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News, 26/1-2/2/02 (1)

News, 26/1-2/2/02 (1)

Most obvious news item this week, Bush¹s State of the Union speech. The full
text was recently posted to the list and it reads to me more like a
tightening of sanctions than a call to war. It called for preventing the
countries of the Œaxis of evil¹ from having access to weapons rather than
for their overthrow. Since there is presumably no intention of going to war
against Iran and North Korea, lumping them together with Iraq seems to
indicate a withdrawal from the idea of war. And we note also that Bush
intends to go after Hamas and Hezbollah in Œremote jungles¹ rather than in
Palestine and Lebanon.

But the flurry of Iraqi diplomatic activity shows that they are,
understandably, worried. It includes two developments that might be
significant - allowing the UN human rights inspector into Iraq, and (though
this may not be the first time they¹ve promised it) restraining the Iranian
Mujaheedin al-Khalq.

The increasing tension between the US and Saudi Arabia is a hopeful sign.
The one pleasing thing about Sept 11 and its aftermath has been the
revelation that Saudi Arabia is something other than a country of parasitic
libertines hiding under a mask of hypocritical religiosity. There is a civil
society with a mind other than that of its government and with some sort of
commitment to its professed ideals. I¹ve always seen Saudi Arabia as the one
country which has the possibility of resolving the Iraqi problem if they
would free themselves from dependence on the US. So I¹ve given a special
section to articles on this development even though they¹re not, for the
most part, immediately relevant to Iraq.

Don¹t miss (under International Relations) the little item ŒMail to Iraq
cleared.¹ Also note (in Incitement) most intelligent comment of the week on
Bush¹s speech, from (I hate to admit it) Madeleine Albright: ³the
international community thinks we have lost our mind².


*  President: Spend more to win war on terrorism
*  U.S. attack on Iraq is not the way to go [Account of a Œdebate¹ between
Richard Perle, advocating immediate unconditional war on Iraq, and Al Gore
policy adviser Leon Fuerth advocating continued torture and murder by
starvation and disease. The general drift is that there is something called
¹progress¹ which the US wants to see and that the Iraqis (and North Koreans)
constitute an obstacle to it. The conclusion, as given in the title - that
it would be better to help both Iraqis and North Koreans rebuild their
economy - comes as a surprise.]
*  Bush targets 'axis of evil'
*  No Action Just Yet on Baghdad, U.S. Says
*  Good Economic News at World Forum [Advice against military action given
at the World Economic Forum.]
*  Bush's Comments Prompt Criticism [Some details of the Iranian and Korean
response to Bush¹s speech. Iran pulls out of the World Economic Forum. South
Korea is very unhappy with the attack on North Korea (you¹d think these
people don¹t WANT to be liberated)]
*  Tactics may shift vs. other foes [States Iraq¹s continued WMD programme
as if it is an established fact (I have no reason to doubt it but the
Œevidence¹ that has been produced so far in news items is paltry). The
article also indicates that this possibility - Iraq¹s supposed possession of
WMD - is a strong argument against going to war, which is surely a good
argument for suggesting that Iraq OUGHT to be developing WMD. Needless to
say, the WMD capacity of other countries (USA, Britain, France, Germany,
Israel, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Pakistan, India, China) isn¹t mentioned.
Interesting prospect of heavy sanctions (rather than war) being imposed on
Iran - bad news for those of us with a taste for pistachios. And some
defence of North Korea. Though surely North Korea has just been mentioned
for the sake of having a non-Islamic enemy. Funny how Burma/Myanmar never
seems to get a mention these days]
*  It's Time to Pin Target On Saddam [New York Daily News tell us that the
Arab world really want a war on Saddam Œno matter what they say publicly.¹
Quote of the week: Œwhile the U.S. presumably could continue to live with
rogue states, as it has for decades, it can't live with evil¹.
*  Give war a chance [Asia Times article editorial quoting Bush on the
values he seeks to defend and broadly agreeing with him, but pointing out
that logically the policy leads to a Trotsky-like state of Œpermanent
*  No, This Isn't the Way to Change Regimes in Iran and Iraq
*  The Gun Is on the Table, and Iraqis Await Their Liberators [Given that Mr
Safire wants an Afghan Œsolution¹ to the problems of Iraq, why does he
advocate Œ70,000 Kurdish fighters in Northern Iraq and a lesser Shi¹ite
force¹ - given that the Shi¹ites constitute the majority in Iraq? Why, its
because the main Shi¹ite fighting force, and the only army actually at work
in Iraq (the only real equivalent of the Northern Alliance) is the Supreme
Council for the Islamic Revolution, backed by Iran, which is next after Iraq
on Mr Safire¹s list of target nations.)
*  US-Iraq [A brief statement of the amorality of US foreign policy,
contrasting the response to the invasion of Kuwait with the approval of
Indonesia¹s invasion of East Timor]
*  Albright blasts Bush for "axis of evil" tag [Have we really reached the
stage at which Madeleine Albright begins to look like a moderate! But one
can understand her annoyance that the only good thing she ever did in her
life (the rapprochement with North Korea) should be so casually thrown in
the dustbin by her successors. And give her credit. She has broken the magic
spell in which NO prominent American politician dares to utter a cheap
against Bush¹s foreign policy notions.]

URL ONLY:,8599,198186,00.html
*  Why Saddam Remains a Tough Target
Time, 30th January
Some reasons for hesitation. I didn¹t see anything here we haven¹t seen

AND IN NEWS, 26/1-2/2/02 (2)


*  Iraqi forces intercepted British, American warplanes formations
*  Iraq: The Phantom Threat [Scott Ritter pores scorn on the string of
defectors who provide the Œinformation¹ Wolfowitz, Woolsey and Perle are so
anxious to hear]
*  Iraq Co-Operated with Nuclear Inspection -- IAEA


