wider repercussions of the investigation results. It said the lies regarding the connection between al Qaeda and Iraq ruin America’s credibility and will cause waves of hate to ripple through the Muslim world. And even more serious than that, Washington’s unjustified reasons for going to war with Iraq have distracted the international community from the real war against terror: Osama bin Laden is still free and his Al Qaeda network is growing, the daily concluded.

London’s The Guardian agreed and harshly stated that in the end, the ugly fact that U.S. President Bush cannot contemplate is that far from scotching the terrorist snake, the war in Iraq has created new fertile ground for it.

Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung looked at how the American public will deal with this news. Ultimately it’s up to them to decide whether they feel lied to by the Bush administration, the daily wrote. There’s little doubt that the democratic presidential challenger will accuse the government of deception, but the paper thought the only question is whether he can make it stick.

Other European editorial writers turned their attention to the two-day EU summit which ends on Friday. The meeting has two aims: to work out an agreement on the bloc’s draft constitution and to choose a new commission head to replace Romano Prodi.

Austria’s Salzburger Nachrichten said it appears EU leaders didn’t learn a thing from the negative results of the parliamentary elections last weekend. They are playing poker behind closed doors with the project of Europe’s future, leaving Europeans out of the game. On the quest to find a new EU chief executive, Moscow’s Kommersant said the names flying around all have their good and bad points, depending on which party they belong to, what country they’re from and their political experience. But the one thing the paper stressed is that no matter what, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana should stay where he is.