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The New Print Edition of CounterPunch, Only for Our Newsletter Subscribers!

The Lesser of Two Evils: Bill or Hillary?

Alexander Cockburn profiles the couple, as they battle to recapture the Oval Office PLUS Why You Can't Discuss Immigration without Dealing with "Free Trade". Alexandra Early on why 42 per cent of ALL Salvadorans would leave for the U.S. if they had a chance. PLUS Israel and Palestine: One State or Two? Kathleen Christison makes the case for One State. Get your copy today by subscribing online or calling 1-800-840-3683 Contributions to CounterPunch are tax-deductible. Click here to make a donation. If you find our site useful please: Subscribe Now! CounterPunch books and gear make great holiday presents.

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Today's Stories

February 5, 2008

Chris Floyd
Strange Fruit: America's Gulag and the Good War

February 4, 2008

Marc Levy
Winter in America

Patrick Cockburn
The Bird Market Bombings

Saree Makdisi
Strangling Gaza

Uri Avnery
From Stalingrad to Winograd

Alan Farago
Let's Get Bambi! Someone is Slaughtering Florida's Key Deer

Ben Tripp
Spare Change: the Whine of the Progressive Voter

Paul Wolf
Civil Wars North and South

Paul Craig Roberts
Why Were the 9/11 Tapes Destroyed?

Joshua Frank
MoveOn's Obama Endorsement: Why There's No Hope for Change

John Halle
Whither Progressive Democrats?

Website of the Day
How to Cheat in School


February 2 / 3, 2008

Alexander Cockburn
Hot Democratic Properties

Pam Martens
Bankers Gone Bonkers: Global Finance and the Insanity Defense

Ralph Nader
The Great Clinton-Obama Debate: Questions They Weren't Asked

John Ross
Hilaria vs. "El Moreno"

Wajahat Ali
Hillary, Obama and the Clash of Civilizations: an Interview with Imam Zaid Shakir

Robert Fantina
A Colony by Any Other Name: Iraq as Stepchild of the American Empire

B. R. Gowani
Not All Veils and Guns

James L. Secor
China in Winter: On the Western Edge of the Great Snow

John V. Walsh
The Invisible Green Primary

Niranjan Ramakrishnan
Barack's Bubble, Bubba's Trouble

Dave Zirin
Who Stole the Super Bowl's Soul?

Jeremy Scahill
Blackwater and Blood

Fidel Castro
Reflections on Lula

Joe Allen
Tet Reconsidered: the Turning Point in the Vietnam War

Stephen Lendman
Life in Occupied Gaza

Patrick Irelan
What Happened to the Streetcars?

Andrej Grubacic
Ziga Vodovnik
Caligula's Horse: the USA, New Europe and Kosovo

Josh Karpoff
Dead Soldiers and the Antiwar Movement

Ron Jacobs
Carl Oglesby's War

Paul Krassner
Tom Waits Meets Super-Joel

Website of the Weekend
Company Woman: Hillary and Wal-Mart


February 1, 2008

Ray McGovern
The Iniquities and Inequalities of War

Diane Farsetta
The Wild Career of James "Dow 36,000" Glassman

Patrick Cockburn
The Most Dangerous Country in the World for Journalists

Tariq Ali
Et Tu, New York Times?

Allan Nairn
Eating Dirt for Lunch in Haiti

Rannie Amiri
Collective Punishment in Beirut

Ramzy Baroud
People Power in Gaza: They Simply Did It

Kenneth Couesbouc
The Mother of All Snowballs

Peter Morici
Recession Looms

Mumia Abu-Jamal
Witha "Brutha" Like This: Bill Clinton as White Negro

Rosemary Jackowski
27 Reasons Nader Should Run for President

Scott Campbell
Direct Action to Stop the War Re-emerges

Website of the Day
Betes et Hommes


January 31, 2008

Saul Landau
Return to Afghanistan

Andy Worthington
Horror at Guantánamo

Mike Whitney
Rate Cut as Dagger: America's Teetering Banking System

Jeff Ballinger
Sustainability for Dictators Initiative? Clinton Praises the "Suharto of the Steppe"

Tiffany Ten Eyck
The Saga of the Freightliner Five

William Loren Katz
Waterboarding: Torure or Mystery?

