Sunday, December 25, 2005

The Bush Fade

Edited & Brought to you by ilaxi

Byline By MJ Akbar: The Bush Fade

The best thing about 2005 is surely the fact that it has reduced one year from the term of President George Bush. The wisdom of limits has sometimes been questioned, particularly when a sensible President like Bill Clinton comes along. But a George Bush always turns up to reinforce the merits of the law.

George Bush is not malevolent. I have this sneaking suspicion sometimes that he might even mean well. He certainly wants a theoretical democracy to prevail all over the world, for the commendable reason that with all its faults it is the most honest system of governance yet devised. He is simply a man of little understanding, which makes him a victim of the last thing he has understood. Sometimes this is in harmony with previous logic, sometimes in direct contravention, but once he is convinced about something it becomes a conviction, until the next thing he chooses to understand comes along.

His views are a slide presentation of shifting certainties. Because he is well-meaning he is totally sincere about each slide. He was as certain about the need to use torture in America’s war against terror before 10 December, as he was sure on the 11th that torture should, pace the John McCain amendment, never be a part of American policy. He does not abandon a past position; he simply forgets about it and seizes ownership of each defeat by reformulating it as victory.

He is not simple. That would be an underestimation. You cannot win two elections in America by being simple. But he is simplistic. He defers easily to those who prey upon his weaknesses with a simple ruse: they win his trust by applauding his horizon, and then map out highways that have little to do with objectives. Having led him to the centre of that inflammatory maze called Iraq, they are now charting non-existent escape routes booby-trapped with death. When a proper history of his years as the most powerful man in the world is written, it will be a long story of some success, substantial failure — but most of all a narrative of unintended consequences.

Bush was elected in 2000 to take America away from the problems of the world. Those were the innocent days during which he mispronounced "Musharraf". He was re-elected in 2004 to make America safe from the problems of the world. He will leave, in 2008, America more vulnerable to the problems of the world than it has been in a long while. On paper, he wants to change the Middle East by changing Iraq into a democracy. In practice, Iraq is heading towards what might be called a radical-democracy, where popular support has shifted decisively towards those who oppose American policy as well as American values. The one thing that Shias and Sunnis are now agreed upon in Iraq is that Americans must leave their land. Kurds support the Bush White House in the hope of achieving independence, or near independence, and that is not an option that anyone in the neighbourhood wants to hear about. Unless matters are managed with tact and intelligence, they could suffer the fate of the South Vietnamese. The radical-democracy syndrome is visible in Egypt as well, where President Hosni Mubarak opened a vent, possibly so that the West could see who would crawl out from the democratic woodwork. The only surprise when the Muslim Brotherhood got 88 seats in the legislature was why they did not get more.

George Bush and his fawn Tony Blair have now come to the end of their list of reasons for staying in Iraq. They now say that they must stay to train the Iraq Army so that it is able to fight the insurgency. In other words, they cannot pull out because of a problem that did not exist before they came. There was no insurgency before the Occupation. (The average death rate, by the way, is 30 per day; Iraqis also die, although there is reluctance to recognise this.) So we have the classic conundrum. American and British troops will not leave until the insurgency is controlled; and the insurgency will not end unless the Anglo-American armies go. Welcome to the near future.

Sometimes I wonder if policy-makers in Washington and London know what they are talking about. Every day you hear and read, from sources both civilian and military, that the Occupation forces must arm and train an Iraqi Army that can fight the insurgency after the Occupiers depart. This is the civil-war theory: after us, the deluge. This is a familiar of history: empire is always justified in terms of the good that it is doing (civilisation, trade, economic growth et al), and there is always going to be chaos after they leave, if the slaves have the temerity to ask them to leave. Winston Churchill kept harping on the chaos that would descend on India once the Haileybury and Oxbridge Sahibs left.

Let me suggest an alternative scenario. Once Bush and Blair get out of Iraq, if they do it on their watch, the insurgency will end. There will be some residual violence, because this messy war will have left deep sectarian wounds. But, sooner rather than later, the insurgency will be absorbed into Iraqi life, mostly into its politics and partly into its armed forces. We have already seen how Shia militias have become an element in Iraq’s politics and emerging power structure. Space will be created for the Sunnis as well, since common sense suggests that sectarian domination does not work. What, however, about unintended consequences? Will George Bush, over the coming two years, help create an Iraqi Army which could become the strongest Arab force in the region? Could such an Army become a formidable counterweight to Israel, particularly if it works in alliance with Iran? The days incidentally of the Iraq-Iran conflict, which brought such legitimate joy to Washington and London, are over.

