By Noam Chomsky, written following his trip to the Gaza Strip on October 25-30, 2012.
(Ashraf Amra / APA Images)
Posted Friday, July 29, 2005
February 15, 2005 video talk, The United States in the Middle East (Lebanese student club at MIT): "I was opposed to the entry of the Syrian army into Lebanon in 1976, when it was welcomed by the United States and Israel, because its task at that time was to slaughter Palestinians, as it did quite successfully. I've remained opposed to its presence over the years; and I don't think it should be present now."
Radio Islam audio interview, Life With Noam Chomsky, with Frederick Al-Deen (January 12, 2005). [interview begins at 7:39]
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki video talk, Iraq and Beyond (April 19, 2004): "We've just passed the first anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. I'm not going to speak about what's happening on the ground. There's more information available about that, and you can draw your own conclusions. Instead, what I would like to do is make a few comments about the "new imperial grand strategy" that was to be set in motion with the conquest of Iraq, and where that stands today. The phrase 'new imperial grand strategy'is not mine. It comes from the leading establishment journal in the United States, Foreign Affairs, journal of the Council on Foreign Relations. The invasion of Iraq was virtually announced in September, 2002, along with the National Security Strategy of the Bush administration, which declared the intention to dominate the world now, and in the indefinite future, by force if necessary, and to destroy any potential challenge to that domination. The invasion of Iraq was to be the first test of the doctrine --the "Petri dish" in which the doctrine was to be tested, according to New York Times." [Chomsky's talk begins at 12:16]
Student Pugwash Northeast Regional Conference audio talk, The Uses of Haiti (February 22, 2002): "As far as democracy is concerned, I think it's very clear why Haiti doesn't meet the standards of democracy. The same reason it didn't meet the standards ten years ago, when it had it's first democratic election. The election just came out the wrong way. The US was certain, confident that the election would be won by its candidate --a World Bank official-- who would lead the country on to this brand new era of neoliberalism that already had its history in Haiti. He got fourteen percent of the vote. And out of the woodwork came a populist priest who got two thirds of the vote without any funds, any publicity, or anything else. Because things had been going on in the country, that nobody paid any attention to. They were in the slums, in the hills, places where no real people live. But they had organized a vibrant, democratic society. Maybe the most democratic society in the hemisphere, maybe in the world. But on their own, without control from above. And that doesn't fly, that's not democracy. It's not for us, or anyone else." [Chomsky's talk begins at 9:54]
This Is Hell audio interview, On Various Issues, with Chuck Mertz (September 1, 2001).
This Is Hell audio interview, On Terror, with Chuck Mertz (June 8, 2002): "If we accept the US Government definition of 'terror', and we accept the universal principle, then nobody believes that bombing a country is the right response to terror. Because if they did believe that, they'd be calling on countries all over the world to bomb the United States, since the United States continues to be involved in large scale terror." [interview begins at 39:13]
Democracy Now video talk, On Yasser Arafat, Iraq and the Draft (November 15, 2004): "[W]e have a quintessential commitment to democracy, but in the single example that is given we oppose democracy because the outcome might come out the wrong way. Well, there are some conclusions you can draw from that one example. Yes, we support democracy, as long as it comes out the right way. Otherwise, we'll block it." [Chomsky's talk begins at 1:18]
MIT World video talk, Discourses on Iraq and the Middle East (May 4, 2005): "The US goal in Iraq is transparent. I mean, it takes a lot of effort to suppress it, but we all know what it is. If Iraq had been in central Africa, the US wouldn't have invaded. It certainly didn't have anything to do with stopping atrocities. So for example, probably four million people have been killed in eastern Congo in the last couple of years. " [Chomsky's talk begins at 14:30]
This Is Hell audio interview, On 9-11, with Chuck Mertz (September 15, 2001): "This is the first time since the war of 1812 that US national territory has been under attack. People have brought up the Pearl Harbor analogy, but that's inappropriate. On December 7 1941 two American colonies were attacked --colonies that had been taken by their inhabitants quite violently: hundreds of thousands dead in the Philippines. So this is different: this is national territory. Throughout these two hundred years the guns have been pointed the other way. They were pointed at the indigenous population, which was essentially exterminated. They were pointed at Mexico --we are sitting on half of Mexico. This is the first time that it's the other way around. The events themselves, horrible as they are, are by no means unprecedented." [interview begins at 5:47]
Tehelka article, The Manipulation of Fear (July 16 [sic], 2005): "The resort to fear by systems of power to discipline the domestic population has left a long and terrible trail of bloodshed and suffering which we ignore at our peril. Recent history provides many shocking illustrations." [Thanks to Krishna Pagadala and Ashim Jain]
Socialist Review interview, Fight the Power, with Ian Rappel (July, 2005): "Globalisation is a term of propaganda, and we should never use it. There is a technical meaning of globalisation. It means international integration. This can take all sorts of forms. In fact, if we use globalisation in this neutral technical sense of international integration, then the leading proponents of globalisation historically have been the workers' movements and the labour movement. That's why every union is called an International. Of course they aren't Internationals but that's what they strove to be. There were several failed attempts to develop Internationals through history, but the idea of international integration at the level of people - that's the ideal of the left and the workers' movements from their origin."