Alan Farago
Why the Republicans are in Deep Trouble

Col. Dan Smith
Oh Say Can You See the 2009 Budget?

China Hand
Slouching Toward Islamabad

Dave Lindorff
The Usual Suspects Once Again

Wadner Pierre
Fake Democracy in Haiti

Website of the Day
One Big Union


January 30, 2008

Cockburn / St. Clair
McCain vs. Clinton?

Christopher Ketcham
The Genius of the Development Industrial-Complex

Robert Weissman
America By the Numbers: The Shameful State of the Union

Neve Gordon
An Experiment in Famine

Paul Craig Roberts
Regulation or Deregulation, Which is Worse?

Joanne Mariner
How Anti-Terror Laws Threaten Free Speech

David Macaray
Labor's Only Real Weapon

Liaquat Ali Khan
Is NATO Committing Genocide in Afghanistan?

Raymond J. Lawrence
Prankster-in-Chief: Bush's Troubling Non-Verbal Communication

Dan Bacher
The Collapse of the Central Valley Salmon

Website of the Day
Onward Through the Fog


January 29, 2008

Franklin C. Spinney
Bush's New War Budget: the $70 Billion Hand-Off

Mike Whitney
The Great Credit Unwind of 2008

Alan Farago
Buyer Beware: Florida, the Candidates and the Latin Builders Association

Patrick Cockburn
"The Americans Bring Us Only Destruction"

Gary Leupp
"We Can't Afford to Let Them Spill the Beans:" a Sibel Edmonds Timeline

R. F. Blader
A World Without Abortion: USA v. Romania

Ahmad Faruqui
Musharraf's Post-Electoral Prospect

Fran Shor
Obama, the Kennedys and "Change We Can Believe In"

Jeremy Scahill
Secret Trials and Criminal Convictions: the Ordeal of the Blackwater Protesters

Allan Nairn
Bush's SOTU: Entitlement, Justice and the War of All Against All

Website of the Day
The Ghost of Rambo


January 28, 2008

Patrick Cockburn
Return to Fallujah

Paul Craig Roberts
The End of American Liberty

Allan Nairn
The Breaking of the Gaza Wall

Eyad al-Sarraj / Sara Roy
Ending the Stranglehold on Gaza

Martha Rosenberg
Obit for the "Front Page" City

Corporate Crime Reporter
How They Rip Us Off

David Michael Green
Kristolizing Iraq: What a Great Freakin' War

Jennifer Van Bergen
What's Left?

Nancy Oden
Survival Tips for Hard Times

Divya Karnad
Saving India's Sea Turtles

James L. Secor
Pissed About Pistorious: Why the Olympics Needs a Gimp

Website of the Day
Yellow Journalism?


January 26 / 27, 2008

Uri Avnery
Worse Than a Crime

JoAnn Wypijewski
How the Clintons Lost It, Whatever the Outcome in S. Carolina

Ralph Nader
Ambition, Power and the Clintons

Paul Craig Roberts
How Bush Destroyed the Dollar

Paul Watson
I'm Proud to be a Pirate!

John Ross
Murder and Cover-Up in Mexico

Fred Gardner
Ross v. Raging Wire: Employer's Right to Fire Workers Held Sacred by California Supreme Court

Allan Nairn
Little Hands with Fever: Some Consequences of Poverty Death

Joshua Frank
Why Bush Wants to Legalize the Nuke Trade with Turkey

Binoy Kampmark
Société Générale and the Economic Meltdown

James T. Phillips
America's Sick Comedy: Bringing the War Home

Stan Cox
The Depressing Truth About Anti-Depressants

Eamonn McCann
Hillary's Lie: "I Brought Peace to Northern Ireland"

