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Pakistan after Benazir

As one analyses the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, it comes to light that almost every institution, including the judiciary, is to blame for the current mess in Pakistan. The role of the US in building a new stable coalition to rule Pakistan is farcical.

Meditation on Haditha

The malevolent Bush administration has started to act like a cosy clan of CEOs, dishing out government booty to favoured corporate coffers and remoulding public policy to suit the narrow interests of key donors. It frequently overreaches and gets away with it. The latest example is that of Haditha, where US Marines systematically slaughtered two dozen Iraqi civilians last November.

Experiencing Islam, British Style

Exceptions apart, the British welfare state certainly helped draw most Muslims into the rich multicultural fabric of urban life. The role of religious fanaticism is consistently overestimated and misconstrued.

After the London Bombings

In their political outcome, the London bombings could turn out to be Britain's Madrid. The British people too may link the London attacks to their deceitful government that followed Bush into the profoundly unjust invasion of Iraq.

War as Official Terrorism

Howard Zinn is a distinguished debunker of American textbook myths, a radical historian who interrogates “received versions” and illuminatingly digs into the gritty popular layers of life where history is really made. Zinn unearths inconvenient evidence and forgotten episodes, always taking a hard look at the elitist travesty too many scholars have made of the past. Fearless critics rarely are honoured in their own lands and so, like kindred spirit Noam Chomsky, he is better known abroad. (During the Vietnam war, though, Zinn, Chomsky and a handful of others became steady moral compasses for a new generation of activists and scholars.) What one cracks up against when challenging dominant views are unquestioned, or inadequately questioned, bedrock assumptions. One doesn’t undertake this daunting work lightly inasmuch as it always rouses fierce and devious defenders of the status quo. “Even [American] liberals,” as Zinn glumly observes, “are conservative by global standards.”

Whatever Happened to Political Correctness?

One has scanned university campuses in vain for any evidence of oppressive conformity, ruined careers, and mass harassment that the current lurid images of a 'new McCarthyism' have evoked. When the tales come under scrutiny, they have invariably been found to be extraordinary exaggeration, often calculated exaggeration.

USA: John Kerry: Unlikely Hero

John Kerry is an unlikely common man's hero coming as he does from a wealthy background. But in the early 1970s Kerry participated in mass rallies against the Vietnam war and appeared at Congressional hearings to recount atrocities that he and fellow servicemen witnessed or committed as an inevitable by-product of misbegotten American policy. That same passion and acute sense of principle, if aroused again and backed up with deeds, would guarantee Kerry a landslide victory in November.

Hutton's Britain

Wishful thinking, blind self-interest and obsequious underlings have combined to produce terrible foreign policy messes many times. By now it is crystal clear that state intelligence services are not immune to political pressures and temptations. So British prime minister Tony Blair remains beset by a growing credibility problem despite, and to some degree because of Lord Hutton's obliging report.

Spooks, Hacks and Scholars

Intelligence agencies in the US and UK have long recruited journalists and academics to ferret all sorts of information. Deplorably, newspapers have also provided space to agencies to plant 'black propaganda' stories through amenable hacks. But this places innocent travellers, roving journalists and scholarly researchers in needless peril abroad.

Revisiting 'The Quiet American'

What will the wily neoconservatives resort to now as the American peoples' fearful acquiescence, exploited so assiduously since 9/11, erodes with the daily toll of blood and treasure exacted by the Iraqi occupation? They appear to be carrying on regardless. Yet ordinary Americans are showing signs of wising up and are no longer so, well, quiet.

Protests, Lies and Realpolitik

It is not easy to understand just how uneasy many Americans are about the Bush's dubious venture. There has been widespread reaction across the country in major cities and towns and university campuses. Many have rallied around the flag resignedly, though the spirit is anything but jingoistic. While echoes of an earlier epoch suffuse the new actions, the perennial debate on whether civil disobedience does more harm than good has been reopened.

Fellow Travailing in Iraq

Iraq' petition recently visited Iraq. Although the Iraqi regime treated it as a propaganda exercise the group worked to sidestep it to get at the 'useful' truth. Laterally, the group's focus on the need for political reforms may even have meant leverage for those working within the system for change.


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