Bush is doing Iraq’s Shias a favour they will never forget; has given Iran’s government a lifeline it will never acknowledge; and might have weakened Israel to an extent it will never admit.

It is remarkable that the Bush fade began so soon after the Bush pinnacle. Normally, a re-elected President has two years for a cruise towards history, free from the sinews of political compulsions. By the third year of a second term a President begins to look like the past rather than the present or the future, and starts his farewell visits around the world. In the case of George Bush, the American voter began to ask the very questions that he had ignored when sending him to the White House to continue his war. At the heart of this questionnaire was the most basic of all questions: Every war has a point, what is the point of the Iraq war?

Having admitted that all past answers were wrong, Bush is struggling to find a new answer. If all he can offer is a genie called an imagined Caliphate, then there is very little hope for sanity.

There was a poignant moment in the Bush year of 2005, widely publicised when some embedded but obviously disobedient camera captured a scrawl on a notepad. I can imagine the scene: a worthy but never-ending conference at the United Nations where protocol is in command. At some point, Bush sent a note to Condoleezza Rice wondering if there was any chance of a "bathroom break". I daresay nature doesn’t change its rules for the high and mighty. Presidents and Prime Ministers need a break as often as you and I. Bush surely wasn’t the first eminence to need one. Would Bill Clinton have sent such a note to Madeleine Albright? Somehow, I don’t think so. I rather see him as getting up, making a small but meaningful joke, and promising to return as soon as he could. Television news channels would not have interrupted their broadcasts to telecast this.

George Bush has confidence; you can see it in the arms that loop over on either side, rather than fall down straight, and there is just a hint of swagger in the stride and the eyes. But I am not too sure that he has self-confidence.

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Sunday, December 18, 2005

Tripartite Solution

Edited & Brought to you by ilaxi

Byline By M.J.Akbar: Tripartite Solution

Here follows a solution to the most compelling and complex challenge facing contemporary India.

SUGGESTION NO. 1: If Govinda can become a Member of Parliament, why can’t Sourav Ganguly? The Congress leaders of Bengal, defence minister Pranab Mukherjee and information and broadcasting minister Priya Ranjan Das Munshi have expressed the deepest concern over his fate and future. The Congress has such a shortage of candidates that they put up the hapless Nafisa Ali from Kolkata, although the chances of any voter below 60 recalling that she was born in the city were as remote as the possibility of George Bush winning an election from Fallujah. While Govinda needed a Congress wave in Mumbai to defeat Ram Naik, Sourav Ganguly could generate a pretty strong tide between Narkeldanga and Garia on his own.

After all, it is fear of alienating the young voter in Kolkata on the eve of the Bengal Assembly elections that made Pranab Babu (whose knowledge of cricket, shall we say, is not quite up to selector-level) and Priya Da (whose knowledge of football has made India a tenth-rank world power in the game) identify themselves with the former captain of the Indian cricket team. The logic is simple: if Ganguly has become a vote-getter, let him get the votes for the party that needs them desperately in Bengal. Ganguly certainly isn’t much of a run-getter anymore, and, on the field, more of a run-giver than a run-saver.

It is obvious that Sourav Ganguly has reached his first midlife crisis, and requires both our total sympathy and what help we can provide. Since a sportsman’s working life is short, midlife also comes earlier. Ganguly is too famous to belong to the shadows. He needs limelight like a temperamental plant needs sunlight, or he will wither. There is no better limelight for him than membership of Parliament. In fact, after getting him elected (a Congress MP could always resign in the national interest to make way for Sourav), the Congress could turn the limelight into a spotlight by making him minister for sports. He could then use all the power and influence of office to get his friend and mentor Jagmohan Dalmiya re-elected as chief of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. The other advantage is that neither Shane Bond nor Shoaib Akhtar will ever get elected to the Lok Sabha, so Sourav should shine in the House.

SUGGESTION NO. 2: The selection of the Indian cricket team, the only team that matters to India, should be done by the same process that is used to select Indian pop idols like the new Kashmiri role-model Qazi Tauqeer and the svelte Bengali girl Ruprekha Banerjee. We are a proud democracy, and once vox populi has spoken there can be no further argument. The Voice of the People is the Voice of God.

