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Books by Robert Fisk

NOTICE: Due to the large number of new postings of Robert Fisk's excellent reports, we are discontinuing the addition (ON THIS PAGE) of links to new articles. Rather, we recommend you go to our Search Page and conduct a search for "Robert Fisk". . . . and don't forget to scroll down this page for additional postings. Currently, we are blogging some Robert Fisk's new work directly to the sections of this Web site that is focused on the topic of the article (such as the War on Iraq). [Webmaster April 17, 2002]

Robert Fisk - Collected Articles

Posted April 13, 2003
A civilisation torn to pieces

Posted April 2, 2003
The monster of Baghdad is now the hero of Arabia
'It was an outrage, an obscenity'
This is the reality of war. We bomb. They suffer

Posted March 30, 2003
In Baghdad, blood and bandages for the innocent

Posted March 25, 2003
The clock said 7.55 – precisely the time the missile struck

Posted March 14, 2003
The Forgotten Power of the General Assembly

Posted March 13, 2003
US war plans are not helped by Blix
A Modern-Day Crusade Looms

Posted February 10, 2003
You wanted to believe Powell – but it was like something out of Beckett

Posted December 17, 2002
Journalists are under fire for telling the truth

Posted December 4, 2002
We are being set up for a war against Saddam
Railing against the 'facile acceptance of authority'

Posted December 3, 2002
George Bush crosses Rubicon - but what lies beyond?

Posted October 15, 2002
What Bush wants us to forget

Posted on October 12, 2002
Will Bush's carve-up of Iraq include getting hands on its oil?

Posted on September 26, 2002
The dishonesty of this so-called dossier (War on Iraq)

Posted June 26, 2002
I wonder why Bush doesn't let Sharon run his press office

Posted May 25, 2002
President Bush's rhetoric sounds like the crazed videotapes of Osama bin Laden

Posted May 9, 2002
There is a solution to this filthy war - foreign occupation

Posted May 5, 2002
Sharon the merciless and Arafat the corrupt have nothing meaningful to offer each other

Posted April 23, 2002
The Middle East According to Robert Fisk

Posted April 17, 2002
Fear and learning in America - A first-hand report by Robert Fisk

Posted April 9, 2002
Unholy War - Robert Fisk

Posted April 8, 2002
Since US soldiers are blindfolding and gagging Muslim prisoners, why should Mr Sharon worry?

Posted April 7, 2002

'Jews may not want to look at this'
(Robert Fisk, The Independent, 07 April 2002)
Givat Shaul used to be called Deir Yassin. And here it was, 54 years ago, that up to 130 Palestinians were massacred by two Jewish militias, the Irgun and the Stern Gang, as the Jews of Palestine fought for the independence of a state called Israel. The slaughter so terrified tens of thousands of Palestinian Arabs that they fled their homes en masse - 750,000 in all - to create the refugee population whose tragedy lies at the heart of the Middle East conflict today. . . . Back in 1948, Palestinian women were torn to pieces by grenades around the old houses that still exist in Givat Shaul. Two truckloads of Arab prisoners were taken from the village and paraded through the streets of Jerusalem. Later, many of them would be executed in Deir Yassin. Their mass grave is believed to lie beneath a fuel storage depot that now stands at one end of the Jerusalem suburb. . . . So a visit to Mr Kleinman's home raises a serious moral question. Can one listen to his personal testimony of the greatest crime in modern history and then ask about the tragedy which overwhelmed the Palestinians at this very spot - when the eviction of the Arabs of Palestine, terrible though it was, an act of ethnic cleansing in our terms, comes no- where near, statistically or morally, the murder of six million Jews? Does he even know that this year, by an awful irony of history, Holocaust Day and Deir Yassin Day fall on the same date? . . . Mr Kleinman is no ordinary Holocaust survivor. He was the youngest survivor of Auschwitz . . . . In London today, the killings at Deir Yassin will be remembered at St John's Wood Church at 6pm. They will be commemorated, too, in Washington and Melbourne and in Jerusalem. As the organisers say, "many Jews may not want to look at this, fearing that the magnitude of their tragedy may be diminished. For Palestinians there is always the fear that, as often before, the Holocaust may be used to justify their own suffering".

