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Interviewing Chomsky
September 18, 2001 6:32 AM   Subscribe

Interviewing Chomsky Linguist and left-wing icon Noam Chomsky makes some amazing points in this interview by Belgrade Radio B92. Chomsky presents a very plausible summary of Osama's point of view. And his thoughts about who might end up owning Pakistan's nuclear weapons are very sobering indeed.
posted by xowie (54 comments total)

 
Great link.
It is often difficult to gain access to detailed alternative viewpoints and information (from reputable sources) during times of general media consensus. They tend to be passivly blocked or curtailed by those whose job it is to investigate & disseminate the news.
This is especialy so in times of the intense emotion generated by such an horrific event, but I feel everyone should do what they can to search out those Viewpoints which may lie on the edges of the consensus and attempt to give them thought.
The only reason not to? To continue living in a world of absolutes- of denying yourself the opportunity to understand rather than react, to truly try and open ones eyes to views/beliefs of others and to question the fundamentals of your own.
posted by benheyder at 7:28 AM on September 18, 2001


Amazing points is right. Chomsky actually believes US actions kept Russia from an earlier withdrawal of Afghanistan?! That is lunacy. I respect Chomsky, and his basic message that the US is hardly an angel is often correct. Still, especially in this interview, he seems to identify the US as the focus of evil in the world, as if we actually prevent peace from breaking out all over. Either you believe the US has been and is an overall positive force in world history or you believe it has been and is an overall negative force. I know what Chomsky thinks, and I know what I think. What do you think?
posted by quercus at 7:29 AM on September 18, 2001


I gave up on Chomsky years ago, after his maybe that Pol Pot isn't so bad period.
posted by gimonca at 7:31 AM on September 18, 2001


Quercus: why not both? Some of Chomsky's specifics are certainly debatable, but in general, I feel he makes some very good points. As he points out, we in the U.S.A. are so shocked not so much because of the scale of the disaster, but because it actually happened on our own soil. We're so accustomed to conducting our dirty business abroad that we've come to believe that our own soil is not vulnerable.
posted by tippiedog at 7:33 AM on September 18, 2001


This is incredibly refreshing when compared with what the mass media is saying about the bombings, or rather with what they aren't saying. The complete lack of any sort of analysis of the background issues makes CNN et al almost unbearable to listen to.

I can't say for sure that Chomsky, or other critics of US policy (especially relating to the bombings) are completely right, but I haven't yet seen any good rebuttal of their points, beyond "You're anti-American. Go USA!". Does anyone know of a good, balanced discussion of all of this? Too often people tend to just dismiss these sorts of points without really debating them or giving any counterarguments.
posted by chos at 7:33 AM on September 18, 2001


there should be another interview with him up (shortly?) on this is hell.
posted by kliuless at 7:39 AM on September 18, 2001


Chomsky is as good as Rush Limbaugh is at what he does - convincing via rhetoric, skewed logic, and outright lies spoken so quickly and with such resolve no one even questions their validity.
posted by glenwood at 7:47 AM on September 18, 2001


Some of his conclusions don't necessarily leap from his premisses, but in general the facts are on Chomsky's side. It doesn't, of course, excuse the perpetrators of last week, but the point is that if we don't all, in "Western" societies, undergo a wholesale review of past and future policies and state-attitudes, this thing can't be solved.

On balance has the US been a net positive or negative influence? That's unanswerable. Depends where you're sitting. And either way, it is indisputable that it (and Canada, and most of Europe) has on occasion forsworn its most basic principles in the name of power or expediency.

The attack last week was repulsive in every way, and demands a clear response. Notwithstanding my caution, I believe some sort of military response is appropriate as well. But also, part of that response must be an attempt to grow past the hypocrisy that has always existed in the foreign policies of most "Western" states.
posted by mikel at 7:53 AM on September 18, 2001


Glenwood, can you give any specifics that support what you say, related to the topic in question?

I agree that Chomsky, like everyone, is not always correct, but his general premise is true. The calls for patriotism and supporting any American military response simply further distracts the public from any analysis of the issues involved.

