The best reason to invade Iraq was always to save Iraq's people from Saddam's oppression. The risks he posed to other countries - even the risk of WMD, had there been any - could be, and were being, contained by other means. So the invasion should always have been seen less as an act of urgent self-defence than of philanthropic compassion. And that of course is the way it now being presented and justified - in retrospect - by the coalition's leaders in the United States, Britain and Australia.
Who's Next? Three Cheers for North Korea!!!
Serge July Libération, France, December 16
"International diplomacy has taken a sudden turn. The American war cannot now be justified as if by magic, but we have turned a page from the unsuccessful search for weapons of mass destruction ... Now even resolute opponents of the war, such as Jacques Chirac [the French president], would like to take part in Iraqi constitution and the transfer of sovereignty. Despite the attacks, this victory is, for the Americans, far from being insignificant."
Uwe Vorkötter Berliner Zeitung, Germany, December 15
"[It] was one of the best days yet for President George Bush in the so-called postwar period. It was a strange experience to see people cheering the Americans on the streets of Baghdad or Kirkuk. The president can now make it clear to the voters at home that not everything is going wrong in distant Iraq. Mr Bush's second term has inched that little bit nearer."
Kommersant Editorial, Russia, December 15
"The capture of Saddam Hussein is the first real success for the US since the start of the global 'war on terror'. The men behind September 11 - Osama bin Laden and the Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar - have still not been found. Even sadder is that Saddam's role in international terrorism has still not been proven by Washington.
Le Figaro Editorial, France, December 15
"Their success gives the Americans a new authority ... But is this capture an opportunity for Washington? And will it know how to seize it? The choice is clear. Either the Americans, finally rid of the cancer of Saddam, will ... cooperate with other countries to bring democracy to Iraq. Or democracy will be only a veil, used to serve only US own interests. Since the Americans are the masters of the world, the question is whether they will become scouts or dig their own graves. The future is being fought over now."
Peter Münch Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany, December 15
"The arrest of Saddam will only amount to something more than an act of making amends if the US government recognises it must take the chance to pursue reconciliation. The old enemy has been caught and this must become the sign of new cooperation. In short, the Americans have Saddam, now the Iraqis must get electricity. The only way to stabilise the country is to offer the Iraqi people a future. If the Iraqis can believe in a future free of the shadow of the past, then the opponents of change will no longer stand a chance."
Izvestia Editorial, Russia, December 15
"Tony Blair is right to say that no longer does an evil shadow hang over Iraq ... However, it is unlikely that it will be easier [for the coalition], just as it didn't become easier for the Russians after the death of [the Chechen separatist leader] Dzhokar Dudayev ... Instead of nationalist slogans in Chechnya, more and more Islamic slogans appeared. Something similar is now happening in Iraq. Iraqi nationalism, most visible in the form of Saddam, has been conquered. But in the Arab world, nationalism is far from being the most dangerous opponent."