*  America Goes Into the Energy Business With the Former Evil Empire [This
should really have been in last week¹s news. It is an intriguing argument
that the US is in the process of transferring its affections away from Saudi
Arabia, as a petrol producer, towards Russia, and that this will bring about
a new friendly relationship with Iraq, ŒSaddam or no Saddam¹.]
*  Washington-Riyadh chill intensifies [Includes, as an interesting passing
remark, that Saudi Arabia Œwas a close ally during the Cold War, providing
hundreds of millions of dollars to US-supported insurgents from Angola to
Afghanistan, to Nicaragua.¹ It seems that the Saudis have been into the
business of bankrolling Œterrorism;¹ for a very long time, and that the US
owes a lot to them. What interest did the Saudis have in Nicaragua?]
*  Why We Need Ties With Saudis [Argument for staying in Saudi Arabia
despite the Saudi lack of enthusiasm]
*  Farewell, Saudi Arabia [Argument for pulling out. Saudi foot-dragging has
become intolerable. The Saudi authorities Œeven resisted for a time so
sensible and modest a request as to give to American immigration and law
enforcement authorities basic biographical data about Saudis who board the
national airlines' flights to the U.S.¹ Does this mean Ireland should have
provided basic data on its citizens boarding Aer Lingus flights to Britain
during the worst of the troubles???]
*  Saudis are saying that 100 of their nationals are among those who are
detained by the US
*  Saudi ministry of the interior continues receiving inquiries about Saudis
arrested in USA
*  Crown Prince Abdullah address Saudi attitude towards US policy [Quite a
pleasingly tough statement in contrast to his Jordanian namesake below]


*  Iraqi refugees to return home voluntarily [from Iran]
*  Syria Accused of Violating Sanctions [The article also mentions the
amount of oil that is being smuggled into Turkey without explaining why it
is Syria, not Turkey, that is under attack. Once again this has a
Britain-does-the-jobs-the-US-doesn¹t-want-to-touch feel about it]
*  Roundup: Iran, Iraq Edge Closer Before U.S. Shifts Anti-Terrorism
*  Iraq to Permit Direct Flights for Iranian Pilgrims
*  Tehran's Game [Righteous indignation from Time Magazine that Iran might
be interfering in Afghanistan by giving aid to its allies in the country. Of
course America would never think of doing such a thing. But with two and a
half million Afghan refugees in Iran the Iranians could be said to have a
legitimate interest in the matter]
*  Iraq, Iran agreement to halt Mujahidee Khalq activities
*  Iraq to Honor Female Bomber
*  Jordan's King Backs Bush on Iran, Iraq [Most depressing item of the week.
Abdullah of Jordan, beside Bush, says: "It is very obvious that there are
those on the side of good and those on the side of bad ... There's some
countries in the middle that haven't made up their mind.... And those
countries better make up their minds pretty quickly."  No indication that he
might have a different idea of what constitutes Œgood¹ and Œbad¹ than Mr
Bush. The article repeats the old lie that, during the Gulf Massacre,
ŒJordan sided with Iraq¹. Jordan, like the Yemen, condemned the invasion of
Kuwait but attempted to do what the UN Charter obliges everyone to do ­ find
a settlement through negotiation. Its efforts were systematically sabotaged
by the US and it was severely punished economically afterwards by the other
Gulf powers. Thenceforth Abdullah¹s father behaved himself, co-operated with
the embargo, kept his mouth shut and all sorts of lofty people turned up to
pay him homage at his funeral.]

*  Iranian president meets Iraqi foreign minister
Irna, 28th January. Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri's visit to Iran. Just
an exchange of compliments but that has its own significance at the present
time, expecially since the Iranian side is represented by the (relatively)
virtuous (in US eyes) Mohammad Khatami.
*  Iraq's diplomacy may ward off US attack
by Alistair Lyon
Dawn (Pakistan), 30th January, 15 Ziqa'ad 1422
Summary of Tariq Aziz¹s recent travels and initiatives addressed to Saudi
Arabia, Kuwait and Iran.
*  Allies More Important for Iraq
Las Vegas Sun, 31st January
Summary of Iraq¹s relations with immediate neighbours.

AND IN NEWS, 26/1-2/2/02 (3)


*  China advises Iraq to co-operate with UN {Aziz¹s visit to China]
*  Iraq asks EU for dialogue on UN sanctions
*  Russia Strongly Opposes Using Force Against Iraq: Duma Leader [Repeats
the figure we saw in last week¹s news of 1,854 holds on goods for South and
central Iraq as against 2 for the Kurdish Autonomous zone]
*  Iraqi diplomats leave Sweden amid accusations
*  Iraqi diplomats expelled from Sweden
*  Paris opposes toppling Saddam Hussein by means of force
*  Putin takes tough line on Iraq, nuclear arms cuts
*  Iraq deputy prime minister shortens visit to Russia [This seems an odd
decision, attributed in the article ŒPutin takes a tough line¹ to a Œfit of
pique¹ brought on by Bush¹s speech. But the Iraqis must know that at the
present time Russia is very important to them.]
*  Mail to Iraq cleared [From New Zealand. Only two sentences, but the
nicest piece of news we¹ve had for a very long time.]


*  U.N. watchdog wants Iraq to engage in rights dialogue
*  UN "oil-for-food" chief ends tour of Iraqi Kurdistan


*  Unwelcomed take another spin on a crazy carousel [More on the sad fate of
asylum seekers in Australia]
*  Businessman from Iraq, bank settle bias suit [Apparent end to saga that
began in last week¹s news]
*  Iraq native's business raided day after suit ends [Unexpectedly the saga
starts up again and becomes very interesting. Like the closure of the Somali
Barakat Wire Transfer, this seems to be using the Œwar against terrorism¹ -
very crudely - as a weapon to prevent people helping their relatives left
behind in countries that have fallen into disfavour with the US government]


*  Baghdad Airs Kurdish TV to Win Over Iraqi Kurds


*  Iraqi women's panel presents paper on role in public life [Argues that
Iraq was a pioneer in the field of women¹s rights since the beginning of the
*  Iraqi oil sales resume average levels


*  U.S. to give $2.4 million to Iraqi opposition group
*  U.S. Restores Funding for Iraqi Opposition [A couple of weeks ago,
readers may remember, Ahmed Chalabi was saying there were great
possibilities because the Iranians were going to back the INC. Now he says
he¹s greatly encouraged by Mr Bush¹s speech even though this declared Iran
to be part of an Œaxis of evil¹. He¹s turned his affections back to the
Kurds. He says that there are 40,000 of them ready to take up arms. Which
indicates a modest, cautious approach. William Safire (Incitement: ŒThe Gun
is on the table¹), tells us there are 70,000]


*  Iraqi Dates Sales Make a Symbolic Breach in Sanctions [A heartening item,
all the more heartening for the role of Plaid Cymry in selling Iraqi dates
in the Parliament building in Brussels. Next stop the Welsh Assembly? Or


Chicago Sun Times, 27th January

WASHINGTON (AP): Calling for the largest increase in defense spending in 20
years and asking Congress to nearly double the money for homeland security,
President Bush promised Saturday to ''spend what it takes to win the war
against terrorism.''

