|04KUWAIT1449||2004-05-05 15:37:00||UNCLASSIFIED||Embassy Kuwait|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KUWAIT 001449
1. SUMMARY: Outrage and bitter cynicism characterize many
editorials addressing the reported abuse of Iraqi prisoners by
coalition forces, highlighting "similiarities" between Saddam's
regime and US forces, including the location of the incidents at
Abu Gharib prison which was notorious under Saddam's regime. One
commentator writes that these alleged incidents "justify fighting
an illegal occupation," while another states: "Had these
mercenaries not been hiding behind American military uniforms,
they would not have dared commit such acts, and Iraqis would not
have to ambush, shoot, kill, mutilate and drag their bodies
through the streets."
One writer attacks the comparison made between Saddam's regime and
US forces in Iraq by pointing out that the acts were brought to
light by "Americans with a conscience against these practices
carried out by their own colleagues." A prominent liberal
commentator contrasts the accountability for the reported abuses
necessitated by the "free Western press" with "similar practices
committed everyday" in the Arab world that "we never hear about."
2. "Abu Gharib"
Bandar Al-Dhafiri wrote in independent Al-Seyassah (5/3): "Once
again, regrettably, we see the similarities between Saddam
Hussein's regime and the United States of America, in Abu Gharib.
Abu Gharib was the source of real terror for Iraqis during
Saddam's regime. Therefore, it was stunning to see the extent of
the "civilized American achievements" which exceeded all
expectations. Does the United States realize that by such
inhumane practices, it literally gave the Iraqis the justification
to fight an illegal occupation?"
3. "Coalition's Shame revealed"
Dr. Yaser Al-Saleh wrote in independent Al-Rai Al-A'am (5/4):
"The reaction of President Bush and his subordinate, Tony Blair,
to the latest torture scandals perpetrated by the coalition
against Iraqi prisoners was expected. First they stress the
ignorance factor, then the promise that an investigation would
take place, and then they make a sacrifice of someone. Of course,
such responses wouldn't necessarily elicit belief. The GMEI, a
project advocated by Bush and Blair, that would allegedly achieve
freedom and democracy in our region, was exposed by the Iraqis as
a lie. Iraqis have demonstrated their response to this project as
should the rest of the peoples of this region."
4. "Iraqi Detainees And American Violations"
Dr. Issa Al-Enezi Professor of International Law at Kuwait
University wrote in interdependent Al-Rai Al-A'am (5/4): "The
Pentagon's threat to issue an administrative rebuke against those
who abused Iraqi detainees does not absolve the overall
responsibility of the United States. Had these mercenaries not
been hiding behind American military uniform, they would not have
dared commit such acts, and Iraqis would not have had to ambush,
shoot, kill, mutilate and drag their bodies through the streets."
5. "Deviance In The American Military"
Dr. Abdel Muhsin Jamal wrote in independent Al-Qabas (5/5):
"Pictures depicting the disgusting practices of the American and
British military, against Iraqi detainees, not only offend the
American and British people, but also offend humanity as a whole.
The occupation forces claimed that they came to Iraq to save
Iraqis from Saddam's tyranny and brutality. However, individuals
from the American and British military not only committed similar
practices, but worse, by allowing humiliating pictures to be taken
of the detainees."
6. "Damn This Democracy"
Mohammed Musaed Al-Saleh wrote in independent Al-Qabas (5/2):
"The major story these days is the pictures broadcast by the
American CBS channel showing Iraqi prisoners in demeaning
positions, being tortured. Sympathizers with the American
occupiers may argue that Iraqis had done the same to Kuwaitis
during their invasion of Kuwait in 1990. However, such inhumane
acts are indeed condemned whether perpetrated by Americans or by
Iraqis. Everyone around the world condemned this revolting
7. "Free Media"
Ghassan al-Otaibi wrote in independent Al-Qabas (5/5): "Some have
greatly exaggerated equating the coalition forces with Saddam
Hussein's regime. Some went to the extent of describing the
coalition as more bloodthirsty than Saddam. But, ask yourselves,
who took the pictures of the Iraqi prisoners? Weren't they
Americans with a conscience, weren't they against these practices
carried out by their own colleagues? We are against all kinds of
torture and inhuman acts, but thank God it was the American media
who exposed these practices, and not some Arab channel. President
Bush and Tony Blair rushed to condemn such acts and demanded
accountability. What Saddam did to the Iraqis and Kuwaitis is
more than what Hitler did to Jews in the holocaust and more than
what Sharon did to the Palestinians, Lebanese and Syrians."
8. "Big Difference Between Two Occupations"
Ali Ahmad Al-Baghli wrote in independent Al-Qabas (5/2): "The
incidents of torture, committed by some American soldiers against
Iraqi detainees, elicited condemnation from President Bush and a
promise to punish the perpetrators. I wonder, how many Arab
generals, colonels, lieutenants and captains committed the same
acts-- acts that are still being committed everyday that we don't
see or hear about, although such practices are considered quite
normal inside our prisons? The difference between the West and us
is that we don't have a transparent and free press. Mistakes
happen everywhere, but the difference is in that [the American]
press publishes all and everyone is accountable."