This would take reality TV into a new dimension and assuage the ravenous hunger of TV channels for ratings. In one stroke all TV channels could become profitable. It would also appease the insatiable appetite of mobile phone companies, since the poll would, naturally, be conducted on SMS. Any other form of polling would take time and have to be managed by the Election Commission. If the EC were involved, it would stagger voting into six phases over two months, and you don’t get that much time between matches. So, my apologies to the Election Commission, but there it is: what is good for Bihar may not necessarily be good for Indian cricket.

A television-SMS driven cricket selection process would have enormous beneficial side-effects. I have already mentioned that the channels would become profitable, but look at what it would do for politicians. TV channels would no longer need to hit under the belt of Nehru suits or under the folds of dhotis with hidden cameras to get the stings that drive up ratings. They would have neither time nor interest in exposing politicians, for cricket polls would bring in far, far more revenue. Consider the ad rates for a ten-second spot just after the DJ (yes, sexily-dressed disc jockeys would run the show, not news anchors) announced, "And the winner is…! But before we tell you the name, ek chota sa break..." Since selection is already all about frenzy, imagine the frenzy generated by election.

It would also be a well-funded election. All candidates would be backed by those industrial houses whose goods they sponsor. We are talking multinational money here, my friends; not something siphoned off for asking questions in Parliament. If Indian politicians think that their elections have become expensive, they should watch what happens when Hutch takes on Airtel in the cricket stakes. I can see advertising agencies, direct marketing firms, opinion pollsters and public relations agencies sprouting up just to get their hands on the additional business. There will inevitably come a point when the BCCI charges a royalty of one rupee for every vote cast. If there is money to be made, you are not going to be able to keep the BCCI out of the loot, no matter whether it is headed by Jagmohan Dalmiya or Sharad Pawar. Business is business.

If things go well, and there is no reason why they should not, cricket-elections could add one per cent to India’s economic growth, thereby enabling the government to fund the rural guaranteed employment scheme and keep the interest rates for pension funds at 9.5%. This would immediately stabilise the coalition government of Dr Manmohan Singh, and ensure that a Prime Minister as clean as him remained in office till 2009. I can see nothing but the pervasive glow of good news in my scheme.

SUGGESTION NO.3: Ramanathan Krishnan should be brought back as captain of the Indian Davis Cup team, possibly along with Naresh Kumar and Akhtar Ali in the squad. The most persistent reason I have heard for retaining the "Mahan Kalakar", as an MP described him, in the team, is that Ganguly was so brilliant.

Indeed he was. There are very few joys in my life as great as watching Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar in partnership at their best. It was magic. I think it was Dravid who described him as a god on the off-side. Trust me, those of us who have seen Ganguly at his best find it double embarrassing when Shane Bond turns him into a Jumping Jack, and every bowler who can pitch the ball short gets an extra nip when he sees Ganguly at the crease. Any player should hate the thought of television highlighting his follies on the news. It is not a pretty sight. It is also absolutely true that Ganguly was a great team leader once, and deserves every acknowledgement. I am very serious when I suggest that he must be honoured in some way for his talent and his contribution to modern Indian cricket. What he could not handle was decay, which is always slow, invisible to you but obvious to everyone else. The rewards of sport are commensurate with its demands and dangers. The worst wound to a sportsman’s mind is the stab of fear. Once that lodges in your subconscious, it destroys you. Instead of dealing with the problem, Ganguly sought to prolong his sporting life with politics in the dressing room and the boardroom.

Indian cricket has been jinxed with its captains. Kapil Dev hung around not for the good of the team but to beat a world record in a tussle between age and utility. Azharuddin needed a disgraceful scam to be thrown out, and brought shame to a game he had done much to glorify. The Sachin Tendulkars who can leave the captaincy because it is hurting their contribution to the team are very rare. When Sachin’s time comes to go, he will not wait to be pushed. He will not surrender the aura around his name for that one series more in which you tip over into an abyss. Even the most emotional of Ganguly’s supporters argues that he should have been treated better because he was so good. The "was" is subconscious but accurate.