In a preview of the State of the Union address he will deliver Tuesday
evening to a joint session of Congress, Bush also promised to work to
improve the climate in which jobs are created and to ''fight the recession
and build economic security.''

The president's weekly radio address highlighted announcements made earlier
in the week.

For the budget year that begins Oct. 1, he will ask Congress for an extra
$48 billion for U.S. military forces, the largest increase in defense
spending in 20 years. An additional $38 billion will go toward homeland
security, Bush said.

''Every budget reflects fundamental choices, and my administration has made
choices to fit the times,'' he said. ''We'll protect our people in every way
necessary, and we will carry on the campaign against global terror until we
achieve our goal: the peace that comes from victory.''

Bush said the effort to root out terrorists with a capability to strike
around the world will be neither short nor inexpensive. The armed forces
will need the best high-tech equipment available to succeed, he said.

''My budget calls for . .. investing in more precision weapons, missile
defenses, unmanned vehicles and high-tech equipment for our soldiers on the
ground. I will also seek another pay increase for the men and women who wear
our country's uniform,'' he said. ''We will spend what it takes to win the
war against terrorism.''

He also promised to complete the effort to enhance airport security,
strengthen the Border Patrol, hire an additional 300 FBI agents and pump
cash into efforts to better equip state and local firefighters, police and
emergency response teams.

A Time magazine/CNN poll released Saturday found that a majority of
Americans want Bush's address to focus on domestic issues. Three-quarters
(74 percent) of American surveyed want to hear about the economy and other
issues, while only one in six (16 percent) want to hear more about the war.


Toronto Star, 29th January

NEW YORK: If two mandarins from opposite ends of the American foreign policy
establishment agree, it's a sure sign action is brewing. Last week Leon
Fuerth and Richard Perle achieved a remarkable consensus on an issue rising
to the top of the Bush administration's agenda: what to do about Iraq.

The two men, who conducted a fiery public debate at New York's Council on
Foreign Relations, appeared not to agree at all. But the consensus rested
largely on what they didn't say and it underlined how the larger debate over
how to deal with so-called "rogue states" has narrowed in
terrorism-conscious Washington.

Perle, dubbed the "dark prince" for his ultra-hawk views on arms control as
a member of Ronald Reagan's brain trust, wants the U.S. to use the momentum
from the Afghan war to wrest Saddam Hussein from power now  even though
there's no hard evidence of his involvement in the Sept. 11 assaults.

"I don't think we can go after the (global) terror network and leave one of
the patron saints of terrorism unscathed," said Perle, who now serves as
head of the U.S. Defence Policy Board  an influential quasi-government
advisory group.

His debating partner demurred.

The time isn't right yet, said Fuerth, who was former vice-president Al
Gore's chief foreign policy adviser and would likely have been head of the
National Security Council in a Gore presidency.

But he didn't challenge the assumption that a U.S. military effort to kick
out Saddam was necessary. The argument was over how fast to act. Fuerth
advocated pushing for an early return of United Nations arms inspectors, as
a means of regaining international support for containing Saddam, and then
"if Iraq refuses to allow inspectors at a location," Fuerth added ominously,
"that location should cease to exist."

It was an argument for stepped-up military pressure that, as Fuerth surely
knew, would lead to renewed war.

While the two certainly differed on how and when such a war could be waged
(Fuerth wanted to be sure of allied support; Perle thought it didn't
matter), they reflected the emerging and uneasy consensus in Washington that
Saddam is a legitimate target for the next phase of the anti-terrorism

The consensus is born out of frustration, which is, in part, understandable.
As long as Saddam continues in power, he is a tinderbox for the Middle East,
paralyzing movement on other issues in the region. And few doubt he is eager
to play his spoiler role to the limit.

A similar deadlock exists in East Asia, where North Korea continues to flout
hopes of making it a rational member of the international community. It was
no coincidence that in November, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called
the North Korean regime a "very real" threat to the U.S.

Although neither Fuerth nor Perle mentioned North Korea, the drift of their
discussions seems to apply there, too: The success of the anti-terrorism
campaign is leading inexorably toward a muscular approach to the "rogue"
states that have defied the West for years.

Both North Korea and Iraq have effectively stalemated U.S. policy in their
separate regions. Washington is stuck in positions where veering away from
its hard-line stance would be seen as weakness, while moving toward a more
aggressive position would arouse criticism.

Foreign policy abhors a vacuum, so it's easy to see why the U.S. is eager to
use its Afghan success to get rid of irritants elsewhere in the world. But
no one seems to want to risk changing the strategic context.

In fact, there may be more room for manoeuvre than Washington analysts seem
to think.

In North Korea, the military "threat" is disputable: Despite Pyongyang's
hawkish rhetoric, the regime is moving steadily toward a rapprochement with
the south that will help it deal with its overwhelming economic crisis.

In Iraq, Saddam's strength is built on manipulating perceptions that he's a
victim of the West's containment policies. A more robust attempt to rebuild
Iraq's economy and provide a vision of what a post-Saddam leadership would
gain from the West would start to undercut his power without firing a single

Could such "new thinking" work? It requires patience and a larger
perspective. Oddly enough, another "rogue" state  Libya  is slowly coming in
from the cold, thanks to Muammar Gaddafi's ability to read the signals of
the post-Sept. 11 world. If Libya can "soften," why not others?

Washington has singularly achieved credibility and influence from its
anti-terror campaign. It would be a tragedy to squander it on
confrontational tactics and impulsive military action.,7034,3686499%255E1557

by Stephen Romei
Sunday Times (Australia), 31st January

GEORGE W. Bush has trained his sights on Iraq, Iran and North Korea,
branding them an "axis of evil" in a confrontational State of the Union
address designed to prepare the US for a dramatic expansion of the war on

The President named the three countries as among "the world's most dangerous
regimes", but he devoted most time to the foe his father defeated but
stopped short of destroying -- the Iraqi dictatorship of Saddam Hussein.

"This is a regime which has something to hide from the civilised world," he

Mr Bush made it clear the campaign to eliminate "terrorist parasites" and
the nations that sponsor them might take years, not months. And he warned
that the US was prepared to fight with or without its allies.

