::  Search Site

::  Archives

< < current

::  Comments or questions about The War in Context

::  MediaChannel Affiliate

This page is powered by Blogger.
 The War in Context
   alternative perspectives on the "war on terrorism"

Blair and Bush to plot war on Iraq
Kamal Ahmed, The Observer, February 24, 2002

Tony Blair and the United States President George Bush are to hold a specially convened summit in April to finalise details of military action to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Blair will travel to Washington in six weeks' time in a clear signal that Downing Street fully backs Bush's plans to launch a war against Iraq if Saddam does not agree to deadlines to destroy his arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. 'The meeting will be to finalise Phase Two of the war against terrorism,' a senior Number 10 official said. 'Action against Iraq will be at the top of the agenda.'
[The complete article]

Pakistanis "will stop Pearl suspect being sent to US"
Kamran Khan and Julian West, The Telegraph, February 24, 2002

A crisis was looming in relations between America and Pakistan last night as it became clear that senior Pakistani intelligence officials intend to block American moves to extradite a key British-born suspect in the kidnapping and murder of the journalist Daniel Pearl.
[The complete article

New media heights for a remarkable pundit
Norman Solomon, Media Beat, February 21, 2002

Thomas Friedman has achieved another media triumph with the debut of "Tom's Journal" on the "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer." [...] A passage from Friedman's 1999 book "The Lexus and the Olive Tree" sums up his overarching global perspective: "The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the U.S. Air Force F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley's technologies to flourish is called the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps."
[The complete article]

The coming war with Iraq
Paul Rogers, Open Democracy, February 20, 2002

US rhetoric against the Iraqi regime seems likely to be followed by sustained military assault. What are its justifications? Will it succeed? The experience of the last decade suggests that a more mature policy, combining targeted sanctions, food aid, and a concerted effort for peace in Israel-Palestine, might have averted the coming enormous destruction and dangers. Is it too late even now?
[The complete article]

An old continent, tired and impotent
John Lloyd, New Statesman, February 18, 2002

Europe has indulged in a flurry of criticism of the US, in which even the UK has joined. It has been satisfying, hugely encouraging to the anti-American left. But Europe is impotent.
[The complete article]

The Philippines: "second front" in the US's global war
Gary Leupp, Counterpunch, February 21, 2002

Since President Bush's bizarre State of the Union Address January 29, it has become clear that the "war on terrorism" is actually focusing more and more on states (especially Iraq) and organizations with little or no relationship to bin Laden's network.
[The complete article]

Afghans flee hunger and strife
Rory McCarthy, The Guardian, February 22, 2002

Even before September 11, a huge humanitarian crisis was predicted for northern Afghanistan. Now, despite the defeat of the Taliban regime and promises of billions of dollars in aid from the international community, the true depth of the disaster is emerging. Devastating hunger and worsening ethnic tensions are forcing thousands of people to flee their homes in areas around the city of Mazar-i-Sharif in the north.
[The complete article]

Journalism has never been more dangerous
Fergal Keane, The Independent, February 23, 2002

Daniel Pearl was 38 years old, a reporter at the height of his skills. The conflict in Afghanistan was the biggest story of his life, and by all accounts he covered it with distinction. He died because a group of fascists needed a vehicle to convey their hatred of the United States to the wider world. Daniel Pearl became the vehicle.
[The complete article]

Journalists are now targets - but who is to blame for this?
Robert Fisk, The Independent, February 23, 2002

The murder of Daniel Pearl of The Wall Street Journals was as revolting as it was outrageous. But why was he killed? Because he was a Westerner, a "Kaffir"? Because he was an American? Or because he was a journalist?
[The complete article]

Revisiting the Great Game
David Howell, Japan Times, February 23, 2002

Following the cataclysmic events of Sept. 11 and the war in Afghanistan, the U.S. now has enormous military bases dotted around Central Asia in a pattern that would have seemed impossible only a year or so ago.
[The complete article]

Bush's war in Afghanistan: a case of big mission creep?
David Corn, The Nation, March 11, 2002

Perhaps it is in the interest of the United States and good for Afghans for the U.S. military to come to the rescue of the secular, coalition government of Hamid Karzai, which has recently been shaken by the assassination of a Cabinet member and non-stop factionalism. Still, there's a problem. Who gave George W. Bush and the Pentagon permission to wage this sort of war in Afghanistan? Not Congress.
[The complete article]

National Public Radio's Israel correspondent Linda Gradstein takes cash payments from pro-Israeli groups
Ali Abunimah and Nigel Parry, Electronic Intifada, February 19, 2002

We affirm that Gradstein has a First Amendment right to speak to any groups she chooses. But for a reporter who is assigned to cover the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to accept thousands of dollars in cash and expenses from groups whose primary or sole objective is to promote a pro-Israeli political agenda is a gross violation of basic journalistic ethics as well as NPR's own policy.
[The complete article]

A stealth attack on freedom of the press
Robert W McChesney and Mark Crispin Miller, The Nation, March 11, 2002