Posted April 2, 2002

Armoured invasion brings no peace to Bethlehem
(Robert Fisk in Bethlehem, The Independent, 03 April 2002)
If this is a war on terror, Jesus wasn't born in Bethlehem. The first to die was an 80-year-old Palestinian man, whose body never made it to the morgue. Then a woman and her son were critically wounded by Israeli gunfire. . . . They waited for some statement from the Pope, from the Vatican, from the European Union. And what they got was an invasion of armour. We watched them all morning, the Merkavas and APCs stealing their way through the ancient streets searching for the "savages" of "terror" Ariel Sharon has told us about. And all the while, on the television set by the window of our Bethlehem room, we watched Palestine collapse around us. The Palestinian intelligence offices had been attacked in Ramallah. The Palestinians said hundreds of women and children were packed inside the besieged and shelled building as well as men. Then shells started falling on Dheisheh camp. We knew that already. Dheisheh was so close that the windows vibrated. . . . By the time we were close to Manger Square, we had tanks in front of us, APCs and another tank behind. That's when the shooting began . . . The TV became a monitor of Palestine's disintegration. The newsreader stumbled on his words. Iran and Iraq might stop oil exports to force the Americans to demand an Israeli withdrawal. Arafat's intelligence headquarters in Ramallah were on fire. An Israeli soldier was dead in an APC on the other side of Manger Square, hit by two Palestinian rockets. About 700 prisoners were bound and blindfolded in Ramallah. Colin Powell, the American Secretary of State, was insisting Arafat was "recognised" as the Palestinian leader . . . Only a day earlier, an Israeli soldier opened fire on a group of unarmed western protesters near Bethlehem , wounding five of them in front of the BBC's own cameras before trying to shoot television reporter Orla Guerin as well.

Posted April 1, 2002

Farce and terror in the 'closed area' of Ramallah
(Robert Fisk in Ramallah, The Independent, April 2, 2002)
I can well see why it [the Israeli army] didn't want reporters around. . . . Rather than waging a "war on terror'' the Israeli soldiers looked as if they had entered the wilderness of occupation, just as they did in Lebanon back in 1982 . . . The Palestinians hid in their homes, shutters down, eyes peering from behind blinds, occasionally sneaking on to a balcony to wave when they saw a Westerner in the street. A few children could be seen running between houses. . . . It was a doctor who offered me a lift to central Ramallah, a journey we accomplished with considerable anxiety, driving slowly down the side roads, skidding to a halt when we caught sight of a tank barrel poking from behind apartment blocks, forever looking upwards at the wasp-like Apache helicopters that flew in twos over the city. Our car bumped over the tank tracks gouged into the tarred roads. The nearer we got to the centre, the fewer people we saw. Downtown Ramallah was a ghost town. . . . And that, I suppose, is what the occupation of Ramallah is all about. All day, the streets vibrated to the sound of armour. Between apartment blocks and villas we could watch the Merkavas clattering between trees or veering off the highway into fields. On a hill above the city, another tank sat hull down in the mud, its barrel pointing towards Arafat's scorched headquarters prison. . . . Yet the Palestinian families on our six-mile journey out of town would creep from their front doors and wave to us and offer us coffee. . . . And I realised then, I think, that it was these ordinary people, the families and the old man and the child with the horse, who are the real resistance to the Israelis - those who refuse to be intimidated from their equally ordinary lives. . . . So if this was a "war on terror'', it was a little difficult to know who was the more terrorised in Ramallah yesterday: the Palestinians, or the Israeli soldiers who have gone to war for Mr Sharon.

Posted March 21, 2002

Arab states united in rejecting attack on Saddam
(Robert Fisk, The Independent, 18 March 2002)
Rarely can an American vice-president have met such a rebuff from America's Arab allies. Not a single Arab king, prince or president has been prepared to endorse a US attack on Iraq. . . . In every Arab capital, Mr Cheney has been politely but firmly told to turn his attention to the Palestinian-Israeli war, and forget the "axis of evil'' until the US brings its Israeli allies into line. All Mr Cheney's efforts to pretend that the conflict in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel is separate from Iraq have failed. . . . One newspaper carried a front-page article condemning US policy in the region - almost unheard of in the kingdom - while editorials in other Gulf papers uniformly condemned any assault on Iraq. . . . Even the small United Arab Emirates had no time for the Cheney argument. . . . If America wishes to pursue its "war on terror'', what has Iraq got to do with it? Where is the evidence that Saddam was involved in 11 September? None exists . . . Since Mr bin Laden hates President Saddam and has gone on record to say as much, just how the Iraqi weapons, if they exist, would reach America's nemesis is unclear. And the Arabs have been asking who is threatening genocide in the Middle East? Who is being attacked?