However, he did not name Osama bin Laden, the architect of the September 11
terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, who has eluded US attempts to
capture or kill him.

"Our war on terror is well begun, but it is only begun. This campaign may
not be finished on our watch," he said in his address to a joint sitting of

Mr Bush suggested he would move quickly to take the war beyond Afghanistan
and surprised political observers by explicitly identifying Iraq, Iran and
North Korea.

"States like these -- and their terrorist allies -- constitute an axis of
evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world," he said. "I will not wait
on events, while dangers gather. I will not stand by, as peril draws closer
and closer.

"The United States will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to
threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons.

"Some governments will be timid in the face of terror. Make no mistake: if
they do not act, America will."

Political commentators said it appeared Mr Bush had decided in favour of the
hawks in his administration who have urged him to finish the job his father
started in Iraq.

"I think that between this State of the Union address and the next State of
the Union address we will have a war in Iraq," political columnist Charles
Krauthammer said.

"The President needs to prepare the nation for that. He is a wartime
president and his was a wartime speech."

With his approval rating up in the mid-80s, Mr Bush received a rousing
bipartisan welcome as he entered the House of Representatives on Tuesday

Democrat Leader Dick Gephardt said: "I want to commend the President. There
were two parties in the house tonight, but one resolve ... to ensure America
wins the first war of the 21st century."

Mr Bush had to pause for applause 75 times in a 48-minute speech, which
formally opened the second year of his presidency.

In a sign of solidarity, Vice-President Dick Cheney, who had been separated
from Mr Bush for security reasons since September 11, sat behind the
President. Afghan leader Hamid Karzai sat beside Mr Bush's wife Laura during
the speech.

Continuing a tradition established by Ronald Reagan, Mr Bush sprinkled the
chamber with ordinary Americans who had shown extraordinary character, such
as the two American Airlines flight attendants who foiled alleged shoe
bomber Richard Reid.

He used that incident to reinforce his message that the US remained under
threat from "tens of thousands of trained terrorists ... spread throughout
the world like ticking time bombs". "Our discoveries in Afghanistan
confirmed our worst fears and show us the true scope of the task ahead," he
said. "We have found diagrams of American nuclear power plants and public
water facilities, detailed instructions for making chemical weapons,
surveillance maps of American cities and thorough descriptions of landmarks
throughout the world."

While Mr Bush acknowledged at the outset that the US was in recession, he
devoted only one-sixth of his speech to the economy and offered only broad
solutions, such as creating more jobs and improving education.

The most specific budget initiative mentioned by Mr Bush was war-related: a
huge increase in spending on defence and homeland security.

As expected, he called on corporate America to lift its standards but did
not mention the Enron scandal, which threatens to taint his administration.

The President said he had been "humbled and privileged" by Americans'
response to the September 11 attacks and urged them to "not let this moment

"For too long our culture has said, 'If it feels good, do it'. Now America
is embracing a new ethic and a new creed: 'Let's roll'," he said.

by Alan Sipress and Thomas E. Ricks
International Herald Tribune (from Washington Post), 31st January

 WASHINGTON: Bush administration officials have made it clear Wednesday that
U.S. military action against Iraq, Iran or North Korea is not close at hand
despite President George W. Bush¹s warning that he would not stand idle as
these countries threatened U.S. security. The White House spokesman, Ari
Fleischer, said Wednesday that Mr. Bush, in his State of the Union address,
on Tuesday, was ŒŒnot sending a signal that military action is imminent.¹¹
Mr. Fleischer said the comments had been an ŒŒexpression of how serious the
president takes protecting our country.¹¹ Mr. Bush told Congress in his
State of the Union address on Tuesday that Iraq, Iran and North Korea,
accused by the administration of trying to develop biological, chemical and
nuclear weapons, form an ŒŒaxis of evil¹¹ and that time was running out for
the United States to counter the danger.

By singling out Iraq, Iran and North Korea, Mr. Bush elevated concerns about
weapons of mass destruction to the same level as terrorism. While all three
are on the State Department¹s list of state sponsors of terrorism, Iraq and
North Korea have played at most a minimal role in backing terrorist groups
in recent years, officials said. Heightened U.S. concerns about weapons
proliferation after Sept. 11, and especially after the anthrax attacks, have
given Mr. Bush wider latitude to extend his campaign to countries accused of
trying to acquire biological and other weapons, analysts said. ŒŒThis was a
pretty clear signal that the overlap between the campaign against terrorism
and opposition to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is nearly
complete,¹¹ said a senior administration official.

Since the start of the administration, Iraq has been a matter of particular
concern; some senior officials in the White House and Pentagon argue that
the United States should actively promote the ouster of President Saddam
Hussein. But several Pentagon officials stressed that there is no impending
military action against Iraq. ŒŒIt would be news to us,¹¹ said one defense
official familiar with military planning. Another Pentagon official went
even farther, saying that current military planning is focused primarily on
other areas where Al Qaeda and its sympathizers are believed to be active.
ŒŒWe¹re looking more at Somalia, the Philippines, places like that,¹¹ the
official said. Nor is it clear that military operations are the best way to
address the threats posed by Iraq, Iran and North Korea, administration
officials said. ŒŒMilitary power is obviously one element of national power.
But I warn that the United States is not going to have a one-size-fits-all
policy here,¹¹ said a senior administration official. ŒŒWe would make a
mistake to assume the president is saying, ŒI¹m going to repeat Afghanistan
everywhere else in the world.¹¹¹

Administration officials said they would press ahead with diplomatic and
technical approaches to blocking countries from gaining weapons of mass
destruction while also continuing to support unconditional dialogue with
Iran and North Korea to address the issue. No such offer of dialogue was
made to Iraq, which remains under UN sanctions for failing to disarm after
the 1991 Gulf War. ŒŒYou try to choke off the development of weapons of mass
destruction,¹¹ said the State Department spokesman, Richard Boucher. ŒŒYou
can do that through a discussion with governments and countries, if they¹re
prepared to abandon these programs and open themselves up to international
nuclear inspectors, for example, or in the case of Iraq, open themselves up
to fully comply with UN resolutions.¹¹ Administration officials and analysts
said the prospect of war with Iran or North Korea remains remote. Officials
said senior policy makers had not begun to seriously debate whether to
launch a new military campaign against Baghdad or step up support for the
efforts of Iraqi opposition groups bent on overthrowing Mr. Saddam.