No player is bigger than a national team. We have a team today that can over the next two seasons be knitted into a winner of the World Cup in the West Indies. Or we can shred it into pieces, as the West Indies did to their once-phenomenal side.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Unbroken Story

Edited & Brought to you by ilaxi

Byline By MJ Akbar: Unbroken Story

It doesn’t surprise me that George Bush had a plan to bomb the Doha headquarters of the pesky Arabic news channel Al Jazeera back into the desert age. What shocks me is that he hasn’t sent Al Jazeera a thank you note after his re-election last year in November.

A victory that became comfortable after the results were in, obscures how close the contest was. For a couple of hours on polling day, the opinion pundits and television channels were preparing for a John Kerry presidency, and liberal gloating over the demise of Bush ended only around noon.

Democrats are now convinced that the critical factor that swung the election away from Kerry was the sudden and very mysterious appearance of an Osama bin Laden tape promising the usual death and destruction of America. It focused American minds wonderfully on all the potential horrors vital to the Bush cause; it was the kind of nightmare image that his most loyal ad gurus could not have paid enough money for. Where did the tape materialise? The usual route. Address of origin: Officially unknown. Address of destination: Al Jazeera. Impact: On all those little suburban homes in Ohio and Iowa that swung the vote away from war hero Kerry to war President Bush.

For many months before the election there was talk of a last-minute "October Surprise", possibly a quiet gift from President Pervez Musharraf to his friend and mentor Bush. Many thought that this would be either the arrest or the death of Osama. It turned out to be far more sophisticated: a tape that kept both of them in business. As the British tabloid, Sun, might have screamed if reporting such a story: "It was de Jaz wot did it!"

The White House did not quite deny the Daily Mirror story that the bombing of Al Jazeera was discussed between Bush and Tony Blair in Washington. It merely dismissed the thought as "outlandish". How far out of land do you have to go to be outlandish in a Bush conversation? Was the invasion of Iraq once outlandish? What is safe and credible and inlandish? That America doesn’t do torture? All those Abu Ghraib pictures must have been from Al Qaeda torture cells.

Actually it doesn’t much matter what was discussed. During times of war stress, all manner of things are discussed. It is much more important to note what has been done rather than what has been discussed. The Bush White House has ensured more than one "accident" in Afghanistan and Iraq to bully and threaten Al Jazeera. To its credit, the channel has refused to let its brow be beaten.

Blair’s response was a verbal grimace that said "Can we change the subject?" Fair enough. I daresay that while Blair did nothing to stop Bush from invading Iraq he may have laid a restraining hand when Bush prepared to invade Al Jazeera.

The British response to the Al Jazeera problem might be far more subtle, and therefore successful. Al Jazeera is launching an English channel next year and is, at the moment, busy hiring a clutch of ex-BBC types, including a few who have lost their credibility along with their teeth. This strategy of implosion seems infinitely superior to the tactics of explosion. Mumble and waffle, the staple menu of this crowd, inside the studio could damage the channel far more than crash and bang from the sky.

All the experience and evidence to the contrary fails to shake the conviction of governments that they can censor all the news all the time. News has this fascinating ability to slip around a corner and reach its target. There will always be one channel or newspaper or Internet avenue that refuses to close its eyes. The motives of media may not even be idealistic. It may do this for nothing more, or indeed less, important than commercial success. Better reporting means more viewers/readers; which means more revenue. Al Jazeera is in demand because it repeatedly brings you the stories that the Occupation forces in Iraq want to hide. The day this stops, Al Jazeera will wither. Audiences are far more loyal to content than to brand. Brand helps, but is no substitute for content. If the English Jazeera takes a different editorial line, it will become as forgettable as any establishment channel.

The subtext of this story is the remarkable ability of Osama bin Laden to pop up where he wants and return to hibernation in some remote, or not, corner of the world that shall forever be Al Qaeda.

As we noted, his tape turned up just in time to influence the fate of George Bush last year. How did that tape travel from wherever Osama is holed up to the offices of Al Jazeera in Doha? On a flying carpet? Was it carried by invisible genii from the Arabian Nights? Did it travel hand to hand from the mountains of the western Himalayas to the waters of the Arabian Sea? Whose were those hands? Was it posted by ordinary mail? Did it come by DHL? Who was the cameraman who shot the interview and edited it in a studio? Or does Osama live in a palace with multi-media facilities? Does no one in the Pakistan government, or on the FBI staff in Pakistan and Afghanistan, know anything, or want to know anything? How come these questions never get asked, let alone getting answered?

