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Europe

European Press Review: US at Home and Abroad

The conclusions of the US military report on prisoner abuse in Iraq and suspicions surrounding the cause of the two plane crashes in Russia were two of the many topics discussed in Thursday's European editorials.

The Swiss Baseler Zeitung took an unforgiving approach with regard to responsibility for prisoner abuse in Iraq. It wrote that whatever else came to light from the commission’s report on US torture of Iraqi prisoners, the Pentagon -- under the watchful eye of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld -- will do nothing more to relieve the situation. After all, the paper continued, the whole problem that led to the Abu Ghraib scandal began in the White House in the first place. When US President W. Bush arbitrarily decided to exclude prisoners in both Guantanamo Bay and Afghanistan from the rights detailed in the Geneva Convention he created a gray area that opened the way to uninhibited abuses in the Iraqi prison, the paper argued. The paper firmly put the political responsibility for the scandal on the shoulders of Bush and Rumsfeld.

Britain’s Guardian agreed, and also noted that the abuse scandal should bot become a seperate subject from Iraq as that conflict continues. "Fallujah remains under terrorist control," the paper reminded, and added that the number of U.S. soldiers killed is spiraling toward 1,000. Such is the multi-faceted nature of the problem that is Iraq, the paper also noted that even the U.S. presidential campaign is in danger of being used to distract from the continuing violence, despite being one of the main topics at a time when war still rages.

The Russian paper Novaya Gazeta addressed this week’s plane crashes in its country, and pinned the blame on Chechen terrorists. The paper got right to the point and wrote that Chechnya is de facto no longer a part of Russia and that the relationship between Russia and Chechnya has a limited three point script. First, Russian soldiers shoot Chechen civilians. Second, the Russian Treasury sends money to Chechnya, which then disappears there. Third, the Chechens commit terrorist acts in Russia, the Russian paper summarized.

The Financial Times of London cast a glance to the Middle East and Ariel Sharon’s decision last week to undertake yet more measures for Jewish expansion in the occupied West Bank. The daily ironically discussed that it’s the Israeli tail wagging the American dog. The proposed expansion, the paper analyzed, is a further indication of the Sharon government’s intention to foreclose on the possibility of a viable Palestinian state in the territories Israel conquered in the 1967 six-day war. Though it's not that surprising, the paper noted, the Bush administration’s decision to give something between a green and amber light to this new violation of international law is inflammatory and irresponsible.

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