As for whether the US has been an overall positive or negative force in the world, who cares? That's irrelevant, and like mikel says, unanswerable. But, it can be answered in specific cases, or dealing with particular regions of the world, by careful analysis of the historical record, and not by throwing around rhetoric.
posted by chos at 7:58 AM on September 18, 2001


glenwood : I'm actually with you there, except that the bottom line of what Chomsky says is "less hate" and the bottom line of Rush and his krewe is "more hate".

(StWC : facile analyses since 1992)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:59 AM on September 18, 2001


...sorry... I meant to say "with you there to a degree"...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:00 AM on September 18, 2001


> Chomsky is as good as Rush Limbaugh is at what he
> does - convincing via rhetoric, skewed logic, and outright
> lies spoken so quickly and with such resolve no one even
> questions their validity.

If true (of either Noam or Rush), that only applies to live or broadcast speech. Once you have a written transcript of what they said and can read carefully, the smoke and mirrors should be more apparent and the purported facts can be checked.
posted by jfuller at 8:01 AM on September 18, 2001


Chomsky's analysis is only useful in that it allows me to contrast the opinions of one extremist view versus another. I don't believe that he's 100% correct any more than I would believe that -- say -- David Horowitz is, they've both got large political axes to grind and no qualms about twisting things to suit their particular worldview.

Truth, if such a thing exists in this mess, is to be found somewhere in between the rhetoric.
posted by MrBaliHai at 8:03 AM on September 18, 2001


Why cant it be both things. Why cant be the US policies be both positive and negative at the same time.

There is a lot of things that US should get positive credit for. Similarly there are a lot of things that US should get negative credit for.

My thinking is the problem lies in the inherent vastness of US mainland. It is just so damn big. Also the life here is so very fast. There are so many issues every day to take care of. That, along with the local and national media's need for higher ratings and hype and gimmicks makes it very difficult for people to get educated about :
1) What is the world outside the US mainland ?
2) What are our policies towards the outside world ?
3) Why did we opt such a policy ?
4) What specific benefits are we expecting from our foreign policy ?
5) How does the outside world percieve our policies ?

I have studied here in the US of A. The campus is the best place to discuss things freely without offending any one. I have talked to so many students from US and other foreign students. I soon found out that an average American college going student, does not know about these things and most of the time, does not care about it too.

This is a free society. How long does it take to understand that every person in a place to control information has some sort of political agenda behind it.

What can we do ?

We can write emails to our local and national news networks and demand that they prepare a weekly program in which there is an open discussion about foreign policies with a diverse range of guests like defence experts, foreign policy advisers, international relations professors, and experts from foreign countries.

Infromation is power brothers and sisters. What we know shall determine what we decide.
posted by adnanbwp at 8:04 AM on September 18, 2001


the self laceration of some of our far left folks gets tiresome. For Chomsky, everything we do is wrong and yet he remains a tenured prof in America. Did he ever mention that we beat the fascists in Germany and won WWII and thus gave democracy to Germany and to Japan?
Of course we have done many terrible things. And we also saved S. Korea from an invasion from the North and now we have democracy in the South and a pisshole in the North. But no. That does not count.
posted by Postroad at 8:08 AM on September 18, 2001


What's the point of arguing about what "counts" or not? What's tiresome is arguing about the individuals presenting different viewpoints instead of refuting their arguments.

I'd like to see some discussion about Chomsky's points. Do people really have any knowledge with which to refute them, or is this thread just going to be about criticizing him personally?
posted by chos at 8:13 AM on September 18, 2001


gimonica: The linked article is one of many that accuse Noam Chomsky of being pro Pol Pot. It fails, as do all, to provide a single direct quote from Chomsky to that effect. The argument that Chomsky has indeed made, is that at the time the number of victims of the Pol Pot regime were overstated for political reasons. He claims that the 2 million figure that was often given as the total was twice the more reasonable estimates. He uses this and the coverage that the Pol Pot massacre had in US media, to compare it with the coverage that similar (in scale) massacres committed by US allies (such as in E.Timor in particular) did (not) receive.
Noam Chomsky was and is still one of the most vociferous anti-Stalinists in the American left. This claim is a Goebbels-like attempt at slander from his political opponents, a lie repeated often enough to be believed.
For a recent (1999) debate on this this (goggle cached) Village Voice article is illuminating.
posted by talos at 8:15 AM on September 18, 2001


Postroad: some very confused theories in your post, in my opinion.

