Credits: All from AP - from left: Martin Mejia (Lima 2000), David de la Paz (Mexico City 1999), Jose Luis Magana (Mexico City 1998), Nasser Nasser (Ramallah 2002), Srdjan Ilic (Kosovo 1998) & Nasser Nasser (Ramallah 2000).
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May 7, 2010

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Journalist Safety
UN Resolution 1738

Journalist Safety
CoE Resolution 1535

Killing The Messenger
- INSI Global Inquiry - Report and Recommendations

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link to Arabic translation in PDF
link to Kurdish translation in PDF
link to Bengali translation in PDF
link to Azeri PDF
link to Word document in French
link to MS Word document in Spanish
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link to PDF in Russian
link to PDF in Georgian
link to PDF in Tagalog
link to PDF in Bahasa Indonesia

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Bush and Iraq - A Cowboy For Our Times

Is George W. Bush the smartest person to ever set up shop in the Oval Office? Possibly not. Is it true, as it infrequently appears, that he is just making this stuff up as he is going along? Perhaps so. But is it also possible that a cowboy president with more insolence than diplomacy, more bravura than brilliancy, is just what we needed at this point in history? Iraqi electoral officers confirmed today that Iraqis by an overpowering majority have adopted a constitution.

The constitution officially creates a democratic govt in a country that endured a reign of fear under Saddam Hussein for just about thirty years, and clears another major hurdle toward a democratic future in Iraq. In the meantime , a general majority of American citizens continue to disapprove of President Bush's performance, and his handling of Iraq particularly. A Zogby poll yesterday put the president's positive rating at 45%. But generations to come won't judge George W. Bush by how he fared in current polls, but by the final result of the democratic experiment in Iraq, that the president unconditionally thrust upon them and us. Iraq's constitutional election was held Oct. Fifteen, but the results weren't licensed till today. The constitution received approval by 79% of Iraqi citizens. 15 of Iraq's eighteen provinces authorised the document by a majority or even more. A two thirds dissenting vote in any three provinces would have defeated the constitution, but there were just two such provinces. The result seemingly comes as a surprise to most American citizens, only 34% of whom thought Iraq was even secure enough to put on the election, according to a CBS poll two weeks back. In a similar fashion , before the Jan. Thirty election at which Iraq established its current transitory govt., only 28% of American citizens thought Iraq was secure enough to vote, and only the same % assumed it might be a fair election.

Notwithstanding our pessimism in the U.S. About the probabilities for democracy in Iraq, both the January and October elections were shocking successes. In last week's ballot, citizen turnout was 63% -- higher than the 60 percent turnout at the 2004 U.S. Presidential election. The Iraq Independent Electoral Commission reported no significant citizen crime, and violence on election day was lower than anticipated.

All though the 20 th century, American presidents were compelled to keep one eye and one foot in the Middle East, including Jimmy Carter, exasperated by his incapability to free hostages held by Iran's Ayatollah ; Ronald Reagan, who struggled and failed to get a policy that worked in war-torn Lebanon ; and George H.W. Bush, whose state was outlined by the Gulf War. In the 21st century, the Middle East remains a briar patch for George W. Bush. If Iraq triumphs in building a long-lasting democracy in the Middle East, it will end up being one of the most serious events in recent history.

It'll end Iraq's role as a thorn in the flesh of the U.S.

And Israel, it'll raise Iraq as a model of democracy for other strict states, and with a little bit of luck, Iraq will become a supporter and chum in that agitated area.

According to the same CBS poll, only half of U.S. Voters believe an enduring democracy will appear in Iraq. But American voters have been wrong so far about Iraq's prospects for liberty. Next on the program is the Dec. Fifteen election of Iraq's first constitutional central authority, at which Iraqi citizens are probably going to prove us wrong again. I am really not a cheerleader for George W. Bush. I preferred other applicants in 2000 and 2004 ( though not Gore or Kerry ). Like many American citizens, I remain unconvinced of the link between 9 / eleven and Saddam Hussein. I remain doubtful the president had the right plan, the right timing or the right end game for his invasion of Iraq. And, like many American citizens, I speculate whether the president's team purposely misled us concerning weapons of mass eradication that just were not there. The easiest way to express my reservations about President Bush is to assert that frequently it seems like he's just making these things up as he goes along. Playing it by ear. Shooting from the hip.

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