By Noam Chomsky, written following his trip to the Gaza Strip on October 25-30, 2012.
(Ashraf Amra / APA Images)
Posted Friday, September 30, 2005
The Tufts Daily article, Terror Is Not a High Priority in the World, by Seif-Eldeine Och (September 30, 2005): "Nearly three years after his last appearance on the Hill, Noam Chomsky was back Thursday night to talk about the failures of U.S. foreign policy, including what he called the "grotesque" situation in Iraq. "Chomsky, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology linguistics and philosophy professor outspoken on social and political issues, addressed a packed room in Pearson 104. "Students lined the aisles and in some cases sat behind the podium. Just before Chomsky entered the room, one of the organizers said the speech might be given in Cohen Auditorium - prompting many students to leave the room only to wind up missing the speech. "The four major crises facing the world, Chomsky said, are: nuclear war, environmental disaster, the indifference of the superpowers to the first two problems, and the failure of the superpowers to make amends for past mistakes."
The Charles Goyette Show audio interview, On the Consequences of the Iraq Invasion (June 8, 2005): "There's nothing new about it--this goes way back through history. I mean, just take a look at the record of wars: every one was started by someone. And for a good part of them, whoever started the war lost and got devastated. Well, [the Bush administration is] willing to take that risk of devastation because of calculations of short-term gain: profit and power. The main difference today is that the stakes are so much higher. The stakes are, literally, survival of the species." [interview begins at 1:44]
Interview with David Jay Brown, Language, Politics, and Propaganda, in Conversations on the Edge of the Apocalypse (New York, 2005): "[I]f you were watching from Mars, a rational person would be amazed that the species has survived this long, and wouldn't put very high odds on it for the future. Now, beyond that, there are many other dangers. I mean, nobody really understands very much about the environmental threats, but there's a very broad consensus among scientists that they're serious. It could be that a nonlinear process is taking place-meaning that small differences, small changes, could have massive effects. This could have unpredictable consequences, and many of the possibilities are lethal. And there are a list of others. The species is in a very hazardous state. A rational person wouldn't put very high odds on survival."
Freezerbox Magazine article, Pat Tillman and Noam Chomsky--an Unlikely Pair or Two of a Kind?, by Russ Wellen (September 26, 2005): "[I]t turns out that the brainy Tillman, who while an NFL player, pursued his masters in history, hadn't signed up to parrot the administration line. His self-appointed mission was to fight bin Laden and Taliban. He was thus dismayed to find himself briefly stationed in Iraq, which he thought was an illegal war. "Not only that but, as his mother said, "a friend of Pat's even arranged a private meeting with Chomsky, the antiwar author [who he read and admired], to take place after his return from Afghanistan--a meeting prevented by his death."
San Francisco Chronicle article, Family Demands the Truth, by Robert Collier (September 25, 2005): "[O]ther Tillman family members are less reluctant to show Tillman's unique character, which was more complex than the public image of a gung-ho patriotic warrior. He started keeping a journal at 16 and continued the practice on the battlefield, writing in it regularly. (His journal was lost immediately after his death.) Mary Tillman said a friend of Pat's even arranged a private meeting with Chomsky, the antiwar author, to take place after his return from Afghanistan--a meeting prevented by his death. She said that although he supported the Afghan war, believing it justified by the Sept. 11 attacks, 'Pat was very critical of the whole Iraq war.'"
The Huffington Post article, A Cover-Up At The Highest Levels, by Max Blumenthal (September 26, 2005): "If your memory is fuzzy, Tillman was a handsome, muscle-bound NFL star who passed up a multi-million dollar contract to become an Army Ranger battling Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. The official Army account of Tillman's death held that he was killed while charging up a rocky incline in pursuit of a band of Qaeda fighters. When word of Tillman's killing hit stateside, the conservative propaganda factory sought to make him theirs. Ann Coulter described Tillman as "an American original -- virtuous, pure and masculine like only an American male can be." (Can we have that in the original German, bitte?) Though the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan were growing increasingly catastrophic, Tillman's reinvigorated public support for the administration's mission, at least momentarily. "Now, almost a year and a half later, the right's version of Tillman's killing has been shattered. The San Francisco Chronicle got its hands on 2000 pages of testimony on Tillman's death and interviewed his family and soldiers who served with him. The Chronicle's report not only strengthens the evidence that the Pentagon deliberately covered up Tillman's death from friendly-fire to better exploit him as a PR tool, it reveals that: "--Tillman joined the Army specifically to fight Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, but was sent to participate in the invasion of Iraq against his wishes. He called the invasion, "so fucking illegal." "--He was an avid reader and fan of Noam Chomsky. Tillman was scheduled to meet Chomsky upon his return from Afghanistan. "--Tillman was an independent-minded, outspoken Bush critic who planned to vote for John Kerry. "--On April 23, 2004, a day after he was killed, Tillman's bullet-riddled body armor was burned by a soldier. That same day, all Army Ranger top commanders were informed of the suspected fratricide. "--Two days later, Tillman's uniform was burned."
GenderTalk interview transcript, On the Repression of Democratic Movements, US Elections, and Future Prospects, with Nancy Nangeroni & Gordene O. MacKenzie (October 30, 2000).