For Chomsky, everything we do is wrong and yet he remains a tenured prof in America.
There's no 'and yet' about it: it is a scholar's job to explore controversial theories. I know there are exceptions and it's less and less the case these days, but traditionally one of the main reasons that new and risky ideas can flourish within academia has been that professors are employed regardless of whether or not their studies make money, appease the Establishment or big business etc. Chomsky isn't employed to act as patsy to the moral majority. His field of business is the progression of thought.

Did he ever mention that we beat the fascists in Germany and won WWII and thus gave democracy to Germany and to Japan?
Well I'm glad that the magnificent USA did all that great stuff all on its own. The Japanese are really grateful for everything the Allies did in WWII, or so I hear. Particularly Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
posted by skylar at 8:42 AM on September 18, 2001



As for whether the US has been an overall positive or negative force in the world, who cares?

(snip)

What's the point of arguing about what "counts" or not?


Wow. Possibly because these are the substantial issues at hand?
posted by argybarg at 8:53 AM on September 18, 2001


skylar: Could you be just a little more cynical and jaded, please?
posted by raysmj at 8:58 AM on September 18, 2001


and the bottom line of Rush and his krewe is "more hate".

Bullshit alert.
posted by aaron at 9:14 AM on September 18, 2001



The campus is the best place to discuss things freely without offending any one.

Funniest thing I've read all week!
posted by MrBaliHai at 9:16 AM on September 18, 2001


The calls for patriotism and supporting any American military response simply further distracts the public from any analysis of the issues involved.

It is rather simple to prove this is not the case: There is nothing about love of country that inherently precludes rational analysis; we've been analyzing here on MeFi, in the newspapers, and on TV for a solid week. And there has been no military response whatsoever thus far.
posted by aaron at 9:18 AM on September 18, 2001



Chomsky makes the following assertation:
"Bin Laden is also bitterly opposed to the corrupt and repressive regimes of the region, which he regards as "un-Islamic," including the Saudi Arabian regime, the most extreme Islamic fundamentalist regime in the world, apart from the Taliban, and a close US ally since its origins. Bin Laden despises the US for its support of these regimes. "

If bin Laden is so opposed to corrupt and repressive regimes, why is he taking shelter fromt the Taliban? This is obviously a poorly disguised effort to link the U.S. with support for extreme Islamic fundamentalism (Saudi Arabia) while blithely expecting readers to overlook bin Laden's connection to the worst fundamentalists in the world.

Chomsky then goes on to blame the United States for forcing Pakistan to cut off supplies to Afghanistan. Of course he fails to mention that Afghanistan has harbored and provided training and arms for those who have attacked the U.S. and are suspected of this latest attack. I hate to see those innocent afghans hurt because of the nature of their government. However, war is a nasty business.

Finally, Chomsky attempts to blame the U.S. and the west for the current situation based on the West's history of imperialism. This argument is valid. The U.S. and the West did make a lot of enemies in other parts of the world. Those people are entirely justified in making war on the U.S. if they so choose.

Unfortunately, Chomsky seems to suggest that any military reaction by the U.S. would only further the hatred. Personally, I believe that a show of weakness (i.e. not striking at those responsible) would only encourage our enemies to strike again. Even if "suicide attacks are very hard to prevent", the U.S. should be willing to defend itself against those who attack its citzens.

