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Today's Stories

January 16, 2008

Jeffrey St. Clair
Return of the Native

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


January 2, 2008

Jeff Taylor
The Left and Ron Paul

M. Shahid Alam
The Life and Death of Benazir Bhutto: a Pakistani Tragedy

Gary Leupp
Madness Compounding Madness: Calls for Intervention in Pakistan

Paul Craig Roberts
Criminals with Badges

Heather Gray
Georgia's Racist Death Penalty

Fred Gardner
and Shobhit Arora
Dr. Strangelove's Nemesis

David Macaray
Labor Unions and Taft-Hartley

Benjamin Dangl
Fear and Loathing in Bolivia



January 1, 2008

Iain A. Boal
City of Disappearances

B. R. Gowani
Benazir's Death in Crisistan

Shahid Mahmood
Bhutto and the Press

Linn Washington, Jr.
Old Injustices Endure: From Crack Sentences to Racial Profiling

Harvey Wasserman
Taking Leonard Peltier to Iowa: the Moral Low Point of the Clinton Era

John Ross
2008, Already a Year to Forget

Website of the Day
The Thrill is Gone: BB and Gladys


December 31, 2007

Alexander Cockburn
Goodbye 2007 and Good Riddance!

Tariq Ali
Pakistan, the Aftermath

Liaquat Ali Khan
The Perfidy of Pakistan's Rulers

Wajahat Ali
After Bhutto, a Nuclear Pakistan?

Robert Fisk
Who Killed Bhutto?

Ajai Sahni
Myths and Realities About Benazir Bhutto and Pakistan's Dark Future

Marwan Bishara
You Say Talk, I Say Attack: The Middle East and the US Presidential Election Campaigns

Uri Avnery
The Beilin Syndrome

Mark T. Harris
Does This Happen in Canada?

Brenda Norrell
Resistance and Censorship

Website of the Day
A People United Will Never Be Defeated


December 29 / 30, 2007

Alexander Cockburn
Options in America: Kill Yourself or Have a Baby

Tariq Ali
Indignation and Fear Stalk Pakistan

Fawzia Afzal-Khan
My Encounter with Benazir Bhutto

Gary Leupp
The U.S. and Pakistan After 9/11: Blowback from an Unholy Alliance

China Hand
Pakistan Stares Into the Abyss

Jacob Hornberger
Stop Medddling in Pakistan

John Chuckman
Pakistan and the Failure of Quick-Fix Politics

Missy Beattie
Evaluating Bush with the Bhutto Corruption Standard

Ralph Nader
Who Will Take the Next Step?

Fidel Castro
There Hasn't Been a Day in My Life When I Haven't Learned Something

Robert Fantina
The Sham of Homeland Security

Greg Moses
Beauty from the Heart of Texas

Catherine Lutz
What We Can Not See: Art and Bombing

Kristin Van Tassel
Seeing in the Dark

Kim Nicolini
Redacted: Brian DePalma's Scream of Outrage

Phyllis Pollack
Keith Richards Runs With Rudolph Once More

Poets' Basement
Landau, Gibbons and Davies

Website of the Weekend
Driving Karachi in Search of the Perfect Naan


December 28, 2007

Farzana Versey
The Complex Electra

Wajahat Ali
A Pakistani Requiem

Binoy Kampmark
Death in Rawalpindi: Bhutto and Her Legacy

Ayesha Ijaz Khan
Not Dead Yet: The Pakistan People's Party Still Survives

Anthony DiMaggio
Turkey's Bombing of Iraq

Ray McGovern
Creeping Fascism

Jim Goodman
Biofuels, the Biggest Scam Going

Ron Jacobs
Transcending the Colonizer's History: Iran, a People Interrupted

Russell Hoffman
Mini-Nukes by Toshiba

John Murphy
Greens Gone Wild

Website of the Day
Guiliani Campaign Official: "Only Rudy Can Defeat the Muslims"


December 27, 2007

Dilip Hiro
A Tragedy Foretold: Will Bhutto's Death be a Boost for Her Party?

Murtaza Shibli
Who Killed Bhutto?

Stephen Soldz
Fallujah, the Information War and U.S. Propaganda

Bill Quigley
Locked Outside the Gates

Paul Craig Roberts
The Great American Lock-Up

Omer Subhani
Killing Bhutto: What Happens Next in Pakistan?

Marjorie Cohn
The Torture Tape Cover-Up: How High Does It Go?