Posted March 12, 2002

Bush is doing nothing to stop Israel's immoral civil war
(Robert Fisk, The Independent, 09 March 2002)
So what we have now in the occupied territories and Israel is also a civil war; a Muslim-Jewish war, a shameful, revolting struggle that mirrors, more and more, the Algerian war of independence of 1954-62. There, too, guerrilla destruction turned into assassination, murder into reprisal slaughter, and massacre into mass killing. Only last Christmas, the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, told the French President, Jacques Chirac, that the Israelis were "like you in Algeria'', the only difference being that "we [the Israelis] will stay''. . . . And there you have it. Israel, in Mr Sharon's own words, is fighting a colonial war. Not the "war against terror'', which he tries to mimic in miniature with the United States, but a war to colonise Arab land with colonies for Jews and Jews only, as the colonised (the "terrorists'', of course) rise up against them. . . . Mr Powell and his minions were not attacking Mr Sharon because the Israeli policy was immoral. It was the military ineffectiveness of killing Palestinians, not the abuse of human rights that this embodies, to which the Americans took objection. . . . Yes, of course, the Palestinians have crimes to answer for. Who decided that Israeli civilians should pay the price for the war against occupation, as Hanan Ashrawi has bravely asked? Who gave them the right to slaughter Israeli kids in pizza parlours? But Israel is America's ally and President Bush is doing nothing to end this monstrous war.

Arabs don't want war on Iraq. They want America to change its policy
(Robert Fisk, The Independent, 13 March 2002)
President George Bush may believe Iraq is part of an "axis of evil" but it was clear from their reactions to Mr Cheney's mission that there will be no chance of an Arab "coalition" against Saddam Hussein of the kind that Mr Bush's father rallied 12 years ago. Most Arabs would prefer Mr Cheney to deal with the Arab-Israeli war . . . Jordan was far more pointed in its remarks. King Abdullah, whose father, Hussain, was forced by public opinion to stay away from the last anti-Iraqi coalition, said a war against Saddam would have a "catastrophic effect" on the Middle East. "Striking Iraq represents a catastrophe for Iraq, and threatens the security and stability of the region," he said. The Saudis are just as unenthusiastic and even Kuwait, rescued by America and its allies in 1991, has serious reservations. . . . Put simply, the Arabs don't want the Americans to package a new war for them; they want Washington to re-examine its entire policy in the Middle East. They want Mr Cheney to glance over his shoulder at the bloodbath in Israel and "Palestine".

Posted February 5, 2002

Please release my friend Daniel Pearl (Robert Fisk, The Independent, 04 February 2002)
“Daniel was kidnapped in the Pakistani city of Karachi while he was researching a story on Islamic groups, and went to meet two contacts in a restaurant. . . . Back in the mid- to late-1980s, journalists were culled by the hostage-takers of Beirut. Islamic Jihad, they called themselves then, and death threats were a regular occurrence. . . . But they made one serious political error. Once foreigners were kidnapped, almost every Western journalist fled Beirut. . . . Lebanon's tragedy fell out of the news. No one read or heard of the great battles being fought between Hizbollah and the occupying Israeli army in the south of the country . . . The Hizbollah, around which these kidnap groups floated like satellites, now acknowledges that hostage-taking was a major blunder . . . If Israel could not persuade the United States to put the Hizbollah on America's ‘terrorist’ list, the kidnappings would have done the trick. The argument that national resistance should not be confused with ‘terrorism’ was never heard – because the journalists who should have reported it were either locked up or running away. . . . Daniel's kidnappers are now making an identical error. . . . Now I happen to think that the treatment of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay is outrageous, illegal, a scandal for a country that claims to be a democracy. I wrote here earlier that these men were being treated much as the Beirut hostages were treated, complete with the threat of death from drumhead courts. And – given the dangerous, infantile State of the Union speech which President Bush gave last week – I am not surprised that the US government saw nothing wrong with releasing those disgusting photographs of the shackled, hooded, drugged prisoners.”