Ron Jacobs
The Horizons of History: What's at Stake in Bolivia

Seth Sandronsky
California's Health Care Crisis

Ben Terrall
The Future is Unwritten

Poets' Basement
Tripp, Gardner, Gibbons and Davies

Website of the Weekend
City of Immigrants



January 25, 2008

Douglas Valentine
Operation Two-Fold: How the CIA Infiltrated the DEA

Patrick Cockburn
US Troops Will Be In Iraq for 10 More Years: an Interview with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari

JoAnn Wypijewski
Down to the Wire in South Carolina

Heather Gray
Are We Seeing a Racial Shift in the South? Conversations with South Carolina Voters

Marjorie Cohn
Senate Democrats Poised to Fold to Cheney on FISA

Erica Rosenberg
Environmentalists Out on a Limb: the Perils of Collaboration

Alan Farago
Jeb Bush Goes Nuclear

Robert Weissman
Reclaiming Economic Freedom

Laura Carlsen
Wild Cards: Mining the Hispanic Vote in Nevada

Stephen Lendman
Israeli Repression in the Hebron

Website of the Day
The FIX is In


January 24, 2008

JoAnn Wypijewski
Obama as Anthologist of Uplift

Paul Craig Roberts
President Hillary

Alexander Cockburn
Hillary Wants to Talk About Dirty Legal Dealings? Remember Her Nursing Home Scam?

Kathleen Christison
One and Two State Solutions and the Myth of International Consensus

Jeff Halper
Power to the (Palestinian) People!

Stanley Heller
The Siege of Gaza is Broken

George Wuerthner
The Moronic Sport: ORVs on the Public Lands

Patrick Cockburn
Desperate Iraqi Farmers Turn to Opium

Jeff Sher
Just How "Good" is Your Health Insurance?

Patrick Irelan
Musharraf, the Steadfast Ally?

Charles Modiano
Restoring the Anti-War King

Website of the Day
An Illustrated History of Trepanation


January 23, 2008

David Rosen
The Great Disappearing Act: the Presidential Candidates and the Politics of Sex

David Isenberg
Is It Really So Hard to Believe That Iran Stopped Its Nuclear Weapons Program?

Farzana Versey
Hillary's Harem

Paul Craig Roberts
The Empire That Must Be Obeyed

Alan Farago
Where Did All the Good Times Go?

Allan Nairn
Indonesian Intelligence Service Threatens to Kill Human Rights Activist

Kenneth Couesbouc
Another Turn of the Screw

Niranjan Ramakrishnan
How the West was Re-Sold

Michael Donnelly
Obama Strikes Back

Norman Solomon
The Power of Love

Website of the Day
Rafah Today


January 22, 2008

Paul Craig Roberts
Farewell to Old Economic Nostrums

JoAnn Wypijewski
King Day in Columbia, South Carolina

Al Giordano
Divide and Conquer Politics: How the Clinton Campaign Armed a Black-Latino Time Bomb in Nevada

Felice Pace
Power Politics in the Klamath: Water, Dams and Salmon

Paul Wolf
Bolívar's Sword

Robert Weissman
Deregulation and the Financial Crisis

Dave Lindorff
The Bush Dollar Trap

Marjorie Cohn
Cheney Impeachment Gains Traction

Richard Neville
Keeping Shakespeare in a Box

Don Fitz / Zaki Baruti
St. Louis Mayor Booed Off MLK Platform

Ben Terrall
Cindy Sheehan and the Virtues of Divisiveness

Sam Husseini
Stoning Martin Luther King, Jr.

Website of the Day
Defend the Mapuche!



January 21, 2008

Kevin Alexander Gray
Playing the Race Card

Linn Washington, Jr.
Deferring Dreams, Delusions of Democracy

Pam Martens
How Wall Street Blew Itself Up

David Macaray
Labor's Grim Dilemma: Do We Need a Labor Party?

Uri Avnery
Look Who's Talking

Omar Barghouti
Europe's Collusion in Israel's Slow Genocide

Joe DeRaymond
Protest and Trial in D.C.

B.R. Gowani
Why Islam Should Tolerate Images

Shepherd Bliss
The False U.S. Economy

Jean-Guy Allard
Philip Agee Versus the CIA

Dan Bacher
Leaping Steelhead!

