The Democrats claim the war in Iraq has alienated the U.S. from the world like never before. With talks of global tests and proving legitimacy to the world, youï¿½d think Bush is hated more around the world than any other U.S. President.
But apparently, the Democrats have a short memory, because when the Clinton administration launched attacks against Iraq in 1998, we were hearing the same arguments from the rest of the world.
December 18, 1998 - Many contended that the political situation in Iraq would probably remain unchanged, and worried that the military campaign may hurt relations among Western allies, harden resentment of the West in the Muslim world, and increase the threats from terrorism worldwide. These were regional views:
EUROPE: European media was divided on the wisdom of striking Iraq. Papers from Britain, Germany, and Italy and some smaller countries applauded the decision as courageous, demonstrating that “the world’s greatest democracy lived up to its responsibility.” Nevertheless, even those who supported the military action cautioned that there should be a long-term diplomatic strategy after the bombing stops. Many agreed with a Cologne commentator that “the military strikes carry a high political risk. But the consequences of not acting would have been much worse.” Several leading French papers, as well as those from Spain, Russia and Serbia-Montenegro opposed the U.S. decision to attack. A Belgrade paper bristled that the Milosevic regime “will be next on the U.S. list for retaliation” under “the new strategy of NATO…to use force anywhere in the world without consulting the UN.”
MIDDLE EAST, AFRICA: Commentators in the West Bank, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Bahrain and Morocco strongly criticized the “slanderous use of force” and the “tyrannical aggression” and “disrespect” shown the Arab world.
EAST AND SOUTH ASIA: Pundits in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Bangladesh–and also in China–viewed the air strikes as inflicting punishment on “innocent” Iraqi civilians.
RUSSIA HAS RECALLED ITS AMBASSADORS TO THE UNITED STATES AND BRITAIN TO UNDERSCORE ITS OUTRAGE AT THE MILITARY ACTION AGAINST IRAQ. THE AIR STRIKES ON IRAQ HAVE UNITED RUSSIA’S FRACTIOUS POLITICIANS LIKE ALMOST NO OTHER EVENT SINCE THE SOVIET SYSTEM COLLAPSED. LAWMAKERS THURSDAY TRIED TO OUTDO EACH OTHER IN EXPRESSING THEIR FURY AT THE MILITARY ACTION.
DEMONSTRATIONS WERE REPORTED IN SEVERAL CITIES AROUND THE MIDDLE EAST TO PROTEST THE U-S AND BRITISH ATTACKS AGAINST IRAQ. RICHARD ENGEL IN CAIRO REPORTS THE DEMONSTRATORS SAY THEY VIEW THE ATTACKS AS AN ASSAULT AGAINST ARABS AND MUSLIMS, AND NOT SADDAM HUSSEIN.
THE PROTESTERS CHANTED ISLAMIC SLOGANS AND DENOUNCED THE UNITED STATES AFTER EGYPT’S MOST INFLUENTIAL PREACHER, THE SHEIKH OF AL AZHAR, CALLED ON ALL MUSLIMS TO SUPPORT IRAQ.
A SPOKESMAN FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES SAID THE MILITARY ACTION AGAINST IRAQ IS BEYOND COMPREHENSION AND IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.
IN KUWAIT AND OTHER U-S ALLIES LIKE EGYPT AND JORDAN, GOVERNMENTS ARE COMING UNDER PRESSURE TO ADOPT A MORE ANTI-AMERICAN POSITION.
SONIA GANDHI, THE LEADER OF INDIA’S OPPOSITION CONGRESS PARTY, HAS DEPLORED THE U-S AIR STRIKES ON IRAQ ONE DAY AFTER INDIA’S PRIME MINISTER CALLED FOR A HALT TO THE ATTACKS.
WE DEPLORE THE BOMBING OF BAGHDAD BY THE UNITED STATES AND THE UNITED KINGDOM.
MOST U-S PAPERS ARE SUPPORTIVE OF THE ATTACKS, CITING THE THREATS POSED BY SADDAM HUSSEIN’S ACCESS TO CHEMICAL, BIOLOGICAL AND NUCLEAR WEAPONS THATCOULD KILL THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE.