Are U.S. cotton subsidies responsible for the economic woes of growers in third world countries like Mali in West Africa?

That’s what two Wall Street Journal editors charged in a recent article comparing economic conditions in the Mississippi Delta with those in a village in the predominantly Muslim country of Mali.

The writers, Roger Thurow and Scott Kilman, tried to raise the specter of Mali becoming a breeding ground for terrorists as another reason for doing away with U.S. farm subsidies, a favorite target of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial pages in recent months.

The National Cotton Council disagrees, saying the Journal’s inaccurate and incomplete treatment of a complex issue unduly subjects U.S. cotton growers to criticism. For more on the Cotton Council’s response, go to the NCC Web site at