American newspaper editorials explored a broad range of war-related issues Sunday, including war technology and peace protesters.
Cleveland’s Plain Dealer said, “Not only is it the most technologically advanced assault in history, it is also the most televised, broadcast and photographed.”
“Even for Americans accustomed to the immediacy of TV news, the high-tech communications employed as the Iraq war began were startling,” said Cincinnati’s Enquirer.
“It is the widening access to real-time, worldwide communication that bids to remake our world—politically and culturally, not just militarily,” the paper said. “Technology gives more and more of the world’s citizens wider and immediate access to information. That is something to cheer, because knowledge breeds freedom.”
Several editorials talked about freedom of expression.
“The real test of this great nation in the days ahead will be living up to its own standard of tolerance. Not surprisingly there are American Muslims who oppose this war on Iraq, just as there are Baptists and Catholics who oppose it,” said Raleigh’s News & Observer. “All must be given the freedom to express those views without fear for their safety.”
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette warned, “Criticism of the war and of President Bush and other administration leaders risks spilling over from being a question of appropriateness to becoming a question of patriotism. This should not occur in a country that values freedom and fights for it as America does, with freedom of speech tops on the list.”
The editorial said, “No formal or informal constraints should be placed on Americans who wish to speak out on the subject of the war.”
Other papers, however, criticized those opposed to the war.
“The obstructionist diplomats, and many of the antiwar demonstrators, closed their eyes to the threat of Saddam Hussein,” said the Washington Post. “They ought now look at Iraqis who are greeting the Marines as liberators.”
The San Antonio Express-News warned its readers to brace for celebrities voicing their war opinions at the Oscars.
“If you don’t want to hear them, press the mute button … If that doesn’t work for you, switch to another station,” the editorial said. “All celebrities understand the language of ratings.”
A number of editorials dealt with the end results of the war.
Thanking American troops and President Bush, the Tampa Tribute said, “The real terrorists are already down and on their way out.”
The New York Times said, “America will not be able to claim victory in Iraq until it secures Saddam Hussein’s missing troves of unconventional weapons.”
Rebuilding Iraq will take the United Nations and much allied involvement, said Jackson’s Clarion-Ledger.
The Baltimore Sun asked, “Can a country be marched at gunpoint into democracy?”
The Iraqi situation is more complicated than that of Germany and Japan, the paper answered. A more instructive example is the American South after the Civil War, “where all it took was about 100 years before Washington was able to extend democracy to all ethnic groups.”
The editorial said it was not comparing Jeff Davis to Saddam Hussein. It noted that even though the South had a tradition of representative government, something that Iraq does not have, democracy took a century to establish.
“But to say, as the White House has said, that Iraq will become a beacon of enlightenment in the Middle East, the match that lights the flame of democracy throughout the entire region—well, excuse us, that’s just whistlin’ Dixie,” said the Sun editorial.