Website of the Day
Destroyed By a Rising Flood

January 19 / 20, 2008

Alexander Cockburn
The Campaign in Black and White

Saul Landau
Good Time Charlie's War

China Hand
Endgame for Pakistan?

Conn Hallinan
Desert Mirage: What Was the Bombing of Syria Really About?

Ron Jacobs
No Retreat

Dave Lindorff
A Tax Rebate Won't Fix This Mess

Andy Worthington
Canada's Humiliating Double Standard on Torture

Paul Armentano
What's the Going Price for a Joint? More Than You Might Think

Seth Sandronsky
High Crimes and Economics

Michael Donnelly
Dodging Ecocide

Patrick Irelan
The Ordeal of Dr. Safdar Sarki

Martha Rosenberg
The Drug Industry Takes Another Hit

Sherwood Ross
Making the World Safe for Despots: Bush's Global Arms Trade

David Michael Green
So You Want to be My President, Eh?

James Rothenberg
Unimpeachable: Under House Protection

Daniel Gross
Starbucks Shortchanges Dr. King

Peter N. Carroll
In Memory of Milton Wolff

Susie Day
Croakin' on Hudson

Paul Krassner
Woody Allen Meets Tongue Fu

Poets' Basement
Wolff, Buknatski and Orloski

Website of the Day
Rocky Mountain Blues


January 18, 2008

Allan Nairn
Killing Civilians, Carefully

Ralph Nader
When the Big Boys Get in Trouble, Who Pays the Ultimate Bill?

Joanne Mariner
Terrorism and Preventative Detention

Alan Farago
The Stimulus and the Meltdown

P. Sainath
Pity the Brahmins

R.F. Blader
Beyond Steinem's Feminism

Andy Worthington
A Letter from Guantánamo

John Jonik
Private Insurance is Bad for Your Health

Brian McKenna
Where Even Sharing is Prohibited: Notes from Inside a Michigan Women's Prison

Daoud Kuttab
This Time Next Year?

Website of the Day
Those South Carolina Voting Machines


January 17, 2008

Paul Craig Roberts
Leader and Vassal

Christopher Brauchli
The FBI's Bills Come Due

Robert Fantina
Leadership, Bush and the New York Times

Patrick Irelan
Eternal War

Paul A. Moore
When the Rich Pay No Taxes

Stephen Lendman
Institutionalized Spying on Americans

Beena Sarwar
Bhutto and the "State Within a State"

Walter Brasch
Buzzwords in the Echo Chamber: Change and the Establishment

Brenda Norrell
Bush Legacy in Texas Sours

Adam Federman
End of the Left?

Website of the Day
Democrats for Romney


January 16, 2008

Jeffrey St. Clair
Return of the Native

Franklin Lamb
The Bombing at Qarantina

Julian Sanchez
David Weigel
Who Wrote Ron Paul's Newsletters?

Sharon Smith
Ron Paul and the Left: a Slippery Slope?

Allan Nairn
Economic Indicator: No Free Lunch, No Free Market

Ayesha Ijaz Khan
How the American Media Enables Bush's Iran Fixation

Andy Worthington
A Strategic Call to Close Guantánamo

Richard Behan
Nancy Pelosi, You Must Impeach!

Website of the Day
Obama the New JFK? He's Not That Bad!


January 15, 2008

Andrea Peacock
Breach of Trust in America's Most Toxic Town: How the EPA is Rubbing Poison Into Libby's Wounds

Wajahat Ali
An Interview with Seymour Hersh on Iraq, Bush Foreign Policy and the Prospects of War with Iran

Joe Bageant
Getting Out the Bling Vote

Ralph Nader
The Candidate Taboos

John Ross
Zero Hour: NAFTA and Mexico's Agrarian Apocalypse

Elaine Cassel
Jose Padilla vs. John Yoo: Can a National Disgrace be Rectified?