Pentagon officials sought last fall to win an administration decision to
seek Mr. Saddam¹s ouster. But with war in Afghanistan then looming, top
officials decided unanimously to put that discussion on hold because they
saw no clear link between Baghdad and the Sept. 11 attacks. Even the
administration¹s strongest advocates of trying to overthrow Mr. Saddam
acknowledge it could take months to build the Iraqi National Congress, an
umbrella of opposition groups, into an effective fighting force.

If Mr. Bush decided to seek Mr. Saddam¹s ouster with U.S. troops, it could
take weeks if not months to put in place a force large enough to defeat his
military ‹ an estimated 200,000 U.S. soldiers or more, officials and
analysts said. Part of this campaign could involve deploying a force about
the size of a division of U.S. troops in western Iraq to prevent Mr. Saddam
from firing Scud missiles armed with chemical weapons at Israel in
retaliation for a U.S. invasion. U.S. officials also have not begun in
earnest the diplomatic task of winning assent for a campaign against Iraq
from its neighbors, such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Turkey, as well as
European allies.

by Alan Clendenning
Hartford Courant (from AP), 31st January


A panel of international security experts warned the Bush administration
against using force on other countries, saying that could hurt relations
with its allies.

They said President Bush should use diplomacy instead of military might in
his dealings with Iran, Iraq and North Korea, which were identified as rogue
states in his State of the Union address Tuesday.

"If you topple Saddam Hussein, there will be another Saddam Hussein
somewhere else," said Christoph Bertram, director of the German Institute
for International Affairs and Security.


Las Vegas Sun, 31st January


Iran's foreign minister canceled a trip to New York for an international
economic forum in protest of Bush's remarks, according to Iranian

In his State of the Union address Tuesday, Bush said Iran, Iraq and North
Korea pose a growing threat because of their support for terrorism and their
efforts to build or acquire weapons of mass destruction.

North Korea said Bush's denunciation of the communist country was little
short of a declaration or war.

"The option to 'strike' impudently advocated by the U.S. is not its
monopoly," a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said early Friday.
North Korea, it said, "will never tolerate the U.S. reckless attempt to
stifle the (North) by force of arms but mercilessly wipe out the

North Korea's neighbors, Japan and South Korea, said they were nervous over
Bush's speech.

"It cast an ominous dark cloud over Northeast Asia, the Korean peace process
in particular," said Baek Hak-soon, a security expert in Seoul's independent
Sejong Institute.

To observers in Seoul, Bush's speech reaffirmed what they saw as a widening
gap between the United States and its ally South Korea over how to deal with
North Korea, a totalitarian regime that U.S. officials say is armed with
long-range missiles and up to 5,000 tons of biochemical weapons - and
possibly a few crude nuclear devices.


by Bryan Bender
Boston Globe, 31st January

WASHINGTON - If President George W. Bush wants to expand the US campaign
against terrorism to Iran, Iraq, and North Korea, he will most likely use a
combination of covert action, economic sanctions, and diplomatic pressure to
change their behavior, administration officials and national security
experts said yesterday.

The only alternative to such an incremental approach, they said, is
full-scale war. That option is far riskier - and therefore less likely.

The commander-in-chief placed the governments in Baghdad, Tehran, and
Pyongyang on notice in his State of the Union address Tuesday night that he
considers them to be an ''axis of evil'' because of their deadly combination
of weapons of mass destruction and well documented associations with
terrorist groups seeking such weapons. The president said they will be a
primary focus of the campaign against terrorism in the coming months.

But the nature of these regimes, the lack of hard information on their
highly secretive arsenals, and their fearsome military capabilities would
make the kind of all-out assault launched in Afghanistan more problematic.
Despite the president's high approval ratings, the idea makes members of
Congress and military brass cringe.

Though full-scale military action is unlikely, specialists say, should
action be taken, it would almost certainly be against Iraq, rather than Iran
or North Korea. Iraq has been in the US crosshairs for years, and a faction
within the administration is known to favor taking strong action there.

All three countries are believed to have extensive arsenals of weapons of
mass destruction, and continue to seek the materials and expertise to
develop more.

Iraq, under the leadership of President Saddam Hussein, continues to operate
its weapons of mass destruction program, even though it was outlawed after
the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War. The country is believed to have stockpiled
chemical and biological weapons and is continuing its search for nuclear

''Given Iraq's past behavior, it is likely Iraq has used the period [since
the Gulf War] to reconstitute prohibited programs,'' according to a recent
CIA report. Its missile force, however, is believed to be small, consisting
of only a handful of short-range missiles.

Iran, according to the CIA report, ''remains one of the most active
countries seeking to aquire'' weapons of mass destruction. Iran has a
chemical and biological weapons program, believed to include thousands of
tons of poisons, the report states.

Iran is not believed to possess nuclear weapons, intelligence officials say,
but seeks them as a counter to neighboring Iraq and, to a lesser extent,
Israel. It has also developed - with the assistance of Russia, China, and
North Korea - a capable long-range missile program that could be used to
deliver chemical, biological, or nuclear warheads.

North Korea, meanwhile, is believed to have between 500 and 5,000 tons of
biological weapons, and may already possess up to several nuclear bombs, US
intelligence agencies have reported. With the most advanced missile force of
the three, it could threaten not only South Korea and Japan, but the western
edge of the United States as well.

However, North Korea's search for weapons of mass destruction and the means
to deliver them is believed to be more of a diplomatic endeavor than a
military one, done in the hopes that it can use them as bargaining chips to
gain concessions that will prop up the regime.

But the whereabouts and quantities of these arsenals remain largely a
mystery - a fact that makes it difficult for US military planners to destroy
the stockpiles before the regime could use them in retaliation.

Moreover, Iran, Iraq, and North Korea have standing national militaries to
be reckoned with - which was not the case in Afghanistan. North Korea
''could still give us a serious shooting war,'' said a Pentagon official,
who added that both Iran and Iraq have some of the world's largest military

As a result, instead of full scale war, a combination of covert action,
economic santions, and diplomatic maneuvers to further isolate these
countries will make up the president's war plan to roll back their weapons
of mass destruction and terrorist activities and cut off their sources of
materiel and equipment, specialists predict.

