Friday, December 22, 2006

Why This Editorial and Why Now?

I normally avoid political posts on this blog. But the psychologist in me jumps to attention when things aren't adding up, and this just isn't adding up.

Why is the CIA redacting a routine op-ed piece for the New York Times? From what the Times is saying, even the CIA is acknowledging that state secrets were not the issue in the censoring of the material. The gist of the censored editorial is that the U.S. has not been sincere in pursuing dialogue with Iran. What is unusual is that the authors have written on this topic over the past several years, with no interference from government censors. See, for example, the references linked by the Truthout site, including this one from the Washington Post and this lengthy analysis by the lead author.

Given that no New York Times editorials have been subjected to similar censorship, the question becomes: Why this editorial and why now?

Could it be a misguided effort to not scuttle a tenuous UN agreement regarding sanctions against Iran?

Could it be a PR effort to keep Tehran on the hot seat in the face of a Democratic electoral victory in the U.S. and widespread disenchantment with our involvement in Iraq?

Or could this be a way to minimize dissent ahead of a military build up in the Middle East?

Whatever the motivation, it was deemed important enough by the White House to impose what appears to be a kind of censorship normally associated with strong-arm dictatorships. Let's see if there's another side to this story.

But if this is, indeed, part of an effort to keep public sentiment in favor of a military effort to put Iran on a hot seat, traders in the oil and equity markets might feel some repercussions in 2007.