Dragonfire interview, On the Future of Democracy, with John P. Titlow (June, 2005): "On the Middle East bias, that's an interesting question. There's a big attack on the universities for that too, same as public broadcasting. And it does raise the question of "what do you mean by bias?" There are some very simple tests of that, which are never undertaken. They're never undertaken because everybody knows what the answer will be. The question is: Are you biased against Israel? There's a simple test: Do you think that Israel should have the same rights as any state in the international system? No more, no less. That's neutral. That's what it means not to be biased against, say, Luxembourg. Well, nobody asks that, because the answer's going to be 100 percent agreement in the Middle East departments of the universities and the media and so on, so therefore that's not a good answer. What lies behind it is the belief that Israel, the U.S. offshoot in the Middle East, should have rights far beyond those of any state in the international system. That's called unbiased."
Science article, The Faculty of Language: What Is it, Who Has it, and How Did it Evolve? (with M. D. Hauser & W. T. Fitch) (November 22, 2002): "We argue that an understanding of the faculty of language requires substantial interdisciplinary cooperation. We suggest how current developments in linguistics can be profitably wedded to work in evolutionary biology, anthropology, psychology, and neuroscience. We submit that a distinction should be made between the faculty of language in the broad sense (FLB) and in the narrow sense (FLN). FLB includes a sensory-motor system, a conceptual-intentional system, and the computational mechanisms for recursion, providing the capacity to generate an infinite range of expressions from a finite set of elements. We hypothesize that FLN only includes recursion and is the only uniquely human component of the faculty of language. We further argue that FLN may have evolved for reasons other than language, hence comparative studies might look for evidence of such computations outside of the domain of communication (for example, number, navigation, and social relations)."
Khaleej Times article, It's Imperialism, Stupid (July 4, 2005): "In his June 28 speech, President Bush asserted that the invasion of Iraq was undertaken as part of "a global war against terror" that the United States is waging. In reality, as anticipated, the invasion increased the threat of terror, perhaps significantly."
All Things Considered discussion, On Why Various Countries Hate the US, with Robert Siegel (October 12, 2001): "I mean, the US bears major responsibility for what happened in Afghanistan in the last 20 years. Afghanistan was exploited for US purposes as a base for a war against the Russians. And that's the source of the terrorist networks, the blowback that Chalmers Johnson's talking about correctly. In the 1990s, when the Russians were out, that country was just torn to shreds by warring militias, a lot of them which we had supported and often continued to support."
Penn and Teller: Bullshit! interview, College, with Penn Jillette (May 30, 2005): "MAN: So is there any validity to the claim by some that campuses have become bastions of leftist groupthink brainwashing? CHOMSKY: [smiling] Campuses have become -- what was the phrase? -- campuses have become... MAN: Bastions of leftwing groupthink brainwashing. CHOMSKY: I suppose you can find maybe 2% of people on campus of whom that might be true."
Common Sense audio interview, On the Election, with DJ Freak (November 30, 2004): "The [candidate] images have nothing to do with the reality, anymore than toothpaste ads do. Why should that surprise us? That's their business. Their business is to undermine markets. Take an economics course in college, and they tell you that our system is based on markets in which informed consumers make rational choices. Well, hundreds of billions of dollars are spent a year to try to prevent that. That's what advertising is for. It's not to help an informed consumer make a rational choice. It's to prevent it. And the elections are run in the same way."
Left Business Observer audio interview, Prospects for the Anti-War Movement, with Doug Henwood (October 17, 2002): "Anything involving that region of the world we can be quite confident that oil is a major factor. It's been understood for a long time that by far the most abundant and easily accessible oil resources in the world are in the Persian Gulf region, and after the Second World War the US was determined to take control over them. The State Department regarded them as a "stupendous source of strategic power" and "one of the greatest material prizes in world history". The US itself didn't need the oil, in fact didn't use it. North America was the main producer up until 1970, but it wanted control over." [interview begins at 50:49]
Left Business Observer audio interview, On Bush and Empire, with Doug Henwood (January 22, 2004): "It's no secret that the media are becoming highly concentrated. The character and quality of news reporting and commentary, which was never much to brag about, it's becoming more and more restrictive. The opportunities for informing oneself and becoming an active participant in popular movements, or for that matter in democratic society, are declining significantly, and that means that the independent media --sometimes called "alternative media"-- are simply gaining even greater importance than they've had in the past, and are now almost fundamental to any real hope for a better future."