''What they are looking at in Iran is for the CIA to go after Iranian
suppliers to Middle East terrorist groups,'' said John Pike of in Washington.

Representative Barney Franks - among the members of Congress voicing concern
that Bush is embarking on a course that will lead the US military into a
potential quagmire - predicted that Iran may soon face tighter US, and
possibly international, sanctions to prod a change in its behavior.

In North Korea, however, the administration may still have an opportunity to
restart the dialogue begun by the Clinton administration in an effort to
bring an end to the nearly 50 year standoff on the Korean Peninsula.

''Clinton made real progress on North Korea,'' said Frank. ''They are not as
crazy and suicidal as they were. Listing North Korea was the worst thing
[Bush] did.''

In the case of Iran and North Korea, Russia and China will probably play a
large role in US economic and diplomatic efforts to rein in their weapons of
mass destruction programs.

''Russia and China are going to have to get with the program'' if they want
to remain members of the US-led coalition against terrorism, said a senior
defense official. Russia has taken steps in recent years to cut off exports
to Iran of missiles and so-called ''dual-use'' technologies that could be
used to develop weapons of mass destruction, while China has pledged to do
so even as Chinese firms continue to be the target of US sanctions for
dealings with Iran and North Korea.

Saddam Hussein is an entirely different story. Removing the dictator without
a major military invasion is unlikely and the next major military campaign
in Bush's war will probably be aimed at Baghdad.

New York Daily News, 31st January

Iraq has been on the Bush family radar screen since George the First kicked
Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait in 1991 without dislodging his hold on Baghdad.
On Tuesday, George the Second used his State of the Union address to kick
that obsession up a notch.

No longer content with simply labeling Iraq ‹ and Iran and North Korea, too
‹ "rogue states," President Bush now calls those repressive dictatorships
the "axis of evil."

That's a big leap. For while the U.S. presumably could continue to live with
rogue states, as it has for decades, it can't live with evil.

Iran and North Korea are bad places, but the threat from Baghdad is clearly
the most serious, as the President signaled unambiguously.

With Iraq living on borrowed time, the question is not what to do, but how
to do it.

Until now, the administration has demanded that Saddam readmit the UN
weapons inspectors Iraq kicked out three years ago. Baghdad's refusal has
set the clock ticking, and few experts seriously believe new economic
sanctions, no matter how harsh, can moderate Saddam's behavior.

Since the anti-terrorism plan has worked well since Sept. 11, many policy
experts are charmed by the Afghan model: arm anti-regime insurgents (there
are plenty in and around Iraq itching to go), supply American Special Forces
to train and guide them, and decimate Saddam's army with punishing U.S. air

"But Iraq isn't Afghanistan," says a senior U.S. Army commander. "Saddam's
army is not the Taliban or Al Qaeda. Our military involvement would likely
have to be far greater than in Afghanistan. If it were only a matter of
precision bombing, that would be great. But no contingency plan I've seen
would work without a serious ground presence of U.S. troops."

Luckily for Bush, he has Congress' top Democrats on board for just about
anything he decides to do.

The allies, though, are a problem. From Europe and the Middle East ‹ and
especially in Saudi Arabia, without whose help a serious military campaign
would be immeasurably harder to wage ‹ the chorus of "No" has been public
and loud.

The naysayers' four-point argument is simple: Toppling Saddam could cause
Iraq to split into several unstable parts; rally anti-American sentiment
elsewhere in the region; risk uprisings against nations such as Saudi
Arabia, whose oil the U.S. needs, and ruin the possibility of peace between
Israel and the Palestinians.

"We've heard all that for years," says a Defense Department official who,
like many of his colleagues, believes Bush I stopped too soon in 1991. "But
those of us who've traveled in the region recently detect, in private, a
different fear, which, if we can deal with it, is actually a hopeful sign."

"Many Middle Eastern leaders see the two Bushes as indistinguishable," this
official says. "They worry that this Bush, like his father, would stop short
of getting the job done ‹ that, for instance, he'd leave Saddam in power if
he can kill Iraq's WMD [weapons of mass destruction] programs.

"Their current concern is locked in their thinking about the Gulf War. Back
then, our goal was to expel Saddam from Kuwait, so we quit when that goal
was reached. Now, they say, if our goal is just to deal with the WMD, then
why shouldn't they believe we'll walk away again if that objective is

So what they really want is Saddam gone, I say.

"Exactly," this official says. "If we can convince them that we won't stop
until Saddam is out, then they'll be with us no matter what they say

Asia Times, 1st February

"What we have found in Afghanistan confirms that - far from ending there -
our war against terror is only beginning ... Thousands of dangerous killers,
schooled in the methods of murder, often supported by outlaw regimes, are
now spread throughout the world like ticking time bombs set to go off
without warning."

Thus spake President George W Bush in his State of the Union speech before
the US Congress on Tuesday to sustained applause. And he laid out the scope
of the continuing war; his words are worth citing at some length:

"Our nation will continue to be steadfast, and patient, and persistent in
the pursuit of two great objectives. First, we will shut down terrorist
camps, disrupt terrorist plans, and bring terrorists to justice. And second,
we must prevent the terrorists and regimes who seek chemical, biological or
nuclear weapons from threatening the United States and the world ...

"And we have a great opportunity during this time of war to lead the world
toward the values that will bring lasting peace. All fathers and mothers, in
all societies, want their children to be educated and live free from poverty
and violence. No people on Earth yearn to be oppressed, or aspire to
servitude or eagerly await the midnight knock of the secret police ...

"America will lead by defending liberty and justice, because they are right
and true and unchanging for all people everywhere. No nation owns these
aspirations, and no nation is exempt from them. We have no intention of
imposing our culture, but America will always stand firm for the
non-negotiable demands of human dignity: the rule of law, limits on the
power of the state, respect for women, private property, free speech, equal
justice and religious tolerance ...

"America will take the side of brave men and women who advocate these values
around the world, including the Islamic world, because we have a greater
objective than eliminating threats and containing resentment. We seek a just
and peaceful world beyond the war on terror ...

"Steadfast in our purpose, we now press on. We have known freedom's price;
we have shown freedom's power, and in this great conflict, my fellow
Americans, we will see freedom's victory."

