Bush at the United Nations

Ultimatum for Iraq

Iraqi men in Baghdad listen to U.S. President George W. Bush as he addresses the United Nations General Assembly, Sep. 12, 2002.

Beirut An-Nahar (independent), Sept. 15: The American president’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly weakens the position of the Arab and European countries that explicitly rejected a military operation against Iraq, as the speech allows for a return to “international legitimacy” by making any attack on Iraq dependent on Security Council approval....It might be important for the Iraqi president to realize at this stage that he will not receive any Arab support beyond speeches.

Warsaw Rzeczpospolita (centrist), Sept. 13: Today the U.N. has a last chance of proving that it can stand guard over world peace and security. For 11 years, Saddam Hussein’s regime has been leading the international commun-ity by the nose....If the U.N. is unsuccessful in solving the Iraqi problem now, then the sense of maintaining an organization that serves only to issue unsuccessful resolutions comes into question.
 —Krzysztof Darewicz

Lima El Comercio (centrist), Sept. 13: By going after Iraq as a rebel nation, President George W. Bush has put himself under the microscope of the system created to preserve peace....If we are looking for mechanisms to force Iraq to submit to U.N. resolutions, the U.N. must also stop any unilateral decision by the United States. —Juan Zegarra Salas

Santiago La Tercera (conservative), Sept. 13: Only [the U.N. mechanisms] permit coercive measures against a member state. In effect, they are the best defense for the weak countries in the face of any act of arrogance or imperialism on the part of the big powers.

Milan Corriere Della Sera (centrist), Sept. 13: We were waiting for an ultimatum to Saddam, but the one that was pronounced yesterday by George W. Bush is, in fact, an ultimatum to the U.N.....If the U.N. avoids facing the will be the U.N. and not the United States that loses legitimacy. 
—Franco Venturini

Sofia Dnevnik (conservative), Sept. 12: Iraq may once again try to trick the international community by declaring at the last minute its willingness to accept U.N. arms inspectors. Thus military intervention could be presented as aggression....It would be no surprise if it all ended with a repetition of the precedent of the operation against Yugoslavia, when old but unimplemented resolutions did the job. After all, Saddam is no more acceptable than Slobodan Milosevic.

Jerusalem Al-Quds (pro-Palestinian Authority), Sept. 13: When Bush stood in front of the U.N. to talk about Iraq, he didn’t do so as the president of a member nation...but he spoke in such rhetoric of power that it signaled in no uncertain terms the ability of the United States to usurp the U.N.’s role.

Tokyo Asahi Shimbun (left-wing), Sept. 14: It is good that the United States has begun listening to global opinion. However, we regret that it is still evident that the United States places top priority on overthrowing the present Iraqi administration....What we want is not war. We want a resumption of inspections....The U.N. should strive to achieve a peaceful resolution, as its reputation is on the line.

Johannesburg Business Day (business-oriented), Sept. 13: This is the diplomatic break the world has been waiting for. It must be grasped....We must support what is right, and Bush did the right thing yesterday....Bush has now done enough to take key U.S. allies with him should the U.N. efforts fail.

Oslo Verdens Gang (independent), Sept. 13: Force is probably the only language Saddam Hussein understands. In that case, members of the Security Council, Norway included, must not leave the slightest doubt that they are prepared to use force to back up
the demands. This can be decisive in the high-level political game now being played.

Karachi Daily Jang (pro-government), Sept. 15: [Bush’s] speech was a declaration of the new prevailing world order, Might Is Right....Bush’s declaration to overthrow intervention in the internal affairs of a country and an open violation of the U.N. Charter that gives sanctity to people’s right of sovereignty....It will lead the world toward instability and ultimate destruction on a wide scale and range.  
—Qamaruddin Khan

Istanbul Sabah (independent), Sept. 14: The Bush administration, in a way, has attempted to bribe Turkey economically in recent weeks to facilitate the use of her [military] bases for an attack on Iraq. It is true, Saddam is terrifying, a cruel dictator. But who created him? In the past, the Pentagon fed him with information so that he would attack Iran and kill many Iranians. 
—Necati Dogru

London The Sunday Times (conservative), Sept. 15: Blair’s own warlike speeches over the last few weeks about the dangers to the civilized world from dictatorial regimes such as that of Saddam Hussein might have mesmerized his master at the White House, but have certainly not convinced the vast majority of the British people or their elected representatives....The two Bs’ insistence on fighting terror and evil is just a fig leaf for their moral nudity. Like in Afghanistan, the fear is that the West will lose its oil supplies.

Christchurch The Press (conservative), Sept. 14: Even as [Bush] calls for a collective U.N. solution to the problem posed by Iraq, he makes it clear that the certain alternative is still unilateral action by the United States....The suspicion will be that he wants the U.N. to deliver an ultimatum, which Saddam could never accept—justifying an end by Mr. Bush to his presidential father’s unfinished business.

Madrid El País (liberal), Sept. 13: George Bush gave an opportunity to the U.N. to act “decisively” against Iraq....But he made it clear that if the U.N. fails to act, the United States will take care of the issue....It’s a positive step on the part of an administration that lately has steered completely toward unilateralism.

Mexico City El Universal (conservative), Sept. 15: It’s necessary to place George W. Bush’s speech at the U.N. General Assembly in historic context. If we manage to do that, we’ll see that it is more rational than we might expect. Anyway, Hussein is in a difficult situation. And one has to be at least somewhat happy about that. That miserable dictator launched gases against the Kurd population and killed tens of thousands of innocent civilians.    
—Eduardo Valle

Jerusalem The Jerusalem Post (conservative, English-language), Sept. 13: In the 1930s, democratic Europe chose appeasement and paved the way for war and the Holocaust. Now President Bush has challenged the international community to break the cycle of petty gamesmanship and grasp the final opportunity to regain some moral legitimacy.     
—Gerald M. Steinberg

Dakar Sud Quotidien (independent), Sept. 15: Has Bush got a foreign policy? Or is he simply confused, powerful, and ignorant? Whatever the case, with the effect of his decision on the life of every citizen of this planet, it is high time we asked this question before he draws us into an imminent war with consequences no one can predict. Unable to find Bin Laden...Bush is ready to carry on his father’s vendetta.
—Saphie Ly

New Delhi The Times of India (conservative), Sept. 14: Mr. Hussein is undoubtedly no angel, but he hardly belongs to the same league as Al-Qaeda, which is regrouping, not in Iraq, but elsewhere....In the days to come, the unexplained shift from Osama to Saddam is likely to attract as much attention as the questionable legality of the expected U.S. military action in Iraq.