Just as it did in WWII.
posted by CRS at 9:19 AM on September 18, 2001


id like to have a talk with noam. He got cambodia all wrong ...Gimonca is dead on. Noamy-one grants an interview to B92 which is a cia operation funded in part by the mott foundation(who invested in Ingram((mac-10)) and the silencer for said weapon). The Mott foundation helped build the U.S.'s only privately funded cultural arts center.(this foundation is in top ten of philanthropic deeds and one hell of a great organization) Chomsky takes the obvious and slants it to some ideological shell game. Does he even know that he was interviewed by a Company front? Raysmj, sklar raises some good points, and i understand the anger. the compare-contrast of demokratic kamphuchea and East timor has always fallen apart, if anything, they show how our shortsighted policies failed to build an effective coalition to stop the killing(and no genocide by design talk please)
posted by newnameintown at 9:27 AM on September 18, 2001


postroads contention that the USA should get its due credit for beating fascism in Europe and winning ww2,leaving apart the contribution of the British(which included my own fathers life) postroad also chooses to ignore the fact that the former soviet union gave 10 million lives(yes 10 million) also, in that cause.
many Americans will not remember how quickly the soviet unions contribution to the defeat of fascism was airbrushed out of history to make way for the new and more profitable doctrine of "cold war"
I believe chomsky when he says that Americans would be outraged if they truly understood the deeds done in their name.
to those Americans who are desperate to form some understanding of these events that will make sense in the short term and endure in the long term ask your self this question. why does America always find billion dollar military solutions to its problems with other nations?
posted by marx at 9:33 AM on September 18, 2001


OK -let's deal with the immediate region. As Chomsky explains it-bin Laden is not driven by hatred of Western values as the New York Times proposed-rather bin Laden's homicidal extremism is a response to US support of Israel and the US presence in Saudi Arabia, i.e. bin Laden is a byproduct of previous US policy. Please correct me if you intrepret Chomsky's thesis differently.
So,per this view, examination of our policy is immediately relevant.
If one in fact agrees with bin-Laden on policy, well then i see a possible compromise-we cut off Israel, vamoose from Saudi Arabia, bin Laden calls off the dogs of hell, and peace is restored ( though not for Israel).
Or we affirm our support of Israel, our Saudi policy, and we face the consequences.
Chomsky is quite clear where he stands.
Alternatively, perhaps Chomsky's thesis is wrong. Perhaps bin-Laden is not our creation but is an independent actor driven by an ideologically immanent and necessary hatred of the West; our policy(no matter how flawed) is not fundamentally to blame; and therefore either bin Laden's jihadism or the US has to see its existence end- no matter what our foreign policy.
Personally, I believe the latter.
posted by quercus at 9:37 AM on September 18, 2001


Perhaps bin-Laden is not our creation but is an independent actor

Whoah! Hold it there! Don't even start thinking there could be such a thing. Not only are there no truly sovereign states to the US's uniform control, there are no sovereign individuals and none but entirely dependent ideologies. Get it straight.

sarcasm
posted by argybarg at 9:47 AM on September 18, 2001


newname: It was the atomic bomb reference that got to me with skylar. We never did anything good, even in World War II. Go figure. We dropped the bomb, and thus are the source of all evil in the world. No mention of how we treated Japan after the war (oh, we gave them capitalism and made them slaves to brand-name products, probably), no mention of atrocities committed by Japan during the war, nothing. It's not that America's innocent, by any means, or that we were totally in the right at all times during WWII. We weren't. I was against the scaling down of the atomic bomb exhibit at the Smithsonian, hugely. But we were damn sure right most of the time, and as far as the big picture goes, and we treated the vanquished better than any foe in human history. And it was mostly the U.S. with Japan, and the war in Europe would not have ended without America. At all.

In any case, people like skylar should please note, or imply strongly, which side they are on -- five or six thousands just died in NYC and DC, including international workers here on green cards, for cryin' out loud - or I reserve the right to think they're smug, hateful human beings who don't deserve any consideration from me or anyone else in regard to their views.
posted by raysmj at 9:49 AM on September 18, 2001


If we do want to understand their views (and we should), it's not because we owe it to them. And understanding should not equal agreement (or lazy parroting).
posted by argybarg at 10:01 AM on September 18, 2001


I think Chomsky makes only one really salient point in this particular essay: that these particular terrorists are not attacking "our way of life" as politicians and the news keep telling us, but rather are responding to some perhaps genuine greivances (in an inhuman way).