Allan Nairn
Cataclysm By Money Whim

Jacob G. Hornberger
Smearing Ron Paul: Shame on the NYT

Norman Solomon
Channeling Suze Orman

Patrick Irelan
Rumsfeld Spills the Ink

Ben Tripp
Pass the Razor Blades

Website of the Day
Quagmire, For What It's Worth


December 26, 2007

Charles Tripp
From One Saddam to Fifty

Paul Armentano
No-Knock, You're Dead

Rannie Amiri
Lebanon in Search of a Government

Stanley Heller
Brzezinski and Charlie Wilson's War

John Walsh
Two Unreasonable Men

Martha Rosenberg
The Strange Career of Scott Gottlieb

Norman Madarasz
Bolivia Amends New Constitution and Faces Mutiny from Within

Website of the Day
Cockburn at the Battle of Ideas


December 25, 2007

Patrick Cockburn
Conscience and Empire

December 24, 2007

Andrea Peacock
A Dark Ride on the Border

Tariq Ali
Thinking of Edward Said

Uri Avnery
Help! A Ceasefire!

Jill Jameson
Burma is Not Back to Normal: A Trip from Rangoon to Mae Sot

Steve Melendez
Russell Means Goes to Washington

Mike Whitney
The Big Fix

Chuck Munson
Not Getting It About New Orleans

John Walsh
Clueless Crusaders

Farzana Versey
Tony Blair and the Hawking of Religion

Richard Neville
Dreaming of a White House Christmas

Website of the Day
Back in the USSR

December 22 / 23, 2007

Alexander Cockburn
Mike Huckabee's Ascending Chariot

Ralph Nader
Politics and Profits: How the Oil Cartel Gets Its Way

Andy Worthington
Intelligence Failures, Battlefield Myths and Unaccountable Prisons in Afghanistan

Ahmad Faruqui
The Comedian of Pakistan

Bill Moyers
Society on Steroids

Rev. William E. Alberts
Blessed are the Peacemakers

Timothy J. Freeman
From Kant to Lennon: Can War Really be Over?

Anthony DiMaggio
Democrats Continue to Capitulate on Iraq

Fred Gardner
Molecule of the Year, Cannabiodiol

Paul Krassner
Enhanced Hazing Techniques

Seth Sandronsky
17 Years of Meanness: Repealing California's Three Strikes Law

William Loren Katz
Christmas Eve Freedom Fighters: Recalling the Battle of Lake Okeechobee

Michael Dickinson
In the Dungeon of the Zabita

Ron Jacobs
Why Leon Russell Still Matters

David Vest
Doyle Bramhall's "Is It News?"

Poets' Basement
Orloski, Davies and Ford

Website of the Weekend
George W. Hates Santa


December 21, 2007

John Ross
New Massacres Loom in Mexico

Jacob Hornberger
Nothing Can Morally Justify the Invasion of Iraq

Dick J. Reavis
A Way Out of the Newspaper Abyss

Jeff Cohen
and Norman Solomon

The 2007 P.U.-litzer Prizes

Peter Morici
Business as Usual as Recession Looms

Jack McCarthy
Let Us Now Praise Judith Regan (Even If She Did Sleep with Bernie Kerik)

Raúl Zibechi
Sex and Revolution

Steve Early
How the Presidential Candidates Made Me an Atheist

David Macaray
Union Aftermath

Patrick Bond
Zuma, the Center-Left and the Left-Left in S. Africa

Lakota Freedom Delegation
A Declaration of Independence from the USA

Website of the Day
Solomon v. Beck: Tale of the Tape


December 20, 2007

David Rosen
Mitt Romney's Secret Life as a Pornographer

Alan Farago
The Huckster and the Wreckage: Jeb Bush and the Subprime Mortgage Crisis

Laura Carlsen
Standing Up to NAFTA

Ashley Dawson
The Return of the Bread Riot

Wayne Smith
and Jennifer Schuett
Cuba Changes, US Policy Stagnates

Website of the Day
How to Talk to a FoxNews Reporter


December 19, 2007

Saul Landau
Is the NIE Bush's Watergate?

Paul W. Lovinger
Hillary the Hawk

Norman Solomon
The Mad Corporate World of Glenn Beck

Dave Zirin
George Mitchell's Drugs of Choice

Marjorie Cohn
Bush Still Spinning Iranian Nukes

Sen. Russell Feingold
The Iraq War is Exhausting Our Nation

Sonja Karkar
A Christmas Reflection on Palestine

Anthony Papa
Open the Drug Gulags

Christopher Ketcham
Pave the Holy Lands with Good Intentions

Davey D
Britney's Little Sister is Pregnant: Should We Blame Hip Hop?

Website of the Day
When Republicans Use the F-Word on TV


December 18, 2007

R. F. Blader
The Politics of Teen Pregnancy

George Wuerthner
Gunning for Wolves in Idaho

Steven Higgs
Can the NAFTA Superhighway be Stopped?