George W has learned from his father's mistake of ending the Gulf War with
resounding military victory but leaving the culprit, Saddam Hussein, who
caused the war by invading Kuwait, untouched and free to continue his
oppressive rule. Unlike George Senior, George W will not stop with victory
in Afghanistan, but pursue Osama bin Laden and bin Ladenism to the furthest
corners of the globe. (And he and his domestic political advisers have also
learnt that popularity gained as the result of military victory can be
short-lived if the economy falters; hence his speech declared continuing war
on terror and war on recession in one breath).

But where does this war against terror that "is only beginning" lead? How
will it be pursued? When, given its above-defined scope, will it end?

Bush is certainly right in not mistaking military victory over the Taliban
for victory over bin Laden and his creed. Mullah Omar - though he remains at
large - and his Taliban regime are politically finished. But Afghanistan was
only a base of convenience for bin Laden's al Qaeda, a safe haven and secure
base of operations and planning while it lasted. It may not be possible
re-establish such a base elsewhere, but then again, it may not be necessary
to do so. Thus Bush is also right in calling for relentless pursuit of
al-Qaeda remnants and related terrorist cells worldwide.

One may also agree - though few nations even among America's allies now do -
that it is necessary to extend the anti-terrorism campaign to "rogue" states
in possession of weapons of mass destruction and with the possible present
or future intent of passing such weapons to terrorist groups.

But it is far from clear what sort of course Bush is charting when he speaks
of having "a great opportunity during this time of war to lead the world
toward the values that will bring lasting peace", or of taking "the side of
brave men and women who advocate these values around the world, including
the Islamic world ..." Is the war on terror, already pretty open ended and -
perhaps of necessity - without a precise exit strategy, to be converted into
a "war of liberation"? Is Bush declaring Leon Trotsky-style "permanent
revolution" in which wars afford the opportunity of speeding up the
liberation process? On Tuesday, did we witness the birth of George W Bush
the revolutionary?

Well, tell us it is so, George! Tell us that the US henceforward will shun
alliances with rotten regimes if somehow that suits the national interest.
Tell us that the very definition of the American national interest and
purpose forecloses making rotten compromises not just with Iraq, Iran or
North Korea, but also with the likes of Abdullah's Saudi Arabia or Karimov's
Uzbekistan. Yes, George, in that sense, give war a chance. But beware your
own caveat against "imposing our [American] culture" and beware not to
confuse universal values with objectives of American power.

by Amin Saikal
International Herald Tribune, 1st February

DUBAI: The branding by President George W. Bush of Iran and Iraq as part of
an "axis of evil" is simplistic and in many ways misplaced. It could
undermine the position of reformists in Iran and give Saddam Hussein a
further excuse to tighten his hold on Iraq and prevent the United Nations
from resuming its inspection of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Mr.
Bush's approach ignores the political complexities of Iran and Iraq.

In Iran, a small, unelected theocratic faction of hard-liners certainly has
more influence than it deserves. The group has managed to maintain control
of the armed force, the security forces and the judiciary. It has remained
vocal in its stand against the United States.

But there is another side of Iranian politics. The country is in the grip of
a reform fever. The reformist movement, led by President Mohammed Khatami
and supported by an overwhelming majority of voters, has been working hard
to generate an "Islamic civil society" with a democratic system of
government and a foreign policy based on peaceful coexistence. This group,
which controls the presidency and the National Assembly, wants to normalize
relations with the United States.

President Bush's branding of Iran as a terrorist state, despite Iran's
opposition to the Taliban and Al Qaeda and its acquiescence to America's
campaign against terror in Afghanistan, could easily play into the hands of
the hard-liners.

In Iraq, Saddam Hussein's regime is indeed deplorable. It would be in the
long-term interest of the Iraqi people and the region if the regime were
replaced with a democratic one. But there lacks a viable alternative. The
United States has not succeeded in generating a credible opposition from
either within Iraq or the exiles outside. London- and Riyadh-based
opposition groups remain as divided as ever.

Repeated American threats against the regime have so far only helped Saddam
to strengthen his dictatorship. One of the casualties of this is the United
Nations, which has not been able to get its weapons inspectors back into

The United States should work out a viable alternative before it acts to
remove Saddam's regime. (The writer is professor of political science and
director of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies at the Australian
National University. He contributed this comment to the International Herald

by William Safire
International Herald Tribune (from The New York Times), 1st February

WASHINGTON: When a dramatist places a gun on the table in the first act, the
astute playgoer knows that the weapon will be used before the drama ends. In
his State of the Union address, George W. Bush warned three nations
sponsoring terror - North Korea, Iran and Iraq - that the United States
"will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the
world's most destructive weapons." That means he has decided to destroy the
destructive potential of the most dangerous states before they can credibly
threaten to wipe out a U.S. city or infect America with an epidemic.

President Bush's refusal "to leave terror states unchecked" leaves only
secondary decisions: when and how to attack "the axis of evil" - an apt
allusion to the Berlin-Rome-Tokyo axis of World War II.

In ascending order of preemptive priority: North Korea is "a regime arming
with missiles and weapons of mass destruction." The United States has been
paralyzed by South Korea's fear of renewed invasion despite U.S.
intelligence indicating the North's secret nuclear buildup. Seoul, near the
border, is vulnerable to long-range artillery. This could be countered by
shipment to South Korea of advanced counter-artillery capable of tracking
the trajectory of incoming shells. U.S. B-52s could then take out Kim Jong
Il's key nuclear bomb-making sites, which he now refuses to permit
International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to see. Iran is building
nuclear bombs with Russia's help. It supplies and controls the Hezbollah
terrorists in Lebanon, and just escalated its war on infidels by shipping 50
tons of rockets, C-4 terror explosive and other arms to Yasser Arafat's army
to kill more Israeli civilians. These acts have exploded the myth, long
embraced by wishful thinkers at the U.S. State Department, of a "moderate"
ayatollah supposedly resisting the hot-eyed fundamentalists. That rosy
scenario of rapprochement was sunk with the capture of the
Iranian-Palestinian terror ship. Should intelligence reveal a nuclear danger
from Tehran coming onstream, a surgical air strike would be called for.