The Federal Communications Commission is presently conducting an inquiry - a "rulemaking" - to determine whether to relax, or even to eliminate, the remaining few regulations that limit how many media entities a single company may own. Regulations still standing include: prohibiting the ownership of a TV station and a newspaper in the same community; limiting a company to owning not more than 35 percent of all TV stations in the United States; and limiting a single company to providing cable TV services to no more than 30 percent of the US population. The FCC will likely reach a decision by the summer. This rulemaking is going on in virtual secrecy, with powerful corporate lobbyists dominating the deliberations. The stakes are extremely high. For the firms, such a relaxation could mean a dramatic rise in company value almost overnight. For the public, further deregulation will lead to another wave of media consolidation, with all that that suggests for the marketplace of ideas.
[The complete article]

The gatekeeper: watch on the INS
Alisa Solomon, Village Voice, February 20, 2002

In the wake of September 11, the stakes for the INS's striking the right balance are as high as they have ever been. Today, one in five Americans is first generation or foreign born. Even as the INS must reinforce its shields against those seeking to cross the border to do the U.S. harm, it must preserve the openness to the rest of the world that has forged the nation's identity. But the blundering, bunker-minded agency may not be up to the task. This week's look at the INS launches a periodic series of articles that will follow the agency at this critical moment, examining practices in the context of shifting policy.
[The complete article]

Making the connection
Leader, The Guardian, February 21, 2002

Israeli and American governments have long denied a direct connection between the Palestinian conflict and other basic problems in the Middle East such as anti-western terrorism and the rise of "rogue states" such as Iraq. This wilful blindness now threatens to prolong and exacerbate the daily carnage in both the occupied territories and Israel and to delay the resumption of a meaningful dialogue. It is time for a more honest approach.
[The complete article]

Gunmen proclaim death of an army's legend
Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, February 21, 2002

Palestinian militia claims attack destroys 'unbeatable' myth.
[The complete article]

Europe must stop parroting the American script in the Middle East
Robert Fisk, The Independent, February 21, 2002

While President George Bush rabbits on about the "axis of evil" and his "crusade" against "terror", a real tragedy is about to interfere with his mythic struggle against America's enemies. It's about a place called Palestine. And a place called Israel. So idle, so lazy, so pro-Israeli has Washington's policy become towards the Middle East that the President still seems unaware that the real war in the region involves its own ally – a colonial Israel – and a nationalist struggle run by Israel's own surrogate Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat.
[The complete article]

Israeli cabinet backs greater use of death squads
Phil Reeves, The Independent, February 21, 2002

Plans by Israel's Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, to use yet more military force in the occupied Palestinian territories were yesterday approved by his security cabinet as the violence in the Middle East conflict accelerated still further. Mr Sharon won support for what he called a "new outline on the war on terror", as Israeli armed forces retaliated after the most deadly attack on its soldiers since the intifada began.
[The complete article]

Reagan rides again
Matthew Engel, The Guardian, February 20, 2002

More starkly than the present differences over foreign policy, nothing illustrates the gap between European and American perceptions quite like Ronald Reagan's reputation. When he was president (1981-89), the European left contemplated him with a contemptuous shudder, fearful, above all, that his bellicosity would get us all blown up.
[The complete article]

Ain't no stopping US now
Julian Borger, The Guardian, February 20, 2002

After all the talk, George Bush actually came face to face with the "axis of evil" today, peering into the demilitarised zone between South and North Korea, a frontier known in the president's increasingly Reaganesque rhetoric as "the line dividing freedom and oppression". Echoes of Ronald Reagan have reverberated through Mr Bush's week-long Asia tour, but never louder than at the DMZ. It was Mr Bush's version of the former president's "tear down this wall" speech in Berlin 15 years ago, and White House aides have been advertising its iconic significance. To heighten the anticipation Bush even described it as "one of the most dangerous places on earth".
[The complete article]

Replacing the USA
David Newman, Jerusalem Post, February 20, 2002

The US is busy exacting its revenge for September 11, but its policies are not designed to bring about the future political rapprochement and stability that the region as a whole, and Israel-Palestine in particular, need so desperately.
[The complete article]

They dream of peace ... and blood
Ross Dunn, Sydney Morning Herald, February 20, 2002

To seek martyrdom is not only an ambition that more Palestinian children are expressing freely, it is also what the experts fear will happen.
[The complete article]

A US president writes (not, unfortunately, the current one)
Leader, The Guardian, February 15, 2002

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." President Dwight D Eisenhower, 1953
[The complete article]

Too much surveillance means too little freedom
William Safire, New York Times (via IHT), February 19, 2002

By creating the means to monitor 300 million visits to the United States yearly, this administration and a supine opposition are building a system capable of identifying, tracking and spying on 300 million Americans. So far, the reaction has been a most un-American docility.
[The complete article]

Pentagon readies efforts to sway sentiment abroad
James Dao and Eric Schmitt, New York Times (via Common Dreams), February 19, 2002

The Pentagon is developing plans to provide news items, possibly even false ones, to foreign media organizations as part of a new effort to influence public sentiment and policy makers in both friendly and unfriendly countries, military officials said.
[The complete article]

