www.newyorker.com/FROM_THE_ARCHIVE/ARCHIVES/?010924fr_archive05 As modern journalism sinks ever deeper into its spoon-feed-me mentality, William T. Vollman, a novelist and magazine reporter, actually does the hard research. Before embarking on an assignment to Afghanistan to find out what the Taliban is all about, he read the Koran, twice. Here’s his 2000 New Yorker piece on a rocky, barren chunk of earth that last month became an export base for horrific crimes against humanity.

Ten years ago, Robert Fisk of the British newspaper The Independent was warning anyone who would listen that events and U.S. policy in the Middle East were pointing toward an Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Of course, no one listens to liberal pinkos who dare go against U.S. policy, so the Gulf War ensued. The above URL brings you to a 10-page list of Fisk articles published before and after the Sept. 11 attacks in the U.S. For anyone wondering what could possibly breed the kind of hatred that manifests itself in so much unthinkable and unspeakable carnage, all the answers are right here.

Esquire has re-posted a 1999 article on Osama bin Laden; it is a reporter’s sober portrait of a date with a monster.

Jerry Falwell used the September tragedies to single out gays, lesbians, abortionists, feminists — just about everyone that rightwing Christians love to hate — to tell them, “I point the finger in (your) face and say: ‘You helped this happen.’ ” The next day he said his words were taken out of context but never bothered to explain what kind of context could possibly make his words anything less than a fundamentalist verbal attack on innocent people. The Village Voice gave him some help in this department.

The Onion has a faux news article about the kamikaze hijackers surprised to wake up in Islam’s hell.

Americans are now radically redefining “patriotism” as an obligation to blindly follow their government and scorn anyone who dares to dissent. When they stop waving their flags, they might be surprised to find out that their government is trying to pass a law that among other things would make computer hacking a crime equivalent to a terrorist bombing. One would hope this SecurityFocus article is enough to wake them up.

A former CIA agent in the August issue of The Atlantic writes that the U.S.’s counterterrorism program in the Middle East is nothing more than a myth. He explains that it is simply impossible for any Westerner to penetrate “the Dodge City of Central Asia,” his term for Peshawar, which he describes as a cradle of terrorism. The article goes on to suggest why Osama bin Laden might feel as though he can carry out mass murders with impunity.

Ever since he took office, U.S. President George Bush ignored the U.S. Commission on National Security Report, which among other dangers outlined immediate terrorist threats faced by the United States and what can be done to block them. But Bush is only as much to blame as the rest of the country. Most of the media didn’t even know about the bipartisan commission’s work. Now it’s on the Internet, and everyone can learn from it. To its credit, the Bush administration already is.

An ABC News timeline of terrorism goes back to 1920. As for the Middle East, it shows that the terrorism that still reigns today took root with a 1946 attack by Jewish terrorists led by future Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin which killed 90 people and led to the creation of the Jewish state two years later.