New textbooks arrived in Iraq schools this month after being scrubbed clean by a team of US-supervised educators. In the process all references to Saddam Hussain and his Baath Party have been removed. But other events in modern history also turn up missing.

Pressured for time, and hoping to avoid political controversy, the Ministry of Education under the US-led coalition government removed any content considered "controversial," including the 1991 Gulf War; the Iran-Iraq war; and all references to Israelis, Americans, or Kurds. "Entire swaths of 20th-century history have been deleted," says Bill Evers, a US Defense Department employee, and one of three American advisers to the Ministry of Education.

Meanwhile back here in the land of the free, CBS is about to cave in to complaints about their biography of Ronald Reagen and kill the movie. The objections are coming from the Republican National Committee and others who, of course, have never seen the picture.

Though no one at the RNC had seen "The Reagans," the letter insisted that either a panel of Reagan pals and historians screen the project before broadcast for "historical accuracy" or the network run a disclaimer crawl at the bottom of the screen every 10 minutes during the movie, advising viewers that "the program is a fictional portrayal of the Reagans and the Reagan Presidency, and they should not consider it to be historically accurate". "If your series contains omissions, exaggerations, distortions or scenes that are fiction masquerading as fact, the American people may come away with a misunderstanding of the Reagans and the Reagan Administrations," the letter said ominously.

It’s fascinating that since human communication began, there’s always been some politician trying to control information. Censorship never seems to go out of style, does it? And it never succeeds either.