Vijay Prashad
Encounters with Ghadar

David Macaray
The Free Rider Problem

Ralph Nader
Nine Books That Make a Difference: a Reading List for the Holidays

Eva Liddell
Privatizing War Abroad, Invading Privacy at Home

Martha Rosenberg
While the Bodies are Still Warm: Drugs, Shrinks and Shooters

Dave Lindorff
When Impeachment is Out of Print

Peter Morici
The Consequences the Trade Deficit

Website of the Day
Ron Paul: How Fascism Will Come to America


December 17, 2007

Mike Whitney
Staring Into the Abyss

Tom Barry
Planning the War on Immigrants

Uri Avnery
A Gaza Masada?

Greg Moses
Crossing the Line in Texas

Allan Nairn
Terrorism; Counter-
Terrorism: Excuses for Murder

Patrick Bond
South Africa's Fight Between Hostile Brothers

Stephen Lendman
Police State America

Charles Jonkel
Grizzly Right of Way

Laray Polk
An Inside-Out Crisis in Gaza

Stephen Fleischman
Pawns in Their Game

December 15 / 16, 2007

Peter Linebaugh
A People's Penny for the Magna Carta

Howard Zinn
Bomb After Bomb

Standard Schaefer
The Greening of Big Tobacco

Raymond J. Lawrence
Let's Take Christ Out of Christmas

Alan Farago
Down on Desolation Row: the Vultures and the Growth Machine

Saul Landau
Lord Byron and the Bad Tourists

Jenna Orkin
Lying to "Reassure" the Public: Bush's EPA and the Post-9/11 Toxic Air Cover-Up

Ahmad Samih Khalidi
Why a Palestinian "State" is a Punitive Construct

Robert Fantina
Politics By Photo-Op

Missy Comley Beattie
Resistance Amid the Ruins

Ramzy Baroud
Of Mormons and Muslims

James L. Secor
A Vision for China's Future

Elijah Wald
Ike Turner's Music Won't be Forgotten

Website of the Weekend
The Alliance for the Wild Rockies Needs (and Deserves) Your Support


December 14, 2007

JoAnn Wypijewski
The Dirty Cad: What Giuliani's Sex Life Tells Us About Him

John Ross
Iraqi Refugees Return: One Cruel Hoax

Jacob Hornberger
Terror Suspects Belong in Federal Court

Andy Worthington
Guantánamo and the Supreme Court: What Happened?

Allan Nairn
"Shoot Them on the Spot": Rewarding War Crimes

Dave Zirin
The Mitchell Report: Absolving the Owners

Dave Lindorff
The First Cut is the Deepest

Misty MacDuffee
Toxic Grizzlies

Ben Terrall
What Happened to Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine?

Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi
Prerequisites for Peace

Website of the Day
Sen. Kit Bond: "Waterboarding is Like Swimming"


December 13, 2007

Paul Craig Roberts
Shrinking the Dollar from the Inside-Out

Mike Whitney
Dershowitz for the Defense--of Waterboarding

Ron Jacobs
Blank Check DemocratsL the Great War Funding Conspiracy

Norman Solomon
The USA's Human Rights Daze

Peter Morici
The Dragon and the Toothless Dog: China Doesn't Flinch

Sandy Mayes
Blocking the Strykers: 13 Days of War Resistance at Port Olympia

Franklin Lamb
The UN in Lebanon: Whose Mission Is It Fulfilling?

Jacob Hornberger
Don't Reform the CIA, Abolish It

Nadim Rouhana
An Interloper in My Own Land

Dave Zirin
On Pigskin and Petrol

Website of the Day
Rachel's Needs (and Deserves) Your Support!

December 12, 2007

Allan Nairn
US Intelligence is Tapping Indonesian Phones

Alan Farago
How Sprawl Eats Its Young

Ray McGovern
Torture, Lies and Videotape

Winslow T. Wheeler
The Phony Pentagon Budget Cuts

Evan Jones
The Raid on Great Western: Why an Australian Bank Might Spell Doom for the US Farm Belt

James Petras
An Open Letter to Sarkozy on the Exchange of Political Prisonsers

Joel Hirschorn
The Horserace Fiction: Clinton, Obama and the Democratic Machine

Joshua Frank
Why Ron Paul Deserves Our Attention

Sherry Wolf
Why the Left Should Reject Ron Paul

Dan Bacher
Survey of a Fish Graveyard

Website of the Day
Men Eating Bugs









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January 16, 2008

The Iran Fixation

How the American Media Enables Bush


President George Bush has a few months left in office. Many analysts have believed for some time now that before he retires from that position, he will have orchestrated an attack either against Syria or Iran. Increasingly, it seems that his fixation is with Iran. After much was made by the Bush administration about Iran's covert nuclear program, recently there was acknowledgment that many of those fears may have been over-exaggerated or even misplaced. Yet no one from the administration was taken to task for spreading such sinister misinformation. More disturbingly, there was no substantive criticism from the American media either.