Iraq, of course, is the most immediate target. Because Saddam Hussein has
dispersed his nuclear facilities and placed his germ warfare plants in such
places as the basement of the Baghdad hospital, air strikes alone would not
meet the threat. Despite CIA chief George Tenet's dislike of the leaders of
the anti-Saddam Iraqi National Congress, and despite furious
posterior-covering by Brent Scowcroft and Colin Powell, President Bush has
evidently decided to force a change of regime in Baghdad. To avoid certain
military defeat, Saddam is likely to send Tariq Aziz out with "inspection
feelers" to the United Nations. Six months of negotiation about who (other
than spying Americans) would be on the inspection teams would be followed by
six months of misleading the inspectors. By then Saddam would have his
deadly weapons - and would thereby tip the strategic balance in terror's
favor. If Bush follows words with deeds, he will avert that disaster. He
will apply his Afghan template: Supply arms and money to 70,000 Kurdish
fighters in northern Iraq and a lesser Shiite force in the south, covering
both with Predator surveillance and tactical U.S. air support.

In Phase II, I'll bet it was recently agreed in Washington that Turkish tank
brigades and U.S. Special Ops troops will together thrust down to Baghdad.
Saddam will join Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar in hiding. Iraqis, cheering
their liberators, will lead the Arab world toward democracy.

It's not a pipe dream. It's the action implicit in the Bush doctrine
enunciated this week. The gun laid on the table by this political dramatist
will go off in the next act.

by Arnab Zaheen, UK
Daily News (Bangladesh), 1st February

In September 1980, Iraq's President Saddam Hussein launched what would
become the longest conventional war of the 20th century, with total
casualties in excess of one million before the UN brokered a cessation of
hostilities on August 8, 1988. In the end, none of the two sides captured
any land.

America came to Saddam's aid during the Iran-Iraq war. In 1983-84, for
example, Baghdad's trade with Washington was three times the value of its
trade with the Soviet Union. And France, Germany, Britain and other NATO
states also chipped in with either weapons or high-tech equipment.

By 1990, Iraq had received in excess of $500 million worth of American
technology-- advanced computers, lasers, and specialised machine tools
related to the development of missiles.

But the US didn't realise that Saddam was 'stupid' enough to "disobey" US by
invading Kuwait in 1990. Bush Sr. compared Saddam Hussein's attack to
Hitler's annexation of Czechoslovakia, thus inferring that allowing this
action to go unchecked would allow Saddam Hussein to take over most of the
region before tomorrow's breakfast.

Since the US obviously was going to war neither for moral reasons nor to
prevent World War III, I think its safe to assume that the US invaded
because it had a vested interest.

So its very clear that the United States attacked Iraq (whom we had
previously supported) because it had stepped on US's toes and that was not

In 1990, another invasion was taking place in Indonesia: the Indonesian
invasion of East Timor, where the US assisted the dictator Suharto with key
military and strategic assistance. Senator Daniel Moynihan was the UN
ambassador at that time. He remembers in his memoir, "The US wished things
to turn out as they did and worked to bring this about. The Department of
State desired that the United Nations prove utterly ineffective in whatever
measures it undertook." We now know very well how things turned out. Nothing
than [sic - PB] within a few weeks some 60,000 people have been killed".

Contrary to common belief, the United States is not a generous nation, which
keeps the peace and follows the rules. Given the amoral nature of the state
system, such a country would quickly lose its power and be destroyed. A
world leader must truly follow the "by any means necessary" school of
thought. In the case of the United States, this means routinely bending
other countries to its will with its military power and economic clout.

Times of India (from AFP), 2nd February

WASHINGTON: Former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright on Friday
blasted President George W. Bush for branding Iran, Iraq and North Korea an
"axis of evil," calling the description "a big mistake."

In addition, Albright took issue with the way the Bush administration has
handled questions over the treatment of Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters being
detained at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Albright, speaking on NBC television's "Today" show, said many in the
international community believed the United States has "lost our mind"
because of the way Bush is handling foreign policy.

"I think it was a big mistake to lump those three countries together," she
said of Bush's characterization of Iran, Iraq and North Korea in his State
of the Union address to Congress on Tuesday.

"They are very different from each other," Albright said, adding that she
didn't see the "value" in Bush's warning that the three countries could soon
become targets in the US-led war on terrorism.

That warning risked alienating foreign allies, she said.

"We know that they are (already) not supportive of what we are doing in Iraq
or Iran or North Korea, so I don't know what the value is."

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, who also served as spokesman for
Albright, said he had not seen his former boss' remarks and could not
comment on them.

While agreeing with Bush that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein needed to be
contained and that "strong action" had to be taken against him, Albright
said that linking Iraq with Iran and North Korea was wrong and could hurt US
standing with the rest of the world.

"Iran is a much more complicated country at this stage," she said, noting an
apparent power struggle between the reformist elected government of
President Mohammad Khatami and the hardline Islamic religious leadership.

Albright did not argue that Iranian involvement in a foiled Palestinian arms
smuggling operation and Tehran's support for anti-Israel extremist groups
were problematic but said it was erroneous to not distinguish between Iran's

"There are factions in Iran and I'm sure that the statements that were made
lumping everybody in Iran together (were) a mistake," she said, adding that
Washington needed Iran's help on some issues, particularly on Afghanistan.

Bush's comments on Iran appear to have closed some of the gap between Iran's
factions, as Khatami on Wednesday denounced them as "bellicose, insulting
and anti-Iranian" and on Thursday the country's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei said the president was "thirsty for human blood."

Albright was most critical of Bush's decision to include North Korea in the
"axis of evil" category, noting progress she had made with the Stalinist
state on non-proliferation during former president Bill Clinton's

Albright, who made a historic visit to Pyongyang in 2000 and met with
reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, said she thought the beginnings
of a deal were in place when Clinton left office last January.

"When we left office, I think we left the potential of an a verifiable
agreement to stop the export of missiles and missile technology abroad on
the table," she said.

"I think it was a mistake to walk away from it," Albright said of the Bush
administrations relative coolness to rapprochement with North Korea.

On concerns about the way the detained Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters are
being treated, she said she thought Bush and his national security team were
defending themselves poorly.

"I have to say I think, generally, we have mishandled the question about
what's going on in Guantanamo Bay," Albright said of the manner in which
Washington has insisted the detainees are being treated humanely despite
their lack of prisoner of war status.

"A lot of people have gone there and seen that the situation physically is
not that bad, (but) we've gotten involved in a discussion that is too arcane
about prisoners of war," she said.

Albright said she thought concerns could be addressed by releasing a
videotape of the prisoners that showed their living conditions.

"It would help us ... generally where the international community thinks we
have lost our mind," she said.

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