My response is that we will attack them, and not for their 'way of life' but for what they've done. We will not target their civilians, but rather their soldiers and commanders.
posted by eric anders at 10:01 AM on September 18, 2001


I'm on the side of peace, of love and respect towards other human beings, against terrorism, against war, pro the law, imperfect though it is, anti-reduction of personal freedoms even in a fight against terrorism, deeply pro the rescue workers and emergency services, pro the Japanese, pro the Germans, pro the Palestinians, pro the English, pro the Afghanis, pro the Americans, pro Moslems, pro Christians, pro civilians, pro the innocent, but anti-arms manufacturers, anti-warmongers, anti-violent fundamentalist, anti military leaders on any side, anti-hate, anti-racial or religious discrimination, vaguely anti-Bush, just about neutral towards Blair, just about neutral to communism and capitalism, etc etc.

My family has lost a friend at the WTC, I've got two friends in NYC who are in immense pain right now and getting sleepless nights: but it's not going to make me change my views and start me on some sort of jingoistic warmongering trip. Raysmj, I believe history is written by the victors- but even still, three of my grandparents fought in WWII, all of them lost their homes, and they've all been very clear on this: there's never anything good about dropping a bomb.
posted by skylar at 10:18 AM on September 18, 2001


skylar: No one says it has to put you on a jingoistic warmongering trip, but it doesn't have to put you on the opposite track, a slam-America trip, either. Which is all I heard from you. Much better this time, though. I disagree with you that we can't manufacture arms - if you meant that - although I disagree with the way they're sold around the world now. It's a dangerous world, and it would be a lot different if no bombs (any bombs at all - not an atomic reference here) had been dropped in WWII, however tragic it all was. But thanks for clearing that up.
posted by raysmj at 10:32 AM on September 18, 2001


Here's where I annoy everyone with yet another post. I'm sick today, okay, and sitting in bed, so excuse this. Raysmj: I'm not anti-America one bit. Instead, I'm against people who glorify war. All I was saying in my first post of this thread - and I know I don't need to tell you this - is that America didn't fight WWII on its own. We're all very grateful for your help, though.

On this whole bombs thing: war is terrible. Particularly terrible is when civilians are attacked. Check Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Dresden: disgusting. We bear all the guilt and cannot claim any of those as victories, moral or otherwise. The Gulf War continues to claim civilian victims even now. And as recently as Clinton's presidency we bombed a Sudanese aspirin factory on the pretext of it being a chemical weapons plant: nasty, nasty, nasty.

The final part is idealistic: wouldn't it be great if no-one made or sold arms? Realistically, as you suggest, we need strong limits on how they're sold and who they're sold to. God knows how many injustices of war are worsened because of some heartless profiteering arms manufacturer who turned a blind eye.
posted by skylar at 10:59 AM on September 18, 2001


This is what I get sick and tired of: all you supposedly patriotic people trying to tell me that my only options are 1) to support my government without questioning anything, or 2) get out of Dodge (/America).

Who the fuck are you to tell me what to think, and who to agree with? And to tell me how to be an American. I already am an American, and being American doesn't equal turning into a raving mouth-foaming Nazi in response to a terrorist attack. (Unless I missed something somewhere.... but what the fuck was World War II for, anyway?)

You bitch and whine at me for being "anti-American", but you're missing the whole fucking point. Or you're deliberately trying to cloud the point.

As an American, I treasure my freedom, and I treasure my friends and family and colleagues and fellow Americans in general. But I am NOT going to bow and scrape to my government in a time of crisis. You people are a disgrace to our fore-fathers. NOW is the time when you should be exercising EXTRA skepticism of what your government tells you.

Quit telling me that we the people are all in this together with our government! If you would open your fucking eyes a bit, maybe take a moment to turn off the fucking television, you would see that our government has done some really fucking shitty things in the world, behind our backs!

You pay lip service to this, and keep saying "yeah yeah yeah, I know, our government has done some unfortunate things...", but you're not the least bit fucking serious, and you seem to not know a goddamn thing, because next breath you're beating your chest and telling us we all need to support our secretive government in whatever "retaliatory" action it sees fit to bring on.

You who keep dismissing our government's crimes with "you're just anti-american", are just turning a blind eye to the messy reality. You don't want to entertain the idea that maybe the world isn't black and white, and it isn't "America(people+government) good guys, everyone else shady to some degree or another, and they better stay out of our fuckin way".

