In this issue, we honour King Mongkut, Rama IV, who is in fact officially the first King of Siam. The west only knows of him through The King and I which is very much distorted. In this country, the government also doesn’t really understand his uniqueness in contributing to the modernization of the country. Not to mention his contribution to modern Buddhism. Hence, we dedicate this issue to His late Majesty on his natal bicentenary—18 October 2004.

The final issue for this year revolves around a cluster of themes. A persistent theme carried over from previous issues is the American invasion and then ‘liberation’ (read occupation) of Iraq. Once again the reader will find dissenting views—often lacking in the mainstream mass media—on this act of aggression in the Chomsky interview and the articles by Chalmers Johnson and Kenneth Kraft. From an engaged Buddhist perspective, Kraft criticizes the human rights abuses of Iraqi POWs by American soldiers in the infamous Abu Graib prison. The book review of James Mann’s Rise of the Vulcans examines the ideas that make the neoconservatives in the Bushworld tick.

Vol.20-No.3-Sept.-Dec.-2547-2004_compressed