Peter Morici
The Fed Needs More Than a New Communications Strategy

Beena Sarwar
Pakistan's Dirty Tricks Brigade

Robert Weissman
Big Business is Even More Unpopular Than You Thought

Binoy Kampmark
Going Tata in India

Dave Zirin
Dennis Brutus Smacks Down the Hall of Fame

Website of the Day
David Lynch on the iPhone


January 14, 2008

Ishmael Reed
Ma and Pa Clinton Flog Uppity Black Man

Roger Morris
Burials in the Sind

Uri Avnery
The Hands of Esau

Mike Whitney
Bush's Voodoo Stimulus Package

Allan Nairn
General Suharto of Indonesia: One Small Man Leaves a Million Corpses

William Blum
Oh, By the Way, the Iraqis Don't Really Want Us

Alan Farago
A Subprime Wake Up Call

David Macaray
Are Labor Unions Ready for Prime Time?

Eva Liddell
Getting Drunk with Obama

Zoe Blunt
Road Kill: New Highway Blocked by Protesting Raccoons

Website of the Day
Doug and Andrea Peacock on Grizzlies


January 12 / 13, 2008

Andrew Cockburn
How the New England Journal of Medicine Undercounted Iraqi Civilian Deaths

Saul Landau
60 Years of Empire

Corey D. B. Walker
Barack Obama and the Crisis of the White Intellectual

Col. Dan Smith
Bush, Iran and the Magician of the Tarot

Eric Toussaint
The US Subprime Crisis Goes Global

Ron Jacobs
Television, Murder and Vietnam

Fred Gardner
The People vs. Christopher James Chakos

Stan Cox
Don't Take That Pill!

Jacob G. Hornberger
The Warfare State

Ramzy Baroud
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Joseph Grosso
The Anglosphere: a Special Relationship of Elites

David Díaz-Arias
Imagining An/Other Latin American Left

Stacey Warde
Before We Move On ...

Dan Bacher
Pumped to Extinction: the Decline of the Delta Smelt

Michael Dickinson
Georgie in Jesusland

Website of Weekend
CounterPunchers Protest Outside NYT Offices


January 11, 2008

Dave Lindorff
Did Hillary Really Win New Hampshire? More Questions About Diebold Voting Machines

Paul Craig Roberts
No Escape from War and Unemployment

Andy Worthington
Six Years of Guantánamo

Kenneth Couesbouc
Banking on Thin Ice

Jeff Ballinger
Inside the Vienna Consensus

Christopher Brauchli
Lethal Injection, the Supremes and China

Manuel Garcia, Jr.
Paying No Attention to the Presidential Campaigns

Andrew Silverstein
Bush's Weepy Visit to Jerasulem

Marwan Bishara
Bush in the Middle East

Robert Weissman
The First Amendment Gone Wild

Patrick Irelan
Damn the Small Boats!

Website of the Day
Hillary and the Superdelegates: Or Why She Wins Even When She Loses



January 10, 2008

Alexander Cockburn
Now Nader Claims He Didn't Endorse Edwards

Bob Wing
Marqueece Harris-Dawson

Race Within the Race: Obama, the NH Vote and the Specter of Tom Bradley

Michael Donnelly
White Women Gone Wild?

David Macaray
Three Big Reasons for the Decline of Labor Unions

China Hand
Bush's Delusional Policy Pushes Pakistan to Brink of Catastrophe

Ayesha Ijaz Khan
Saudi Arabia and Pakistan: Brotherly, Friendly Countries?

Rannie Amiri
Obama, Man of Kansas or Kenya?

Website of the Day
Iranian Video of the Hormuz Incident


January 9, 2008

Cockburn / St. Clair
The Empire Strikes Back

Dave Lindorff
The Bad News from New Hampshire: Death By Triangulation

John Chuckman
Pardon My Laughter: Watching the US Primaries from Canada

James Bovard
Stomping Freedom: Inside the Martial Law Act of 2006

Alan Farago
As Florida Sinks: the View from the Titanic

Russell Mokhiber
Why Picket the New York Times in DC on Friday?

