International Papers

Jacques the Ripper

As far as the Sun, Britain’s top-selling paper, is concerned, “one man has put the lives of 300,000 British and American troops on the line.” Saddam Hussein? Osama Bin Laden? No, “Only Jacques Chirac’s arrogance, stupidity and personal vanity are to blame for bringing us to the brink of a terrible war with Iraq.” The editorial claimed the French president just wants to “resurrect his tarnished political career at home and protect his dirty oil and trade deals with Iraq. Now he struts the world stage like a peacock on heat, convincing himself he is a major player. It is the biggest mistake of his life.”

The paper’s Web site offered a tasteful graphic showing Chirac’s face morphing into that of his “pal” Saddam Hussein. Elsewhere, head shots of the two leaders appeared over the headline, “Spot the Difference. One is a corrupt bully who is endangering world peace. The other is Saddam Hussein.” The paper’s political editor warned that “charlatan Jacques Chirac is basking in cheap applause for his ‘Save Saddam’ campaign—but his treachery will cost his people dear. … For all his lofty pretence, Chirac’s motive is to boost French oil and trade deals with Iraq.”

The Sun wasn’t the only tabloid having fun with photos Friday. The Daily Mirror, the Sun’s arch-rival, filled its cover with a shot of a fiendish-looking Tony Blair. Superimposed over his protruding brow were the words, “Prime Monster?”