America went to war against Afghanistan four years ago to find Osama bin Laden because it was convinced that Osama had masterminded 9/11. If the Taliban had handed over Osama, who was in their protection, and which they admitted, the case for war against Taliban-Afghanistan would have weakened considerably if not disappeared altogether.

Three years before 9/11, in 1998, Nawaz Sharif, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, told Bill Clinton that Osama bin Laden was on dialysis, and it was only a matter of time before he went the way of all flesh. It’s been a long time, particularly for one with such weakened flesh. Dialysis can keep you going for decades, but what it does do is make you very vulnerable as well. I am not talking only about physical vulnerability. It is very difficult to be on dialysis and hide, when the world’s eyes are trained on you. Dialysis reduces mobility. It demands constant attention to medical apparatus, and presumably competent doctors. Does Osama run such a brilliant, foolproof operation that there are no leaks despite such huge vulnerabilities? Can he survive, with such basic needs, on a lonely mountaintop? Or is he ensconced in some urban jungle? Since there are no urban jungles in Afghanistan (Kabul is at best an urban corpse), he must be in an urban jungle in Pakistan. Is Karachi a good place to look for him? We heard a few days ago one of his deputies saying that he was alive and leading the holy war. If he is alive, why hasn’t he been arrested?

There is something going on that does not quite add up.

Al Jazeera has broken any number of stories. Why doesn’t it break the biggest story of all: where is Osama bin Laden?

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Sunday, December 04, 2005

Sounds of Silence

Edited & Brought to you by ilaxi

Byline By MJ Akbar: Sounds of Silence

If you want to understand the Big Story, look for the small detail. When the action is being broadcast in the merciless way that television adopts, get out of the din and check the silence.

The sound of the breaking story can be very loud; in the case of the Iraqi oil scam that has splattered the life and career of former foreign minister Natwar Singh and could spill over into Congress fortunes, the noise has been powerful enough to shatter the glasshouse in which Delhi VIPs live. But the sound of silence can be louder.

There was no home more silent than that of Mr Natwar Singh on Friday 2 December, the day Aaj Tak, building on the interview that India�s ambassador to Croatia, Aniel Matherani, gave to Saurabh Shukla of India Today, exposed how precisely the lucrative deal had been made by the minister�s son Jagat and his "cousin" Andaleeb Sehgal with the Saddam Hussein regime. Media, planted outside the walls of the ruling class bungalow, reported that all phones, including mobiles inside the Natwar establishment had been switched off, but of course they were referring only to those numbers that they knew of. Cabinet ministers have the use of secure telephone systems limited to select levels of power, and surely there was a mobile number or two that was unknown to media.

There were no calls made on Natwar Singh by friends or ministerial colleagues in his moment of anguish, possibly to save embarrassment to both host and guest, or maybe because there was nothing much to say after Matherani�s revelations. Matherani was a member of the delegation led by Natwar Singh to Baghdad during which the deal was apparently made, and his recollection of detail was devastating. Late in the evening, Mr Natwar Singh came out to read a simple, and very short, statement in which he denied all allegations, and reiterated that his conscience was clear but did not explain the reasons for such clarity. He added that his lawyers were looking into the matter. He did not specify whether he was planning to sue India Today, Aaj Tak, and about a thousand other channels and newspapers carrying the full story. He could also have been planning to sue Aniel Matherani, but I rather doubt that. I mention this because someone in the Congress once threatened to sue the United Nations, and that did not quite happen.

The silence was particularly deafening because it was in sharp contrast to the megawatt protests of outrage that followed the revelations of the Volcker report some weeks ago. Mr Singh then sought out anyone and everyone in order to pour scorn, vitriol, anger, vehemence on Paul Volcker and anyone who thought the latter had a point. Such was the media high that son Jagat was trundled out to supplement father Natwar. Young Jagat was so stiff that he did not even sit down, and he made the memorable statement that young Andy was not a particularly good friend, just one of many acquaintances. I don�t think he wants to be reminded of that now: live by the media, die by the media. On Friday both father and son seemed to have taken a vow of silence, leading to gossip that someone had given a few orders. Silence is not the preferred weapon of the Singhs.