You make me sick, and you're a disgrace to that flag you keep waving in my face.
posted by DogLink at 11:38 AM on September 18, 2001


This is what I get sick and tired of: all you supposedly patriotic people trying to tell me that my only options are 1) to support my government without questioning anything, or 2) get out of Dodge (/America).

Who the fuck are you to tell me what to think, and who to agree with? And to tell me how to be an American. I already am an American, and being American doesn't equal turning into a raving mouth-foaming Nazi in response to a terrorist attack. (Unless I missed something somewhere.... but what the fuck was World War II for, anyway?)

You bitch and whine at me for being "anti-American", but you're missing the whole fucking point. Or you're deliberately trying to cloud the point.

As an American, I treasure my freedom, and I treasure my friends and family and colleagues and fellow Americans in general. But I am NOT going to bow and scrape to my government in a time of crisis. You people are a disgrace to our fore-fathers. NOW is the time when you should be exercising EXTRA skepticism of what your government tells you.

Quit telling me that we the people are all in this together with our government! If you would open your fucking eyes a bit, maybe take a moment to turn off the fucking television, you would see that our government has done some really fucking shitty things in the world, behind our backs!

You pay lip service to this, and keep saying "yeah yeah yeah, I know, our government has done some unfortunate things...", but you're not the least bit fucking serious, and you seem to not know a goddamn thing, because next breath you're beating your chest and telling us we all need to support our secretive government in whatever "retaliatory" action it sees fit to bring on.

You who keep dismissing our government's crimes with "you're just anti-american", are just turning a blind eye to the messy reality. You don't want to entertain the idea that maybe the world isn't black and white, and it isn't "America(people+government) good guys, everyone else shady to some degree or another, and they better stay out of our fuckin way".

You make me sick, and you're a disgrace to that flag you keep waving in my face.
posted by DogLink at 11:38 AM on September 18, 2001


This is what I get sick and tired of: all you supposedly patriotic people trying to tell me that my only options are 1) to support my government without questioning anything, or 2) get out of Dodge (/America).

Who the fuck are you to tell me what to think, and who to agree with? And to tell me how to be an American. I already am an American, and being American doesn't equal turning into a raving mouth-foaming Nazi in response to a terrorist attack. (Unless I missed something somewhere.... but what the fuck was World War II for, anyway?)

You bitch and whine at me for being "anti-American", but you're missing the whole fucking point. Or you're deliberately trying to cloud the point.

As an American, I treasure my freedom, and I treasure my friends and family and colleagues and fellow Americans in general. But I am NOT going to bow and scrape to my government in a time of crisis. You people are a disgrace to our fore-fathers. NOW is the time when you should be exercising EXTRA skepticism of what your government tells you.

Quit telling me that we the people are all in this together with our government! If you would open your fucking eyes a bit, maybe take a moment to turn off the fucking television, you would see that our government has done some really fucking shitty things in the world, behind our backs!

You pay lip service to this, and keep saying "yeah yeah yeah, I know, our government has done some unfortunate things...", but you're not the least bit fucking serious, and you seem to not know a goddamn thing, because next breath you're beating your chest and telling us we all need to support our secretive government in whatever "retaliatory" action it sees fit to bring on.

You who keep dismissing our government's crimes with "you're just anti-american", are just turning a blind eye to the messy reality. You don't want to entertain the idea that maybe the world isn't black and white, and it isn't "America(people+government) good guys, everyone else shady to some degree or another, and they better stay out of our fuckin way".

You make me sick, and you're a disgrace to that flag you keep waving in my face.
posted by DogLink at 11:39 AM on September 18, 2001


This is what I get sick and tired of: all you supposedly patriotic people trying to tell me that my only options are 1) to support my government without questioning anything, or 2) get out of Dodge (/America).

Who the fuck are you to tell me what to think, and who to agree with? And to tell me how to be an American. I already am an American, and being American doesn't equal turning into a raving mouth-foaming Nazi in response to a terrorist attack. (Unless I missed something somewhere.... but what the fuck was World War II for, anyway?)

