European Press Review: Sketchy Intelligence | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 13.07.2004
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European Press Review: Sketchy Intelligence

European editorials on Tuesday looked at US and British intelligence reports showing that accusations were largely false about Saddam Hussein acquiring weapons of mass destruction.

De Standaard from Belgium put the war in Iraq "in the ranks of scandals like Vietnam and Watergate, where authorities lied to the public." The paper labelled the episode "sad" because "world-wide, there was a divide between policy and public opinion."

London's The Guardian said British Prime Minister Tony Blair "no longer to evade responsibility for the war" that "he decided to fight with America come what may." The paper accused Blair for having taken "intelligence that was sketchy and circumstantial and transformed it into something that appeared compelling and definitive."

Der Standard from Vienna was disappointed that the Bush administration is looking into a law now to postpone the presidential election in the event of a terror attack. With such a law, "the terrorists will have won without even having to attack," the paper wrote. "They will have forced a prophylactic change in the US constitution, which sets down the date for the election." The paper suspected that "the US administration is trying to secure re-election by

over-dramatizing the threat of terrorism. If it's successful, "then so is Osama bin Laden and all his sympathizers," the daily wrote. "Because they couldn't ask for anyone better than George W. Bush, as the picture of an enemy."

Die Presse, also from Vienna, was disturbed by the US's image around the world after the Iraq War. The paper took the point of view that "a superpower doesn't just need rockets, it needs credibility." The paper saw the torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad as an example of the US's loss in credibility, and then asked many questions: "Doesn't the US's erosion of morality go much further? Is it true that the CIA brought prisoners of war to the Middle East in order to torture them? Is it true that the US looked for help from countries it labelled 'rogue states'? What sad role compliant legal professionals might have played in order to engineer, and justify, all of this."