From the start, problems small and large plagued the Pentagon's media project in Iraq. The Iraqi Media Network (IMN), as it is known, is an American-run outfit contracted by the Pentagon to put out news after Saddam Hussein's fall. Its mission was twofold: to be both a PBS-style broadcaster and a means for the occupying authorities to communicate with Iraqis. But getting going wasn't easy. There were bombed-out facilities to reconstruct, transmitters to build, and a staff to hire and rehire when many left for better wages as interpreters or translators. Tapes didn't match with recording machines; recording machines didn't match with broadcasting equipment. There were power outages and battery shortages, and no money to buy new programming.
On May 19, in one of the first anti-terrorism cases brought against U.S. citizens since September 11, Mukhtar al-Bakri, a 23-year-old Yemeni American from Lackawanna, N.Y., pleaded guilty to the charge of providing "material support" to al-Qaeda. Prior to 9-11, al-Bakri and five other young Yemeni Americans had traveled to an al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan, where they received six weeks of training before deciding to return home. According to the defendants, they left the camp because they did not feel comfortable with al-Qaeda's militancy; one even faked an ankle injury to leave early. A post-9-11 Department of Justice investigation led authorities to the young men, who were quickly dubbed a sleeper cell and brought to trial.
The last few months have not been kind to those charged with carrying out the Bush administration's war on terrorism. Bush's basic approach to the issue has come into question, and a fear once expressed only by hard-core libertarians -- that since September 11, the administration has arrogated to itself too much power to restrict Americans' freedom -- appears increasingly to be justified.
EVIAN, France -- Members of the U.S. press corps seem convinced that no more news will be made at the G8 summit -- and, at least on the surface, they're right. Though the meeting officially ends today with a working session in the morning, most American journalists left, along with President Bush, yesterday afternoon. "I've covered seven summits and never before have I seen a press corps leave early," said Wendy Ross, White House correspondent for the Washington File, a State Department information service.
In the Feb. 13 issue of The New York Review of Books, Timothy Garton Ash argued that anti-Europeanism is on the rise in the United States. This sentiment, he suggested, taps into a variety of cultural prejudices, including the notion that the American love of liberty is a kind of haven from European paternalism. "For millions of Americans, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Europe was the place you escaped from," Ash wrote. It is true that past differences between the United States and Europe on questions of immigration and national identity persist today. Right-wing European politicians still employ anti-immigrant rhetoric -- rhetoric that is far less common or explicit in the United States.