Posted on January 29, 2002

Congratulations, America. You have made bin Laden a happy man (Robert Fisk, The Independent, 22 January 2002)
“Shackled, hooded, sedated. Taken to a remote corner of the world where they may be executed, where the laws of human rights are suspended. Sounds to me like the Middle East. . . . And now, a trip down memory lane. In the 1980s, when I was covering the war in Afghanistan between the brave mujahedin guerrillas and the Soviet occupiers, Arab fighters – armed by the Americans, paid by the Saudis and the West – would occasionally be captured by the Russians or by their Afghan communist satrap allies. For the most part, the Arabs were Egyptians. They would be paraded on Kabul television and then executed as ‘terrorists''. We called them ‘freedom fighters’. President Reagan claimed that their masters were not unlike the Founding Fathers. . . . From time to time, these revolutionary forces would sally forth across the Amu Darya river to attack the Soviet Union itself. The ‘Arab’ Afghans would attack a foreign country from Afghanistan. They would do so in their war against occupation. We supported them. For, yes, they were ‘freedom fighters’. Now, having opposed America, having dared to oppose US forces inside Afghanistan, in order to destroy US forces ‘occupying'' part of the Arab world – in Saudi Arabia, in Kuwait – they have become ‘unlawful combatants'', ‘battlefield detainees''. That, in essence, is what the Russians called them in the 1980s. It justified their detention in the hideous Pol e-Chowkri prison outside Kabul, their incarceration like animals – partly exposed to the elements – before their appearance in front of unfair, drumhead courts. . . . Minus the torture, the United States is now doing what most Arab regimes have been doing for decades: arresting their brutal ‘Islamist’ enemies, holding them incommunicado, chained and hooded, while preparing unfair trials. . . . Shackled, hooded, sedated. Prepared for a trial without full disclose of evidence. With a possible death sentence at the end, we are now the very model of the enemies Mr bin Laden wants to fight. He must be a happy man.”

Posted on December 4, 2001

This terrible conflict is the last colonial war (Robert Fisk, The Independent, 04 December 2001)
“Can Ariel Sharon control his own people? Can he control his army? Can he stop them from killing children, leaving booby traps in orchards or firing tank shells into refugee camps? Can Sharon stop his rabble of an army from destroying hundreds of Palestinian refugee homes in Gaza? Can Sharon ‘crack down’ on Jewish settlers and prevent them from stealing more land from Palestinians? Can he stop his secret-service killers from murdering their Palestinian enemies – or carrying out ‘ targeted killings’, as the BBC was still gutlessly calling these executions yesterday in its effort to avoid Israeli criticism. It is, of course, forbidden to ask these questions. . . . The reality is that the Palestinian/Israeli conflict is the last colonial war. The French thought that they were fighting the last battle of this kind. They had long ago conquered Algeria. They set up their farms and settlements in the most beautiful land in North Africa. And when the Algerians demanded independence, they called them ‘terrorists’ and they shot down their demonstrators and they tortured their guerrilla enemies and they murdered – in ‘targeted killings’ – their antagonists. . . . Can the United States stop bombing villages? Can Washington persuade its special forces to protect prisoners? Can the Americans control their own people?”

We are the war criminals now (Robert Fisk, The Independent, 29 November 2001)
“We are becoming war criminals in Afghanistan. The US Air Force bombs Mazar-i-Sharif for the Northern Alliance, and our heroic Afghan allies – who slaughtered 50,000 people in Kabul between 1992 and 1996 – move into the city and execute up to 300 Taliban fighters. . . . The Afghans have a ‘tradition’ of revenge. So, with the strategic assistance of the USAF, a war crime is committed. . . . Most television journalists, to their shame, have shown little or no interest in these disgraceful crimes. Cosying up to the Northern Alliance, chatting to the American troops, most have done little more than mention the war crimes against prisoners in the midst of their reports. What on earth has gone wrong with our moral compass since 11 September? . . . We bombed Afghan villages into rubble, along with their inhabitants – blaming the insane Taliban and Osama bin Laden for our slaughter – and now we have allowed our gruesome militia allies to execute their prisoners. President George Bush has signed into law a set of secret military courts to try and then liquidate anyone believed to be a ‘terrorist murderer’ in the eyes of America's awesomely inefficient intelligence services. . . . But I have a problem with all this. George Bush says that ‘you are either for us or against us’ in the war for civilisation against evil. Well, I'm sure not for bin Laden. But I'm not for Bush. I'm actively against the brutal, cynical, lying ‘war of civilisation’ that he has begun so mendaciously in our name and which has now cost as many lives as the World Trade Centre mass murder.”