William S. Lind
Kicking the Can Down the Road in Iraq

Peter Morici
Beyond the Sophistry: Why the Trade Deficit Matters

Josh Reubner
Sudan vs. Israel: Double Standard on Divestment

Mike Roselle
The Pursuit of Happiness

Website of the Day
Bottles of Tears on the Wall: Steve Perry on NH


January 8, 2008

Paul Craig Roberts
No Jobs for the New Economy (or the Old)

Russell Mokhiber
The Black Hillary: Obama is Just Another Political Sedative

Robert Fantina
The Gulf of Tonkin and the Strait of Hormuz

Dave Zirin
Butts on Parade

Shamako Nobel
I Am an Emcee: the Politics of Hip Hop

John Ross
Zapatista Women Encounter Themselves

Brenda Norrell
Apaches Defend Homeland from Homeland Security

Laura Carlsen
Why Bolivia Matters

Patrick Irelan
Remember the Maine!

Evelyn J. Pringle
The Holes in Bush's FDA

Jonathan M. Feldman
After Iowa and New Hampshire: a Strategy for Rebuilding the Peace Movement

Michael Dickinson
Playing Soldier

Website of the Day
Sean Hannity on the Run!


January 7, 2008

Chris Floyd
There Will Be Blood: But No Justice for Iraq Atrocities

John Blair
Remove That Man! Creeping Fascism in Indiana

Uri Avnery
The Case of the White Bird

Andy Worthington
Who Are the Gitmo Saudis?

Binoy Kampmark
Needling the Convict: Lethal Injection and the Supreme Court

David Macaray
Women on Strike

Ralph Nader
Obamarama: the Politics of the Smooth Mood

Michael Donnelly
It's the War Vote(s), Stupid!

Ron Jacobs
Ron Paul's Run: Is Being Against the War Enough?

Gideon Levy
The Hostile President

Dave Lindorff
A Real 9/11 Cover-Up? Sibel Edmonds, Turkey and the Bomb

Website of the Day
Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea


January 5 / 6, 2008

Douglas Valentine
Good Guys in Black Hoods

Kevin Young
The US Occupation and Popular Opinion in Iraq

Richard Rhames
Saddam Who?

Saul Landau
Bush Snatches Defeat from Victory

Marc Lynch
Why Bush's Iran Strategy is Failing

Robert Fantina
Iowa, Democrats and the Iraq War

Donna Volatile
Antiwar Soldier: an Interview with Jonathan Hutto, Sr.

Jelle Bruinsma
Norman Finkelstein in The Netherlands

Bob Sutcliffe
Remembering Andrew Glyn, Rebel Economist

Harvey Wasserman
Anti-Nuclear Renaissance

Missy Beattie
Why Obama Can't Save Us

David Swanson
Remembering the Separation of Powers

Jacob Hornberger
The Importance of the Padilla Case

Shepherd Bliss
Survival Tools from Kokopelli Farms

Ron Jacobs
Bleeding Kansas

Poets' Basement
Patti Smith, B.R. Gowani and Peter Buknatski

Website of the Weekend
Jimmy Dean Sausage Call Complaint


January 4, 2008

Cockburn / St. Clair
A Good Night in Iowa

Jonathan Cook
War Crimes Airbrushed from History

Paul Craig Roberts
Thinking for Yourself is Now a Crime

Stan Goff
Ron Paul's Monkeywrench

Dave Lindorff
Clinton's Iowa Flop Exposes DLC Myths as Frauds

Niranjan Ramakrishnan
To Pindi Station

Allan Nairn
U.S. Elections Over Before They Began

Joshua Frank
The Failures of Sectarianism

Peter Morici
Economy on the Skids

Mary McInnis
Iowa Cocky-Us: How to be a Caucus Tease

Website of the Day
The Return of Obama Girl


January 3, 2008

Fatima Bhutto
Farewell to Wadi Bua

Pam Martens
The Free Market Myth Dissolves into Chaos

Joanne Mariner
The Presidential Candidates and Torture

Zoltan Grossman
Remember the '80s: Social Movements Between Woodstock and the Web

David Domke
The Echoing Press and Huckabee

Norman Solomon
Edwards Reconsidered

Nikolas Kozloff
Return of the Faux Liberal

Jacob G. Hornberger
The Padilla Case and the Future of Habeas Corpus

Martha Rosenberg
Quit Picking on Huckabee's Son, Michael Vick

Russell Means
This Property is Condemned: a Notice to Those Occupying Lakotah Lands