To the contrary, US media has increasingly become a mouthpiece of the Bush administration, perpetuating and ventilating the fears which prevent a population from thinking rationally about important issues. I happened to be in New York a few months ago when President Ahmedinijad arrived to address the United Nations General Assembly. The day he landed, local press ran shocking headlines in the newspapers. "Tehran Thug Comes To Town," read one; "Terror Has Landed," said another. It was the kind of diction one expects from a grade school bully, not intellectually honest analysis of issues with global ramifications.

Dismissing some of the local papers as tabloids, I picked up a copy of The New Yorker magazine, only to find on its cover a demeaning representation of President Ahmedinijad sitting on the toilet, pants down, playing footsie with the man in the next stall. Surely, for the American audience, it was a take on the Republican Senator from Idaho who had recently been caught doing just that with an undercover cop at an airport bathroom and a jibe simultaneously at Ahmedinijad, who had denied in his speech at Columbia University that homosexuality existed in Iran.

But to many American Muslims it was flagrant cultural insensitivity to caricaturize a head of state in such a way, and also a reminder that Iran was being demeaned through its President only so the attack could soon be justified. It reminded Muslims of the early nineties when Saddam toilet paper had taken America by storm, only to be followed by operation Desert Storm. That is how the propaganda machine works. First you degrade and then you attack. The invitation handed out to Mr. Ahmedinijad by Columbia University brought matters to a head. Mr. Bollinger, Columbia's President, made every effort to insult his guest, which may have been satisfying to some Americans, but left the rest of the world baffled. One would invite a speaker, presumably, so one could hear his point of view with an open mind. Argue with him, debate him, disagree with him, certainly, but insult him before he even opens his mouth? Muslim countries pride themselves on their culture of hospitality and the offensive and aggressive posturing towards Ahmedinijad only further bolstered his image in the Islamic world, while tainting America's.

Instead of reporting neutrally on the situation, American television rallied behind Mr. Bollinger, feeding a clash of civilizations. From the "No-Spin Zone" on Fox to "Keeping Them Honest" on CNN, American reporting on international affairs was devoid of objective analysis, preferring instead to divide the world into "good and evil" and refusing to see any "good" ever on the "evil" side of our world. Unlike most countries of the world today, the overwhelming majority of Americans also did not have the option to watch television based out of any other country. So it was either the American version or no version at all, other than a very sanitized BBC America, which some people caught on their cable channels.

Perhaps it was this frustration with having to report in such a biased one-sided manner, a nearly obsessive form of self-censorship, that led some newscasters to abandon altogether any seriousness that naturally comes with debating important global issues, preferring instead to dumb-down news to a level of flippant comedy. Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, and Keith Oberman all seemed to disagree with the Bush administration's handling of foreign policy, yet instead of presenting serious critiques, pinpointing precise failings, they had resorted to comic relief at the expense of the establishment. It was better than nothing, and in my three month summer sojourn in New York, I watched Bill Maher regularly, but I could not help but feel that slapstick news was America's way of escaping the real problems rather than an attempt at solving them.

Come mid-October, I had returned to London, with access to all variety of news transmitted in English, British, French, Arabic, Russian, and of course American. The attack on Iran had thankfully not materialized, but then came the alleged speedboat incident in the Strait of Hormuz a few days ago. The US Navy claimed that they had been threatened by Iranian speedboats. It was not until the Iranians released their version of the events, also on video, that the US Navy's claims were exposed. It appears to me that this was nothing more than the excuse Mr. Bush has been so searching for to wage war against Iran.

Once again, it was extremely disappointing that the American media did not question or criticize the US Navy and government's very dubious role in this very serious matter. Even after the Iranians released their tape and it was plainly clear that the voice that had threatened an explosion did not come from the Iranian patrols and most likely had been recorded later on, American media preferred to hush up the incident by attributing it to another ship in the area or a transmitter on land.

Had this happened in Pakistan, I could not help but think, everyone would have been talking about the government duping its people into a war. So perhaps it is the Pakistani in me that never rules out a conspiracy theory.

But what would have happened if the Iranians sat tight and did not offer their version? What will happen in months to come? Will the Bush administration continue to find excuses to throw America into another unjustifiable war? Will the American media just sit on the sidelines and watch while that happens? Is their obligation to the people of the United States or to the Bush administration?

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


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