Posted on November 27, 2001

Blood, tears, terror and tragedy behind the lines (Robert Fisk, The Independent, 26 November 2001)
“But then a refugee with a cracked face and white hair matting the brow below his brown turban ­ he looked 70 but said he was only 36 ­ stumbled up to us. ‘The Americans just destroyed our homes,’ he cried. ‘I saw my house disappear. It was a big plane that spat smoke and soaked the ground with fire.’ . . . For a man who couldn't read and had never left Kandahar province in all his life, it was a chilling enough description of the Spectre, the American ‘bumble bee'' aircraft that picks off militiamen and civilians with equal ferocity. And down the tree-lined road came hundreds more refugees ­ old women with dark faces and babies carried in the arms of young women in burqas and boys with tears on their faces ­ all telling the same stories. . . . An American F-18 soared above us as a middle-aged man approached me with angry eyes. ‘This is what you wanted, isn't it?’ he screamed. ‘Sheikh Osama is an excuse to do this to the Islamic people.’ . . . Out of a dust-storm came a woman in a grey shawl. ‘I lost my daughter two days ago,’ she wailed. ‘The Americans bombed our home in Kandahar and the roof fell on her.’ Amid the chaos and shouting, I did what reporters do. Out came my notebook and pen. Name? ‘Muzlifa.’ Age? ‘She was two.’ I turn away. ‘Then there was my other daughter.’ She nods when I ask if this girl died too. ‘At the same moment. Her name was Farigha. She was three.’ I turn away. ‘There wasn't much left of my son.’ Notebook out for the third time. ‘When the roof hit him, he was turned to meat and all I could see were bones. His name was Sherif. He was a year and a half old.’ . . . It was an eerie phenomenon. Taliban men ­ rifles over their shoulders ­ stared into the sun, up high into the burning light through which four white columns of smoke burnt from jet engines across the sky. I stood behind them and wondered at the battle I had watched for 20 years: a swaying host of eighth-century black turbans and, just behind them, the contrails of a B-52 heading in from Diego Garcia. God against technology.”

Posted on November 20, 2001

Forget the cliches, there is no easy way for the West to sort this out (Robert Fisk, The Independent, 17 November 2001)
“Afghanistan – as the armies of the West are about to realise – is not a country. You can't ‘occupy’ or even ‘control’ Afghanistan because it is neither a state nor a nation. . . . The real problem is that Afghanistan contains only tiny minorities of the ethnic groups which constitute its population. Thus, the 7 million Pashtuns in the country are outnumbered by the 12 million Pashtuns in Pakistan, the 3.5 million Tajiks in Afghanistan are outnumbered by the 6 million Tajiks in Tajikistan. The 1.3 million Uzbeks are just a fraction of the 23 million Uzbeks in Uzbekistan. There are 600,000 Turkmens in Afghanistan – but 3.52 million in Turkmenistan. So why should the Afghan Pashtuns and Tajiks and Uzbeks and Turkmens regard Afghanistan as their country? Their ‘country’ is the bit of land in Afghanistan upon which they live.”

The Progressive Interview: Robert Fisk (Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive)
“ . . . no plans have been brought forward to get bin Laden and his friends and put them on trial? . . . If they're guilty, where is the evidence? And if we can't hear the evidence, why are we going to war? . . . Bin Laden is not well read and he's not sophisticated, but he will have worked out very coldly what America would do in response to this. I'm sure he wanted America to attack Afghanistan. Once you do what your enemy wants, you are walking into a trap, whether you think it's the right thing to do or not. . . . At the end of the day, bin Laden's interest is not Washington and New York, it's the Middle East. He wants Saudi Arabia. He wants to get rid of the House of Saud. There's a great deal of resentment, even inside the royal family, at the continued military presence of the United States there. Saudi Arabia is the most fragile of all Arab states, though we're not saying so. And, unfortunately, bin Laden puts his finger on the other longstanding injustices in the Arab world: the continued occupation of Palestinian land by the Israelis; the enormous, constant Arab anger with the tens of thousands of Iraqi children who are dying under sanctions; the feelings of humiliation of millions of Arabs living under petty dictators, almost all of whom are propped up by the West. . . . In about three or four weeks time, this could turn into a tragedy of biblical proportions, as the starving and dying of famine arrive at the borders. They're going to die in front of the cameras. At which point, there's going to be a most unseemly and revolting argument in which we're going to say, "It's the Taliban's fault. They got all the food; they didn't distribute it. If they weren't there, we wouldn't be bombing." And the Taliban and a lot of Muslims are going to say, "These people are dying because they are fleeing from your bombs, and now you're not going to help them." That's where this war is going to go off the tracks. And that's what's going to enrage Arabs.