Website of the Day




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February 5, 2008

The Politics of Religion in Pakistan and the USA

Obama, Bhagwandas and the Battle for a Secular Politics


A fierce debate rages on at least one Pakistani internet discussion forum proposing Justice (Retired) Rana Bhagwandas as General (Retired) Musharraf's replacement presidential candidate. In reality, this is not likely to happen. Not likely because Justice Bhagwandas has expressed no desire to step into Musharraf's shoes. But also not likely because Bhagwandas belongs to the minority Hindu faith in a country where ninety-five percent of the population is Muslim.

His religion is of little consequence to his supporters, of which there are many. Justice Bhagwandas was not well-known prior to March 2007, when President Musharraf declared Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry "non functional". Justice Bhagwandas hence took over as acting Chief Justice and presided over the Supreme Judicial Council that was to decide on the reference against Justice Chaudhry. The Supreme Judicial Council, under Justice Bhagwandas' leadership, restored Justice Chaudhry and absolved him of all corruption charges alleged in the reference.

As a result, Justice Bhagwandas' own popularity and respect amongst the people of Pakistan soared, most of whom saw Musharraf's move against Chaudhry as an attack by an overly powerful executive on a judiciary desperately trying to assert its independence. Justice Chaudhry was reinstated in July, only to be deposed again in November. This time, he was not alone. In fact, sixty percent of Pakistan's superior judiciary, including Justice Bhagwandas, refused to take oath under Musharraf's Provisional Constitutional Order and was thus placed under house arrest.

A few weeks ago, Justice Bhagwandas retired and was allowed to return to his home in Karachi. He returned to his native city as a hero. Ironically, even hard-liners like Qazi Hussain Ahmad, leader of the Jamaat Islami, sing his praises and are at a loss for words when more liberal-minded Pakistanis ask him to acknowledge that the provision in the Pakistani Constitution, inserted at the behest of parties like the Jamaat, mandating that only a Muslim be allowed to become President and Prime Minister is shameful.

The secularists, for their part, are vindicated by Justice Bhagwandas' honourable role in the recent judicial crisis. They cite the speeches of Mohammed Ali Jinnah and insist that Pakistan was not meant to be a theocratic state, but one where Pakistanis of all faiths would contribute equally to society. In his keynote address on 11 August 1947, Jinnah, Pakistan's founding father, described his vision for Pakistan by stating that "In due course of time, Hindus will cease to be Hindus and Muslims will cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the state."

Remarkably similar reasoning has been offered by American founding fathers. James Madison, for example, commented that the "the [religious] devotion of the people has been manifestly increased by the total separation of the church from the state."

Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black moreover best expressed the purpose and function of the Establishment Clause when he said that it rests "on the belief that a union of government and religion tends to destroy government and degrade religion."

One is forced to question therefore if we, both in the Islamic world and in the Christian world, are straying from the guiding principles set by our founding fathers. Are we in fact losing the battle for secular politics and paving the way for religious clash and inept government? Isn't it peculiar that in an age of globalization and technological advancement we seem to be more close-minded and less inclusive than visionaries who lived in a far less diverse age?

It is curious also that just as the internet has become a catalyst for fresh and new ideas in Pakistan and a rallying point for its youth, in the US, the internet is being used to launch smear campaigns and cast fear and doubt amongst a population almost ready to set aside race, gender and identity politics in its quest for change.

Barack Obama has to repeatedly fight off untruths about his faith, and assert his Christian connection so forcefully that even American Muslims are sympathetic to the fierce urgency of his disengagement. After all, "Islam" and "Muslim" are almost dirty words in the post 9/11 western world and no politician can run the risk of any such association.

Wouldn't it be nice, however, if Obama could have said, "My faith is a personal matter and not relevant to the election or my credentials as a patriotic American."

Ayesha Ijaz Khan is a London-based lawyer and writer and can be contacted via her website www.ayeshaijazkhan.com

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