Democracy Now interview with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, "If the Imperialist Government of the White House Dares to Invade Venezuela, the War of 100 Years Will be Unleashed in South America" (September 19, 2005). An excerpt: "The U.S. people have a major role to play to save this planet. Because we're talking about the government. I was reading recently Noam Chomsky, I read him very frequently. And in one of his most recent books, Chomsky, whom I'd like to meet if anything to give him a handshake --and I've been reading him for a while--, says, in a book called Hegemony or Survival (something like what Rosa Luxemburg used to say, "socialism or barbarism:" either we change capitalism, or we're going back to the caveman) that there are two superpowers in this world. I was initially shocked by that idea, but I think he's right after all. And I think the key to save the world might be found there. One superpower is the U.S. government, and its military might --who can deny that?--, its technological power, its space power, its economic power, and so on. But what is the other superpower that could perhaps stop this government? That could even put an end to imperialism so we can have a true democracy to help the peoples of the world? "I believe that the U.S. people is the other superpower that Noam Chomsky is referring to. What is the other superpower? Public opinion. The peoples of the world. That's the other superpower. And the U.S. people have a major responsibility in saving the world. I do think that we're going to save the world. And I hope that you take part in this struggle in the same way we are doing today. And many other people, women and men in this country, in this soil."
Imperial Ambitions : Conversations on the Post-9/11 World Noam Chomsky interviewed by David Barsamian
Trans-Arab Research Institute audio talk, The Right of Return (April 8, 2000): "The rescinding of Resolution 194 fits in a more general pattern. At the same session of the UN the United States called for 'restricting or terminating' UN activity with regard to Israel and Palestine, and eliminating all earlier UN resolutions as 'obsolete and anachronistic.' That included all calls for Palestinian rights, all opposition to settlements in the territories. The US position was that 'it is unproductive to debate the legality of these issues.' And indeed it was unproductive, because from the US point of view the issues had been settled. The United States was now proceeding to impose a settlement that it had been committed to in almost total international isolation for over 20 years, but it was now instituted. Rescinding Resolution 194 also meant rescinding Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The 194 was passed the day after the Universal Declaration was unanimously passed, and it was essentially a spelling out of Article 13--actually of one half of Article 13. The other half of Article 13 is the best known part of the Universal Declaration: that's the part of Article 13 that says 'everyone has the right to leave his own country.' As long as the Cold War was on, every year in Boston and other places there would be passionate denunciations of the Soviet Union for refusing to let our people go, and their violation of Article 13 of the Universal Declaration lead by distinguished Harvard law professors, and so on, and so forth. I never once in all of those years ever saw a reference to the last few words of the same sentence: 'everyone has the right to leave their own country or to return to their own country.' Never once did I see those words mentioned, and it was those words that were spelled out the next day in Resolution 194. By now the first half of the Resolution is irrelevant--you don't need it as a Cold War weapon anymore--, and the second part is rescinded, so Article 13 is gone, and with it we have ended the hypocrisy." [talk begins at 20:17]
The Independent article, We Must Act Now to Prevent Another Hiroshima -- or Worse (August 7, 2005): "[Last] month's anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki prompts only the most sombre reflection and most fervent hope that the horror may never be repeated. In the subsequent 60 years, those bombings have haunted the world's imagination but not so much as to curb the development and spread of infinitely more lethal weapons of mass destruction."
GenderTalk audio interview, On the Repression of Democratic Movements, US Elections, and Future Prospects (October 30, 2000): "Like just about every term of political discourse, the word 'rogue state' has two meanings. One is its literal meaning: the one you look up in the dictionary. The other is the meaning that it's assigned to it as an instrument of propaganda, to beat selective enemies over the head. That distinction is pretty standard: it holds for terms like 'peace process', 'terrorism', and so on. [...] 'Rogue state' is used here to refer to any state that is disobedient. But the term really has a meaning: a rogue state is a state that defies international law, international norms and conventions, that demands the right to do anything it wants, pays no attention and doesn't care about the opinions and attitudes of others who stand in its way, and so on." [interview begins at 1:04:18]
Focus 580 audio interview, On 9-11 and the "War on Terrorism" (March 5, 2002): "My first comment on September 11, when I was asked by reporters here and elsewhere to comment, was that it was a horrendous atrocity, committed with awesome cruelty, and so on and so forth, like everyone else. [...] There are a lot of things we should know. Take the question of proper response. There are many questions one can ask about proper response, but whatever answer one gives, it should at least satisfy the most elementary moral truism that I can think of, namely that if some act is right for us, is right for others; if it's wrong for others, it's wrong for us. People who can't accept that don't even rise to the level where we can even discuss their attitudes towards right and wrong. So we have to accept at least that principle. And then we can ask, 'Well, OK, what is the right response for anyone to terrorist acts?' For example, what was the right response for Nicaragua? During a terrorist war that the US carried out, which was much more severe even than September 11: tens of thousands of people killed, the country was devastated, may not even recover. And it was an uncontroversial case, because in that case the United States was condemned by the highest authorities for international terrorism, by the International Court of Justice, and it would have been condemned by the Security Council, except that the US vetoed the resolution, and the General Assembly, and so on. So, what was the right response? Well, was the right response to carry out some form of terror inside the Unites States--let's say, bombing, or bioterrorism, or whatever? Nobody believes that: that would be outrageous. Accordingly, is not the right response for us either." [interview begins at 1:58]