You bitch and whine at me for being "anti-American", but you're missing the whole fucking point. Or you're deliberately trying to cloud the point.

As an American, I treasure my freedom, and I treasure my friends and family and colleagues and fellow Americans in general. But I am NOT going to bow and scrape to my government in a time of crisis. You people are a disgrace to our fore-fathers. NOW is the time when you should be exercising EXTRA skepticism of what your government tells you.

Quit telling me that we the people are all in this together with our government! If you would open your fucking eyes a bit, maybe take a moment to turn off the fucking television, you would see that our government has done some really fucking shitty things in the world, behind our backs!

You pay lip service to this, and keep saying "yeah yeah yeah, I know, our government has done some unfortunate things...", but you're not the least bit fucking serious, and you seem to not know a goddamn thing, because next breath you're beating your chest and telling us we all need to support our secretive government in whatever "retaliatory" action it sees fit to bring on.

You who keep dismissing our government's crimes with "you're just anti-american", are just turning a blind eye to the messy reality. You don't want to entertain the idea that maybe the world isn't black and white, and it isn't "America(people+government) good guys, everyone else shady to some degree or another, and they better stay out of our fuckin way".

You make me sick, and you're a disgrace to that flag you keep waving in my face.
posted by DogLink at 11:39 AM on September 18, 2001


This is what I get sick and tired of: all you supposedly patriotic people trying to tell me that my only options are 1) to support my government without questioning anything, or 2) get out of Dodge (/America).

Who the fuck are you to tell me what to think, and who to agree with? And to tell me how to be an American. I already am an American, and being American doesn't equal turning into a raving mouth-foaming Nazi in response to a terrorist attack. (Unless I missed something somewhere.... but what the fuck was World War II for, anyway?)

You bitch and whine at me for being "anti-American", but you're missing the whole fucking point. Or you're deliberately trying to cloud the point.

As an American, I treasure my freedom, and I treasure my friends and family and colleagues and fellow Americans in general. But I am NOT going to bow and scrape to my government in a time of crisis. You people are a disgrace to our fore-fathers. NOW is the time when you should be exercising EXTRA skepticism of what your government tells you.

Quit telling me that we the people are all in this together with our government! If you would open your fucking eyes a bit, maybe take a moment to turn off the fucking television, you would see that our government has done some really fucking shitty things in the world, behind our backs!

You pay lip service to this, and keep saying "yeah yeah yeah, I know, our government has done some unfortunate things...", but you're not the least bit fucking serious, and you seem to not know a goddamn thing, because next breath you're beating your chest and telling us we all need to support our secretive government in whatever "retaliatory" action it sees fit to bring on.

You who keep dismissing our government's crimes with "you're just anti-american", are just turning a blind eye to the messy reality. You don't want to entertain the idea that maybe the world isn't black and white, and it isn't "America(people+government) good guys, everyone else shady to some degree or another, and they better stay out of our fuckin way".

You make me sick, and you're a disgrace to that flag you keep waving in my face.
posted by DogLink at 11:39 AM on September 18, 2001


Damn! Sorry for the repeated posts. This stinkin thing was hanging up on me.
posted by DogLink at 11:41 AM on September 18, 2001


But one more thing:

Firstly, our government fucks around with bad shit out in the world.

Secondly, our government leaves us three sheets to the wind when the bad shit comes home to roost.

Our government keeps fucking with these crazy bastards out East, giving them reason (in their minds) to bring the Fire of Allah down onto us, and ON TOP OF THAT, they don't even bother to protect us from these assholes!

Fuck the government! Thousands of people are dead because our assholes in charge fell down on the job, and let our international air system become one big fucking brick of Swiss cheese.

Fuck the government!
posted by DogLink at 11:45 AM on September 18, 2001


Excuse me, I appear to have stumbled into a Rage against the Machine concert. Could someone tell me where the Noah Chomsky discussion has been moved?
posted by rcade at 11:48 AM on September 18, 2001


This is the most amusing thread I have read since the one I was reading this morning.
posted by adampsyche at 11:53 AM on September 18, 2001


You know, there is a difference between saying that bin Laden and his ilk act to respond to U.S. policies, and saying that we ought to stop these policies or that we should have anticipated anti-Americanism. Maybe some of these policies are good, and we would be wrong to stop them. Maybe some of them are bad, and we ought to stop them. But to say either is not necessarily saying that the U.S. is morally responsible for bin Laden's acts. You can say that some anti-Americanism is not irrationally founded while still condemning the actions of anti-American terrorists. People commit horrible acts in the names of all sorts of goals of varying validity.

