Arabs Say Bush Interviews Are Too Little Too Late
They suspect the motives were to protect Israel, seize
control of Iraq's oil, build an American empire in the Middle
East or simply to wage war on Muslims.
"American credibility has been hurt and people in the
region tend not to believe what American officials are saying,"
said Gamal Sultan, a researcher at the Al-Ahram Center for
Political and Strategic Studies, a Cairo think-tank.
Waleed Tabtabai, an Islamist member of the Kuwait
parliament, said that when he first saw the pictures of abused
Iraqi prisoners: "I felt that the Americans....are not really
there to spread democracy and freedom but to impose the
imperialist project of the American Empire."
"If Bush is really sincere that the torturing of the Iraqis
does not represent American values then he should couple his
talk with deeds. He should uncover what is going on inside
Guantanamo (the U.S. detention center in Cuba)," he added.
The United States should allow family visits to the
hundreds of Muslim detainees at Guantanamo, some of whom have
spent over two years in custody without trial, and allow an
independent investigation of detention conditions, he said.
The Arab commentators said that the abuses stemmed from
what most Arabs consider the illegal occupation of Iraq by the
United States and its allies and that this must end.
"No matter how hard Bush pledges to punish those
responsible, there will be no guarantee these barbaric acts
will stop as long as the sovereignty of the people of Iraq is
violated by foreign occupation," said the Qatar paper al-Watan.
Abdel-Moneim Said, the director of the Al-Ahram Center,
said that serious punishment of the offending U.S. troops could
repair some of the damage but Bush did not seem to understand
that people do not like to live under occupation.
"In all history we know there was outrageous torture and
misuse of power that took place from all occupying forces in
the world... President Bush should know there is nothing called
nice occupation. Occupation is always ugly," he said.
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