The wrong war
Nicholas D Kristoff, New York Times, February 19, 2002

As far as I can tell, the American mission here has almost nothing to do with Basilan. President Bush offered troops in a White House meeting with the Philippine president before his aides knew where Basilan was. The real aim of the American mission is political: to demonstrate momentum in the war on terror, deploy troops in a country where they are welcome, show the flag in Southeast Asia, and find an enemy that can be quickly beaten.
[The complete article registration required]

Fighting the Old New Left - As the war on terrorism continues, will conservatives have to re-fight the ideological battles of the '60s and '70s?
David Brooks, Weekly Standard, February 15, 2002

Norman Podhoretz predicts "a great ideological fight," while David Brooks claims that "nobody thinks these people [critics of the war on terrorism] are important." Is America ready for serious debate, or are the voices of dissent sure to remain marginal?
[The complete article]

Germany and France warn Bush on Iraq
Toby Helm and Ben Fenton, The Telegraph, February 19, 2002

The transatlantic rift deepened yesterday when Germany joined France in opposing military strikes against Iraq as part of a new front in the war on terrorism.
[The complete article]

The Philippine wars
Nicholas D Kristof, New York Times, February 15, 2002

Isabela, the Philippines: The main public hospital here serves 300,000 people and has next to nothing. No running water. No medicines. No ambulance. No anesthetic. "If a patient needs surgery, we write a prescription for anesthesia," explained Lino Ventulero, administrative officer of the hospital. "The patient goes out and fills it and comes back." Or dies. But that's life at this forlorn hospital on Basilan, the impoverished island where American troops are to begin arriving next week. Washington is also giving the Philippines $100 million in military assistance, including 30,000 machine guns. "Instead of bringing guns," said Bernardina Idris, the chief nurse, "why don't you help the hospital?" Good question. I didn't know how to explain to Filipinos the need to add firepower to an island already bristling with machine guns. Nor how to explain why we would push for an American deployment that is unnecessary but that is aggravating the main problem in Muslim communities of the southern Philippines: the distrust and resentment that sustain rebel movements.
[The complete article registration required]

9/11 attacks create surge in US military aid to "shunned countries"
Tim Kennedy, Arab News, February 18, 2002

In the five months since the tragic events of Sept. 11 the United States and its allies have waged war on terrorism on many fronts, one of which is through increased military assistance and arms sales to countries previously barred from receiving US equipment.
[The complete article]

(See also the Federation of American Scientists web site Arms Transfers)

Afghanistan opium crop threatens Europe
Jimmy Burns and Carola Hoyos, Financial Times, February 17, 2002

Afghan farmers are preparing to harvest a potential bumper opium crop that threatens to fuel the illicit drugs trade in the surrounding region and flood Europe with heroin by the end of this year.
[The complete article]

John M Poindexter: newly appointed chief of the Information Awareness Office

John M. Poindexter - Indicted March 16, 1988, on seven felony charges. After standing trial on five charges, Poindexter was found guilty April 7, 1990, on all counts: conspiracy (obstruction of inquiries and proceedings, false statements, falsification, destruction and removal of documents); two counts of obstruction of Congress and two counts of false statements. U.S. District Judge Harold H. Greene sentenced Poindexter June 11, 1990, to six months in prison on each count, to be served concurrently. A three-judge appeals panel on November 15, 1991, reversed the convictions on the ground that Poindexter's immunized testimony may have influenced the trial testimony of witnesses. The Supreme Court on December 7, 1992, declined to review the case. In 1993, the indictment was dismissed on the motion of Independent Counsel. [Summary of prosecutions arising from the Iran/Contra investigation]

Arthur Liman (chief counsel to the Senate select committee) - ''From the first day I met him, I knew it was John Poindexter, not Oliver North, who held Ronald Reagan's fate in his hands. North was the more colorful by far, but I wanted Poindexter as a witness.''

No more Mr Scrupulous Guy
John Sutherland, The Guardian, February 18, 2002
How one of the two brains behind the Iran-Contra scandal this week became one of America's most powerful men.

Chief takes over new agency to thwart attacks on U.S. (New York Times - registration required) , February 13, 2002

The eagle has landed
Paul Kennedy, Financial Times, February 1, 2002

In global military terms now only one player on the field now counts - the US. In the wake of September 11, Paul Kennedy, professor of history at Yale University and director of international security studies, examines America's new position as the world's policeman - and the implications for us all.
[The complete article]


September 11 and the declaration of a "war on terrorism," has forced Americans to look at the World in a new light. No one can afford any longer to define the limits of their concerns by refusing to look beyond this nation's borders. If the freedom that every American cherishes, is not to become a freedom bound within a fortress, then every American will need to understand and respect the needs and concerns of the rest of the World. To this end, The War in Context invites anyone with interest and an open mind to listen to the critical discourse in which the policies and actions of the Bush administration are now being questioned. This debate, which is engaging inquiring minds inside and outside America, will hopefully inform the development of a sustainable new world order - a world order in which America is as much shaped by the World as is the World shaped by America.