Big if attached to all these. I don't pretend to a complete understanding of the mentality of al-Quaeda.
posted by Charmian at 12:19 PM on September 18, 2001


I don't have a strong view on this debate. But it seems clear that the Middle East is a fucked up place to be right now -- the only country there with any sort of economic opportunity at all is Israel. Growing up anywhere else is a dead end; only exceptionally lucky people have any chance at making a decent living. And practically no one is happy.

Just try and imagine and entire country like that, not to mention an entire region. Then imagine that the most powerful country in the world helped contribute to those conditions. (I don't want to get into whether on balance we did more good than bad, or even how things would be if we had never been involved with the region -- regardless, it seems clear that our military policies have played a significant role in the Middle East; the countries there have spent years and untold lives and economic resources fight against Israel and, indirectly, the U.S.; and their perception is that we (the U.S.) have kept them in poverty.)

Obviously, these terrorist acts were unspeakable crimes. But is it much of a surprise that some of the people of this region -- with no hope of better lives (hence, nothing to lose), and access to means of destruction -- have lashed out against us?

Accordingly, shouldn't we realize that our foreign policy has played a role in what happened?

(My own feeling is we need to support the peoples of this impoverished region -- offer them aid and economic opportunity. Otherwise this problem will persist, and terrorists will find new ways to attack us.)
posted by mattpfeff at 12:32 PM on September 18, 2001


right, let's not forget the rape victim was a slut.
posted by quercus at 12:38 PM on September 18, 2001


The American people are certainly innocent victims. The American Government is not.
posted by dydecker at 1:30 PM on September 18, 2001


if this(mefi conversation) is what chomsky referred to as "manufacturing consent", perhaps gnomey has his point. Has anyone remembered Cold Harbour? or jefferson? that to weather crises is the essential benchmark for the american character. We have americans turning on americans to some degree, that is the issue. If faiths calling is from these events and we fail then no one will win. I'm not buying the henny penny.(faith=that this will not get worse)
"The flames kindled on July 4th, 1776 have spread to far over the globe to be extinguished by the feeble engines of despotism"- Thom. Jefferson
posted by newnameintown at 1:45 PM on September 18, 2001


The Japanese are really grateful for everything the Allies did in WWII, or so I hear. Particularly Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Wow, to boil down WWII to an "atrocity" against Japan -- Tojo couldn't've said it better.
posted by leo at 10:18 PM on September 18, 2001


Leo - I am completely awestruck that you can use quotation marks to describe the detonation of two nuclear bombs, each killing hundreds of thousands of people.

I am equally surprised anyone can take an event as complex as WWII to prove the U.S. commitment to the betterment of the world. A look at the U.S.'s treatment of Fascism before the War, and it's use of Nazi's in our intelligence apparatus afterward should at least prove such a supposition a mild exaggeration
posted by ProfLinusPauling at 11:01 PM on September 18, 2001


The Chomsky link seems to be down. Brrr, is the clampdown on dissent moving faster than usual this time out? Or is it just the Nidma worm or something?
posted by Allen Varney at 1:09 AM on September 19, 2001


"A look at the U.S.'s treatment of Fascism before the War, and it's use of Nazi's in our intelligence apparatus afterward should at least prove such a supposition a mild exaggeration" your comment is dribble and wrong. try again. why, your messing around with hindsight, a tool thats seems to big for you.
posted by newnameintown at 8:28 AM on September 19, 2001


zmag appears to be down. But you can find a copy of the (same?) Chomsky interview here.
posted by pb at 7:08 PM on September 19, 2001


"right, let's not forget the rape victim was a slut."

i'm going to pray you were kidding here, quercus.
posted by raedyn at 11:59 PM on September 19, 2001


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