David Barsamian is an independent journalist as well as founder and Director of Alternative Radio ( www.alternativeradio.org ). He presented his critique of US policy toward Iran and the American media coverage to the Citizen Roundtable on October 30, 2007. Like Picasso, Barsamian sees things from a different perspective. He raises a number of provocative questions:
1) Is US policy in the Middle East the product of a desire to promote freedom and democracy or does it stem from a desire to control a major source of the world’s oil?
2) When does American-Iranian history begin? Does it begin with the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979? Or does it begin with the CIA-assisted overthrow of the democratically elected leader Mohammed Mosedegh and installation of the Shah in 1953?
3) Why do Americans learn of British Imperialism, French Imperialism, German Imperialism, and Soviet Imperialism but not American Imperialism?
4) Why did Henry Kissinger support the development of an Iranian nuclear program in 1974 and condemn the development of an Iranian nuclear program in 2004?
5) Barsamian asks why the debate on US policy toward Iran seems to be limited to either sanctions or pre-emptive war and does not include discussion of negotiations.
6) Why is the autocratic government of Egypt’s Mubarak described as moderate and the theocratic government of Iran described as part of the axis of evil?
7) Why is Iran being blamed for ruining the success of the American invasion of Iraq? Could it be that the US decision to invade Iraq or that the US strategy of the occupation was flawed?
8 ) Why do 50% of Americans feel that an attack on Iran is justified? Why did 50% of Americans feel that an attack on Iraq was justified before it occurred? Is the US media providing objective information or publishing Bush Administration propaganda?
9) Why in 2005 did the New York Times require 14,000 words to describe the faulty reporting of Jason Blair but less than 1400 words to analyze a self-described failure of reporting before the Iraq invasion?Please share your answers to thes questions with us. What additional questions do you think that engaged citizens should be asking?