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European press reacts negatively to Bush proposals on Iraq
The first reactions by the European press to George W. Bush’s proposal to send an additional 20,000 soldiers to Iraq range from scepticism to outright rejection.
The left-liberal Paris newspaper Libération compares Bush with a poker player who finds himself on a losing streak but nonetheless ups his ante, risking everything. The US president finds himself in a situation “in which he can neither win the war nor admit that he has already lost it.” The increase in troop levels will do nothing to help, the paper writes. Bush’s statement that a retreat would be catastrophic for Iraq is correct, according to Libération, but “nevertheless this also applies when there are 20,000 US soldiers more. That will be the case in a few months. Then Bush will again confront a dilemma: pay up or go.”
The Italian newspaper La Repubblica declares that “despite his defeat in the November elections and the change in public opinion,” Bush is continuing “the path of unilateralism.” He has chosen to ignore the advice of both his most loyal generals and the Iraq Study Group. Thus, “The ‘new course’ of the White House resembles the old mess in Iraq, which has transformed the country into a hellhole—despite 3,000 dead Americans in four years and $357 billion spent.”
With the title “Liberated to death,” the German weekly Die Zeit accuses Bush of scorning the Iraqi people. “After all, the Iraqis are not themselves responsible for the difficulties they face. They were forced upon them. Even their own product, the despot Saddam Hussein, could not have held on for so long without help from abroad. The Iraqis are also not responsible for bringing Al Qaeda into the country; they are not responsible for the incompetence, corruption and irresponsibility which characterises the US deployment in Iraq. But nevertheless they are to be punished for the sins of their self-appointed masters.”