In the evening the agencies issued a statement from our ambassador in Croatia, denying he had made any accusations against his former boss in the government and still his senior in the Congress Party, the leader of his famous delegation to Baghdad in 2001, Natwar Singh.

Aniel Matherani is a nice sort of chap, with lots of hair on his head and plenty of smiles on his face, but you wouldn�t want to put him at the head of any research project. His great asset has been loyalty to the Congress. He has been a functionary in the Congress office through thick and thin � and the years of thin have outnumbered the years of thick. I don�t know if he always spelt his first name the way he does now; most Anils prefer to stick to four letters. I suspect that some astrologer advised the alteration to change his luck. If that is true, find out the astrologer�s name, because the Congress victory 18 months ago certainly changed his fortunes. Foreign secretary Shyam Saran said, on the infamous Friday, that Mr Matherani had already been recalled from his post in Zagreb. One could ask why, and why he has not returned as yet, and the answers would be most interesting; but that would not be the most important question. A far better question would be to ask why he was sent as ambassador in the first place. Was he the leading expert on the intricacies of Balkan politics? It was a grace-and-favour job: Natwar Singh had gracefully rewarded favours done.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has told Parliament that the Enforcement Directorate will not hesitate to look wherever necessary in its search for guilt. Here is a suggestion. Technology enables telephone companies to keep a record of all phone calls made. They should get a list of all calls made to Aniel Matherani on Friday, both at his office numbers and to his personal mobile phones.

Praise be to technology. If India Today had not taped its interview, and then broadcast it on television, it would not have had the impact it did. Print is cold beside the warmth of a live voice, and that is what viewers heard all through the day: a member of the original Baghdad Four narrating precisely how the oil-vouchers deal was done.

Here is the Big Denial: "I gave no interview to India Today."

Hullo? We could always check out whether the voice of Matherani we heard on television was his real voice or not. A simple check should establish that.

The second sentence provides clarification: it was off-the-record. There was a bit of huffing about "complete breach of privacy." Well, it was a long breach, because the interview was pretty comprehensive, and while our ambassador to Croatia might not win the next Nobel Prize for Physics, he was surely aware that he was passing on information of volatile importance at a very crucial moment. More to the point is whether what he said, and he definitely did say it, is true or not.

The denial adds that the interview was "distorted" and "misrepresented" and "out-of-context". Where? The Matherani denial never explained what had been distorted or misrepresented. As heard on television and published in print, the interview is comprehensive; the questions and answers flow into each other. The last sentence of the denial is meant to be conclusive: "I also completely and unequivocally deny that I said oil vouchers were allotted to Shri Natwar Singh during the delegation�s visit to Iraq as reported in the story".

This is as brazen as it can get. Matherani provided exquisite and unchallenged detail of how Natwar Singh virtually smuggled his son into the Congress delegation; how Andy Sehgal "accidentally" met them in Amman; how Natwar Singh arranged for them to stay at the Baath Party hotel, and took both of them to meetings to give the impression that the delegation consisted of six members rather than four, and implied that the delegation had a political component and an "economic" component (read oil vouchers for latter); that the arrangements had been made earlier and all that was required was to give implicit legitimacy to the Singh-Sehgal partnership, which was done; how they stayed back in Amman on the return journey in order to complete the deal in Jordan. I could repeat all this verbatim, but a column has space limitations. I might however quote the last sentence of the interview: "That Natwar and the Congress never knew is hogwash."

This is the indictment of an insider who wants to remain an insider, as the "denial" indicates. The individual and the party knew, and deliberately attempted a cover-up, according to India�s ambassador to Croatia, a position that he still formally holds. All his statements so far are statements of a high, and highly-paid, official of the government of India, appointed by this government.

There is one sound that Natwar Singh, his son Jagat, and their acquaintance-cum-friend-cum-cousin-cum-partner (these are only the avatars one is aware of, there could be more) Andy Sehgal must be praying for: the sound of silence. Their presumption must be that public memory is short and media memory a total dwarf; that time will somehow make this story go away. The establishment also must have a vested interest in a slow fadeout, for who knows what will emerge in the next interview: the stress on middlemen fearing that they will be made scapegoats must be enormous.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has a simple responsibility, and one addresses this to him because of the belief that he is an honourable man. He must prove, and quickly, that India is ruled by the law, and Delhi is different from Saddam Hussein�s Baghdad.