Posted on November 6, 2001

Saifullah, man of peace, killed by American cruise missile (Robert Fisk, The Independent, 30 October 2001)
“Saifullah was not a political leader; indeed his 50-year-old father says his eldest son was a humanitarian, not a warrior. His brother, Mahazullah, says the same. ‘He was always a peaceful person, quiet and calm, he just wanted to protect people in Afghanistan whom he believed were the victims of terrorism.’ But everyone agrees how Saifullah died. . . .He was killed on 22 October when five US cruise missiles detonated against the walls of a building in the Darulaman suburb of Kabul, where Saifullah and 35 other men were meeting. . . .Saifullah had only gone to take money to Kabul to help the suffering Afghans, says Mahazullah, perhaps no more than 20,000 rupees – around $350 – which he had raised among his student friends. . . .That's not the way the Americans tell it, of course. Blundering through their target maps and killing innocent civilians by the day, the Pentagon boasted that the Darulaman killings targeted the Taliban's ‘foreign fighters’, of whom a few were Pakistanis, Saifullah among them.”

Posted on October 30, 2001

Afghan civilian deaths
As the refugees crowd the borders, we'll be blaming someone else
“The figure of 6,000 remains as awesome as it did in the days that followed. But what happens when the deaths for which we are responsible begin to approach the same figure? Refugees have been telling me on the Pakistan border that the death toll from our bombings in Afghanistan is in the dozens, perhaps the hundreds. Once the UN agencies give us details of the starving and the destitute who are dying in their flight from our bombs, it won't take long to reach 6,000. Will that be enough? Will 12,000 dead Afghans appease us, albeit that they have nothing to do with the Taliban or Osama bin Laden? Or 24,000? If we think we know what our aims are in this fraudulent "war against terror", have we any idea of proportion? . . .This particular war is, as Mr Bush said, going to be "unlike any other" – but not in quite the way he thinks. It's not going to lead to justice. Or freedom. It's likely to culminate in deaths that will diminish in magnitude even the crime against humanity on 11 September. Do we have any plans for this? Can we turn the falsity of a "war against terror" into a war against famine and starvation and death, even at the cost of postponing our day of reckoning with Osama bin Laden?”

Posted on October 9, 2001

Our Friends Are Killers and Crooks
“Mr Blair may believe that "the values we believe in should shine through what we do in Afghanistan" but few of our "friends" in the region have many values, and some of them have a lot of blood on their hands. For as we search for facilities and jumping-off points and air space and access -- and we are now creating policies by the day -- we are being asked to forget a lot of recent history.”

Posted on or before October 3, 2001

Just Who Are Our Allies in Afghanistan
Just remember what happened in 1980 when we backed the brave, ruthless, cruel mujahedin against the Soviet Union. We gave them money and weapons and promised them political support once the Russians left. There was much talk, I recall, of "loya jergas", and even a proposal that the then less elderly king might be trucked back to Afghanistan. And now this is exactly what we are offering once again.

“And, dare I ask, how many bin Ladens are serving now among our new and willing foot-soldiers?”

Taliban finds few Muslim friends
They have been lining up in their condemnation. Mullahs, sheikhs and sayeds, from Beirut to Tehran, are criticising last week's assault on the United States, sending condolences and sympathy and - by their actions - distancing themselves from the atrocity that millions of Arab Muslims watched live on television.

How can the US bomb this tragic people?
I wrote last week about the culture of censorship which is now to smother us, and of the personal attacks which any journalist questioning the roots of this crisis endures. Last week, in a national European newspaper, I got a new and revealing example of what this means. I was accused of being anti-American and then informed that anti-Americanism was akin to anti-Semitism. You get the point, of course. I'm not really sure what anti-Americanism is. But criticising the United States is now to be the moral equivalent of Jew-hating. It's OK to write headlines about "Islamic terror" or my favourite French example "God's madmen", but it's definitely out of bounds to ask why the United States is loathed by so many Arab Muslims in the Middle East. We can give the murderers a Muslim identity: we can finger the Middle East for the crime - but we may not suggest any reasons for the crime.

This is not a war on terror. It's a fight against America's enemies
Either way, we are being asked to support a war whose aims appear to be as misleading as they are secretive. We are told by the Americans that this war will be different to all others. But one of the differences appears to be that we don't know who we are going to fight and how long we are going to fight for. Certainly, no new political initiative, no real political engagement in the Middle East, no neutral justice is likely to attend this open-ended conflict.

The Awesome Cruelty of a Doomed People (by Robert Fisk)
There will be those swift to condemn any suggestion that we should look for real historical reasons for an act of violence on this world-war scale. But unless we do so, then we are facing a conflict the like of which we have not seen since Hitler's death and the surrender of Japan. Korea, Vietnam, is beginning to fade away in comparison.

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